Is Your Startup Killing It (Or Killing You)?

Tom was an ambitious young entrepreneur. He started a successful tech company in the healthcare industry — an object of envy among his business peers.

Despite all the admiration, Tom was under a lot of pressures. Working from 6 am to 10 pm on a daily basis started to take its toll. He came home physically and mentally tired, but his brain could not stop working. Constant worry and stress gave him terrible insomnia. Tom realised his health was getting worse. He lost his appetite and survived mostly on black coffee and toast.

There were times when Tom had suicidal thoughts. His mind was clouded in darkness, and the air felt dirty; it was difficult to breathe in.

But his success mattered more than anything else.

He kept going in denial of his fractured sanity.

The Stigma

Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘Founder Depression’?

Founder depression looks a lot like a typical depression. Sadness, loss of interest, lack of energy and constant fatigue.

Sounds familiar?

Look it up, it is real, and it is happening. Maybe you have experienced it yourself. Perhaps you have seen someone else going through it. What you might not expect is the following. Founder depression can happen regardless of whether the startup is a success or not. According to research, entrepreneurs are 30% more likely to experience depression than their nonentrepreneurial counterparts.

Starting a business is stressful. It is the constant networking, cash flow pressure, lack of sleep, customer problem, product failure, staff issues, long hours and so on. Interestingly, despite the enormous stress a founder is under, none of them seems to talk about it much. Ask any founder about his or her business. I bet you; the answer will be along the line of: “I am killing it”.

It seems like there is a stigma attached to founder depression. No founder wants to look ‘weak’. And often they are willing to sacrifice their sanity for that. It is almost like a badge of honour, to be under enormous stress.

The Spiral

A startup is essentially a combination of people and process, driven by its founder. While it seems like the founder has the ultimate control of the startup, it is not always the case in reality. There is a web of responsibility and accountability among founders, investors, staffs, and customers. This intricately interconnected web often puts the founder in a difficult position.

Should the founder allocate resources for the wellbeing of the staffs? Should they pursue new product development? Should they start to penetrate the market now?

And so the initial drive leads to stress, which if not managed, then turns into depression.

“Your face falls. Perhaps you cry. You feel worthless. You wonder whether it’s worth going on. Everything you think about seems bleak — the things you’ve done, the things you hope to do, the people around you. You want to lie in bed and keep the lights off. Depressed mood is like that, only it doesn’t come for any reason and it doesn’t go for any either.” — Aaron Swartz, Reddit co-founder (Aaron tragically committed suicide in 2013)

But the stigma attached to founder depression often prevents founders from opening up and getting help. The inability to get help will lead to further depression, and the downward spiral continues.

Breaking down depression starts by breaking down the stigma.

Breaking down the stigma starts from within. It is the mastery of self that allows us to look weak and vulnerable without feeling insignificant.

The Safe Place

It requires enormous strength to open up about our weakness. We don’t just approach a stranger and start sharing our deepest fear. We need a safe place. We need a place to be us, to be humans that hurt and bleed like mere mortals. Only then we can crawl our way up. Slowly recovering and rebuilding our strength.

The safe place is difficult to find. Yet without it, founders are often reluctant to open up. Before they let their guard down, they need to be sure they won’t be taken advantage of. Opening up requires deep trust and in the world of dog-eat-dog where do you find trust?

The safe place is difficult to find indeed.

The good news is, the safe place does exist. The safe place can be a family member, a close friend, or even a mentor or coach. The bad news is, you need to look for it. The safe place is not hiding, but it is not actively looking for you either.

Once you find it, keep it, and care for it, for it is a rare find.

It is a place where you find the strength to be vulnerable and the inner peace for reflection and recharge.

The Courage

There is a limit to the founder’s ability to withstand constant stress and depression. He or she might have found a safe place to refuel. But still, once the limit breaks, a massive depression will set its foot in the founder’s heart.

It is a moment of courage. It is the time for a tough decision. Founders need to choose one of two things, keep going or admit defeat. Both require a tremendous amount of courage. It takes courage to keep going knowing your sanity is on the line. And it also takes a lot of courage to admit failure and defeat.

