What Stops Successful People from Going the Distance

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What Stops Successful People from Going the DistanceLearning from others who have already gone down the beaten path can be super beneficial for those looking to join successful entrepreneurs and hopefully learn from their mistakes and gain valuable business knowledge.

Over the next few weeks we will share 10 great videos from the Stanford business school. SO lets get started.


What Stops Successful People from Going the Distance

On the unpredictable road of entrepreneurship, it can be immensely helpful to receive guidance and advice from those who have traveled those roads already.

Their experiences, distilled into teachable information, can help the rest of us avoid common pitfalls. Although their advice should be treated as a source of inspiration and not prescription, you can avoid a lot of useless theory by listening to those who are doers, not simply dreamers.

I enjoy finding hidden gems of this sort of information, and one source I uncovered recently is Stanford Business School’s YouTube channel. With world-renowned business leaders doling out straightforward, honest advice, you’d think the channel would be immensely popular, but alas, many great videos sit on the channel with a paltry amount of views.

I thought I’d do my part by narrowing down my ten favorite videos in a concise showcase. Nearly every entrepreneur I know can benefit from watching.

Note that many of these are deep dives, not 3-minute TED talks. Start with #1 on the list if you’re strapped for time, read the excerpts I’ve provided below, and feel free to bookmark and return later.

1. Greg McKeown on What Stops Successful People from Going the Distance

In his book Essentialism, McKeown discusses what he believes stops entrepreneurs with initial traction from reaching the next level: the opportunities afforded by their initial success. My personal take on this is “George Lucas Syndrome,” in that restrictions often force or guide early creations, organizations, and business ventures to be successful through strict focus.

However, when resources become abundant, focus can be divided and the entire direction of the operation becomes nebulous.

McKeown argues, “We shouldn’t ask, ‘How much do I value this opportunity?’ but ‘If I did not have this opportunity, how much would I be willing to sacrifice in order to obtain it?’”

What is it that holds capable, driven people from breaking through to the next level? The answer to that question, to my great surprise, is success. I first observed this working with executive teams in Silicon Valley where I noticed that when they were focused on a few things, it lead to success, but success breed[s] so many opportunities and options that diffused the very focus that lead to success in the first place.

And so, exaggerating the point in order to make it, I found success becomes a catalyst for failure because it leads to what Jim Collins called the “undisciplined pursuit of more.” The antidote to that problem is the disciplined pursuit of less, but better. That means exploring the very critical things you want to pursue and being willing to eliminate the rest.

[via Helpscout]

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