In general I prefer solitude. My strengths when it comes to work, and life in general, are contemplation, strategizing, thinking, and I find it’s best done alone. I enjoy periodic interactions with others to test ideas and gather feedback, but my best work tends to happen between those interactions. I actively avoid meetings, phone calls, scheduling.

Peace Time

  • This works well in ‘peace time’. Forgive the war analogy, I’m writing this seated in my masculine essence. Imagine the king of a peaceful kingdom deciding how to grow the prosperity of his subjects. It’s easy to picture him spending most of his time alone, occasionally caucusing with his trusted advisors. If the king is well chosen it’s his unique wisdom that everyone wants, and it takes a quieting of external noise to access that wisdom.

War Time

  • But in war time, in the midst of the dynamic intensity of battle, it’s optimal to fight together. When I’m in fighting mode1 for one of my companies, and it’s inevitable all companies will go through at least one of these periods, I want people at my side. Swords drawn, shoulder to shoulder. I find myself wanting to talk on the phone more often, to meet with others who are fighting alongside me. We give each other the courage and motivation to keep going. The warrior mentality of never giving up. Not much deep thinking gets done, hopefully that was done well in advance of the battle. But no plan survives contact with the enemy anyway and the rapid response and dynamic tactical adjustments are best done together.
  • There are many times I’ve received bad news like a “no” from an important customer or investor, and my immediate reaction is to give up on that battle and move on to the next one, to start strategizing again. Only to have my business partners motivate me, motivate us all, to keep going, to never give up. And more often than I would have expected we succeed in turning a “no” into “yes”.

It is moments like these that really teach me the value of teams, and not to isolate myself so much. A friend once gave me the advice to think of The Avengers. The Avengers are a team, but each one also has their own movie. They are superheroes in their own right, but sometimes the whole team is needed to win.

  1. Metaphorically and energetically of course, fortunately modern business doesn’t usually involve any actual violence.