There is no right or wrong answer here. Only the founder knows the answer, for only he or she knows the sacrifice that comes with it. The founder has no choice but to endure the agony that comes with either of them.

Whatever it is, a choice must be made. And it is only within the founder’s heart that the ultimate choice can be truly decided.

Only you, the founder, knows if the startup is killing it, or killing you. The real question is, what are you going to do about it?

“Running a start-up is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss. After a while, you stop staring, but the glass chewing never ends.” Elon Musk

As published in The Startup: Is Your Startup Killing It (Or Killing You)?

How Mate & Fish Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Last Longer

Ok, let’s get serious now. New year is approaching fast. We better get ourselves ready for ‘new’ resolutions.

Often we recycle previous year resolutions. In fact, we might do that again next year (nothing wrong with that). My new year’s resolution in the last 2 years has been losing weight (lost 12kg so far!).

Or, we might have entirely new goals, and that’s fine too. 

Whatever the goals are, let’s work together so our new year resolutions will last longer. 

Are you ready?

I have a simple system, even created an acronym to make it easier to remember: MATe FiSh.

Let’s get started.

My ambitious goal and my ambitious goal only

MATe FiSh – My ambitious goal

Your new resolution should excite you. It should be ambitious. 

You want it to pull you forward towards it.It needs that extra gravity to do that. It must be exciting, powerful, and amazing.

But more importantly, make sure it’s yours, not anyone else’s (not your partner’s, wife’s, husband’s, parents’, etc, etc). You can talk about it with friends and family but it is important that you OWN this goal.

It is your ambitious goal.

When the going gets tough it is common to find excuses to jeopardise the resolution. If the goal is not yours often a slight obstacle will be enough to excuse yourselves away from achieving it.

Some common excuses:
I didn’t even want to do it in the first place.
They talked me into it.
My shoes are dirty, no running today then.

In order to help you with these simple steps, I will share my goal with you. My new resolution will be, you guessed it — losing more weight!

My doctor told me to lose around 35kg. I have managed to lose 12kg in the last two years. This time (or next year) my goal is to lose twice that in half the time, which is 24kg (yeah).

Ambitious? Yes!

What is your goal? 
What convinces you that this goal is yours?
Do you really 
OWNthis goal?

Achievable goal is the only goal that is achievable

MATe FiSh — Achievable

Sometimes the goal is set too high. It is so high up that it is almost impossible to achieve.

If the goal is almost impossible to achieve, then what are the chances of you achieving it? Almost zero it seems like.

So why do we set ‘almost impossible’ goals?

Are we setting up ourselves for failure?
Are we trying to build a red-face-safe exit (for when the going gets tough)?

Maybe we are afraid of failing our resolutions (again). Hence, we set them up so high it is not possible to achieve anyway (perfect excuse).

Set up a goal that you can actually achieve — no more excuses now!

Some common excuses:
No one can do this. Definitely not me.
I knew it’s too hard to do.
I guess I aimed too high.

In my case, hmmm, maybe 24kg is too difficult to achieve. I’ll make it 12kg then. Wait a minute, not so fast. It is still too vague. I cannot confidently say I can achieve it, yet.

What about this. Losing 12kg through eating 30% less per meal (real advice given by my doctor). Wow, now it grips me, it is concrete and practical.

It’s not easy but it can be done!

Do you need to refine your goal to make it achievable?
Do you need to break it down into more practicable chunks?
Are you more confident now that you know you can achieve this goal?

Time elements to make it alive

MATe FiSh — Time elements

So now you have an ambitious goal and you know you can achieve it. But still, often the goal just sits in your mind, not moving. It stays quietly in the ‘new resolution’ section of your brain.

It is nice to think about the goal though. But it is not real until you put time elements on it .. tick .. tock .. tick .. tock.

‘Running’ and ‘Running at 6am’. What is the difference?

What about ‘Running at 6am on the weekend’?

