don't let it haunt youDon’t let your past haunt you.

I’m a fairly positive and forward-thinking person.  But hiccups along the way usually involve dwelling too much on the mistakes of my past and trying to remedy and re-remedy them.  Even though most of the time they’ve already been dealt with.

We’ve all been told that mistakes are helpful, because we can learn from them and move forward.  And that last part is key – learn from them and move forward.  It’s impossible to be fully present when your head is stuck in the muck of the past.

So if you want to have a better future, stop trying to have a better past.

Think about someone that you look up to.  A mentor perhaps.  If you’re anything like me, your mentor figures don’t have a perfect past.
They’ve been there.
They’ve had hardship.
They’ve failed at something.
They’ve gotten it wrong.

But instead of covering up their mistakes or trying to have a better past, they’ve moved forward and made it part of their story.
A rich story with the ability to overcome.Your past has given you the strength and wisdom you have today.

So what’s in your past?
A failed relationship?
An unsuccessful startup?
An unproductive career?
Your future will only get better when you let go of the past.

Honor it, acknowledge it, but don’t let it haunt you.

Happy Halloween!


valerie-coffman-Startup-AdviceI stumbled into this flowchart by Valerie Coffman, an entrepreneur and data scientist who wrote a blog post “Should you Give Startup Advice” — Valerie says “Clearly, there is widespread confusion on who needs to STFU and who should share their pearls of startup wisdom. To correct this issue, I’ve created the following handy flowchart”.

It is interesting in the startup world who considers themselves an expert to be in a position to give advice. In the Entrepreneur Organization I’ve followed the gestalt process which is to share experiences instead of give advice. It allows the person that is receiving the information to listen and take what they want from the experience and then make it their own. Even if you feel like you did some things that were successful it doesn’t mean the person that you’re telling could execute exactly like you and therefore may end up with completely different results. My feeling is it’s best to not give advice and just stick to sharing experiences with people. That’s just part of the learning experience!

nilofer-merchant-posterNilofer Merchant, Harvard Press author of “11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era”, A TED Speaker, and former CEO of Rubicon. Nilofer has launched more than 100 products that have netted $18 billion dollars… and Nilofer will be speaking at thinkspace tonight!

Nilofer is a very important person to me as are her thoughts and concepts that she covers in the book “11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era”. While Nilofer is not aware of this, her concepts are very much intertwined into the fabric of what thinkspace has evolved into over the last five years and attribute much of our success to Nilofer concepts of “co-creation”. Nilofer’s has put a lot of words together for me as I’ve traveled my entrepreneurial journey. One of the things that has become the foundation of thinkspace is:

“Things we once considered opposing forces – doing right by people and delivering results, collaborating and keeping focus, having a social purpose, and making money – are really not in opposition. They never have been. But we need a more sophisticated approach to understand business models where making a profit doesn’t mean losing purpose, community, and connection.” – Nilofer Merchant

I’m very much goal oriented and focus on the outcome that I’m looking to create. If you took a look at all the goals that I’ve set for the company in order to be successful you would see things like be listed on the PSBJ’s Fastest Growing Companies List for consecutive years (check) be named as Washington’s Best Places to Work (check) and now be listed on the INC 5000 (open check box) with a goal of having 2000 recurring revenue customers (open check box). The goal is not solely about making a profit but for us it’s totally about creating community and connection.

Four years ago I created a Community Manager position in my company, when the typical Community Manager was not something you would see in a company that happens to lease out office space to startups, entrepreneurs, and non-profits. Yes, the position does handle leasing functions within the business, but, the goal and definition of success for the position is to create connection. Quite simply, the one thing that brings me the most joy every single day is creating connections to entrepreneurs. My most recent example is last weekend when I was at an Entrepreneur Organization retreat and connecting that group to a thinkspace member, Don Gerould, CEO of Cogent Equity, who helps entrepreneurs think through the process and build the plan on how to exit their company, either by stepping back or selling their company.

I’m truly looking forward to meeting and hearing Nilofer speak tonight at thinkspace. One question that I’ll be sure to ask Nilofer to address is how to scale a startup in the social era. Click here for more information on the event.