Your Ego Is Their Competitive Advantage

Your ego is their competitive advantage.

Your complacency is their competitive advantage.

Your procrastination is their competitive advantage.

Your impatience is their competitive advantage.

Your laziness is their competitive advantage.

Your inflexibility is their competitive advantage.

Your jealousy and the decisions you allow it to drive is their competitive advantage.

Your bitterness from clinging to a grudge is their competitive advantage.

Your glorification of busy is their competitive advantage.

Your “no new friends” rule is their competitive advantage.

Your bubble is their competitive advantage.

Your red tape is their competitive advantage.

Your lack of process is their competitive advantage.

Your lack of research is their competitive advantage.

Your preference for short cuts over healthier, organic growth is their competitive advantage.

Your inability to prioritize your time is their competitive advantage.

Your micromanagement is their competitive advantage.

Your refusal to do the boring, unglamorous, tedious work is their competitive advantage.

Your insistence on putting all your eggs in the Instagram basket is their competitive advantage.

Your being ‘too good' to attend that event is their competitive advantage.

Your habit of indulging your FOMO (fear of missing out) rather than strategic JOMO (joy of missing out) is their competitive advantage.

Your refusal to ask for help is their competitive advantage.

Your staying within your comfort zone is their competitive advantage.

Your never raising your hand to ask questions is their competitive advantage.

Your nostalgia for the “good old days” of the industry in 2014/2004/1994 is their competitive advantage.

Work smarter. Work harder. It’s not an either/or scenario, and hasn’t been for a long time.

13 Books Every Creative Entrepreneur Should Read

Two book tables at my local library. Some intern deserves a raise.

Two book tables at my local library. Some intern deserves a raise.

It’s been said that leaders are readers, but in truth, great leaders are voracious readers. Reading gives you a competitive advantage, plain and simple.

The two biggest hurdles that people tell me they deal with when it comes to reading are finding time to do so and the price tag that reading a lot can bring with it.

Let’s tackle the time issue first: if you read 20 pages a day, you’ll read around 20 books a year.

In case you think that still isn’t a doable goal, 15 minutes a day is 91 hours per year. Most people spend at least two hours a day scrolling social media – 30 days a year. An entire month! You have more time than you think.

A Splendid tip: If you want a reality check of just how much time you spend on certain apps, check out Apple’s screentime feature.

Second, you can cut down on the cost of buying books by signing up for a good, old-fashioned library card.

I have a private list on Amazon called “library” and when a book is recommended to me or I come across one I want to read, I add it to that list. Then, the next time I’m at the library, it’s easy to pull up on my phone and see the list of books I didn’t want to forget about.

While I have created the habit of always checking the library first, if they don’t have the book, I buy it. If it’s a book I want to read again, I buy it. If I know the author, I buy it. Also, almost all libraries these days have the option to download the book to an ebook app if you prefer to read books digitally.

I am a believer that the ideas contained within the pages of a book are what truly matter, and that reading a book with paper pages vs digital is simply a matter of preference. I will say though that when kids see me reading on a device, they tend to assume I’m on social media or checking email. Since the importance of reading is something that is both taught and caught, reading physical books while I’m at home is a priority for me in this season of my life. Libraries make this more doable and more affordable.

A Splendid tip: Designate a special shelf or space in your home for everyone’s library books to go. This way you aren’t digging books out from underneath your kids’ beds or searching for where you misplaced them once it’s time to turn them back in.

Below are some of my favorite books related to owning and running a business. I am sure there are several I loved that I am forgetting about at the moment. There are also many I read that are popular but that I felt “meh” about so they’re not listed here.

Also, these are mostly business books or non-fiction, but I make a point to read fiction and poetry as well. I find that well-written fiction gets my creative juices flowing in a way nothing else does. I often end a fictional story that has nothing to do with business brimming with new ideas for my company. If you’re feeling stuck, a cup of chamomile tea and a good fiction book may help you.

13 Books Every Creative Entrepreneur Should Read

1) On public speaking:
Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun

(I’ve given this book as a gift so many times. It’s the best one on the subject, hands down.)

2) On entrepreneurship: The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

(One of my favorite business quotes comes from this book: “As a startup CEO, I slept like a baby. I woke up every two hours and cried.”)

3) On business strategy: Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Reneé Mauborgne

4) On teams: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

5) On selling a service: You Can’t Teach Hungry: Creating the Multimillion Dollar Law Firm by John Morgan

(If you can read past the attorney-specific advice, there is plenty in here for people who sell creative and intellectual ideas rather than tangible products.)

6) On invisible affluence: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

7) On communication: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson

(I also have this as an audio book and re-listen to it once a year.)

8) On business systems: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber

9) On business management: Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

10) On leadership: Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization by John Wooden

11) On getting out of your own way: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

12) On decision making: Left Brain, Right Stuff: How Leaders Make Winning Decisions by Phil Rosenzweig

13) On focusing your mind: 10-Minute Toughness: The Mental Training Program for Winning Before the Game Begins by Dr. Jason Selk

(I started using methods from this book several years ago while preparing for my speaking engagements and it changed everything for the better, immediately. The author has since released another book called Executive Toughness: The Mental Training Program to Increase Your Leadership Performance.)

I’d love to hear your favorite books related to business and entrepreneurship. You can share them with me on Twitter here.

You Don't Get What You Deserve, You Get What You Negotiate

You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.
— Dr. Chester Karrass —

Any agreement — written or verbal, paid or unpaid — usually requires some type of negotiation. One side presents what they would like to see happen and the other counters with what would work better for them. Then another discussion (or several) with some more back and forth, and then the final agreement.

This is true for client work, product placement, speaking engagements, having something fixed around your home, or deciding who is going to tackle what on the to-do list. Business and life require negotiating — on a daily basis.

At times negotiating is more emotionally painful than it should be. You’ve faced your fears, asked for what you wanted, and then felt like you were punched in the gut by the other person’s shock that you would dare attempt to negotiate at all.

While it's politically correct to talk a big game about supporting other women, it's worth noting that the only times I’ve tried to negotiate and have been labeled "bitchy" or a "narcissist" because I did so has been by other women, never by men. This is true for many of my female colleagues as well.

Sometimes the other person won’t resort to profanity or obvious name-calling. Sometimes they’ll class it up with passive-aggressive language like, “Her ego has gotten out of control. What a shame” or, “She should be grateful we want to include her on this project at all” or, “Who does she think she is?”

And sometimes the punishment is not just in the language the other chooses to use but also in action, such as being pushed out of a project. This is often done slowly and in a passive-aggressive way, so that it's not obvious to the majority of people.

This doesn't always happen, of course, but when it does it can still be surprising. Life is give and take. Some compromise is usually required by all sides. Wanting to negotiate is normal.

Don't expect people to fight fair. More importantly, don't allow that to make you cynical.

Know your worth.
Ask for what you want.
Have the difficult conversations.

It may be uncomfortable in the moment, but choosing to do what’s best for your business and family is a priority that should be guarded closely.

Originally published January 2016