Choose Challenge and Create Value


I’m scaring my capital-D-Democratic self these days, because I keep wanting to shake people up!  This instinct to grab people by the shoulders isn’t very compassionate, but I want to do it.  These are really difficult times; I know it first hand.  It’s not easy selling my valuable retreats to folks, when their travel and training budgets are as dry as the Sahara Desert.  This economy can be jarring.  I’d be darned mad if I’d been misled on a mortgage, had my job sold out to a low cost Mexican manufacturer, or been laid off as the pawn in a political struggle between medium-sized men with oversized egos and shrinking budgets.  And after being mad, I’d be scared about getting a job or a house or a loan in this environment.  But darn it, after getting a little comfort, challenge is sometimes what you really need to grow, and opportunities are there in this crazy (internet) world to build something new, something valuable and profitable. 

 Case 1.  Check out Some guy realizes there’s Obamamania out there.  And before Christmas he finds a way to fabricate flannel Obama-Jamas and sell them on the Net.  30 years ago could he have found a textile manufacturer?  Could he have figured out just how much inventory to buy?  Could he have found some chains to carry his stuff?  And if so, how long would all that take?  In today’s world, I’ll bet he was up and running in a day, with stock on hand in 2 weeks.  Inventory on demand.  Gaining credit with sales.  He didn’t need an office, a track record in textiles and apparel, or a warehouse.  If the guy had Skype, he wouldn’t even need a phone!!!!  And his business may be DONE in 6 months.  Caput!  But I bet he’ll find another opportunity.

Case 2.  A longtime entertainment writer got a buy-out.  He used some of the money to syndicate the same column.  Now he doesn’t have one buyer – the local paper – he’s got tens if not hundreds of buyers.  Oh, it’s precarious.  He doesn’t get one reasonably big check but many little ones, and he’ll be competing with lots of other formerly comfortable entertainment writers out there, but the point is he can access a national if not global economy.  And he’ll find new ways to deliver his stuff.  In challenge he’s finding opportunity.

 In the new world we’re in, it’s not about experience.  It’s not about girth.  It’s not about longevity.  It’s not about college degrees.  It’s all about value.  Each of us needs to ask: How can I add more value – whether I’m a laid-off-worker-turning-entrepreneur, or still a cog in a big (at least it’s big today) organization?  How can I help more people?  How can I give people what they want and need – and do it quicker, more personally, less expensively?  America – the land of political AND economic freedom – is primed for this moment.  But we have to say to challenge:  “Come on!  I’m on to you.  I’m not scared of you, cuz I’ve already been searching for opportunity, even when you were barely on the horizon.  Good riddance, cuz I’ve hated my commute, tolerated my boss, been under whelmed by my work, so now I’m going to do what I love and do it great, find out who needs it, and provide it for them.

Or, you can hunker down and hope somebody takes care of you, hope you can outlast the changes that are coming . . . faster and faster.  Your choice.

I say, the adventure is on!  Go

Lead with your best self!



  • Dan,

    You have hit the nail on the head for me today…..I am now one of the unemployed, from an under employed job to say the least.

    About a year ago I realized that the only way to get ahead was to start a business…..because of the lending mess I am still trying. We decided to buy an existing business, (a successful business, that with my vision will be even more much of my vision is you what I can do quicker, personally, and less expensively and yet add to the bottom line), but I need a little help with the loan. NO ONE will lend to me. They are willing to take money and say that they can help, but then don’t.

    I am now at the last lending institution that I know of, and have done the pitch one last time with a twist, which was “WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR ME?” They seemed receptive to that statement, and hopefully I can move forward with my dream of owning my own business.

    Wish me luck, and I hope that your words help others get out of the despair that has become this state, country……

  • Dan wrote:
    Or, you can hunker down and hope somebody takes care of you, hope you can outlast the changes that are coming . . . faster and faster. Your choice.

    Devil’s Advocate (me) says:
    What an idealistic statement! Yet, you didn’t find that mantra exerted by the automotive Big 3, or the banking/insurance/big boys on Wall St.