Let’s add one more element: ‘Running at 6am this Saturday’.

Can you see that by adding time elements, suddenly the goal is real? It becomes alive. It is so real you can almost touch it.


When a goal lacks time elements, it is just sitting in your mind waiting to be realised. 

Time elements move the goal to cross path with your life.It is not an idea anymore, it’s part of your life.

Some common excuses:
I’ll get to it later.
Life has been so busy lately, I don’t have time.

Let’s look at my example. I want to lose 12kg next year by eating less. Adding time elements and the resolution will be: ‘starting to eat 30% less on 1st January’. The goal will cross path with my life next year, on 1st January.

How would your goal look like with time elements?
Can you see how your life will cross path with the goal now?
How does it look like now that it is part of your life?

First step will set you up for a good year

MATeFiSh — First step

Your goal is now a part of your future. But we still need to smooth out the crucial moment when it crosses path with your life. Think of it as a starting point of a long walk.

A good start will set you up for a good walk.On the other hand, a bad start will discourage you. This is your first step in achieving your new year resolution.

Make it as easy as possible to take that first step. You just need to start, that’s all. It does not have to be a big leap. A small step is enough.

Some common excuses:
I am supposed to start running tomorrow but it feels so hard.
I don’t even know where to start.

So, back to my example. I will start eating 30% less on 1st January. My first step will be eating less breakfast. It’s easy enough to do. I just need to use a smaller breakfast bowl.

What is your first step?
What can you do to make your first step as easy as possible?
How do you see yourself completing the first step?

Share the goal with someone you trust

MATe FiSh — Share the goal

You have the artilleries you need to achieve this goal. Now, let’s get some supports. Share the goal, the time elements, and the first step with someone you trust. Ask him/her if it’s ok to be your accountability partner.

The act of sharing alone is beneficial. It is like a semi-public declaration of your intention. It can be very motivating knowing that someone else knows what you want to do next year.

However, the real power of sharing your goal with another person is ‘accountability’.

Now you are not alone. There is someone else watching over you. His/her role is to be your accountability partner as you move forward to achieve your goal.

How is this helpful?

There will be obstacles along the way. There will be times when you are unsure about yourself.

Your accountability partner is the one who will help you get back on track.

Some common excuses:
I cannot do it by myself.
This is too difficult for me.

As with my goal, I have shared it with you guys here as well as with my wife and kids. They will keep a close watch of what I eat next year. No more second or third portion for me.

Who can I trust to be my accountability partner?
How do I share my goal with him/her?
How will this ‘accountability’ relationship work?

So that’s all folks.

Follow the steps: MATe FiSh.

And do it.

I am confident (and I am sure you are too) that your new year resolution will be a success!

Are you ready to make next year a fantastic year?


“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” — Carl Bard

Two Toxic Failures And A Poisonous Win

I was sipping my morning coffee when I felt somebody tap me on the shoulder.

“Morning, Fred,” Zach, the cafe owner smiled. “You’re super early today.”

“Ahh yes, I have a lot in my mind,” I replied.

“Do you want to tell me about it? I am a good listener,” he said.

“Are you sure? I won’t say no to that.”

“Yes, of course.”

“Well, my work has been less than spectacular lately.”


“Honestly, I feel like a failure.”

“How long have you been feeling like this?”

“Ever since I lost my biggest customer last month,” I said. “I am a senior sales executive but I feel defeated and helpless.”

“Let me tell you a little secret, I am an expert in failing.”

“Haha, ok, I’m listening.”

“There are three things I am going to tell you. I call them: ‘Two Toxic Failures and A Poisonous Win’. Remember Fred, they might seem normal.” He looked rather serious. “But they are as dangerous as venomous snakes.”

“You mean we don’t see them as out of ordinary?”

“Exactly!” Zach sat next to me. “The first toxic failure is called ‘I Will Fail’. This is the time when you believe you will fail regardless of the situations.”

“Ahh, that is how I feel now. Hmm, it does feel normal.”

