Christine Comaford-Lynch responds
Bill Gates calls her “super high bandwidth.” Bill Clinton has thanked her for “fostering American entrepreneurship.” Newsweek says “by reputation, Christine is the person you want to partner with.” New York Times bestselling author Christine Comaford-Lynch is CEO of Mighty Ventures, an innovation accelerator which helps businesses to massively increase sales, product offerings, and company value. She has built and sold 5 of her own businesses with an average 700% return on investment, served as a board director or in-the-trenches adviser to 36 startups, and has invested in over 200 startups as a venture capitalist or angel investor. Christine has consulted to the White House (Clinton and Bush), 700 of the Fortune 1000, and hundreds of small businesses. She has repeatedly identified and championed key trends and technologies years before market acceptance. Christine’s popular column on www.BusinessWeek.com/SmallBiz launched in January 2007.
Christine has led many lives: Buddhist monk, Microsoft engineer, geisha trainee, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist. Her triumphs and disasters are revealed in her New York Times (and USA Today, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and Amazon.com ) bestselling business book: Rules for Renegades: How to Make More Money, Rock Your Career, and Revel in Your Individuality. The book is available at all major retailers, the Office-Politics bookstore, or via www.RulesForRenegades.com.
Christine has appeared on CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, FOX Business Network, PBS, CNET and is frequently quoted in the business, technology and general press at large. Stanford Graduate School of Business has done two case studies on her and PBS has featured her in three specials (Triumph of the Nerds, Nerds 2.0.1, and Nerd TV ). CNET has broadcast two specials covering her unconventional rise to success as a woman with neither a high school diploma nor college degree. Christine believes we can do well and do good, using business as a path for personal development, wealth creation, and philanthropy.
(Video bio at: http://www.mightyventures.com/bio.php )
Christine’s Advice to Office-Politics Readers
Below are Office-Politics letters answered by Christine. (Also check out a selection of Christine’s inspirational Mighty Minutes.) If you want Christine to answer your letter, please indicate that in your letter submission. And also remember, we receive many more letters than we can possibly answer. You’ll improve your chances by writing a letter that is clear and concise. Before submitting your letter please read the Terms of Submission.
Our success has created a lot of jealousy and bad feelings amongst the older, more established divisions who didn’t do quite so well. Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: “Right now everyone’s intimidated by you — instead of celebrating your victory they are feeling threatened by it. This is an unfortunate cultural problem, and it starts at the top.”
Not knowing the political game, when a fellow “equivalent” co-worker asked me how much my salary was (after telling me his salary as well), I hesitated and told him. Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: “Now you know what the expression “loose lips sink ships” means. You made a mistake by revealing your salary, and now you’re being attacked.”
A lot of my co-workers view me as a threat because I have many positive attributes working in my favor and, of course everyone is jealous of the girl that’s been there the least amount of time, but gets promoted faster! Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: “Sounds like there is a lot of fear in your workplace — and they are projecting some of it on you. When this happens to me I always consider what it is that I represent to others. Why do others find you threatening? What do you represent to them? Why are you the target?”
This person constantly throws her co-workers “under the bus.”… We are also dealing with the “halo” effect in this case, since her supervisor doesn’t hold her accountable. Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: ” Ugh. I’ve been where you are, my friend. The halo effect may look like the person gets away with murder, but that untouchable glow is highly isolating. Because she feels “above the law” she is disconnected and disrespected by all around her. So she lashes out, throwing people “under the bus” because she feels so isolated, which only perpetuates the pattern. Sad, isn’t it? ”
It seems there is no one to complain to, since she and her ‘boyfriend’ are at the top of the contractor ladder here, and Denise is buddies with our Alphabet boss too… Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: ” While reading your question I felt transported back to junior high school… yes, not even high school. The behavior of your colleagues seems adolescent, pubescent, downright bizarre…”
I need some insight in figuring out what type of workplace culture I’ve joined… Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: ” Play this game with me…. See yourself as an anthropologist exploring a different culture…”
I really feel that ‘good morning’, or ‘did you have a nice weekend’ is the bare minimum that can be expected when you share an office with someone for 10 hours a day… Christine Comaford-Lynch, Author responds: ” My concern for you is two-fold: first, you are suffering because she is simply who she is… Second, you are co-officed with her for what I assume will be a long-term arrangement…”
RULES FOR RENEGADES: New York Times Bestseller
Author: Christine Comaford-Lynch
Free Digital Book Excerpt
The Preface: You’re a renegade
You’re a renegade — You have a level of passion and commitment that others don’t. You’re apt to break the rules that are blocking you from getting things done. You’re a renegade because you want to build something great, have a fulfilling career, and not be required to sacrifice yourself on the altar of success. Whether you are (or want to be) an entrepreneur leading your own company or an intrapreneur within someone else’s, whether the company is large or small, for profit or not, it doesn’t matter. Maybe you’re even returning to the workforce or heading into it for the first time. I how it feels because I was a renegade too, whether I knew it or not.
