It’s a warm spring afternoon. We have just moved with the whole company to a brand new place. Full of optimism, we are sipping coffee by a small pond, which is about 50 meters from our office and is the focal point of the whole complex. The local, industrial walls of the post-industrial complex fill us with the desire to move forward.
I’m sitting there with Kamil, who was working for me at the time, and who was one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. We’re sitting there plotting how to change the way we reach our customers, find a way to do what we do much more creatively, and surprise people with more and more new ideas. Suddenly, he says – “Screw it all. Adam, don’t you ever get the feeling that everyone is tired of it? This whole modernity thing. Seriously, I think we should be like Harvey Specter. Think to yourself how he would solve this problem, and let’s act in the same way.”
A few months later, when we were telling this situation to one of our clients from the United States, who had already become a good friend of ours, he looked at us like little children and said – “But after all, Harvey doesn’t really exist!”.
But all in all, so what, does it really matter? Neither do the characters in books (okay, I know it depends) and yet we model ourselves on them. Similarly, superheroes from comic books greatly influence us in our childhood, teaching us how to deal with various problems. Warriors or knights from fairy tales teach us to be honorable and multi-colored characters or animals to be good people.
During one of my interviews for a new book I’m currently working on with a close friend who is an actor, I asked him about his favorite literary item. He said that it was a very difficult question for him because these favorite books are related to certain time periods in his life, and he doesn’t have one or even three. Similarly, another person I interviewed said that made me understand that books worth reading are those that make a real difference in our lives and through which we as people can change for the better.
Taking inspiration from a fictional character, after all, can be something that will do us a lot of good. Maybe Harvey and does not come from a book. After all, it is just a role played by an actor. The series “Suits“, in which Harvey is the leading character, has already lived 9 seasons (at least now, because as I’m writing these words, the third episode is on TV) and has been broadcasting since 2011. It is in this series that Rachel Markle, the current Duchess of Sussex, played. The series also received several awards and nominations, but that’s not what’s most important about it.
Because the most important thing is the unconventional, interesting, exaggerated, and colorful characters that are there, as well as the dialogues they have among themselves. One of those characters is Harvey, who I think not only for me but also for many other people can and probably is a source of inspiration.
Always be persistent
97% of people who give up are employed by 3% of those who never give up
When you’re a mature entrepreneur or even a budding startup, I’m sure there are times when you feel that you’ve had enough of what you’re currently doing. That life is getting in your way, and in a moment, the world you’re in is going to fall apart. I think everyone has their moments of doubt, but the essential question is quite simple – “how are you going to deal with this?” The right definition of what’s going on can work wonders, but it means nothing in the absence of perseverance towards your goal.
That’s why it’s so important never to give up. Your goal may be around the corner, two blocks away, or behind that rock. It could also be that you are going the wrong way, and you should turn back. Because you see perseverance is not always blindly running ahead, but a constant, ongoing analysis and diagnosis of the reality around us.
Fame and glamour
Work until you don’t have to introduce yourself
In pop culture terms, fame is definitely something overrated. It brings with it several consequences and unpleasantness. It distorts reality, drags the weak into addictions, or locks them in their homes. Business, in this case, is governed by slightly different laws, and as long as you are incredibly good at what you do and your name means something in the industry in which you operate, you begin to feel more and more at ease. There comes a time at some point where you stop worrying about clients. It’s simple.
When you do something well and value other people, when you can help them solve a problem that is important for them, you become an indispensable business partner for them. When someone else meets the same problem, it’s not hard to get recommendations. You don’t have to aim so high as to be the second Bill Gates, but it’s enough if you are important in your industry or narrow area of specialization. Admittedly, running a business based 100% on recommendations can be very difficult because those recommendations can’t be scaled in any way. However, your reputation is a tremendous foundation and foundation for a successful business.
To quote Harvey once again – “Anyone can do my job, but no one can be me.”
Work hard or work smart?
The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary
When I say that you should work hard, I get a counter from other people that, on the contrary, because you should work smart. All in all, it’s hard for me to disagree with them. However, probably the right lies somewhere in the middle.