    These entities looked to the BIG gov’t to bail them out, with taxpayers dollars, without any oversight for that paultry $350 BILLION dollars (50% of allotment)!!

    It looks like in the face of failure, GWB and all of his complicit cronies, Democrat and Republican alike, voted to have the taxpayers take care of them, a real slap in our faces…..especially once the smoke clears and we get to see (IF we ever actually will see the truth) just how much of this bailout money went to end of year (2008) excutive bonuses (rewarded for failure; the new American way, but reserved only for those in a certain hierarchy position!!), travel junkets, acquisitions that do not benefit mainstream Americana, etc…..

    When there is TRANSPARENCY in government (spending), and a GENUINE FISCAL CONSERVATISM, then there will be a larger alliance to get down into the trenches, or in the current scenario, try to lift one’s self out of the mire of a mudhole.

  • Dan-
    I enjoy your newsletters as a Michigander who moved on to California 28 years ago to start a professional career, but find the tone of this one very short sighted as under the guise of telling folks to suck it up there is plenty of blame being leveled at others (“misled on a mortgage”, “had job sold out”, “pawn in a poliotical struggle”). Michigan has much more to offer than the wolrd currently credits it for- smart, hard working and earnest people valued by the 49 other states, great univesrities, etc., but it has noit been “smart” as a state. It completely blew any opportunity in the tech boom by remaing a high tax, low to no economic incentives state. It needs to use the current conditions to once and for all reposition iteslf. It can’t let top talent it educates constantly leave the sate, but people need opportunity to stay. So far, Michigan has lacked the political will to morph into a successful New Age economy. All the necessary pieces are there but that will.

    • You are so right on that I thought you were walking around in my brain!! We need to look around and realize that we are seeking leaders who are Change Agents.

      The status quo has got to go! Don’t get stuck on where we have been. Let’s focus on where we are going! Sure! We have all been screwed by the current state of affairs. Me included! We have been sucking it up for months!

      It is now time for us to get over ourselves and get back to doing what we can all do best. MAKING AMERICA GREAT!! The Blame game doesn’t work! We are sick of it!

      Let’s just put pur noses to the grindstone and start doing something about it.

      The TIP Lady

  • Right on, Dan. We get what we tolerate. In medicine you look at how “well tolerated” a drug will be related to its side effects. At work and home, many people evaluate new opportunities related to what can be well tolerated.

    Yet after life, most people don’t want their tombstone to read, “He tolerated stuff for other people because they paid him.” Especially, when we realize that we can make more money and have more fun doing work that engages our passions.

    Life is too short for doing work you don’t enjoy for people you don’t respect.

    In this tough economy, the tough get going in delivering value in a timely manner. Tough times are an excellent time to build market share because prospective customers are ready, willing and able to listen to those who can provide excellent value, faster, cheaper and better than their current suppliers.

  • Just finished watching GWB’s last press conference on the boob tube……what a self centered, defensive jerk, who will undoubtedly go down in history with a legacy of LOSER written all over him. More borrowed money, and taxpayer supported bond money given to his insider group than any president in history.

  • I wonder if Obama-Jamas are American-made … That would make them much more even more marketable!

    These days it’s nearly impossible to find clothing that’s not made in some low-wage country.

  • This may be one of your best RFL’s ever, Dan … and that’s saying a lot. What America needs now more than ever is that old pioneering spirit … and simply put, those who are willing to be a pioneer will blaze their own trail through this mess.

    Jim Dreyer
    Adventures In Mentoring

  • Some of us will remember Janis Joplin’s line: “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” Maybe we can turn that on it’s head and say that nothing left to lose could lead to a freedom we’ve never imagined.

    What are we going to do with all these unemployed auto workers? Are they suddenly going to became bio tech experts? I think not — but if they are savvy, like your pajama folks, they could well become successful entrepreneurs. And it may just be us self-employed folks who ultimately save the economy.

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