Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Pleasing Others will Hold You Back

I was recently in a meeting with a group of successful entrepreneurs and the topic came up:

“What is one of the biggest things holding you back?”

One person answered a surprising, unexpected answer:   the desire to please others is a limitation. 

As I thought about this, my first reaction was “Well, I used to be that way, but not any more.”  But when I peeled back the layers to think about decisions I make day in and day out, both big and small, I realize that whether I acknowledge it or not, the underlying tendency to take “pleasing others” into consideration as a factor in decisions is ever present. 

You may be the same as me. You think that you’re making logical and objective decisions for the good of your company and your family at all times. But you probably don’t realize how much you are really motivated by making others happy, making them like you. 

I think most entrepreneurs have this strong desire to please others.  It’s not a bad thing, but as with any other area of emotional intelligence, if you don’t acknowledge it and accept that the tendency is there, it can be a severe limiting factor on your success. 


Reading Biographies and Autobiographies

How often do you read bios and autobios? I don’t read them often enough. I think the reason we pick up books with titles like “Predictable Revenue” before we pick up a biography is because we need an immediate “what’s in it for me” feeling about the investment to read it.

I couldn’t tell you why at the time, but I received an enormous amount of energy from reading the lengthy Jobs story. You would think the reason is because I’m curious about how the story led to the products Apple created, what happened, who, what why, etc…

But as I have lately been picking up bios more often (Mark Benioff, Richard Branson, Bill Gates), I’ve now realized why these are powerful books with a lot of energy for us:

Reading stories of other entrepreneurs helps us frame the context of what we’re doing right now into a bigger picture and filter out the noise of urgency that clutters our thinking.

If you think about your own story, how you would tell it, the words you use, the sequence of your life, you start to separate what is relevant in the big picture and what is on your mind today.

You will realize that the types of things likely on your mind this moment aren’t the types of things that would be written in your bio, and thus, aren’t nearly as important enough to justify the level of energy you are giving them.

In other words, reading bios is a great tool for not sweating the small stuff. That’s what’s in it for you.

[R] Rated Post on How to Live Your Life

As a good southern boy, proud Methodist church member who was raised in a Southern Baptist family… I can’t bring myself to re-post the following article. :)

So I considered editing it, but once (if!) you read it, you will understand why there is no way an edited version would make the same point.

This post has 100+ F’bombs, including in the title…. Yet, it is the one of the top pieces I have ever read on the internet. It is a guide to living a meaningful life.     

So if you’re not a fan of F-bombs, have a nice day.

Otherwise, enjoy this post and you will thank me if you haven’t seen it yet:
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, by Mark Manson




Self Aware and At Peace

Self Aware and At Peace.

My personal core values are equal and not ranked. Except this one. This one is the most important one. 

Without being self-aware and at peace, nothing else will happen.

This is two separate values that are attached as one. That distinction is important.

First, to be truly self-aware is extremely difficult. It takes constant inward evaluation and even more external soaking in of the world around you.  

It takes being quiet, but also paying attention. It takes experimentation to find your limits. It takes a lot of reading. It takes a lot of time considering what being spiritual means to you. Self aware comes first.

Once you have self-awareness, that’s when you can evaluate whether you are “at peace.”   When you are at peace, you will know it most when the shitstorm of chaos lands on your life.    

Peace is almost a luxury when life is cruising along and all is good. However, peace is the difference in life and death when your world comes crashing down.

The bottom line on being self-aware and at peace is that it will be different for every person. You have to find what it means for you and check it every day.