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Erik Trautman

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
-- Pablo Picasso

My Goals (Or, “Why Entrepreneurship?”)

I’ve been fairly clear about what I’m leaving behind and the general next steps but perhaps less so about where I’d actually like to be. You’ll have to forgive the deep dive into my head on this one but I think it at least puts some things in context. In a nutshell, I want to work with elite individuals, challenge myself every day, and create value for the world. That’s pretty broad but you have to start somewhere.

To the first point, I want to work with people who are smarter than I am, more talented than I am, and more capable than I am so I am constantly forced to keep up. I think everyone has worked with or managed people who just didn’t quite live up to their expectations. I really don’t deal well with that. I don’t consider myself a great manager because I find it very hard to understand people who aren’t motivated to exceed expectations, educate themselves, and solve their own problems. With elite, or “A”, players, you don’t need to manage them so much as guide them. The best of us get sidetracked. As long as ego doesn’t become a factor, “A players” can take input and adjust themselves to a better course. I’d like to find these people with whom, as the cliché goes, 1 and 1 really do make 3.

I want to challenge myself every day. When I first start a new job, I can’t help but think in terms of days, and then weeks. How far have I gotten in my first 4 days? Am I ahead of where I should be 5 weeks in? The scariest moment is when I come in to work and I’m not sure what to do. It’s where I’ve pushed further ahead than I was really expected to and now I could actually coast if I wanted to. As soon as I find myself in that situation, I start looking for something new to do. I’m not saying that I don’t have lazy moments, but they are typically followed by more hunger and a healthy dose of frustration with myself. By making myself master of my own path forward, there’s a fire under my ass to eventually “produce or starve” and that is an awfully motivating challenge.

As you may have gathered, seeking fulfillment is a fairly central theme in my psyche and, for me, it’s also intimately related to the idea of “value”. According to Erik’s Unified Theory of Reality, people derive fulfillment by being able to express their individuality and, at the same time, by having that individuality acknowledged in the context of a community. Any product or service that can serve those needs will add to that individual’s fulfillment and thus create value for them. To create that value for them, in turn, would provide me with personal fulfillment of my own. So if I can somehow do something that creates value for others (it shouldn’t be hard to surpass my previous career in that area), then everyone wins.

I’ve always considered myself a creative person and there’s nothing I’d like more than to have that resource be called upon every day. There are many different fields that allow one to be creative but I think the best tie-in with the previous points is business. In business, creativity is crucially important to meet the challenge of producing the best product out there and getting it most effectively to the right market. You are battling competitors, managing timelines and trying to keep the team together. Ultimately, you are trying to give the consumer something they really love and that can’t be done with a purely analytical approach.

So my recent transition is about opening my horizons and giving me an opportunity to leverage my creativity. It’s about gaining an ever-expanding toolbox of execution skills and someday using the talented cooperation of an elite team to create value for the world”¦ Quite a mouthful. The path in life that can provide me with those things is the path I want to take. The most obvious choice is to eventually find myself driving the vision of an entrepreneurial enterprise. I’m not saying that I need to run out and start a company, but I will be doing what I can in the next few months/years to get to that point, wherever down the road it lies.

You’ve got to start with some sort of goal, and there you have mine.