“Do you know why? Because you are telling yourself that. Your self-talk convinces your mind.”

“Yeah, I’ve been telling myself how much of a failure I am. So, you’re probably right.”

“You said you feel defeated and helpless. What makes you think that?”

“The world is obviously against me. I worked hard but I still failed. It’s not fair. What else can I do? It’s better if I stop trying.”

Zach poured himself a cup of coffee. “Fred, the world is neither fair nor unfair. Sometimes we get lucky but misfortunes happen too. You don’t get a special exemption, you know.” He sipped his coffee. “Staying where you are, doing nothing, will only yield nothing, nill, zero. Moving forward, on the other hand, carries with it the possibility of a brighter future.”

“The way you put it kind of makes sense. So, I don’t know if I will fail or not, but I need to try because doing nothing will yield nothing.”

“Yes, that’s the gist of it.”

“What’s the second toxic failure?”

“Haha, not so fast. I want you to go and dwell on it first.”

“Seriously?” I sighed.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I went to work thinking about how I kept blaming everything around me when I lost that customer. I blamed the product, customer service, bad timing, even my aftershave cologne for not smelling ‘right’. The more I thought about it the more I realised how utterly ridiculous it was.

The world was not against me. I could move forward.

The following morning, I was back at the cafe, eager for the next lesson.

“Fred, you’re back. Are you ready for the next toxic failure?” Zach smiled at me.

“Yes, I am,” I smiled back.

“The second one is called ‘I Have Failed’. This is the time when you still blame yourself for your past failure and it paralyses you. It is different from the first toxic failure which is ‘I Will Fail’.” Zach stopped for a second. “I Will Fail’ looks at a bleak future where everything is against you while ‘I Have Failed’ is about past failure and regret holding you back.”

“Whoa, I was doing that yesterday, here in the cafe. Regretting, being glum and gloomy.”

“Remember Fred, the past is physically unalterable. What we said and did, and everything else, happened because all the factors that were required for them to occur were present at the time. You cannot change the past, but you can change your perspective on it.” He poured more coffee into his cup. “Learn from it. The past has happened. Now it is merely data for your perusal.”

“That’s amazing Zach, I never thought about it that way. You’re right. I cannot change the past, but I can use the data to better my future.”


“Tell me about the poisonous win. Wait, you want me to go and ponder about the second toxic failure, don’t you?”

“You read my mind.”

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

I drove my car out of the cafe. I realised what was paralysing me all this time. It was the overwhelming regret of losing my biggest customer. The past was meant to happen and there was nothing I could do about it.

I could finally let go of the past and it was liberating.

Zach was waiting for me at my favourite table. He was reading the newspaper.

“Fred, you look fresh!” he said to me.

“Ahh, yes, I have been feeling much better in the last few days.”

“My pep talk seems to work then.”

“O yeah, it works!”

“You’re ready for the final lesson?”

“Yup, I am all ears.”

Zach put his newspaper away. “Ok, so this is the other side of the coin. This is the time when you feel you cannot fail. That you will always win.”

“Guess what, that’s how I felt before I lost my biggest customer.”

“Yup, it is common to feel that way before you fail. It’s the pride that comes before the fall. Those who believe in their invincibility will come to a shock when they realise that, like everyone else, they can break too.” He looked at me sharply. “Falling apart in the face of major stress is normal. It is humbling, and humility is an important ingredient to build resilience. Through humility, you are able to fall gracefully, only then you will come back with strength.”

“Wow, that is intense. I did feel deflated after I lost my biggest customer.”

“Yup, the fall must be hard.”

“It was.”

“Fred, I hope it helps. That is the last lesson. Let me know how you go in a week.”

“It does help. I have to go now, but I do feel much better. I think I am ready to move forward. Thanks, Zach!”

Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

The following week I pushed myself harder. I kept telling myself that losing my biggest customer was an unalterable past and that’s ok. I had to leave all that behind. I must move forward to achieve a better future. There was no other way.

And I did.

