I’m Fed Up


Rant warning: most of my writing is analytical, calm, cool, and collected. This post isn’t.


This post is about something I don’t do very well or very often: feelings.

I’m truly pissed off about some things (which also means passionate), and I have been for years. I hide it too often under dispassionate analysis. But here is what’s truly brewing inside:

  1. I’m really ticked off when I encounter people – talented, good people – who are unemployed or underemployed. People in the wrong jobs, working for the wrong companies, not able to do their best work. This is such a waste, and it makes my skin crawl. I’ve talked to many of you, I’ve tried to help dozens of you, and I’ve been there myself. In fact, I’m there RIGHT NOW – not having the depth of impact that I should/could be having – and it is immensely frustrating.
  2. I get really upset when I see high-potential entrepreneurs and consultants and small businesses fail because of THE big elephant in the room – the time and effort and money burned up trying to acquire new business (instead of actually doing the work). Lots of you know all about this. Believe me – I feel your pain.
  3. I groan when I see bad hiring decisions – individuals and companies not being clear and what they do, who they are, what they expect….and then the aftermath of failure that comes in its wake. For everyone. Good people, good companies – lack of clear communication.
  4. I can’t stand seeing projects fail because clients and outsource providers have the same problem I just mentioned – lack of clear communication, and lack of alignment. For years, in my pharma world, I’ve done a one-day workshop on vendor and project management to try to address these issues. You would not believe the amount of money I’ve seen dumped out the windows from failed projects. Good customers, good vendors, good intentions….bad execution. Drives me crazy.

I think what ruined me years ago was reading that book, “Now, Discover Your Strengths,” which crystallized for me the whole idea that we are put together to run in our skills and purposes, not to perpetually swirl around the drain of shoring up weaknesses. I’ve been on a crusade since then to help individuals and companies get clarity about their professional purpose. I desperately want to see people and companies doing their best work, aligned with their God-given talents. And when I say “desperately,” that is not hyperbole. This is a burning desire, a life mission – not just a job.

Mis-matches make me angry.

People not reaching their potential – that makes me ache. Businesses not growing (that should be flourishing) – this pains me. AND IT CAN BE FIXED!

I could just go my way, make my money, and ride off into retirement on a lake somewhere, but I just can’t do that. I am cursed with idealism and drive and ideas and caring (in my own introverted way), and I’m fueled by a purpose that goes beyond my own bank account. Some of this goes all the way back to seeing my Dad underemployed; but it also goes forward to a vision of seeing thousands of others doing the work they were meant to do, and profoundly impacting the world for generations ahead. Yes, it’s that big a deal. How can we let so many waste their professional lives, not reaching their full potential?? My teeth grind as I write this.

That’s why you’ll constantly see two themes over and over again in my writing – Clarity and Connections. I actually do believe, to the depths of my soul, that this is how we change the way business gets done. We get clarity about what we should be doing, and then we get connected to those whom we can help (and who can help us). Simple. Profound.

My way of trying to “fix” these issues is by building networks – I have a purpose-built network in pharma for vendor-client “matchmaking” which I’ve nurtured for 10 years. I provide huge value on both sides of the equation – I help my clients to make good decisions by applying my industry knowledge and analytical skills, and I help my vendor/partners to get well-targeted business through clarity consulting and referral matchmaking. The value proposition is a complete no-brainer, right? – a total win-win-win. Yet, I’m still under-utilized, which makes me crazy. Maybe I’m really not a good salesperson after all.

But I remain convinced that a purpose-built network of even more ambitious proportions is the way forward, to address all 4 of those issues above. A network for individuals and small businesses that know what they want to do, and that have a pay-it-forward mentality. A network where all involved have clarity about their work and purpose. A network where referral-based business development is the norm, not the exception. A network where new businesses can start with a head start. A network where resources and jobs and partnerships and client relationships all stem from sharing the immense riches of contacts each member brings into the whole – where the whole is becoming exponentially greater than the sum of its parts.

A network where I can fully utilize all my particular gifts: to advise, connect, facilitate, analyze, coach, and make it all happen. That’s a lot of cups of coffee. And a whole bunch of targeted connections.

Is this too idealistic? Can we not build a network that not only facilitates targeted new business connections, but helps the unemployed, launches contractors, connects veterans with opportunities, opens up whole new realms of local/regional networking? Am I crazy for thinking not only that this can be done, but that it MUST be done?

This is what, like magma under the surface, has been burning inside me for years. And I’m frustrated because I can see it, I can taste it, I know that the whole dynamic works – but I’m struggling to get it going by myself. I’m a do-it-yourselfer who keeps breaking the rule of the very network I believe in – let others bring their resources and insights and help to the table, and do it together.

So this, my friends, as messily as I’ve managed to blurt it out, is my heart. And my dream. And my confession. Some of you have seen this passion bubble up to the surface. I don’t know what all to do with it, but here it is. I want to change the way we do business. I want to see referrals reach a whole new level of effectiveness. I want to see all of us running in our strengths. I want to see good people doing their best work. I’m fed up with the status quo.

How about you?



  1. I have had this conversation with no fewer than four people over the past week. I have come to the conclusion that it does indeed take a village. For years I have been writing about “solo but not alone.” We need to catch up soon, Steve. We share many ideas and a similar passion.

  2. Jill Manty says

    When we started our current business, we were frustrated with how expensive it is to get the services you need when you’re still not really making money. We had this grand idea for a small business marketplace where people could “barter” their services. I say “barter” because we were still working through the details because of how the IRS views things that are truly bartered. But we viewed it kind of like collector websites where small businesses could post have/want types of posts for services (ie. I have web development services to offer; I need someone to do my taxes).

    I think there is definitely a need for something beyond LinkedIn; something beyond the scammy “referral network” sites that go around periodically; something where business owners are truly invested in enlarging the pie.

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