Weekly Thoughts



What do T. Swify and Jacko have in common?

We, like pretty much everybody else in the world, are Taylor Swift fans (probably more for her business and marketing acumen than her music, but hey, she has some bangers).  A couple of months ago, we found ourselves home alone eating scrambled eggs for dinner in front of the TV and Netflix recommended Miss Americana, the Taylor Swift documentary that came out in 2020 (yes we are late to the party, we’ve been busy!). 

In one part of the documentary, Swift gets a phone call letting her know that her album, Reputation, was not nominated for a 2017 Grammy Album of the Year (up until that point, every other album she had produced had been nominated for, if not won, the category). 

After hearing the bad news, without missing a beat, Swift immediately said “This is good, this is fine. I need to make a better record.”  And she got to work, coming out with Lover in 2019, which was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album, followed by Folklore in 2020, which won the Album of the Year, thereby making Swift the first woman and fourth artist overall to win the award thrice. 

Swift’s reaction immediately reminded us of ex-Navy Seal turned hard-ass inspirational speaker Jocko Willink’s Extreme Ownership approach, namely his “Good” philosophy. 

Simply put, Jocko’s philosophy is to respond to every adversity with a one-word response: “Good.”  He believes that no matter how bad something may seem, if we have the right attitude, learning from adversity ultimately makes us better.  From a Jocko podcast

Oh, the mission got canceled? Good… We can focus on another one.
Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? Good… We can keep it simple.
Didn’t get promoted? Good… More time to get better.
Didn’t get funded? Good… We own more of the company.
Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good… Go out, gain more experience, and build a better resume.
Got injured? Good… Needed a break from training.
Got tapped out? Good… It’s better to tap out in training than tap out on the street.
Got beat? Good… We learned.
Unexpected problems? Good… We have to figure out a solutions

That’s it. When things are going bad: Don’t get all bummed out, don’t get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: “Good.”

We will admit that when we mindlessly tuned into Miss Americana, we were not expecting to hear echoes of Jocko Willink.  But with some reflection, that type of steely drive and unwavering determination makes total sense—it’s exactly why Swift is such a force to contend with.  She didn’t wallow, blame the critics, or play the victim.  She accepted it and made a better record. 

In the world of small business, we don’t worry much about Grammy nominations, but we do encounter setbacks and face a lot of discouraging situations.  In those moments, we do our best to channel our inner Jocko…er, Swift, and remind ourselves that this is Good.  It’s an opportunity to focus on being better.  Let’s go.

Have a great week,

Your Chenmark Team

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