I am a grown adult with an embarrassing confession to make – I hate visiting the doctor and avoid it at all costs! Whether it’s a routine physical, teeth cleaning, a pain in my shoulder that needs to get checked out (yes – I’m getting old), I’d rather take some Advil, sweat it out at the gym, or sleep it off… but please don’t ask me to visit a doctor!
The truly embarrassing part is what I discover about myself when I examine why. Yes, there’s the hassle of scheduling a time, the waiting, the loss of productivity. And I don’t mean to get all Woody Allen, but could it also be that I’m afraid of my own mortality? Hmm. If I’m being perfectly honest though, a big part of it is that if there’s something wrong with me, I’d almost rather not know! I’m happy now, working hard, enjoying life. I mean doctors rarely ever have any good news, so what positive could come out of it?
“And I don’t mean to get all Woody Allen, but could it also be that I’m afraid of my own mortality?”
This of course is dangerous thinking, because ignorance is definitely not bliss. Early detection and preventive care, especially as you get older, are key to living a healthy and active life. Even though I know this to be true intellectually, as I write this blog, it’s been at least a couple of years since my last physical.
So why I am admitting this rather embarrassing character flaw? Well, because it mirrors what I often find when it comes to business development in the private equity industry. Some professionals are in their comfort zone simply living off their cell phone (i.e. Rolodex), and taking folks out to lunch or drinks, as the primary method to source deals. As long as they’re staying active, bringing sufficient deal flow to maintain their fund’s investment pace, and keeping their bosses happy… why ruin a good thing?
This attitude is equally as dangerous. Data and technology…and at an even higher level, just stopping to reflect and strategize from time to time…can pay huge dividends in the long term. For example, having a software that can help you prioritize the best use of your time from a relationship building standpoint, monitor your deal sourcing “health”, and recommend the necessary adjustments, could be the exact prescription you need to get an edge against your competition. More importantly, it could be the key to unlocking superior fund performance.
“The words of legendary coach and philosopher John Wooden, “failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.'”
This doesn’t mean that some good old-fashioned people skills don’t go a long way, which they definitely do (take it from someone that is a classic introvert). But the industry and technology is evolving dramatically, and in the words of legendary coach and philosopher John Wooden, “failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” The irony is that I’ve often heard the very same professionals that try to avoid process and metrics, lament about how the BD professional at PE firms is marginalized and not taken seriously!
A mother once visited Gandhi to tell her son to stop eating so many sweet foods. Gandhi asked the mother to come back in three days. On the third day, she returned and made the same request of Gandhi, so he instructed the boy that too much sugar isn’t good for your health and he should eat less. The mother thanked Gandhi and asked him why he didn’t just say this three days ago. To this, Gandhi responded that three days ago he himself was guilty of eating sweet foods.
So…lest my guidance lose its impact, I better schedule that physical!