Fast Friday with Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com (and P. Diddy)

Posted July 30, 2010 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

As regular blog followers will remember, last week I saw Zappos.com’s head happiness spreader, Tony Hsieh, talk about his team’s winning formula for business success.  After sitting through a few career and coaching discussions over the past week involving money, titles and career satisfaction, I felt a certain quote was worth repeating:

“Don’t chase the paper, chase the dream.”

Hsieh credited P. Diddy with this little gem which was lifted from a (likely) Oscar-winning moment in the movie Notorious about the east coast rapper Notorious B.I.G.  In Hsieh’s case, they focus on making their customers happy and not making the company profitable (the thinking being that happy customers lead to a happy bottomline)… the strategy seems to be working.  Under this direction, Zappos.com has grown from nothing to over $1 billion in grow merchandise.  Nice.

From my perspective, chasing the dream not the paper is applicable whether you’re running a business or managing your career.  Most of the people I know who love their jobs (ie: they’re really passionate about what they do) make lots of money and (even if they have high pressure jobs) are pretty stress-free and happy.  On the flip side, people who I know who don’t love their jobs but make lots of money seem to spend a lot of time throwing around words like “golden handcuffs” and seem to be perpetually stressed and unhappy.

When it comes to long-term career happiness, money and titles wear off pretty quickly.  Twenty, thirty or forty years is a really long time to be doing something that makes you miserable.  Don’t you think?  For leaders, I think this is even more crucial.  How can you inspire others if your heart isn’t into what you’re doing?  And, really, isn’t inspiring others one of the greatest opportunities that the choice of leadership presents?

So, the homework assignment for all you “handcuffed” big title, big salary types out there is this: go and buy Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crush It this long-weekend and figure out what’s holding you back from chasing your dream.

Happy leading!


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  1. Mark Godenho says:

    Very true!
    You spend 1/3 of your life at work and you spend 1/3 of your life in bed. So the moral of the story is DO WHAT YOU LOVE…and buy a good bed!

    chairs
    mg

    • LeaderTalker says:

      When you put it that way, it certainly makes spending lots of money on a great mattress a worthwhile investment! Think I’d better go shopping this week! Thanks Mark.