Jonathan Fields on Succeeding in Uncertain Times
Many entrepreneurs strike out on their own early in life, but Jonathan Fields isn’t one of them. Fields began his career as a tough-as-nails hedge fund lawyer at a Manhattan mega-firm. Despite his professional success, he felt unfulfilled. So, he traded his corporate garb and comfortable salary to blaze a new trail.
Reeling from the stresses and overall emptiness of his previous career, Fields (pictured) became passionate about the importance of health and wellness, and sought to build his next career in a realm that would change lives for the better. After learning the ropes of the wellness industry as a personal trainer at a Manhattan club, he founded two successful boutique fitness centers: Sedona Private Fitness and Sonic Yoga. He later sold both, and is now a respected author and speaker on business innovation, lifestyle, and career issues. Fields has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today and has built a Twitter following of more than 33,000 users (@jonathanfields). His latest book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear & Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance, was released in September.
The Intuit Small Business Blog recently caught up with Fields to ask his advice on how to succeed in a fledgling economy.
ISBB: Uncertainty was released amid escalating protests against the nation’s economic structure and news headlines heralding the next recession. How do entrepreneurs stay the course amid so much fear and negativity?
Fields: Own the fact that there is no new normal — at least not for the foreseeable future. Once you accept that, you can shift energy away from trying to lock down the future and into developing the tools, strategies, and practices needed to thrive in a time of uncertainty. With disruption always comes the chance to explore, to grow, to create, and to innovate. There’s an opportunity to expand and evolve into something better for those who are willing to decide and act.
Is there ever a “good time” to be an entrepreneur?
One of the biggest traps I see prospective entrepreneurs or current business owners fall into is trying to “time the market.” Many of the big assumptions you’re basing your decisions on will be proven wrong once you’re actually in the thick of business — regardless of how rigorous your initial analysis and projections were. Dive in, start the process of replacing assumptions with facts, and be open to adjusting course as you go. In the end, the moment you’ve been waiting for doesn’t exist.
How can an aspiring social media leader get in on the conversation and offer a fresh perspective?
Build your relationships and community over time by listening more than you speak, adding value to the conversation, always giving more than you get by a factor of at least 10-to-1, and following like-minded people (inﬂuencers) whose conversations you genuinely connect with and care about.
You write about your belief in getting really good at one thing. How do entrepreneurs strike the balance between honing expertise and creativity, without getting lost in “the business of business?”
I’ve spent a lot of time spreading my attention and energy among a wide variety of interests, and I’m becoming increasingly convinced that this approach isn’t allowing me to truly explore my potential. The work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Dr. Martin Seligman point strongly to the fact that we truly ﬂourish when we’re pursuing mastery on some level in life. The more knowledgeable you become in one area, the more data and experiences you can feed into the ideation machine — and the greater the opportunity to bring bigger, better, cooler things into the world.
Stephanie Christensen is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.