There is absolutely nothing like taking some time off to think, to plan, to get away from the craziness. Downtime is a basic need. Productive downtime, the one that sparks creativity and promotes strategic thinking is the best. If you are blessed with its availability, don’t waste it in excessive distraction. Pursue the distractions that will provide opportunities to learn, to become more self-aware, or to become more aware of your surroundings.
As last week wound down previous to our current Spring Break, a lot of things needed to be accomplished before we closed down for a week. One of them was to help conduct an information session at a popular Thursday gathering of innovators and entrepreneurs for our upcoming accelerator cohort. I stumbled upon the opportunity to meet Wallace Amos right after our information session ended in the early evening. I took it. It was the best segue into Friday and this week. I was one of the lucky couple of dozen people who took an hour and a half to meet the man, and just listen to his words of wisdom. I remember as a kid when his Famous Amos cookie empire was at its peak and his name was truly a household brand. Today, he’s a much older gentleman, and in his soft voice and reflective demeanor, as he holds a microphone close so we can all hear him, he exudes peace and wisdom. I think this peace and wisdom should be the two main goals every entrepreneur should strive for. These are notes I took of things he said, that I just want to share, in no particular order and with no narrative embellishments:
Mr. Amos has received immeasurable pleasure in giving, sharing. He claims to have given away more cookies than many cookie companies have sold. Everybody has a talent that they need to pursue. You risk not achieving full satisfaction if you don’t reach your creative destiny. It is not so much about achieving riches. The graveyard is the richest place in town; it’s the place where adventures, dreams and unwritten books are buried. Each of us is unique. He has always regarded himself as a promoter, not a business man. Find out and do what you do well, and surround yourself with qualified people. The only thing you can do by yourself is fail. Live a meaningful life helping others achieve their dreams. Don’t dwell in your mistakes. You need to move on and continue. Only seek to learn and pick yourself up. Everything happens not in your time, but in God’s time.
If you don’t know who Wally Amos is, I encourage you to look him up. What he helped achieve, in the decades he achieved it, creating a huge brand, and disrupting a category in a world much less interconnected, was short of monumental. Look into what he did afterward and has done since. Amidst my urge to go home and crash, as I had completed most all my week’s work before Friday, the last day before my break, I am grateful I decided to stay and listen to this man.