It all depends on our predispositions, abilities, background, place where we grew up, etc. I could probably list dozens of different positions, which will change the fact. I could probably list dozens of different positions here, but it doesn’t change the fact that the success mentioned by Harvey, and awaited by almost all of us, has to be earned.
So you get up every morning and pull out all the stops. So that when the sun goes down, you can say you did a great job and be proud of yourself. Rob Bailey & The Hustle Standard sang in their song “Beast” (okay, it’s a mediocre example, especially that autotune that allows a person whose ear has been stepped on by an elephant to sing and be “successful,” but to the point): When the sun rises; I wake up and chase my dreams; I won’t regret when the sun sets; Cuz I live my life like I’m a Beast.
Sometimes, we do not have to work from scratch for our business because we inherit it from parents or other close people. This makes it much easier for us to start. Simpler in some aspects because in interpersonal aspects, it is definitely not that easy. Nobody diagnoses this situation, but they are very eager to judge and criticize. I am beating myself up now because I used to do it myself. When I was building a business from absolute zero, I envied other people because they inherited it from other people.
But the further I get in the business world, the more I know that everyone who runs a business has a huge responsibility. Especially when they employ people and have to take care of more than just their loved ones. This is why I understand how much pressure people experience when they have to deal with something that already has a certain reputation, and they have to catch up with it very quickly. After all, it is no problem to destroy everything we have day by day. All it takes is a moment of doubt, a difficulty, a hard problem to solve. It is also enough to stop working. On yourself, your life, your business, or others.
It will happen because I make it happen
What about dreams?
We are ourselves, we work hard, or we work smart. The important thing is that we work. We go to this success with great steps, or we crawl at our own pace. It does not matter. The important thing is that we go.
And so sometimes we get used to it, or maybe we even become prisoners of our monotony. Suddenly one day, we realize that we have stopped growing and dreaming. After all, we are adults, we run a business, so it’s probably no longer appropriate. Now it is necessary to analyze everything and that still in the cold, so where is the time for fantasies.
I myself advocate a deep analysis of the situation. Not evaluating, but analyzing and drawing conclusions. We didn’t sell enough subscriptions. Oh, because Andrew got sick, and his LinkedIn slowed down.
Fewer and fewer people are contacting us. Well, yes, we recently changed the button layout on our site, and the CTA doesn’t do the job.
But holy crap, you can’t just live this analysis and conclusions. Sometimes for the health of our psyche, to raise the morale of the team, and maybe even ourselves, we need to give in to our imagination and dream a little bit after all. It’s good to be a dreamer in life, if only not uncritical and naive, and responsible.
In one episode of the series, Harvey says the words – “I don’t have dreams, I have goals”. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t dream of great things, quite the opposite. You can see it at every step. Whether it’s about his personal affairs, relationships or business. However, these dreams are not just a figment of his wild imagination but a precise course of action. So the next time you say to yourself – “Gee, it would be nice to have this company as our client” act. Don’t procrastinate and build a plan and do it.
Remember – “Winners don’t make excuses”
Each of us knows that success is not just an idyll and that there are obstacles and problems on the way to the desired goal. Not always everything goes our way.
Yes, I know I am writing here about trivial matters, but in these trivialities, very often, there is hidden wisdom.
I remember myself moments that one day two of my clients called me, that they postponed projects, and within three hours, we lost seven of eight planned for the near future projects. It was pretty darn hard, and I was really experiencing it. At one point, the work scheduled for the coming months was left in ruins. I could have drawn consequences because negotiation was out of the question here. However, I cared about the relationship with my clients, and I know they were forced into a difficult situation. So I clenched my teeth, shrugged it off, and decided that instead of lamenting, I needed to take action.
I went into our CRM, fired up all my social media channels, contacts on my phone, and started trying as hard as possible to get us orders. Never before had I felt such pressure and such a push as I did at that moment. Less than two weeks later, we had more work than we could provide for our team.
Don’t raise your voice, improve your arguments
Stop it now, please
I’m about to end. I don’t want this article to drag on forever. I just wanted to show you that inspirations to act, be a better person, businessman, startup are at your fingertips. I want to look for them. And remember one more thing – success does not come easy.
Success is like being pregnant, everyone congratulates you, but no one knows how many times you’ve been ripped off.