I’ve seen countless smart people think themselves out of business (before they ever started).
I’ve seen untold head strong people start some of the worst businesses you can possibly imagine.
The people that are successful entrepreneurs, artists, and revolutionaries are the ones that think through a plan up to a point and then plow into it like a tornado into a trailer park.
Marissa Mayer comes to mind today.
She is also #20 employee at Google. And today she is CEO of Yahoo.
There isn’t a piece a paper long enough to list all the reasons why she shouldn’t take the CEO job at Yahoo.
Someone wrote on Twitter that she was able to cause more buzz at Yahoo in 5 minutes than anything Yahoo could do in 5 years.
But she’s both smart and head strong.
This is what you call a calculated risk.
Marissa is awesome. She’s the reason we have the clean layout at Google.com. There are endless factions trying to make their way onto that page. She has fought them off for years.
But Yahoo is a wreck. They are conservative, shortsighted and anti-innovative. I put her chances of turning Yahoo around at about 35%. That’s a ship who’s momentum is just down, down, down.
I guarantee she knows that.
But she’s going to plow into the company like a house on fire.
There comes a time in your life (many times, actually) where you think through something for a while. You make a pros and cons list. And then you just decide. Just do it. (or don’t)
You have to turn the “smart” part of you off as you jump off the cliff. It’s never smart to take a risk. The bigger the risk, the less smart it is.
But that’s where greatness steps in.
Simply put: Those were some crazy motherfuckers. I guarantee they were smart. But they all got their asses killed on the way to the mountain top.
Smart and head strong.
Marissa Mayer is starting her own journey up the mountain. She probably won’t literally die on the way up. But she’s clearly putting her career at risk.
You have roughly about 30 quality years in your life where you must make a decision:
Do you try climbing the mountain? Or do you sit in the valley?
Sitting in the valley thinking about all the reasons you shouldn’t climb the mountain is a choice. It is the life you lead. If you like it in the valley then fine. If you gaze at the mountain longingly wondering what’s up there… and never go. Well, let me ask you this: Would you rather be Katie Couric who failed at being the first woman news anchor? Or would you prefer to be the millions of other people who quietly wonder what it would be like to be a news reporter? Which is more tragic?
It’s your life.
But if you want to be like the people in this article, here’s the recipe for living a Marissa Mayer inspired life:
- Think it through for a while. (a day, maybe two)
- Talk to some (positive) friends.
- I’m serious about this one… run like hell away from people that will tell you what a major mistake you are making. You know who they are in your life. Don’t ask them their opinion unless you want to be talked out of your dreams.
- Take 2 to 3 days where you don’t think about it.
- On day three ask yourself: “Should I do it?”
- If you instinctively say yes… get your ass out there and never look back. Just do it.
- Don’t question your decision for at least 6 months.
Marissa Mayer is amazingly inspiring to me. Am I living the life I most want to live? It’s a question she has inspired me to ask. Thank you for taking this risk Marissa.
Oh… and now I don’t hate Yahoo so much any more. Good luck. I hope you can bring back some of the values Yahoo has always had. You can read them here:
And please don’t forget what you don’t value: