Business Advice From a Six-Year-Old

Apr 2, 2019 / By pb+j

Birthday Blog

What would you do over if you had the chance? If you knew what you know now, what experience or journey in your life would you change?

It’s so easy to frame our past this way, isn’t it? To look back on things and wonder what could have been or would have been or should have been, ‘if only’. If only we had more time and more money. If only we had made that deal. If only we had more staff. If only we had made that decision sooner. If only…if only.

Six years ago today, my charming-chap of a business partner, Kyle, and I started pb+j. That’s a whole hand plus one! *insert happy birthday music here* We didn’t really know what to expect or where the journey would take us, but what a journey it has been!

In keeping with our theme, we wanted to outline six short-and-sweet things that we’ve learned over our six years with pb+j:

  • Culture eats apathy for breakfast. Culture—the critical how we work together and our shared beliefs—is not a menu item you get to choose to have or not to have. Workplace culture exists regardless of whether you pay attention to it. So, you have a choice: you can choose to intentionally craft your culture with meaning and purpose, or you can let it craft itself by the lowest common denominator and watch it eat you alive. Slowly.

  • You can’t spell team without people. Spelling aside, this seems pretty obvious, right? It’s so easy to forget that at the heart of every project, every objective, and every key result, is a collection of humans with their own stressors, dreams, motivations, frustrations, skills, and weaknesses all doing their best to work together on shared goals. When we remember this and truly take account of the individuals sitting beside us, that’s when we see the triple word score. #scrabblepun  

  • You will fail. A lot. Failure is inevitable. It might be small, it might be large; it could be surrounding a goal or someone you care about. It’s going to happen...and that’s okay! We believe failure is the best MBA. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to avoid it. Fear of failure is healthy and smart, my goodness, avoid it if you can. But when you can’t, when you do come across it—and you will—learn from it. Let it teach you and don’t let it stall you. Dance with the fear and drive forward.

  • For Pete’s sake, have fun! This is a quick one. A bite-sized nugget of awesome. You are no good to anyone dead. True story. Make sure to bring some joy into everyday life and enjoy doing the work that matters.

  • Know where you’re going and why. We can get lost in the weeds. We all do at some point. Head down getting the work done, staying busy, doing the important things only to look up and realize you don’t know where you are. In those times, it helps to know where you were going so that you can get back on track. More importantly, it helps to know why. The purpose of the destination is the most important thing of all. Why are you doing this? Answer that and nothing can stop you no matter how many wrong turns you might take.  

  • Enjoy the journey. We wouldn’t change our journey for a thing! Would we try to learn a little quicker along the way? Sure, but the journey has been the most important part. The journey has helped to build deeper muscle tissue than Arnold Schwarzenegger, and you need that in business. And in life.

Time flies! We have seen some great successes (yay!) and some decent trip-ups (oops). Believe me, we have learned our fair share of things the hard way with the easy option of thinking, ‘if only’.

Well, let’s all just agree to cut that out right now! What’s the point in fixating on something that we can’t change? Some things are impossible—like time travel and licking your elbow—and I don’t think it’s a good use of your genius to waste your time on the impossible. Instead, put your energy and your vision towards the possible, the future, and the ‘what if’.

What if we had more time and more money? What if we make that deal? What if we hire more staff? What if we make that decision sooner?

What if…we could do everything we thought we were too afraid or too young to do?

Happy Birthday pb+j


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