I looked for Zach in the cafe. It was cold and I was so ready for a hot cup of coffee.

“Fred, good morning! How are you feeling?” Zach appeared from behind me.

“Hi Zach, you scared me a little there. You know what, our conversations really changed me.”

“Keep going.”

“First, I pushed myself to take a step forward, just one step. That one step then led to another one, and another one. Now, I am moving with speed and confidence.”

“That is great, Fred! Remember how gloomy you were last week?”

“Yes, no more of that. Thank you for helping me out.”

“Wait, wait, hold on. Do you want to know a little secret?”


“You did it yourself. You convinced yourself to take that step forward. And you did.”

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill

As published on The Ascent – Two Toxic Failures and A Poisonous Win

When to rip off your customers?

It was a cold morning and there was no single message on the phone. I checked the fax and email, nothing there either. Such economy, mining downturn, order was drying up. We had fought a good fight, but how long could we last? There must be something we could do to improve our bottom line.

The phone suddenly rang.

“Hello, is this Envignco Supplies?”, the voice from the other side asked.

“Yes, how can I help you today sir?”, I replied.

“I am looking for a certain chemical, it’s called HDX”

“Yes, we stock that, do you want to know our price?”

“Please, and if you have stock as well. I need it urgently”

You see, HDX is one of those chemical that is widely available. I wasn’t sure how on earth this guy came upon our company and decided to ring. I thought to myself, should I add extra 20% to improve our bottom line a little bit? Or should I give him our normal price? I mean he needed it urgently so there’s a good chance that whatever price I said would lead to a good sale. Should I take the window of opportunity and rip him off?


For many people in business, pricing is often the deciding factor in closing a sale. It is however also the deciding factor in determining whether a business is profitable or not. Price it too high and you loose the sale, price it too low and there is not enough money to pay the rent, staffs, and so on.

Every now and then we got the opportunity to charge much higher than we should. We believe it’s ok, because we can, but the big question is off course – should we?

It is no doubt certain companies are able to charge enviable margins on their products. Some because they are the only companies with those products with no immediate substitutes in the market, some other because they dominate and corner certain market. So what is the problem then? Isn’t it good to make fantastic profits? What’s the deal here?

Unless your company has enough resources to dominate the market there is no chance you could even come close to charging extraordinary margin. There is a certain price point that you need to be. Any upward movement from this pricing point will mean you have priced yourselves out of the market. In other words, you have no business. Price it too low and you invite price war which will lead to annihilation of you and your competitors, at least in the particular products that you are competing in.

More importantly – it is your brand. Rip off enough customers and you will be known as that – a company that rips off its customers. Is that how you want to position yourselves in the market?

What about those little instances where you know you could get away with it?

This is rationalisation. The question you should ask yourselves is could you really get away with it?

Maybe you couldn’t get away with it. Maybe no one could. You might get the sale and make handsome profit, but with what repercussions? On the other hand, what are the benefits of disciplined competitive pricing?

Which one would you prefer:

“Long term gain, short term discipline” or “Short term gain, long term destruction” ?


Did you enjoy the short article? I also send a dose of perseverance every week for free. Join me to get your personal supplies. (hint: click here to get them) — Fredy Namdin

The Luck Factor?

“It’s an overnight success.”

“He’s done it again with his billion dollars ventures.”

“One in a million success story right in our city.”

We have heard it all. There are those ‘elite’ business people who just keep getting it right. These are the people that fill the headlines of business magazines. They are the ones everyone else listens to. People want to learn the ‘secrets’.

If only such secrets exist.

In reality every (well, unless it’s inherited) successful business people work hard during their business life. Not only that but most of them have no idea if their ventures would succeed or not. They just keep doing it, keep improving it, and keep innovating.

Then one day, they got it. They became an overnight success.

How does that happen?

I would like to present: “The Luck Factor”

It does have a lot to do with luck but more to do with preparation, speed, and hard work.

See, opportunities are everywhere. There is never a lack of opportunity around us. The only problem is not everyone can grab the opportunity and makes something out of it.

