Sunday, April 30, 2006

Scarpias and Iagos

Ahh, the opera. It was great taking my wife to the Met this weekend in New York, and Tosca was simply stunning. Getting away and enjoying ourselves for a little while was very needed, and at the same time it made me realize how lucky I am to have her by my side in this venture.

Note: Never start a company without spousal support and buy-in. They are business partners in such ventures, and have to believe in the risk, and be willing to support you as you pour hour upon hour into the venture. Without my wife’s support in this matter, I fear all would be lost.

Watching Tosca, I felt drawn to the question of how one deals with Scarpias and Iagos in business? Certainly it is inevitable that in life one runs across such characters, and to deny it creates a false utopia.

One of the readings that helps me stay focused is “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius. Aurelius was the last of the Five Good Roman Emperors (, and was featured prominently in the movie “Gladiator. He set his wisdom down in a series of meditations, which are just absolutely brilliant and timeless. Here is one that undeniably handles the Scarpia question:

“How great a rest from labor he gains who does not look to what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only to what he himself is doing, in order that exactly this may be just and holy, or accord with a good man’s conduct. ‘Do not look round at a black character,’ but run toward the goal, balanced not throwing your body about (Aurelius, IV, 18).”

I love that, and it’s true. It’s amazing that a great ruler like Aurelius was so focused on remaining intent on purposeful, worthwhile action instead of distractions. Meditation after meditation seems to be about this sort of council.

When I look at my company’s mission statement, what do unnecessary issues sparked by these Scarpias have to do with being helpful to clients and those around me in their efforts to communicate effectively? Or using principle-based activity as the foundation of success in communications? Nothing! Therefore, these issues should not be dwelled upon, instead it would be better to use my valuable time working with and helping others.

It gets back to the mission, the focus. Abandoning Scarpia, and thinking of Aurelius and the principles at play, it becomes very easy to simply do the next right thing for those that have entrusted me. In reality, moving in this positive direction only energizes me further to continue pursuing my goals.


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