Ego. When we bought Caiazza Candy, I can say with the benefit of hindsight that “Ego” was one of my values along with things like Image, and Growth. As opposed to almost thirty years later when the are: Integrity, Hustle, Authenticity, Transparency, and Resilience. Ego was the value that led me to many mistakes such as:
- Never listening to anyone, AKA, knowing it all at the ripe old age of 23 when I really didn’t know shit.
- Not taking things slow, I needed to build fast to show everyone how “successful” I was.
- Not valuing my sister as a 50% partner, which, along with not being transparent with my wife about the business struggles, caused years of family troubles and ultimately, years of pain after we shut down. While it is important to forgive yourself…I am still having a hard time with this one.
- Not knowing when enough is enough.
That last one is what gets many entrepreneurs in big personal trouble because they start “throwing good money after bad money”. They will empty their savings, pledge their home, etc to allow them to continue to make the same mistakes instead of either taking an honest look at what got them there in the first place and course correcting or just dealing with the reality that the business is going down and throwing in the towel. Ego made me make decisions based on what was best for me, not what was best for the company.
Looking back, I can probably pin most of my mistakes and business failures on Ego and Growth as values as opposed to the types of values that would have kept me centered and focused on building something special and enduring. If only I knew then, what I know now.
Takeaway: You are not the smartest person in the room and if you think you are, then as Loren Michaels said “…. its time to get a new room.”