When someone see an opportunity, grab it, do it better and faster than his competitor, he is ‘in luck’, or is he?

He/she has:

  1. Ability to see the opportunity. While opportunity is everywhere, not everyone is able to see it. Most people just focus on what they want to see. Some people argue it is because we are supposed to focus on market niche. It is true that we are to focus on market niche – in our effort to market ourselves. However, that doesn’t mean we close our eyes on everything else. Remember, market niche moves around. They don’t stay still. Focusing on market niche requires speed and flexibility because they don’t stay still.
  2. Ability to do it better and faster. Now that opportunity is discovered, I bet you there are other people out there who see the same thing. So, it is now speed and quality. Can you turn this from discovered opportunity into real business opportunity? Faster and better – that’s the game now, and it is not an easy game.

So, when someone is ‘in luck’ – he/she needs to work hard to turn that luck into something tangible, something real.

Or like a wise man said:

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have” –Thomas Jefferson

Startup Illusion

Starting a business can put someone’s mind into overdrive. It will then either shut him down or propel him forward. The euphoric moment will last as long as financial resources have not dried yet. With enough funding, the startup party can sometimes last for years. It is only after investors start demanding (sometimes not so) reasonable returns that the party turns into a big reality check. The dreams have dissipated into thin air, and cloud of judgement descending onto earth.

Party is over.

That’s the hard truth of starting a business. It will get worse before it gets better (if it does get better). Starting a business is like eating a box of chocolate – mixed with some not so edible foods. You never know what you’re going to get but the only way to find out is if you keep eating. In business we never know what tomorrow will hold, it can be a disastrous day or a day when we beat all sales record. The only way to find out is if we wake up in the morning and go to work. The only way to eat the good chocolate is if we keep eating the bad ones.

Some people are addicted to starting businesses. They have brilliant ideas, get the funding,  and off they go with an exciting venture. They don’t however stay long enough to feel the downturn, the heartbreak, the never-ending pressure, and the struggle. When things go south, they are the first ones to pack up their bags and go – some of which utilise bankruptcy regulation to move on.

Some people however, are born to build businesses. Not only that they will start their businesses themselves but they will also see to it that their ventures are successful before they move on. If things go south, they will be the last people in the company to pack their bags. Some might take part-time jobs to help with the cash flow.

There is one distinct difference between real entrepreneurs and wannabes – perseverance.

The startup illusion might be alluring but the hard reality is not as glamorous. Starting a business is hard work, it requires sheer mental strengths more than mere intellects or skills. Building a business is about getting up in the morning, go to work not knowing what will happen that day, persevere throughout the day, and then do it again the next morning.

“Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.” –Elon Musk

Not forbidden passion fruit

Us humans are complex creatures. We walk in time yet there are moments when time seems to speed up only to slow down again. There are times when we believe we can change the world and yet we fail again and again. We eat, sleep, and play, within the 24 hrs constraints of our daily limit. When we are excited, passionate, full of spirit, we can charge ahead no matter what the hurdles are. Our passions turn us into wild beasts, capable of moving mountains and splitting oceans. Have you ever felt like certain things in life whisper to you? Calling you to act, prompting you to give your best, and to fill your lives with meaningful moments.
Note #1 – Real passion never dies
It’s alive! It exists within us, always surfacing when discovered. It empowers, yet it needs to be fed. Our real passion is always there, however long it’s been dormant. A little bit of attention from us will nudge it awake from its long sleep. Our real passion will take over, moving us forward, to do things we never thought possible. Spend time with it, and it will be defining our steps, shaping our future.

What are those things you always have in your heart? They move you to places you dream about, and often scare you that you push them back. When you spend time with them you know you are in your own special moment.

Note #2 – Passion speaks through your daily life
Passion can be difficult to spot, it doesn’t have tangible forms, it doesn’t have smell and it doesn’t move around. Yet it is lurking in every aspects of your life. It fuses itself into your daily activities, often into your somewhat dull routines. When you sense it, the feelings of accomplishment will overcome you even though you haven’t done a thing. It speaks a language only its owner understands. It will draw you closer every time you listen to it.