My journey into the world of business never bulleted down the express lane. At age 16 I ran away to New York City to become a model. Six months later I talked my way into college without a high school diploma. Neither New York’s fashion scene nor academia satisfied my yearning to make a difference in the world, so I became a Buddhist monk. At 24, I broke my vows. At 25 I got a burger, a boyfriend, and a bottom-rung job at Microsoft. I embraced my inner geek, but I also figured that the way to make my mark and help others was to start building companies. At 27, I decided to become a millionaire. Ten years later, I had made over $10 million and given $3 million of it away to assorted nonprofits. At 40, I retired, having consulted to 700 companies in the Fortune 1000 and hundreds of small businesses, created over 5,000 jobs, found the man of my dreams, got married, and became a step-mom to an incredible son.
Sounds fantastic, right?
That’s the stuff for the front page of the resume. Here’s the stuff that isn’t exactly front page news: I also screwed up royally. Lots of times. I lost sight of the good intentions that sent me into business in the first place. I gave power over my life away to other people again and again, letting them decide whether I was worthy enough. I chased after impossible standards of beauty, bleaching my dark hair blonde so aggressively that it broke off at the roots and I had to wear a wig for eight months. I fell in with a cult and almost ruined my hard-won reputation and business career digging myself out. I was so busy expanding my Rolodex that I blew off a bunch of great friends. I turned myself into such a molar-grinding, burned-out ball of anxiety that I needed a facelift at age 38 and had to have all my teeth recapped at age 42. Oh, and did I mention that I made a little business mistake that cost me $8 million? It took some major wake-up calls-including, sadly, helping to care for my dying father-to get me back to the necessary work of reclaiming my life’s purpose.
Today, at age 44, I’m still a work in progress. I’ve rejoined the workforce with a job that feeds my soul: I help accelerate businesses, big and small, by showing people how to develop their inner entrepreneur. I write, deliver seminars and speeches, and am an active volunteer. I still mess up, but I do it less often and with a broader perspective.
Your path is different from mine, but I’m guessing we have some things in common. You want a fabulous life and career-maybe you have a vision that you want to make into a reality. You want to succeed without totally sacrificing your personal life. I wrote this book for you. Depending on where you are in your career, you may need what’s in some of these chapters more immediately than others. Read them in the order you want. Ultimately you’ll want to read them all, because there’s something in every chapter that will be helpful. And if you skip some, you’ll miss a lot of good stories.
This book is the distillation of what I’ve learned as I’ve succeeded (and failed) in business, built strong, loving relationships (and some disasters), and evolved in my spiritual life. I didn’t start with any advantages-mega-brains, status, or money, for instance-so if I did it, anyone can. If you simply want to become financially independent, this book can help. If you want a meaningful life full of rich connections, this book can help. If you want to integrate spirituality with your work, this book can help. If you want to have more self-confidence and self-esteem, I can help. If you want perfectly toned abs, killer buns, and thinner thighs in 30 days, sorry, this book can’t help.
My plan was to show you how exhilarating and creative and kick-butt business can be by telling you a lot of funny stories about my career, so you could laugh and gasp as you read about the total triumphs and absolute train wrecks I’ve presided over. There’s a lot to learn from both. But as I mulled over my life as an entrepreneur, I realized that there was a bigger story to tell-the hard-won wisdom that emerges from building a fulfilling life while rocking your career.
I’m guessing you love freebies as much as I do… So I’ve filled this book with lots of cool free stuff: links to a sample business plan outline, tutorials on sales and marketing techniques, tools to help you build your own power and deal with rejection, and much, much more. I hope you’ll learn from my stories that the return on the investment in your career and life is worth ten times the cost. You’ll gain power, courage, confidence, and optimism. You’ll know that whatever challenges come your way, you emerge triumphant. You’ll thrive, not simply survive. Okay, renegade, let’s rock.