Illuminate On
1st Class advice #1: Surround Yourself With Smart People

Shortly after I started Intuitive Solutions, I was traveling between Chicago and New York to visit a potential customer.  The flight was overbooked, being broke I gave up my seat for the $150 flight credit (that was like winning the lottery!).  To my surprise, I heard my name called over the intercom to return to the counter where I was handed a ticket for first class (double jackpot!).  I boarded, next to me was a very tall and skinny old man, wearing boots and a cowboy hat.  His face was tan and wrinkled like an old piece of leather.  He was silent and still.  I, on the other hand, was ecstatic and couldn’t stop moving.  I kept apologizing for disturbing him, until shortly after take off, he mumbled in a crisp Texan accent, “why are you so excited.”  I told him how I had just started my own business, I was broke, but looked forward to riding first class on my way to closing a new customer in NY.  After that, I didn’t say a word as I listened attentively and carefully to every word of wisdom he shared for the entire duration of the flight, starting with “you remind me, of me, when I started my first business 40 years ago.”  Among the many things he shared, he said “surround yourself with people smarter than you, get them talking, and get them what they need.”

First thing I did when I returned was just that.  I took his advice to heart.  After I closed the new deal, back in Chicago I started to look for and recruit people who were smarter than myself.  What I found was that sharing complex business problems became easy as those around me were natural at thinking through and helping solve in a way better than I could.  I further realized that more often than not, all I had to do was share the complex problem, give them what they needed to solve it, and trust them to solve it. I find that the same suggestion holds true for my personal circles.  I’ve tried to pair myself closely with friends and colleagues who I thought were brighter than me.  I’ve been honored to have amazing friends and staff around me.

You might be wondering “how do you know someone is smarter than you?”  I’ll share more. Stay tuned!

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