Look at your daily activities, including the dull ones. Are there instances when you feel a sense of deep accomplishment? Are there moments when you feel like you are drawn to it? Are there things that you love so much you just couldn’t stop doing it?

Note #3 – It is a never-ending free energy which only you can use
We eat and drink to replenish our physical strengths. We read to replenish our intellectual prowess. We sleep so our cells can repair themselves. Nevertheless, we often feel empty, unmotivated, and even frustrated. Maybe we hate our jobs, we long for coffee breaks, we wait for 5pm. What about those times when we feel tired, heavy, and looking for an escape? Is it true that our passion can fuel our lives? Is it true that if we work for something we love we will never work for another day in our lives? Passion is a free energy, given to each of us, for specific things, for certain people. It just keeps giving.

Watch for things that exhaust you, your real passion will do the opposite, it will empower you instead. When was the last time you found yourselves working through breaks, lunch, dinner, and everything else, and not dropping a single ‘sigh’?

Note #4 – Beware passion imitators
It is elusive, it is often mistaken with an escape from daily routines. Only when it becomes a routine that we know what it’s really made of. Time will tell whether your real passion is true. When we know for sure what it is, hold on to it. Real passion is like a treasure that never loses its value in the market. The more it is used, the higher the value it offers to its owners. Never let it go for it is more valuable than gold and more durable than diamond.

Watch for things that might be a fake passion. These are the things that you like doing but only last for short period of time. Real passion will empower you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Time is your examiner, it will let you know if your passion is real or not. Real passion will grow over time, turning you into an impossible over-achiever.

Note #5 – Enjoy it and it will repay you many times more
Passion needs to be fed, just like a child who demands attentions. Focus on it, spend time with it, feed it, and it will grow. It will flourish and mature into highly powered energy reservoir. It will reward its owner with never-ending mental prowess. Work with it, learn to use it, nurture it. Your passion will repay you many times over, and you are the only person in the world who can maximize it to the full.

Learn to do daily activities which lead to greater sense of fulfillment, where you know your passion is being nourished and fed. Look for specific things, focus on the important few. Fight the temptation to get instant results. It takes time to build your life around your passion. Enjoy it and it will reward you many times more.


Did you enjoy the short article? I send strategic insights every week for free. Join me to get your personal dose. (hint: click here to get them) — Fredy Namdin

Strengths of a manager – what are they really?

There are good bosses, there are bad bosses. Then there are also the crazy ones, the ones we wish we never met. There are also those who changed our lives – for the better. These were the ones whom we learned so much from. Each of them seemed to have certain qualities, the kinds that only exist within them.

So what are these qualities?

When we’re talking about a person strengths and weaknesses, what are they really?

Is it selling skill? administration? negotiation? or is it something less straightforward?

Maybe it is a combination of all of the above?

What it is that make a great manager able to withstand pressures and perform better than most people?

There are different types of managers, each managing their own departments. Some are called sales managers, the others logistic managers, or operational manager, then there’s the administration manager, and etc. Each has his/her own specialty. The big question is off course, would you appoint an administration manager to be a sales manager? or vice versa? Maybe not, but why?

Surely a sales manager must be good in selling, unless he/she wouldn’t have a clue what the sales people are doing. The same thing goes for administration manager, or any other type of managers. Which is why it’s not a good idea to get them to do each other works.

So, we have an idea here. Specialty. A good sales manager is also a good sales person. A good admin manager is also a good administrator. If anyone is wondering why they are not performing as well as other people, maybe the answer is here. Maybe they’re working in the wrong department.

Now, here’s the important part. In order to be a good sales manager, he/she must have other qualities, not just selling skills.

In fact, your specialty is only the tip of the iceberg. It is the one everyone is looking at, the one showing all the time. However, the real damages come from your secondary strengths.

