I couldn't agree more. Mind you, if you can't as a child convince your parents to move, don't ever be afraid to start. There are things I love and hate about Silicon Valley (traffic...), but I love how it keeps my mind fresh, and I'm enjoying seeing my daughter grow in this environment. Also like the earth metaphor and not just because I'm a gardener too :-)
Plant yourself in the right dirt.
The environment that surrounds you is critical to your success. To grow your business, you need to plant yourself in the right dirt.
Nature or nurture–which one determines your greater chances for success? Can you grow your business in a difficult environment? Can you succeed on talent and capability alone, regardless of the environment you find yourself in? How important is the soil you have chosen to plant yourself in to realizing your bigger future?
In my view, these questions are worth thinking about.
Recently, I decided to drive across the country to visit colleagues and family. On the long drive from Southern California to Michigan I was listening to the audio book, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I’ve wanted to read it since it was published earlier this year but just never got around to it. Facing the four-day drive, the audio book was the perfect companion for my journey. I found the book very revealing and compelling.
Of course the early chapters were devoted to Steve’s childhood, early education, and his family background. But what stood out for me in these early chapters was the fact that Steve Jobs grew up and became a product of Silicon Valley.
This resonated deeply with me because I too grew up in Silicon Valley at the very same time as Steve Jobs. He was two years younger than me. Our respective high schools were football rivals less than ten miles apart. As I listened to the audio book, I thought to myself how probable it was that we could have crossed paths at a football game. Who knows?
The environment of Silicon Valley in the early 70s was a cauldron of intense innovation. Transformative ideas, still unformed, were percolating all around Steve Jobs. This environment proved to be fortuitous and a critical component to his success. He was raised in the right dirt, at precisely the right time. His proximity to what was happening all around him during those formative years surely couldn’t be ignored. Not to diminish his visionary reputation, I think it would have been a different story had he been raised in rural Nebraska.
This got me thinking about the importance of environment to success–particularly in the early stages of your success. If you’re working to build your business from the ground up, it begins by planting yourself in the right place. You need to be surrounded by an environment that is supportive and conducive to your vision.
If you want to write music for film and television, you need to be hanging in the very place where all that happens–connecting and growing with like minded colleagues, and building your network with real connections to people who are making the decisions about who they want to work with. Whatever the activity of your business, you need to be in the right place to grow. If you’re not in the right place bumping into opportunities that are available by the geography, then move there.
At the beginning of your business success, don’t be afraid to pick up everything and move to a better fishin hole.
Despite our growing virtual connections and dependence on social media tools, being in the right soil making influential connections and building lasting relationships with real people is more essential than ever. Call me old-school if you like, but if you have the talent and capability to manifest your vision, then you need to consider where the best dirt for you is located then go plant yourself there!
Learn more about the author, Thomson Dawson.
Comment on this article
Posted by Lara Fabans, Los Gatos, California |
Aug 22, 2012
Posted by Michael Gardea, Glendale, California |
Aug 23, 2012
Good article, Thompson. I couldn't agree more.
Very close friends, and past business partners of mine, moved to San Francisco when building their latest start-up, Heroku. To your point, this proved to be fortuitous. Less than two years into their budding success, they were approached by SalesForce.com and subsequently bought-out for over $200M!
Good dirt leads to good crops, eh?
Posted by Nancy Newman, Kirkland, Washington |
Sep 17, 2012
I think you are making an important point. In one of Malcolm Gladwell's books - "Outliers," I think, he talks about how particular circumstances, background, environment - essentially, one's "dirt" - influences one's success, especially early on in life.
I agree that these are questions worth considering. I also agree with your proposition that we consider "moving" to new dirt when our current garden is not providing the right soil.
Strangely, actually doing this seems more difficult to imagine in our world of frenetic pace and change and overall lack of rootedness. Keeping kids in school, challenging housing markets, circles of community bring all sorts of resistance to bear on any thoughts of picking up and seeking out another fishing hole.
That said, I do think that the very act of considering it, can open a window of fresh air. The new fishing hole may be closer than we think.
Thomson's current promotion
Updated Jul 25, 2012
Creating Competitive Advantage in your Creative Business
White Hot Center Presents The Quantum Leap Business Development Workshop November 2012 Creating Competitive Advantage in your Creative Business Ojai, California
Facilitated by Thomson Dawson...[more]
- business development
- getting things done
- professional development
Thomson's other articles