Life lessons to take to heart

Am I Doing the Right Thing?

Posted by Corky Roth on September 07, 2012

Last year around this same time I left the security of a well-paying marketing job in the telecommunications industry to pursue my passion. At the time, I didn’t know if I was ready. But, with my right foot off the cliff and a gentle push from the organization, I found my courage.

During the first few months—the free-fall period—I read a lot: The Four Hour Work Week, My Evil Plan, even Throwing the Elephant: Zen and the Art of Managing Up. Then while listening to NPR one day and driving to nowhere, I heard a short book review with author Nicholas Carr. That night I downloaded his book, The Big Switch. After a few swipes of the glass with my index finger, BAAM! Clarity. At all cost, I had to be involved with anything Internet. And it was imperative I have a front row seat!

Someday I’ll bore you with the details of how I procured my ticket (through Digett) to the greatest show on earth. But for now, I’ll just share a few lessons that stuck with me during this chapter of the journey.

Turn your fears into life experiences

Dealing with fear has always been at the top of my list throughout my personal and professional life.

But let’s face it: 99% of what we fear is absolutely harmless. Most times after going through it, the feeling is quite rewarding. Like the time I was given the opportunity to present a strategic initiative to the great Dr. John Malone. When it became clear I had no other choice I nearly crapped my pants. After the meeting, not so much. Great experience!

Be passionate and live in the present

You hear this one a lot. Passion is not easy to recognize because passion is not full-on, 100% of the time. So if you find something that’s 80%, take it.

If you’re into anything Internet, you’ve heard of Gary Vaynerchuk. If not, check out his keynote at FOWA 2011 (NSFW language). He’s the most passionate person I know of.

Good enough is good enough

Bill Gates coined the phrase “Good enough is good enough.” Meaning that perfection is the killer of “marketable” innovation. In fact, it’s too often just an excuse for not initiating your plan. Many times it’s just plain “fear.” Don’t wait, get out there. In the marketplace, trial and experimentation are good. This new internet society is forgiving. They expect it.

Have a plan, work hard, and stick with it

Most people are taken out of the game by not doing this, or by not doing all three together. Good plan, gave up too soon. No plan, worked their ass off. This one’s like a BLT: no bacon, no sandwich.

I often talk with friends and colleagues that still work for “the man.” I listen as they talk about wasted time in meetings, quality of life, and uncertainty. I ask myself, “Am I doing the right thing?” Hell yes!

The bigger question is, are you?

[Image: Carla MacNeil


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Submitted by jeff arthur on Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:24pm

did the same thing and loving it. Best wishes.

Submitted by Sid on Fri, 09/07/2012 - 2:44pm

Any person who freely can state they "crapped their pants" is my kind of person. I like your style and authenticity. I no longer work for the man and I am with you 100%

Submitted by Corky Roth on Fri, 09/07/2012 - 2:48pm

Jeff, it's great to hear from you. I did't realize you had taken the plunge.

You'll do great. Keep me updated.

Submitted by Corky Roth on Fri, 09/07/2012 - 3:02pm


What a great comment! You are the best business coach i've had the pleasure of working with.

Talk with you soon.

Submitted by Marissa Freeman on Fri, 09/07/2012 - 3:53pm

Rock on are my inspiration!

Submitted by Corky Roth on Fri, 09/07/2012 - 4:34pm

Marissa, really, really nice to get this from you! Let's catch up sometime soon.

Submitted by Rose Broadway on Fri, 09/07/2012 - 8:50pm

To the kid, at age four, whose Grandpa sat him up on a gate in the middle of the bawling cattle at the Kansas City Stockyards, handed him his pocket knife and said, "Clean your fingernails."

We knew you had courage then, and you've still got it! I love you so much and you couldn't make me prouder.


Submitted by Beth Brown on Sat, 09/08/2012 - 6:30pm

Ah, the fear thing! It's kept many of us from reaching our full potential. Glad you got a handle on it and are sharing your rewarding journey. I stopped working for "the man" over 12 years ago and through sheer determination I've been able to steer clear of working on the inside again. I'll have to pick up a couple of the books you mentioned, it may be time for a change!

Submitted by Corky Roth on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 9:54am

Yes, I clearly remember that stockyard show. I know now that he was teaching me to overcome fear - even at that early age. Smart man!

Thank you for being my biggest FAN mom! You're the best!

Submitted by Corky Roth on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 9:57am

A seasoned vetrean. I know I can learn from you Beth. Please call me sometime.

Submitted by Michael Broadway on Tue, 09/11/2012 - 12:19pm

That's a well-written, and very inspirational piece. We're proud of you for following your dream. I once read (I can't remember where) that the key to success is doing what you are passionate about - that thing that you wake up thinking about, and the last thing on your mind as you fall asleep.

If you do what you love, the rest will fall into place, and you can't help but succeed.

Submitted by Corky Roth on Tue, 09/11/2012 - 4:22pm

Great insights. Thanks for sharing Mike.

Submitted by Janet Chung on Tue, 09/11/2012 - 8:04pm

I read this post and wasn't sure if it was written by you or if your partner wrote it. Then I read the comment "I nearly crapped my pants" comment and I could hear your voice :)

I can't imagine you having doubts with everything you've done and accomplished. I'm excited to be reading about your journey. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and inspiraton!

Submitted by Bert Powers on Wed, 09/12/2012 - 8:01am

Admire your courage, having done the same thing, I have empathy for you. I know you will do well at whatever endeavor you decide on.

Submitted by Corky Roth on Wed, 09/12/2012 - 9:41am

Janet, I really appreciate your confidence in me. I find it amusing that you were able to quickly identify it was me by reading that particular comment.

Hope to talk with you soon.

Submitted by Corky Roth on Wed, 09/12/2012 - 9:43am

Bert, I can always count on you. Thanks again for the encouragement. It means a lot.

Submitted by Steve Booren on Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:03am

Very Well Said Corky - Passing this along to others....

Submitted by Corky Roth on Wed, 09/12/2012 - 1:24pm

Thank you Steve ;-)

Submitted by Vennessa Fuhs on Fri, 09/14/2012 - 10:15am

Very well said. You are the wind beneath my wings... :)

Submitted by Corky Roth on Fri, 09/14/2012 - 10:22am

Thank you Vennessa. You're doing amazing things with Plan, work hard and stick with it. You're on the right track!

Submitted by Your Name on Mon, 09/17/2012 - 9:36am

Thanks for the inspiration, Corky!