Category Guest Post Andrew J. Sherman
I'm going to be posting a review
of the book Road Rules: Be The Truck. Not The Squirrel by Andrew J. Sherman
in a day or so. But I also got the opportunity to have him guest-post
on Duffbert's Random Musings. So with that... Thanks, Andrew,
and take it away...
Taking Control In An Age
are stressful times – the ratio of things out of our control
now far exceeds the number of variables – economic, social or otherwise
– that are in control and it has created previously unseen
levels of stress, anxiety and uncertainty that disrupts our lives and our
wrote Road Rules: Be The Truck. Not The Squirrel.
to help us all better navigate our journeys down the road of life in all
weather conditions. Whether on a bright, sunny and clear day or a
dark, stormy and foggy day, we are all drivers on the road of life and
are all trying to safely and properly arrive at our destinations. We
must share the road – the road does not belong to you alone and you are
not alone on the journey. We are obligated to drive in a manner which
allows others to reach their destination and commit ourselves to playing
tour guide or central dispatcher (via coaching, mentoring, consulting
or friendship) for those who are trying to travel the roads that you have
already successfully navigated.
also a time when our metaphysical connections and bonds to our work and
our careers often takes a nose dive. We feel underappreciated, overworked,
underpaid, understimulated and over-taxed. Our expectations about
pay, bonuses, benefits and job security are not directly aligned with the
level of effort and commitment that is expected of us – and that’s just
to keep our jobs, let alone advance up the corporate ladder. We crave
enlightenment and spiritual insight in a post-9/11 and post-Enron world,
yet we are quick to discard these cravings when we are worried about making
mortgage payments on a timely basis. I would submit to you that troubled
times are when we must embrace our core values and quest for authenticity
and wisdom, not abandon it.
you are facing less (or no) vacation time, this is not the circumstance
to start hating your work even more, it is a time to embrace the teachings
of the Zen Master who loves his vocation so much that he is no longer able
to distinguish between his work and his play. Don’t get me wrong,
if you are not getting this level of fulfillment from your current job,
then it is a good time to consider change, but taking yourself completely
off the highway of life is not on option. Recalibrate any
lofty financial goals in exchange for meaningful work that you can embrace
each day with passion and I promise you that the financial rewards will
are four (4) ways to cope with this stress and chart a new course during
these volatile times:
your destination – A healthy impatience for reaching your goals in
life is a good thing, but not in the middle of a bad traffic jam. Our
economy right now is much like a Friday afternoon rush hour before a holiday
weekend – everyone is anxious to get to the same place, but most of us
are getting nowhere fast and others are moving backwards. We live
in an age of speed in our communications and interconnectivity, but must
embrace patience in our quest for financial independence when there is
so much rough road ahead. Things will rebound and you will
reach your destination, but it may not happen as quickly as you would have
preferred! Relax – enjoy the ride. Even the best built highway
has its speed bumps and toll booths and construction/repair delays.
your dashboard. We manage what we measure, both in our lives
and our businesses. If we let ourselves be defined these days by
our home values or our 401(k) accounts, we will be severely disappointed.
This is a time to install some new meters and gauges on your dashboard
for navigating the road of life. Have a gauge which measures the
quality of your contribution to society and your community. Craft
a new warning light which alerts you to a drop in integrity or spiritual
your expectations – One of the road rules in the book is entitled
“Accidents Can Happen To The Best Drivers.” For many of us, this
economic slowdown is the first and most significant that we have seen in
our lifetimes. There will be accidents, detours, U-turns and a lack
of forward progress during these periods and it can and will be frustrating.
But these are a natural part of the cycle in the “tide of affairs
of men” as Shakespeare would say. You can either engage the flow
or try to fight it, but those who embrace it will win the battle as well
as the war.
yourself. In the Woody Allen film, Zelig, the main character
redefines himself based on his current surroundings to the point of literally
magically changing his physical character and personality – that’s a
bit extreme. There is a difference between abandoning your core values
that define you as a person (which I recommend that you never do)
vs. redefining how you apply those values and skill sets
to current circumstances. You are the author of your own life story
and you have the power to reposition your personal brand as may be necessary
to adapt to economic or life cycles. You must give yourself permission
and empower yourself to unlock the skill sets that you possess and use
your gifts and talents to put food on the table. A talented transactional
lawyer may be focused on M&A in booming times and troubled company
restructuring in difficult times. A talented forensic accountant
may be focused on IPO’s in good times and shareholder litigation in bad
times. Use your gifts and don’t build false walls around your options.
irony of this economy is the inconsistency in which we are all affected
by it. Many of us are actually thriving as we readjust and redefine
ourselves and our companies and seize opportunities that have been revealed
by economic weakness. Some entrepreneurs have adjusted their business
models to successfully compete and others have created new business formats
to help people cope. For $25 dollars, Sarah’s Smash Shack in Seattle,
will give you a private room to smash plates to vent your frustration.
In what ways can you mimic Sarah’s creativity and approach?
of us are experiencing roughness and potholes, yet we are travelling on
the same crowded highway – it may just depend on which lane you are in
and how fast we are trying to reach our destination. Others have
been willing to get off the crowded highway and explore the backroads is
one of my favorite rules in the book. Many great books including
Walden Pond by Thoreau http://www.waldenpondbooks.com
and On the Road by Kerouac http://www.amazon.com/Road-Original-Scroll-Jack-Kerouac/dp/B001KOTU7Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229366361&sr=1-1
have taught us that it is on the back roads in the life that we find our
greatest sources of inspiration, innovation and creativity, yet many of
us are not willing to take that detour and wind up just sitting in traffic,
beeping our horns and uttering expletives at each other, not a very productive
use of our time.
more insights on being an enlightened driver on the road of life, take
a look at http://bethetruck.com.
I would also strongly encourage you to share with me your own driving
war stories, parables and metaphors, advice particularly those that have
influenced your driving style or your intended destination.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew J. Sherman is a Partner
in the Washington, D.C. office of Dickstein Shapiro LLP, with over
400 attorneys nationwide. Mr. Sherman is a recognized international
authority on the legal and strategic issues affecting small and growing
companies. Mr. Sherman is an Adjunct Professor in the
Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program at the University
of Maryland and Georgetown University where he has taught courses
on business growth, capital formation and entrepreneurship for over twenty
(20) years. Mr. Sherman is the author of seventeen (17) books on
the legal and strategic aspects of business growth and capital formation.
His most recently published books include the recent three-part Kaplan
business growth series, Grow Fast Grow Right (November 2006),
as well as Build Fast Build Right and Start Fast Start
Right, published by Kaplan in the Spring of 2007. His
eighteenth (18th) book, Road Rules Be the Truck. Not the Squirrel.
is an inspirational book which was published in the Fall of 2008. Mr.
Sherman can be reached at 202-420-5000 or e-mail ShermanA@dicksteinshapiro.com.