Blog #4 Readings and Reflections

Matt Morgan: ShoutAbout

Being an entrepreneur is no easy feat. Just thinking about what all that word entails can seem daunting. Often, we hear the many success stories of entrepreneurs and their claim to fame but are rarely given the nitty gritty of it all ( although thanks to StartUp we actually get to experience the daily struggles of being one). It was a refreshing voice hearing Matt Morgan speak about his entrepreneur venture, how he faced many life decisions like putting grad school on hold, to start his company. It was also interesting to hear how it took him one year and half to find a suitable business partner- when just the week prior Nicco was talking about that’s one of the most important and time consuming things you can do when starting a business. Also, I found it interesting that he mentioned if he could go back and change things, he would of asked for money/investments sooner. Matt was considered a “failed” entrepreneur in comparison to our class today with Sarah Penna who is largely successful starting her company BigFrame. It was definitely interesting to see the dynamic between the two and see their successes and failures. In concluding, he and Nicco discussed how despite the ambition and persistence of the founders and the innovative idea of the company, the company ultimately failed. You can potentially do all the right things, and be the perfect entrepreneur, but some things just don’t work out.

I thought Matt gave us raw and authentic voice in his experiences, which I am sure was not easy. His experiences and entrepreneurial journey reminded me of Startup’s with the struggles of finding a reliable business partner, to finding the right investors, and the importance of who to trust. Of course, Matt’s journey was both a wake-up call and also inspirational in that even though one can work hard and try to do all the right things, sometimes it just isn’t meant to be.

Managing Oneself

LOL. Where do I begin? Is this even possible? I feel like my life is an endless cycle of trying to figure how to manage myself. I always thought, well hey after grad school I can start really focusing on myself because life will seem to be much more manageable. But today, Nicco just shot all my dreams in saying that this is probably the easiest life will get…throw in some kids in the mix ( which I obviously knew would be a challenge) and more responsibilities & you’re done for! Haha, I’m obviously exaggerating- but I definitely understand the value of managing oneself and Peter Drucker makes many valuable points. Peter F. Drucker expounds how you can achieve true excellence by operating from a combination of your strengths and self-knowledge/awareness. To cultivate a deep understanding of yourself, you need to ask yourself some fundamental questions:

  • What are my most valuable strengths and most dangerous weaknesses?
  • How do I learn and work with others?
  • What are my most deeply held values?

His main message is simple and one that I agree with: know your strengths and focus on them, while ultimately aiming to understand yourself on a deeper level. This relates to Nicco’s lecture today on leadership and management that you must work on improving your strengths rather than fixing your weaknesses. You must know your strengths inside and out and this comes from feedback analysis. This method will show you where your strengths lie and will also show what you are doing or failing to do that deprives from reaching your full potential. The article pointed out that most people tend to focus on their weaknesses and improving them rather than honing in on their strengths which is definitely true.

I can definitely relate to this because you always try to improve what you’re not good at which tends to hinder your performance and ability to grow your strengths. I think that this really impacted the way I think about myself and what I should focus on. There are always ways to improve, but I think the challenge lies in truly asking yourself these fundamental questions that Drucker points out: where do I belong? what are my values as a person and as a practitioner/ entrepreneur, and how do I work on improving my strengths? These questions may seem elementary, however it takes a new way of thinking to accomplish.

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead

Equality. Seems like an uplifting and fruitful word that one wouldn’t think would be an issue in the United States. But, sadly it does remain an issue to achieve. Sandberg brings her experiences in dealing with women inequality in the workplace in some of the most successful businesses. If you ask most women whether they have the right to equality at work and the answer will be a resounding yes, but ask the same women whether they’d feel confident asking for a raise or promotion, or equal pay, and hesitation and resistance is the overwhelming sentiment. Why is that?

My generation lives in a world of increasing equality with constant protests about even the smallest things, so it remains shocking that we are still at a constant battle for equal women’s rights. The author looks at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale. She mentions how fear is at the root of so many barriers that women face. There’s a fear of failure, of not being like, of making the wrong decision, fear of being judged, fear of rejection… ( I could go on and on). I believe that Sandberg makes a valuable point that without fear, women could pursue professional success and personal fulfillment. But I also think that in addition to fear, women are not given the adequate credit they deserve in the workplace which further hinders women to reach their full potential. This type of work culture needs to be shifted, where women need to be encouraged to take risks and be given proper praise when appropriate.

In my Entertainment Education class, I remember we talked about successful women figures on tv and what they represent to the woman viewer. What I came to find, is that characters that women look up to in shows such as Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy- tend to show women in positions that only have a successful professional life. Rarely do I see sucessful characters in leadership positions that have both a professional and fulfilling personal life.This is a problem and clearly sends a wrong message… That in order to be successful, a woman must compromise her personal life, whether that be having children, or getting married. In the article, Sandberg mentions this.. that women are told over and over again that they must choose. I agree with the author that women can indeed have both and should THRIVE to do so. I think that leaves us with a fundamental and pertinent question…can we let go of “the fear”, surpass the stereotypes and status quo of what it means to be a successful woman, and have both a fulfilling personal and work life? The answer is yes.