Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Delivering Happiness: Entry #1

(Entry #1 is entitled as such as this is in anticipation of a series of thought processes that churn out as I read the book "Delivering Happiness" by Tony Hsieh. Halfway thru and loving every word of it.)

Tony Hsieh and his backup brain, Jenn Lim climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro back in 2002. They conquered Africa's tallest peak during a tumultuous time in Zappos history and his description of the entire experience is both horrifying (for a city-dweller like me) and inspirational at the same time.

A particular section struck me: "It was pitch black, and our headlamps were only bright enough for us to see five feet ahead of us. There was no way to look ahead to see how much farther we had to go, or to look behind to see how far we had gone." (p.112, Ch. 4: Concentrate Your Position, "Delivering Happiness")

It seemed to me he was describing not just the Mt. Kilimanjaro experience, but life as a budding entrepreneur in general. Sometimes, even with all the goal setting and planning ahead of time and targetting a market, running your very own business can be like walking around in the pitch black darkness of Mt. Kilimanjaro. You can't always see what's ahead of you, though you hope for a sunrise at the summit, and you can't sometimes look back because of the too many things that have muddled the past.

The length of his hike also seemed like an analogy to managing a business, a business you truly believe in and refuse to see close down. In his head, it seemed like a never ending task to put one foot in front of the other, to see this whole "getting to the top" thru, but he didn't let his impatience, or tiredness, deter him from his end goal. And along the way, he learned a few things about himself, such as how he hasn't had a decent meal, a warm shower and a good night's sleep in the past five days, and how this realization made him appreciate the small things we take for granted in life. The same goes when focused on a business with your own money, own house, own car or own life is at stake. You have the end goal of a sunrise at the summit in mind, but don't forget about the little things you learn along the way of the journey.

What I love, thus far, about this book is the learnings I'm picking up along the way as I read word-by-word the wisdom and wealth of knowledge Tony Hsieh is trying to impart. Granted that his multi-million dollar Zappos went thru hell and high water with a lot (and I do mean, A LOT) of money down the drain but it wasn't just the money that kept them going as an entity.

It was the belief of the people behind Zappos in the business they were trying to establish and conquer. It was the sweat, tears and long nights of work, work, work from the core people behind the company. It was in the willingness of their friends and family to be with them all the way, the true believers of the cause.

This is what I need to find, my one true belief, and build on it. I think that's when I'll find my happiness and be able to start delivering it, too. :)

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