THE BLOG

Channelling the Greats

05/12/2015 03:11 pm ET | Updated May 12, 2016

When business gets, well, busy, there's only one thing to do: scale back the unimportant.
Words Lisa Messenger

I just noticed for the past three weeks I have pretty much worn the same outfit. I don't mean in an unwashed, skanky kind of way. But a variance of black pants or leggings, black tee, black knee-high boots and black leather jacket. Every single day and night, amping it up for more formal occasions and chilling it right down for my beloved training sessions.

That's my first observation for the month. The second is about the stuff in my life. I used to buy heaps and heaps of stuff for the house and office but for some reason, I've stopped. Wracking my brain, I think it would be six months since I purchased something just to decorate a part of my life. And in my job, I do get given loads of stuff (which I love and am truly grateful for) but unless it has an immediate practical use, I try and give it all away.

There's also a third.

I decided to move house recently and as the moving date drew close, I suggested to my partner that part of me wanted to be homeless. He looked puzzled. What I meant was that I wanted to be free, unencumbered and liberated with two suitcases to my name. I loved the notion of putting everything into storage and bunking down in someone's spare room for a while.

I hadn't joined the dots until that point. I'm wearing the same clothes on rotation, I'm not buying anything new and I have a hankering to be homeless. No, I'm not sick or depressed! I'm focussed. And my partner was the one who pointed it out, suggesting I was channelling Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, who were known for their minimalist attire especially in high-growth phases. Steve was famous for his black turtlenecks and according to his biographer, Walter Isaacson, he owned 100 of the same Issey Miyake sweater. When you're running a multi-billion dollar company across 38 countries, who has time for extra decision-making? As for the Facebook founder, he is known for having 20 identical grey T-shirts that are worn on rotation with blue jeans, thongs and trainers.

Whether it was said in jest or complete seriousness, it was music to my ears. Who doesn't want to be likened to some of the greats on the entrepreneurial journey?


Here are some of the best thoughts to soak up if you are also undergoing a phase of high growth (read: late nights, longwinded meetings, unanswered questions, competing priorities, staffing woes and the delightful problem of success).

"Expect more than others think possible."
HOWARD SCHULTZ, STARBUCKS

"Growth and comfort do not coexist." GINNI ROMETTY, IBM

"Don't be intimidated by what you don't know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else."
SARA BLAKELY, SPANX

"The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world."
MARC BENIOFF, SALESFORCE

"I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that's how you grow. When there's that moment of 'Wow, I'm not really sure I can do this,' and you push through those moments, that's when you have a breakthrough."
MARISSA MAYER, YAHOO
"As long as you're going to be thinking anyway, think big."
DONALD TRUMP, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION

"I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying."
JEFF BEZOS, AMAZON