I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Bob Pritchett. Bob co-founded Faithlife Corporation (formerly Logos Bible Software) at 19 years old. In just 24 years, he’s landed on Glassdoor.com’s Top-25 CEOs list, won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, and led the company to a Top-10 Best Employer on Glassdoor.com. The life and career advice he doles out in Start Next Now is the sage wisdom he shares with employees, interns, and his own college-age children.
Here’s what he has to say on how to Start Next Now.
PS: Read to the end to find out how you can win a copy of his book Start Next Now.
How To Start Next Now
1. Why do you think people aren’t living the lives they want? What’s holding them back?
Our safety zones are fenced in by fear. We fear we don’t have permission. We fear we are ignorant. We fear we are incompetent. We fear we have too much to lose. We fear we can’t afford the cost. We fear we might fail.
Fear can be beneficial. Fear causes us to consider risks and count costs, and that’s a very good thing. Fear isn’t something we must eliminate; fear can save your life.
Fear is, however, something everyone needs to confront and evaluate. Fear is a useful feedback mechanism that can help us make wise decisions about risk, and getting ahead does involve risk. It may cost a lot to achieve your goal. The path forward may involve a lot of setbacks.
2. You shared in the first chapter of Start Next Now about your parents and how they gave you permission to try anything. How did this impact your life?
I learned that there’s no need to wait to do something; even if you’re young, even if you don’t have any resources, there’s always something you can do right now to start. And starting has a momentum of its own. One step leads to another, and then another, and then you’re doing something you didn’t imagine could be accomplished from where you were.
3. What can people do if no one has given them permission before?
Give yourself permission to take a few small steps — and permission to change direction if you need to. Many people hold back on starting because they associate starting with doing everything, and worry that that’s too big, or too hard, or too unlikely.
If you give yourself permission to change your mind, or change direction, it’s easier to give yourself permission to start. And with each step you’ll know more and gain confidence to take the next step, wherever that may lead.
4. You’ve been at Faithlife Corporation for over 24 years. In today’s world, that’s a long time to be at a job. Is there anything you’ve learned from showing up to the same organization every day that those who hop from one organization to another miss?
There can be negatives to staying in the same job too long; it’s easy to get stale, or to stop innovating, or to get attached to old processes. Fortunately my company has kept growing; I like to say that I’ve had a different job in a different company every two or three years — it just happens to be at the same business!
There is value in long-term perspective. I know many of the key people and organizations we work with very well. I have had the time to see our partners, competitors, and customers grow. I know who they are, what they do, and a lot of why they are the way they are. And my long time in the same organization means they understand me, and know my reputation. I have earned a lot of trust that pays off every day in opportunities.
5. What’s next for you?
I already have my dream job, and I want to keep doing it for as long as I can. At Faithlife, we serve the church by making the Bible more accessible than it’s been ever before in human history.
My next is always about how I can do a better job serving more people: a new market where we can serve new customers; a larger company where we can create new opportunities for our team members; a new product that delights our existing users.
6. What’s one piece of life advice you’d give to young leaders?
Read. There is nothing new under the sun, and someone has dealt with every challenge you will ever encounter — and they wrote a book about it. If you read widely, and especially history and biography, you will build a mental toolbox that you can reach into whenever you come up with a challenge. There is incredible power (and relief) in recognizing that this sudden problem is kinda like that thing you read about, and now you know how someone else addressed it and what happened.
How To Win Your Copy Of Start Next Now
The team at FaithLife were generous enough to offer a physical copy of Start Next Now to 1 lucky reader. If you’d like to enter for your chance to win a copy of Start Next Now, head on over to the giveaway page. The winner will be contacted on March 24th, 2016. Good luck!