The Plunge: Foster the Feeling

Yesterday I plunged into a pool of freezing cold water.

I couldn’t help but scream. We were at a Russian spa and had been sweltering in a 200ºF sauna prior. I watched others before me jump straight in and pop right out, and so I did it. Upon popping out of the pool and grabbing my robe I couldn’t believe the sensations going through my body. I felt so alert – so invigorated. I couldn’t believe the feelings. I felt alive! and I couldn’t wait to do it again.

Once I was challenged to design a reflection of my favorite emotion. Trying to decide on my “favorite emotion” I recalled one of my greatest memories. I was maybe 14 years old, on the soccer field. Something happened and I broke away with the ball down the left side of the field. As defense began to approach me I nailed the ball as hard as I could with my LEFT leg – and in my memory, time stopped. I felt the goal before it happened – and it did, and it was so freaking sweet. Beautiful goal, and hey, I was no star athlete – this moment was a rarity. I realized that I needed to capture that emotion. In words, I decided the feeling was “euphoria”. I realize now that the excitement and happiness, the euphoria, was real, but what is even more important about that moment in time, and about plunging into a freezing cold pool, is that I was utterly, whole heartedly, completely in the moment.

I’m studying entrepreneurs, as you well know if you’re visiting this blog. I’m reading a ton of books, all at once, they’re totally meshing into one another. As I go deeper my definition for the entrepreneur keeps broadening. I’m interested in innovators, inventors, leaders, artists — individuals who are unwilling to give up on driving towards success. They don’t necessarily own a business, but they own the experiences they have and create. They take responsibility; they jump right in and they feel it.

I want to know how you can keep those individuals in the moment – connected, excited and happy within the organization which naturally comes with it’s politics and bureaucracies that can stifle creativity and momentum. One man with awesome insight is Nolan Bushnell. Bushnell is the founder of Atari, Chuckie Cheese, and was Steve Jobs’ first boss. In Bushnell’s book, “Finding the Next Steve Jobs”, he provides a list of “pongs” which speak directly to how the organization provides and maintains the entrepreneurial spirit of its employees. Some of my favorite pongs include:

  • Celebrate. Make happiness happen through parties and events. 
  • Institute a degree of anarchy. Level hierarchy in order to better connect creativity to the CEO.
  • Require risk. Provide a budget that allows for experimentation.

If anyone knows how to manage the entrepreneur or “rule breakers”, it’s Bushnell in his ultimate experience with the young Steve Jobs. Have you ever successfully managed someone with wild imagination and drive? Would love to hear your experience. Otherwise, I’ll end this post with a high recommendation for the Southampton Spa in Northeast Philly. A trip to say the least.


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