Listen, Then Make Your Own Decisions

When I was in my 20’s I valued other people’s decisions too highly. I wasted a lot of time worrying what everyone was saying.

For example, when I started Flatt Cola and raised money with Paul Pucci (who brought in most of the external investors, nice work) for it, we got pushed around from investors. We had very little leverage. We were just a small struggling cola company desperate for money.

Whatever investors said at the most recent meeting we did. We need to go more online. OK. We need to allocate more equity to certain people. OK. It was a disaster.

It’s important to take in feedback from people. But it’s more important to follow your gut.

Most of these investors had no clue about the beverage industry. And many didn’t understand startups. I love taking startup advice from traditional commercial bankers, kidding of course.

And the funny thing was that the investors who had the most suggestions rarely invested. They just like giving advice and walking away. Thanks for that.

Now some of the advice was great. Your gut can often tell what advice does make sense.

I also (still do but less so) worried what everyone thought about everything. If a person said, I should be doing this or that. I worried about it. If someone didn’t approve of everything, I must stay awake thinking of this. Insanity.

That’s a huge time suck, and makes your life suck. It’s hard to get over it though.

The only thing that works for me is to stay centered, let those negative feelings slip away. Over time when those same feelings get awakened, they’re easier to do with.

Then you have more time for business, innovation and love.

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