A good analogy is the iceberg that crushed Titanic. The tip of the iceberg only accounts for about 15% of the total mass. Without the other 85% the tip will just be floating away, carried by the ocean wave, crushed by large ships. Your secondary strengths are the 85%. They are the ones that carry the tip of your strengths (or your specialty) so you could perform better.

Another analogy is the tip of a pencil. Your specialty is the tip of a pencil, the little graphite things that sticks out. It is the one that is used to write, to draw, etc. Without the tip, the pencil is useless. However, without the body of the pencil you would have a hard time doing anything with the tip. The better the body of the pencil is the better the writing will be.

A sales manager, while must be good at selling, must also have other qualities. He must have good leadership quality, high level of organization skills, and also able to connect to different levels of people. These are hidden strengths that are not easily visible yet they are so powerful they can take people to places they can only imagine.

On the other hand, what if a manager has all these fantastic qualities, yet lack specialty? Well, think of it like a pencil with good strong body but without the tip. It has potentials, but he/she needs to find specialty to focus and make a real difference. In other words, the pencil needs sharpening.

Happy Managing!

Breaking Strategy Limited

Many business managers and leaders are working long hours, and if they don’t, the intensity of their work is enough to send them to intensive care by the end of the week. These often result in their incapability to take a step back, to rewire their heads, into a more holistic, external view. A view which is important in devising a business strategy.

There are three things which can potentially limit business managers and leaders from creating good business strategies:

Time limit

As mentioned briefly above, busy people don’t normally have the time to take a step back. Time is the main ingredient in creating good strategy, it is finite, hence it must be utilized to the max. Spending dedicated time for business strategy is the only way to create one. Outside consultants can help tremendously in developing strategic plans. However, CEOs, business owners, and business leaders alike are the real master strategists of their respective companies.

Inside View

Working in the business, putting out fire on a daily basis, can affect vantage views. A good strategy must be developed taking into account external forces such as market, competitions, etc. When we are inside, our mind is filled with what’s happening inside the business. The customers who complain, the suppliers who send wrong goods, and so on. Filling our head with the proper information is important to create a good strategy. Take a step outside the business to get a better vantage view.

Simplifying Complexity

Business can be a nightmare to navigate through. Different parts, interconnecting, reacting, talking, affecting one another. From sales, marketing, administration, logistics, and so on. It just seems impossible to put everything together to develop a business strategy comprising all the complex components of a business. Maybe it is impossible. Creating a good strategy requires simplified version that human minds can comprehend. It is important though that the simplified version does not loose important parts of the business itself. Simplifying business complexity without loosing its essence – that’s what we need.

So there it is, some points which can limit the creation of business strategy.

Last but not least – what about small business? Do they need business strategy?

We believe small businesses need business strategy even more than the bigger corporations. The reason is simple: limited resources. Small businesses only have so much resources, every dollar counts. A good strategy will help to make sure that every little bit of resources is capitalized to the max.

Happy Strategizing!

Pricing In Essence

How do you explain to your customer the fact that price is going to increase again, although economy is as slow as ever?  That’s our new dilemma in recent 20% price increase from our main supplier.  We however, happily comply and in due course will pass on the increase to our customers.

The way we look at it, the cost at which we can acquire the goods matter a lot.  However, it matters more that we can still sell them at good margin without losing any previous profits.  When we start to struggle to recoup our margins then we can be sure that the price increase cannot justified, i.e market determines otherwise.

This same principle applies even when suppliers drop their price.  It might sounds fantastic knowing cost of goods are dropping, but guess what – the end results might not be so great.  Because it might be an indications that market price is also dropping.  The big question is then, are we selling at the correct pricing point?  And if we’re not, can we recoup the margin if we do sell at correct pricing point?

Seems like at the end of the day, it’s not really about choosing the cheapest suppliers out there.  Maybe it’s more important to choose those suppliers that we can work with, where we can get market insights, who can appreciate long term relationships, and definitely not those ‘playing the games’.

So, is pricing related to cost of goods, sales price, and margin?  Or is it more closely related to which suppliers you get your goods from?