Monthly Archives: December 2012

What I learned In Rehab

My post op nurse taking advantage of my inebriated state.

My post op nurse taking advantage of my inebriated state.

No,not that kind of rehab. Physical rehab. A week ago I had shoulder surgery. I’ve had a torn Labral tendon for a while now and bursitis.  I’ve been telling the world, it was the result of saving a horse from a terrible fall and I thought it was. The truth turned out to be not quite that heroic. The surgeon got in there and found that the damage was a result of over use and maybe, and I mean maybe a few sports injuries from when I was a kid.  Mostly, it’s a natural degeneration of the tendon over a lifetime.  The bursitis, just bad luck I suppose. So, I’m not a hero. Just falling apart a bit.

The Doc said in his office the procedure was no big deal. As he walked into pre-op   and there I lay with an IV hanging off my arm, a pain block needle just having been extracted from my neck and fresh from having been told they would be putting in a breathing tube, I questioned his definition of no big deal.  He said “the procedure was no big deal for him. It’s an easy fix.  Not so much for me though.” He clarified that indeed this was major surgery. That it was going to hurt for a while and it would be a long road back.

I woke up in an immobilizing sling. My arm clamped into one position, it was pretty unclear to me just how long I was going to be in this thing and what exactly lay ahead for rehab.  Earlier, a nice fellow had come by with my prescribed “cold machine.” A unit complete with 6 feet of tubes that pumped constant cold water into a pack that was part of the immobilization rig. Deeee-lightful. I looked like a defective astronaut that they picked for a suicide mission.

My 3 day stay on the couch. Thank you fat Chargers fans, or I would have had no wardrobe.

My 3 day stay on the couch. Thank you fat Chargers fans, or I would have had no wardrobe.

The first few days were really bad. Very painful, lots of painkillers and pretty much propped up on the couch hooked up to my machine, wearing cut up XXXL San Diego Chargers tee shirts and watching football.  Now I like football, but after watching 4 games in a row on Sunday, it was getting boring.

Well, it’s a week later, after a post op visit to remove the surgical wraps, getting some exercises to start my rehab, I’m feeling a lot better. I’m out of the rig and into a sling. I can sort of use my right arm again and I had my first pain free night last night.  So, after shaking off the cobwebs, I can gather my thoughts again and let you know what I’ve learned. As always, as in life, so it is in business.

1. Have great people around you. Without Adrienne taking care of me through this, I’d be dead.  I didn’t have to look around for help, ever. She was always right there anticipating what I needed and pushing me to get better. She’s the best nurse, and dead sexy.

2. Do your research.  My doctor is great, he’s the orthopedic surgeon for the LA Kings and the Olympic Volleyball Team. He’s great at fixing you. He also works with pro athletes that know when they get hurt and need surgery, it’s going to be a big deal. What I realize now is that it was my responsibility to know just what was coming, not his to spoon feed me.  The internet was right there, I could have Googled “just how bad is this going to be?”

3. Do the work. The past few days, I have really pushed myself. Making sure I did my rehab without fail or excuses.  I have over done it a few times and gotten wiped out. But, I’ve found the right pace now and and am getting steadily better.

4. Be thankful for the experience and grow from it.  I don’t take as good care of myself as I could. While this injury wasn’t necessarily connected to not taking care of myself, if I exercised much more regularly and watched my diet better than I do, perhaps I would have been more in tune with my body and felt this coming much earlier.  Maybe even avoiding surgery all together.

getting better

getting better

Well that what I got right now.  A new year starts and though a bit gimpy, I’m fresh off a great life lesson and ready to start anew.

F#@$ The Status Quo

Steve-Jobs-Apple“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Apple Inc.

I love good advertising copy, and this is about the best there has ever been, with the possible exception of “That’s a some spicy spicy meat-a-ball.”  Apple built a whole brand on taking the assumptions of design, product lines and marketing and throwing it all out the window.  I don’t believe for a minute they were certain any of their ideas would work. But, they were certain that doing things everyone else’s way would be boring and unfulfilling. So, they were willing to take risks, and as they say: with great risk comes great reward.

More than this, they were unwilling to sit on their laurels.  They kept moving forward. For them, the status quo doesn’t exist. They continually stay out in front, finding new areas to compete in and developing products that people want.  What’s interesting is that the products are not even necessarily the best products out there, as other companies catch up and eclipse them. But, with a culture of constantly moving forward, of bucking the status quo, they are looking to eclipse themselves as a daily practice and many of us are willing to go along for that ride.

As I was contemplating this today, I received an email from Linked In asking if I wanted to follow Ari Emanuel, CEO of William Morris Endeavor. I found his philosophical statement so compelling I signed right up.  There was so much I wanted to say on this subject, but found that Ari just summed it all up.

timthumbFrom Ari Emanuel’s Linked In profile:

“Next” doesn’t sound like a motto to live by. It doesn’t make for an epic battle cry or moving political campaign slogan. But it was – and still is – an Emanuel family mantra that my father used every day when I was growing up. Sitting around the kitchen table after school, my brothers and I would spin our day’s success stories. Our father’s response? “Nu” (Hebrew for next).

So why am I telling you this?  Who gives a shit what my father said?  I’m sharing this with you because it’s a philosophy that has carried me from the family dinner table to where I am today.  While I acknowledge that you can learn a great deal from historical precedents, I think we all spend too much time and energy looking backward.  The successes or failures of your past don’t define you.  It’s the ability to turn the page to the next, better chapter.

Take my career as an example.  If I had paid attention to my “career indicators” – bad grades, dyslexia, ADD, non-Ivy League school (I could go on, but my parents would prefer I didn’t) – who knows where I would be.  Certainly not here, sharing my opinion on life.

And when a few of my colleagues and I decided to leave one of Hollywood’s most established talent agencies to start our own, above a burger restaurant, there were plenty of reasons (families, mortgages, expense accounts) to stay put.  But we weren’t satisfied.  We could see that the business was changing.  We knew that in order for our clients to play in this new landscape, we had to form an agency that fit our vision of the future. Even when Endeavor became a formidable competitor to the Big 4 talent agencies, my father’s voice once again rang in my ears.

What was going to be the next great leap forward for our clients and our company?  The answer was merging our startup with a 100+ year-old institution, a risk that many warned against, citing countless failed mergers.  Again, it was that same question: “What’s next?” It forced me to keep moving forward, and now WME is just getting started.

My point is, if you’re looking for an excuse to fail, you will always find one. Don’t get me wrong – I have no problem celebrating the wins.  They instill the confidence that propels us forward.  Just don’t trip on your victory lap.

To some, “next” may come off as a dismissal. To me, it’s the catalyst for endless possibilities.  As an agent, my job is not done when the deal is closed. It’s about constantly watching  the road ahead.

OK you’ve heard enough from me…

– Ari Emanuel

That’s a pretty awesome statement. One can argue that perhaps Ari’s next with the William Morris merger actually propelled Endeavor backwards and made just made them into another iteration of the big 4.  But, that would be missing the point.  Wherever the “Next” took Ari, it took him in a direction that will spawn another “Next” and another and another….  Some will go forward, some backward.  But to have the opportunity to move forward, you have to risk going backwards sometimes.  To do nothing, to stay put is just maintaining a status quo.

What’s your status quo? How can you shake it? Can you gird your loins and take a step forward with the risk of taking two steps back?  If you can’t, maybe it’s time to ask yourself what you’re afraid of. And, if you’re afraid you’re not alone. Being afraid doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart. But, move anyway….. and move now.