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What’s On Your Cheat Sheet?

 

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May 1, 2019

Perhaps it’s been a few (or 20 years) since grade school. You might not remember why you cheated, but how is hard to forget. 

In this game of truth over dare, we’ve heard some interest stories about cheating on exams: from programming the answers into a T.I. 83 calculator (I plead the 5th on that one), convincing friends to share their answers because you had more important matters to which to attend, to the tried and true copy-the-straight-A-student method.

However, if we’re honest, it’s unlikely to hear someone say “please don’t give me the answers to avoid flunking out on my goals and dreams.”  So this week, we’re asking, what’s on your cheat sheet?

For some, the team cheat is taboo.  Yet, one of its dictionary definition is surprisingly positive

cheat

/CHēt/ verb * avoid (something undesirable) by luck or skill

Whatever you call it– a cheat sheet, business bible, blueprint for life—navigating the uncertainty of growing an organization is much easier when one can look to predesignated sources for direction and advice in any circumstance.  Just as the definition indicates, creating a cheat sheet requires honing skill sets like preparation, discernment and personal resilience.  Here’s a few tips on how to get the process started:

For those inevitable oral exams, it helps to define your talking points .  Most great orators have a speechwriter or dedicate substantial time to planning what he or she plans to say.  The same goes for life; you will inevitably encounter a stage for which you do not feel prepared.  It’s normal. 

Imagine how the Tope 5 companies from eMerge Americas Startup Showcase Pitch Competition would have felt without a pitch deck or talking points? (well, they probably wouldn’t made it that far!).  The reality is that when we take time to defined our values, what we stand for, where we are going is akin to memorizing the answers before the test.

Not that I know from experience or anything, but in a B-B-C-D-A combination, missing just one letter in the multiple choice sequence means you fail.  If you remember the Scantron, then you know how easy it was to accidentally copy the wrong bubble.

Why not learn from the mistakes of others?  To do, however, requires studying the mistakes of others.  Unpacking their strategies and listening to war stories to draw parallels of caution towards your present venture.  Mentorship and proximity are mutually exclusive concepts.  In the age of LinkedIn (and books), you can tap in the psyche of your most admired entrepreneur role models.  As Reid Hoffman explains, “Ten extremely informed individuals who are happy to share what they know with you when you engage them can tell you a lot more than a thousand people you only know in the most superficial way.”

Finally, become an athlete.  No really, spend your energy mastering a sport (particulalry while you’re young) is proven a critical training ground for entrepreneurial leaderships, while it boosts career opportunities and earning power. The diligence and commitment that sports command is translatable skill to the startup world. Early mornings, late nights, managing team dynamics, physical and mental exertions, and most importantly, thousands of hours of practice.

Yet, most atheletes also know that winning is not the sum total of the sporting experience.  This emobodies, as Jeff Homan explains, a cardinal rule of entrepreneurship: “Success is not a destination it is a platform that enables you to do what really matters.”

The above list is by no means exhaustive, so drop us a note or tag us on social with the answer to: what’s on your cheat sheet?

Cheers,

Venture Cafe Miami

 

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