Wealth seems to be a sensitive topic. Some people don’t mind parading around the wealth they’ve created.
I would argue that the main problem with wealth in America is that people parade around a perception of wealth that they do not have. We live in a society that wants to keep up with the Joneses. At the same time, it’s a taboo topic. One that’s hard to address.
People pursue wealth for various reasons but few desire to talk about their philosophy of wealth. Some to hoard and become wealthy. Some to spoil themselves with the conveniences of the world. Still others seek to use it for greater good. They long to give it away – perhaps for recognition; perhaps as a authentic gift.
He woke up at the crack of dawn. It was his birthday, but he was the one who would throw the surprise. Walking out to the car, he took a deep breath and sighed. The road before him was long and the day would be both stressful and tiring, but this was worth it. It was for his son.
After several hours in the car, he arrived. He whispered a prayer that this would go well and walked into the room, head held high.
The room wasn’t an ordinary room. It was a court room. This morning his son was being arraigned for crimes he had committed the weekend before. A party animal gone too far. A night of “fun” that got out of control.
Someone was hurt, and his son was being held responsible.
Today I’m excited to share some thoughts with you from Chris Mullen. He’s in his fifth year Higher Education Student Affairs Leadership Ph.D. program at Colorado State University, where he also serves as Assistant Director of Recruitment and Selection in the Office of Equal Opportunity. He’s focused on personal and professional development, leadership, and wellness. Today, he’s going to share some of his passion for reading (which I share) with us. You can find more from Chris at his blog
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
- Harry S. Truman
I don’t know about you but I find a lot of truth in this quote. I have found I am more engaged in life, work, and other ventures when I am in the midst of reading a book. What about you?
When I go any length of time without reading a book, I tend to feel like I am going through the motions each day. When I am reading, I have something to look forward to, something to discuss with others, and stuff to think about. It fills my need for learning.
Do you have a reason for reading? Why should you start or continue reading?
When I first started building my board of directors, I still owned 100% of the company. Many people were surprised that I was willing to subject myself to the headache of having to answer to outside directors.
When I raised my first capital, I heard horror story after horror story about boards gone awry. If you ask ten CEOs about their boardroom experience, it seems that at least seven of them have a story about how horrible the experience was or is.
I’ve been lucky to have the opposite experience. I consider my board high performing. It is an accelerator for my business.
Here are five tips that I’ve learned through the School of Hard Knocks that will help you have the same fortune. Trust me: it’s much better to be one of the three CEOs who doesn’t have the boardroom horror story to share.
Pride and ego get in the way of good business all the time. The best leaders and employees typically give credit to others. They are the ones who are continuously pointing out others’ successes. They’re the people touting the accomplishments of their peers and proclaiming the hard work of those around them. They are more than willing to share accolades with others.
These types of individuals are the true all-stars in your organization. They probably have plenty of great successes themselves, but you won’t hear about it from them.
The people who are hungry for attention or accolades are typically the ones who lack self-confidence because they can’t continuously perform at that level.
Your true A-players are more than happy to share the spotlight. For them, it’s about the success of the team, of the whole unit, of the entire company. It’s not about themselves.
They are the individuals you want on your team.
I travel a lot as the CEO of 3Pillar. Here are three quick travel tips that keep me sane.
1. Use loyalty programs.
It’s not just for the bonus miles and rewards, it’s also for the lounge in the airport and the priority seating. It’s for the hotel room booking and the time it can save me as I pass the line waiting for their rental car and go straight to mine to find the keys already in the ignition. Loyalty programs are worth it. And the rewards pay in terms of time savings and productivity, never mind the free flights, stays, and everything else.
2. Don’t check luggage.
This saves me a ton of extra steps: the steps I take to pick up the luggage and the wait and hassle of dealing with that extra luggage. Pack lightly. Take only what’s necessary.
I have 3 suitcases that I use all the time. Each was worth the nominal investment as it optimizes my packing and travel time. A mini roller-board that fits enough clothes for 1-2 nights and my laptop is perfect for the standard overnight trip. A standard roller-board that fits a small hang-up bag inside is perfect when I will be gone more than two days and need to bring a suit or sports coat other than the one on my back. Finally, I have a small hang up bag that I use for longer trips that require more than just one or two sets of hanging clothes. All of these fit in the overhead.
3. Catch up on the plane and work yourself to death in the hotel room.
This is part of how I squeeze every minute out of my trips. If I can’t be home with my family (and I can’t when I’m traveling), I am going to work and maximize the time while I’m away. Yup, I pack as much email, writing, and reading into every plane ride and night in a hotel room as I can. This ensures that when I’m home, I can be present.
What are your best quick travel tips?
One of my favorite parts of my job is that I get the privilege of meeting with and learning from great leaders. They are legends of business, including people I’ve looked up to from afar for their great business acumen and the companies that they’ve founded.
They also include silent heroes that most people have never heard about. They are usually genuinely good people and more than willing to share their experiences and lessons learned in business.
I get asked over and over about my thoughts on funding and raising capital as an entrepreneurial company.
Equity is perhaps the most expensive money you will ever find. I strongly recommend that an entrepreneur bootstrap their company for as long as they can.
One of the hardest thing for any entrepreneur to get used to is delegating. Delegating “my stuff” to an executive assistant has been the hardest one to figure out. It’s a talent in and of itself.
A mentor of mine convinced me several years ago that it was time to offload administrative things I was doing and get someone to assist me. It was a watershed moment for me and eye-opening to figure out how many things I was doing that I didn’t need to be doing. Even still, I struggle to stay consistent.
The reality of it is that the best use of my time is focusing on valuable things that only I can do. It has taken some learning to figure out how to carve off those things that aren’t important for me to do.
Since the earliest days of 3Pillar I have wanted to create a different kind of culture. I believe that the highest performing teams value each member of their team. Employees are to be valued not just for what they can do, but because they are innately worthwhile. Respecting the dignity of every individual is core to who I am and I wanted that to be embedded into the company.
That’s why, early on at 3Pillar, I decided that we would provide premium healthcare benefits, not only to our employees, but to their entire family. I wanted to create an environment where people understood that we valued and took care of our employees – even the part of it that was unrelated to their work.
So I decided that we would not only provide a platinum healthcare plan, but we would pay for 100% of the health premium for both our employees and their families. For me, this was a way of both living our values and differentiating ourselves as an employer.
Unfortunately, this decision backfired.