Weekly Thoughts: Stop Whining

Here is something that caught our eye this week:

Stop Whining

A little less conversation, a little more action 

We recently listened to a podcast with Aline Brosh McKenna, a screenwriter, producer, and director best known for writing The Devil Wears Prada (which I think we can all agree was an instant classic). During the interview, McKenna reflects back on her personal hesitation to make the jump from writing to directing. From the interview:

Alex: Aline had written two big box office hits, was in high demand, and she wanted to take the next step in her career. Not just be a writer on a project, but be the one in charge. Which meant, directing. But as she realized that most of the people she knew who made the leap from writing to directing were men. In fact, Aline only knew of a handful of women who had done it. And so she decided to get some advice from one of them. And not just anyone. 

Eline: I email my agent and say I want to meet Nora Efron (side note: Efron wrote When Harry Met Sally and directed Sleepless in Seattle). They said ok, they represented her and they got me a meeting with Nora Efron, which is like, a miracle. And I went to her apartment, and I said, well, you know, I’m really thinking about directing, I’d really like to do it, but like, how do you make sure that everybody listens to you as a woman and that you feel prepared and that this technical stuff and blah blah blah. And she said, wow you’re really whining about this. She’s like, if you want to do it, you just do it. That’s what the guys do. And if you are whining about it and not doing it there’s some reason. If you want to do it just go and do it. 

We think Efron’s advice is spot on (with the exception that we think both genders suffer equally from the excessive hemming and hawing affliction). During our academic pursuits, a premium was placed on intellectualism. This continued to some extent during our investment days, where deep thinking about global ideas was paramount to success.

Fast forward to today where, well, musing is much less important than just doing. In our world of operating businesses, there is a premium for people who can move the ball forward, and, when they face an obstacle or make a mistake, don’t whine, don’t dwell, but fix it and move on. And for us, that is part of the magic of the world of small business, where anyone can take amorphous ideas from powerpoint slides and see if they work in the real world. So, in the words of the King, a little less conversation, a little more action.

Have a great week,

Your Chenmark Team

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