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Focusing on What Really Matters

Posted by on September 13, 2010

picture taken from a recent trip to Tibet (around 4500 meters high)

If you’ve been reading this blog a while (thank you if you have, if not…welcome!) you know that I’ve spent a lot of time talking about topics such as social media, social crm, enterprise 2.0, etc. But every now and then I like to throw in a little personal post that has nothing to do with any of the above, this is one of those posts.

First you should know a little something about me.  I say what’s on my mind and ask questions if I have them.  If I disagree with you I’ll tell you.  I quit working full time for someone else a few years ago because I hated the fact of working a 9-5 job for people who I thought were oftentimes quite frankly, being stupid.  I had my own ideas and my own way I liked to work.  I get ideas at 2am or 8 pm, I can’t be forced to work in a box during a certain time.  I challenge authority and pretty much say what’s on my mind.  No games, no bullshit.  I like to try new things and explore. I don’t have an agenda and I don’t personally try to insult or hurt anyone.  People have actually been shocked in the past and it’s not rare for me to get comments like, “I can’t believe you just said that to so and so (who is someone “famous”),” or “man, do you know who that guy was you just talked to?”  Well, yes believe I said that, and no I don’t know who that guy is.  I hope this doesn’t make me sound like some sort of a raving lunatic who goes around screaming at people and starting arguments because that’s certainly not the case.  I don’t claim to always be right and I don’t claim to always have the best solutions.  What I claim to be is just me.  I have faults and so does everyone else, it’s a part of what makes me who I am.  I have big dreams and big ideas and I value friendship and family.  People have always told me I couldn’t do things and guess what I’ve always done them.  If I don’t know something I’ll learn it (but my way).  If I don’t have something I’ll create it.

I was the kid that was always frustrated when first applying for jobs such as a “marketing assistant” or “business coordinator” which asked for 3 years of prior experience to do things that I knew I could do. I was the kid that went into job interviews and told people, “I may not know how to do everything yet, but I’ll learn quickly and in a few weeks, I’ll be doing that job better than you (maybe that’s why I didn’t always get hired right away?).”  I got into my share of disagreements with people that were ranked above me in the food chain and that quote from, “A Few Good Men,” would always pop into my head:

Guy 1:  “You are speaking to a superior officer!”

Guy 2:  “No, just a higher ranking one”

I don’t argue or say something just for the sake of saying it.

I may not be that kid anymore but I’m definitely that man and that’s not going to change.

I don’t have time for games and if I want to know something I’ll ask you.  The question might sound stupid (to you), but if I’m learning something then I’ll ask it because life is short.

Another one of my favorite quotes:

“It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years.”

I’m not the type of guy who gets wowed by CEO, celebrities, or executives with fancy names.  I get wowed by people like Jeff Nolan who work long hours doing things he is passionate about yet has no problem excusing himself from a meeting to go pick up his kids when they get off school.  I get wowed by people like Mitch Lieberman who will set aside work to have date night with his wife or go pick up his kids from soccer practice.  I get wowed by people like Jon Ferrara who started Goldmine with just a few thousand dollars an idea and a dream of having an office overlooking the ocean.  Jon sold the company for millions of dollars yet has come back to develop a NEW product called Nimble to help small businesses out of nothing more than a genuine love for what he does.  And yes, in case you were wondering Jon always makes time for his family (don’t worry dad I’m thinking of you too but it wouldn’t be fair if I made this all about you now would it? 🙂  In case you haven’t figured it out yet what I’m trying to say is I value people that live good lives (and there are plenty of other people to add to this list), people that are successful not only at work but at life.  I’ve heard of and know plenty of rich people who cheat on their wives and girlfriends or don’t spend time with their kids.  While I respect their professional accomplishments, their personal lives are a model of what I DON’T WANT TO DO.  It’s funny, when I meet people who many perceive to be successful I don’t like to focus my conversation on how they built their business but on how they live their lives and how (if) they balance family and work.  Those are the real amazing people, those are the people I want to learn from because I’m going to be there soon (27 now).

Life is short and anyone that tells you otherwise is crazy.  I love what I do and do what I love and while I may not be a millionaire (or near…yet!) I can guarantee you that I’m one of the happiest and luckiest people out there.  What really matters in this world is having the time to do what you want with whom you want.  If you spend all your time focusing on work, arguing, or whatever else, then you might wake up one day realizing that life has passed you by (that’s what I fear most).  I don’t want to make 300k/year working 60 hour weeks while not being able to visit some of the amazing places in the world or not being able to make time for my friends or family.  That kind of life with a large salary, to me, sounds miserable (it really does).  Am I crazy?  Maybe, I don’t know, but that’s just me…really.

Maybe this will give you some insight into who and perhaps you’ll think I’m a sane rational and compassionate person.  Or, perhaps you’ll think I’m some sort of a crazy person…either way works for me because I’m both.

The point of this post is really to just to let myself (and you) know that I’m trying to focus on the things that matter.  Social CRM, social media, and all that other stuff is meaningless in the grand scheme of life.  I have a weird life philosophy that most people probably don’t agree with or understand, I get that.  But ya know, I’m just a weird kinda guy…

I’ll leave you with this quote by Steve Jobs (which might sound morbid but is actually very inspirational to me):

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

  • Hey Jacob,

    I REALLY enjoy your topics and writing style. Thank you for sharing some insight into your life. Being Social really makes your topics more meaningful.

    Last fall I busted my backside to help the company deliver on a project. The hours were awful and my family suffered. The project went well. The company is better for it and I think there is a pot of gold waiting for me soon. Would I do it again knowing the cost? NO. I learned a big lesson that my children and family are of utmost importance and although I do need to earn money to live the priorities have been set now. Now I am searching for the balance of family, fun and work. I am learning to make my time with each activity more meaningful and be more present in the activity and give it the attention it deserves.

    Work can be fun. I like creating and fixing things and computers / software allows me to do that. If I had my choice and answered the question “what would you do if you knew you would not fail?” honestly – I'd be a farmer.

    Until that day, CRM and Social CRM keep my creative mind flowing.

    Thank you again


  • Jacob

    Excellent post. There is value in what you are saying. The big picture of social CRM and CRM is making people lives easier with better business interactions. Decreased unforced errors and improved productivity allow businesses to focus more resources on their own employees and richer experiences for customers. Much of what we have known as the “truth” about work is simply not true.

    Keep up the thought-provoking writing.


  • Gabe

    I don't think there is a thing I don't agree with on this post. In fact everything you have said sounds like the way I try to live my life everyday. It sometimes can be difficult because the routine falls into place but I think breaking the routine is what life is about, and that Steve Jobs quote is a great one for breaking routine.