Barry Moltz has failed. More than once.
And he’s not afraid to tell you.
Of course, he’s had his share of success as well, but what makes his new book “Bounce” such an interesting and thought provoking read is his refreshing honesty.
What else would you expect from someone who’s already written a book called “You Need to be a Little Crazy”?
This honesty proves to be an effective way to present his keys to confidence building, as we “bounce” our way from one outcome, situation or event to another.
What are these keys? Barry organizes his book into 10 of them (called “building bands”), but there were 4 in particular that interested me the most:
- Developing Humility
- Channeling fear and making choices
- Less focus on events and more on process
- Using passion to keep up the good fight
As someone who is a great proponent of the role of humility in “Level 5” leadership as defined in the book “Good to Great”, Barry’s view was spot on. He writes:
“Humility reminds us to respect the power of our competitors, our customers, and how vastly complicated the business world can be. It’s like sailing on the ocean, riding the waves high, but respecting the power of nature, knowing that a storm can brew up at any moment with the power to set you off course or, worse, sink your boat”
Humility is about taking responsibility for our actions, but also realizing that our actions are taken within the context of forces that very often can be beyond our control. (the recent subprime mortgage mess is a very good example). Knowing this helps us bounce ahead when things don’t go our way as well as when they do.
As for fear, Barry believes (as I do) that it can actually be a good thing, because it’s an energy that can be channeled. The great term he uses is “teaching the butterflies to fly in formation”. Since fear can never be eliminated, why not use it? More than anything, we cannot let fear lead to paralysis. Most of the time, a deep breath and a step back will reveal that we always have choices, the “antidote to fear”, and those choices allow us to bounce once again.
Focusing on the processes that lead us to good or bad outcomes is another way to build resiliency and confidence, says Moltz. He believes we spend much too much time categorizing these events, and not enough time analyzing about how we got to those points. When I read this all I could keep thinking about was “It’s the journey, not the destination”. Because one man’s failure is another man’s success, understanding and learning from all of our past experiences is yet another way to bounce forward.
Lastly, there’s passion – the rocket fuel for fighting failure, and building lasting confidence. Barry calls it “the only thing that will bounce the businessperson off the bottom”. But we must understand where our passions come from, and if what we’re doing every day is in line with that passion. Granted this is something we’ve heard many times before, but in my view I can never hear it (or read it) enough, especially in this context.
In the end, to Barry it’s all about making better decisions – and the way to do that is to keep “bouncing”. We have to get into and stay in the game – we need to make choices, over and over again, with humility and passion, understanding and channeling our fears, and focusing on the journey instead of the destination.
I’ve always called this “a bias toward action”.
There’s certainly much more to this book than what I’ve presented here. Barry draws frequently from his own life experiences and learning, and those are the most effective passages. It is certainly not a “know it all” book, written more out of hubris than a desire to share hard earned knowledge. It’s not a bunch of happy faces wrapped around an “easy 5 step plan”.
Nope, it’s a very “grounded” approach – here’s someone who’s not afraid to admit he’s failed (and tell you why), or tell you what you might not want to hear in a self-help book. Or tell you that once you read the book, you should throw it away (yes, he really says this, but you’ll need to read the book to find out why).
In other words, it’s a book with a foundation in honest reality but yet ultimately optimistic about the human condition, and our ability to bounce.
Sounds a little like Half-Fullism Barry – welcome to the club!