I am getting ready to leave on a very exciting trip, to work with a small group to explore how to use flow state to become a better writer. The 3-day course is hosted by Steven Kotler, the NYT multi-time best-selling author. I am super excited for the course for a multitude of reasons, which I will write about in the coming weeks, but that isn’t the thought that struck me this morning getting ready…

What I am wondering about this morning is… if I knew what I know now when I was building Appletree, the call center company that went from a bedroom to 650 people, and was successfully sold in 2012, would it have been the same level of success just faster?

That is what we always say, the adage, the “old saw”, if I just knew then what I know now this would have been much easier.

But is easier better?

Does easier yield the same results?

I think to where I am now and I want things to happen fast. I know the answers (maybe too often) and get frustrated when things don’t just snap into place. I am at this very moment left wondering:

Was the success in the struggle?

Was the new pattern for my obsessed pattern recognition brain the result of not necessarily “knowing” but trying, and failing, and iterating, and trying again over and over?

Have I lost that pattern recognition machine because now I know (or think I do which is even worse), too much already?

Maybe I don’t see the patterns like I used to…

It is so funny that I write about what I need to learn, and my lesson for today, as I step out of my comfort zone for this trip, is I am really missing my beginner’s mind. I am not a writer, but I am trying to learn. I am faking it until I make it, and I am doing what I used to do as a young entrepreneur…seeking out people and things where I don’t know very much and can learn. And I am excited by that idea, and even more excited to dig in on this question of would it have been as successful, had I started Appletree knowing what I know now?

Or was the journey the real set of lessons and drivers of success?

So, I always like to land with a take away, and I guess for this message my take away is: if you are like me and ‘think’ you know it all, and you ‘wish’ you knew then what you know now, that may be a tremendous disservice to yourself. It may be time to go back to a beginner’s mind mentality, at least on a few things, and maybe for a while…happy learning!


Founder of the align5 Companies,  CEO of Scaling Up Coaches, and Serial Entrepreneur

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