Life can be a work of art…

The notion that entrepreneurship could be not only a business idea, but a life idea, intrigues me.

“You can either follow a paint-by-numbers-kit approach to life and do what everybody thinks you should do and stay within the accepted lines, or you can decide you want to create a masterpiece and start with a blank canvas. It might not ever turn into a masterpiece, but the only way you can hope for a masterpiece is starting with a blank canvas.”

Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.

“No. 1: Luck favors the persistent, so you have to stay alive to be able to get lucky again. I’d make a plan to live. I really mean it. Sit down, right now, and say, ‘We’re going to make a plan to live, plan to survive. What are the things we need to do to make sure we come through this alive?’ ” he says.

Secondly, figure out what you should stop doing. Before the crisis, when companies were flush, they got distracted into ventures they shouldn’t be in. Now is the time to narrow the focus to those things that make your business distinctive, the core of your company’s success.

Finally, once the question of survival is settled, seize the opportunity to improve the caliber of your team members so your business is stronger in the future. In a small business, every hire is critical, he says. If you can only have five employees, you want all them to be top-notch so they can operate as an elite squad.

And once you achieve a measure of success, always worry that it will go away tomorrow. Always worry you were just lucky. Always worry that you didn’t deserve it and you weren’t that good. And, you better get to work right away. You’re never, ever comfortable you deserved it. And you’re going to have to work hard to deserve the success you’ve already obtained.

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