• WisBusiness

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book review: “Start Where You Are”


By Terri Schlichenmeyer
by Chris Gardner
c.2009, HarperAudio $29.99 / $38.99 Canada 6 hours / 5 CDs



This summer, you’re really going to do it. There’s no other choice.

You’ve stalled long enough. No more dragging your feet. You need some sort of income, so you’ve decided to start your own business, change careers, take on additional responsibility.

You’ve made up your mind. Now it’s time to figure out what to do next. In the new audiobook “Start Where You Are” by Chris Gardner, you’ll see that you already possess the information you need. You just have to put it all together.

Sometimes, when you have an idea, just thinking about acting on it can be overwhelming. You hardly know where to start or whom to ask for help. Gardner says that you don’t need to worry so much if you remember that your greatest assets are within you. You have the power to determine who you become.

But your dream is just that – a dream – unless you have a plan to implement it. Do your R&D and make a plan that focuses on what you want to do. And don’t be afraid about moving too slowly; Gardner says he drives his staff crazy by repeating this mantra: Baby steps count, too, as long as you go forward.

But speaking of forward, don’t be afraid of yesterday. Identify your past and know how you got to where you are, but give yourself permission to dismiss parts of it that don’t match the person you are.

Oh, and it is possible to forgive transgressions without forgetting them.

Find your passion and keep your eyes on it. Put things into perspective and never disconnect with yourself or the person you want to be. “Know yourself, be yourself, choose for yourself.” Practice the Five C’s: clear, concise, committed, consistent, and confident.

Seize every opportunity you can to get on-the-job training. Be willing to go back to the basics if you stray from the path you’ve chosen. Make friends before you need them. Pick your battles wisely. Be both an apprentice and a mentor.

Above all, know that it’s okay to fail but not to quit, and remember that there is no “secret” to success.

Once upon a time, author Chris Gardner was one of the “working homeless”, and in this audiobook, he uses his early adulthood as an example for what he preaches. Because he started from the bottom and is now the CEO and owner of Gardner Rich LLC, you can bet that everything he says here was personally vetted.

While what you’ll learn in “Start Where You Are” is definitely helpful, listening to it is a bit difficult, particularly if you’re trying to do other things while you’re listening. The tips come fast, and there are so many of them that you’ll almost need to clear your schedule and listen twice.

But if you’re just beginning a new career, you won’t mind. And if you’ve been around the business block a time or three, this audiobook is a great brain-poking reminder. Pick up a copy of “Start Where You Are.”

And then do it.

-- Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was three years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

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