"Great kid, don't get cocky!" These the hard-earned, oh-so-wise words of Han Solo shouted down a transfer tube to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Don't. Get. Cocky. Indeed. Han Solo had seen a thing or two in his day, and knew that when people gloat about a nice kill shot (as Luke had just fired off at an enemy ship), they tend get taught a lesson fairly quickly. It's a He who lives by the laser canon, shall likewise incinerate by the laser canon sort of thing.
We all know that "pride cometh before the fall." I think of the many wives or husbands who have looked down their noses at their fellow man (or woman) who were suffering the cuckold curse of marital betrayal, snickering with their friends over lunch or drinks ("Oh! Did you hear that Shelby's husband Rick was seen hoofing the walk-of-shame at 6am from her esthetician's condo?") only to walk in one afternoon to discover their own husband in high heels and white nursing hose bent over an ironing board with some tall blonde semi-nude, jackbooted Swede male-model whipping him with various kitchen utensils whilst their Pomeranian runs around in circles beneath yapping up a storm (wearing a doggie sweater that says, "little bitch"). This is what I'm talking about.
How many times do we catch ourselves thinking we're "all that"? Probably not enough times, I'll venture. I mean we're all of us in the gutter as Mr. Wilde says, and we need to remember that more often. Just this week I had an investor fly into L.A. for discussions to finalize a business relationship we've been discussing since I started a new company a few months ago. He'd like to put some money into this business and jump into the fray to help it grow -- all of which is great and terrific, and very much needed.
You might find this interesting, Dear Reader, that this investor was in fact once-upon-a-time my boss at a firm I worked for out of Austin, Texas. We were both down-sized along with about 21 others in 2009. And, now 9 months later, he is coming to work for me (actually, I just liked writing that, but not really. We'll be partners, and I can't even begin to tell you how much value he'll add to this company!). Sometimes it seems that when God closes a door, He throws you out the window. This is what I like to call "divine defenestration." And, that's what it felt like to me, and several others I am very close to during 2009. Free-falling with no net and mother earth fast approaching; and her arms are not outstretched to catch you. Tough times when you're out of work -- as many of you know personally -- and yet still have so very many payments to make ... and yet you can't.
I keep thinking to myself, "don't get cocky, kid!" and I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the bubble of good news and wonderful possibilities to pop. So, on a day when I waited for Dan Aykroyd's dad to cross the parking lot (with Dan watching concerned and waiting nearby), several of us went out to dinner at a hip little joint on Sunset in Beverly Hills (our new partner's treat, thank gawd), and we continued discussing the real value of this business.
The consultant that I invited to join us gave some very blunt opinions about what is the sine qua non or the essence of our business. Granted these were merely his opinions, but I invited him to join us because I valued his expertise and candor, and I received both for my troubles. I was a bit overwhelmed, but kept my cool throughout. We had, well, we had several drinks to lubricate the talks and then appetizers and dinner (including more drinks -- this was business after all) and heated conversations that lasted for 5 hours. Enough time for me to occasionally spy Oscar-winning Martin Landau enjoy his French cuisine curbside each time I went outside to take a deep breath and chat up the lovely British hostess that had befriended me earlier. Did I tell you I like to multi-task? Or is that my ADHD kicking in? Anyway, wait, what?
Oh, yeah, "don't get cocky!" is now my mantra. I am the antithesis of cocky. I am ... I am the embodiment of flaccidity. Keep moving! Nothing arrogant to see here! Proverbs says "Humility and fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life." That's exactly what I want: to stay humble and try to do good. I'll take whatever comes after that as a blessing!
After all was said and done over a few intense days of meetings, we're moving forward to correct the (turns out) minor glitch and are still heading toward our new business with fresh ideas and (very soon) an infusion of cash to get this thing really off the ground. Keep ya posted, Dear Readers. It appears I'm attempting one more business fraught with the perils of failing, and am reminded of Jules Renard's spot-on quote:
"Failure is not the only punishment for failure; there is also the success of others."
Fate favors the bold, y'all. Here goes!