As we’ve discussed a few times, I went to UCLA. First generation college student. Studied Psychology and Business.
I was recruited by the old Arthur Andersen which, at the time, was the largest professional services firm in the world—which seemed like a pretty exciting place for me (the son of a guy who worked in a grocery store for 40 years) to start my career.
Except… It wasn’t. (Hah.)
I still think I hold the record for most service lines in the shortest period of time. I started in audit, went to tax. Then to financial planning and finally to business consulting. All in the span of about a year. I knew none of that was for me. (In fact, I was so clear about that fact that I actually pulled over on the side of the 405 driving home the first week of my professional career and… threw up. 🤢 🤮 Funny now. Not so funny then.)
As part of my escape plan, I studied for the LSAT. Went to law school at UC Berkeley. (Class of 2000!) But… I knew that wasn’t for me either. Dropped out. Moved back in with mom at 23. (Thanks again, mom! 😘)
The only thing I knew I wanted to do at that stage of my young life (beyond burning my résumé) was to coach a Little League Baseball team. So, that’s what I did.
Long story a little shorter, while coaching these kids I had an idea. This was 1998. Nobody was online yet but I could see a future where EVERY single team and league in the world would be using the web for everything—pictures of the game Grandma and Grandpa could check out if they couldn’t make it, schedules, standings, etc. Kinda like an ESPN for youth sports.
So… I partnered with the genius little brother of the woman I was dating at the time and we created the technology that Little League Baseball itself wound up using years later.
We wound up doing some cool stuff with that business (called eteamz). We won the business plan competition at UCLA’s Anderson School, raised $5 million from venture capitalists and… We hired the CEO of adidas to replace me as the 25-year-old CEO.
Which gets us one step closer to the point of this +1.
I vividly remember picking our new CEO (Steve Wynne; not to be confused with the Vegas guy) up from LAX. We’d drive together from the airport to our (laughing as I type this), ridiculously awesome offices in Westwood (complete with the requisite ping pong table boardroom, and more games than you can throw a dart at).
We just so happened to bring Steve on right when the market did its thing in 2000. So… Rather than go out and raise our next $20m we wound up bringing in an investment bank and selling our business to one of our two competitors who had raised $50m to our $5m.
All of which brings us to the point of Today’s +1.
In the middle of that extraordinarily (!) stressful time (flashbacks to pain! lol), Steve tattooed some wisdom on my consciousness that has been with me since.
He said, “It’s not how you START something, it’s how you FINISH it.”
“It’s really easy to start something,” he said. “It’s a heck of a lot harder to finish it strong.”
Of course, there are times when deciding to stop doing something is the right move. (See: My decision to drop out of law school, etc.)
There are other times to remember that it’s really easy to start something and a lot harder to finish it.
That’s Today’s +1.
Got any Finish Lines you need to hit?
And/or: Any graceful exit-quits so you can reboot and start again even stronger?
Only you can know which one’s calling you. Let’s create some stillness to create the clarity and go do what needs to get done.