"Get comfortable being uncomfortable! I don’t know many people who could speak more authoritatively on this subject thanMike Rowe.  I had the privilege of meeting Mike this month (May 5th to be exact), and this line was my takeaway.  I doubt I need to introduce you to the host of Dirty Jobs and the narrator of Deadliest Catch, but  Mike Rowe is a guy who isn’t afraid to get uncomfortable.  And that is a huge understatement.

Mike started out selling gadgets on late-night QVC.  At the time, he was singing in a local opera when QVC decided to hold auditions for someone with the unlikely double-skillset of being comfortable with sales while performing on live TV.  For the audition, he had to look into a camera and sell the world’s most boring commodity: a #2 pencil—for an undetermined amount of time.  If he ran out of things to say, he failed.  If he couldn’t be convincing, he failed.  If he was boring, he failed.  He didn’t fail.  In fact, he was a natural.  So he began his television career hawking stuff at 3:00 in the morning on QVC.

Dirty Jobs was nowhere to be seen in Mike’s crystal ball.  He wanted to be a TV host.  So he eventually moved on to become just that for “Evening Magazine”, a prime time show about local events in San Francisco.  Apparently his grandfather was less than impressed, and challenged him to do anything that “looked like real work” while hosting the show.  Still not Dirty Jobs, but now we’re getting closer.

In his quest to prove himself to his grandfather, Mike found himself knee deep in raw sewage under the streets of San Francisco.  What was meant to not only redeem him as a hard worker, but also fulfill his obligation as TV host, ended up getting him fired.  The audience was less than impressed.  In the interest of time (well, space) I’ll fast-forward a bit.  Also, I cannot possibly recreate the story in a way that would begin to do justice to Mike’s own words.  So I’ll just say that an idea was born as a result of swimming with cockroaches, rats the size of loafs of bread, and yes, poop.  A “river of chocolate sludge” was what launched Mike Rowe’s career in a way he never saw coming.

After Mike finished telling us his story, our group (my IT peer group) was given the chance to ask him questions.  One question was something along the lines of, “I am a brand-new sales person. What advice do you have for me?”  Mike’s response was, “Get very comfortable being uncomfortable.”  That line stuck withme.  Mostly because I have spent much of my life chasing comfort.  It’s largely why I made the decision to run my own business.  I thought it would be more comfortable than working for someone else.  (Nothing could be farther from the truth!)  I work with a lot of fellow business owners, CEO’s, and medical practice managers.  Most of them would agree with me.  It sounds like a great gig, but it is wildly uncomfortable.  It is hard work, long hours, difficult conflicts, crushing responsibility, and comparatively low reward.  And so, while I still absolutely love the idea that I am the owner, founder, and CEO of my own company, I have had to force myself to embrace discomfort.  I don’t know that I’m yet truly comfortable being uncomfortable, but I certainly see the virtue in that concept.

I want to shift gears for a minute and talk about one more way that practice managers, executives, and business owners have been forced into discomfort.  It is something that has robbed me of more sleep than I can quantify.  I’m talking about cybercrime.  For decades I have had to deal with viruses and other forms of computer malware and security risks.  It has always been a serious subject, but lately it has shaken us to our core.  “Us” meaning the IT industry; “us” meaning business owners and practice managers; “us” meaning the average citizen.  We are all at risk in a way that we’ve never seen before.  And what scares me even more than cybercrime (if that’s even possible) is the new trend being called “security fatigue”. Because we don’t like to be uncomfortable, and because this problem seems overwhelming, and because many of us feel completely powerless in fighting cybercrime, sadly we are starting to ignore it.  I hear people say, “There’s nothing I can do about it! So what good does it do to worry?”  Well I’m here to tell you that you had better worry about it (at least enough to move yourself to action), and I’m also here to tell you that there absolutely is something that can be done about it.

So you may get tired of hearing me beat this dead horse.  And quite honestly, it’s an uncomfortable situation for me to be in.  I hate trying to convince people to be afraid.  But I hate the alternative even more.

I’ve taken it upon myself to empower every business owner, executive, and manager in the DFW area with the tools and skills necessary to fight this battle.  It is not comfortable, but it is absolutely critical to our survival.  We will be putting on webinars and seminars, speaking at local Chambers of Commerce, and using every other means necessary to get this message out.  Yes, I will gain new clients in the process.  But that is only part of the payoff I’m looking for.  The bigger payoff for me is to become very comfortable fighting a battle that has been waged upon my fellow CEOs, administrators, and my community as a whole.  If you want us to fight the battle in your behalf, we’ll do it.  If you want us to arm you with the weapons to fight it yourself, we’ll also do that.  I’ll open my internal playbook for all to see.  I’ll show you how we take organizations from being less than 30% effective at fighting cybercrime, to roughly 97% effective at squashing the cyber-thugs.  And for those 3% that manage to get past our defenses, I’ll show you how to set up forensics that quickly show us how they got through, how to fix it, and how to prevent it for next time.  And I’ll back that with pass-through cybercrime insurance policies as an extra CYA for your organization.  No, for you!

Because let’s be honest for a minute.  If your organization gets breached, whose neck is on the chopping block?  The cyber-thug who hacked you?  Not a chance.  Yours!

You see, victims of all other crimes – burglary, mugging, carjacking, theft – get sympathy from others.  They are called “victims” and support comes flooding in.

But if your business gets hacked under your watch, and client or patient data is compromised, you will NOT get such sympathy.  You will be instantly labeled as stupid or irresponsible.  Or both.  You will get investigated and questioned about what you did to prevent this from happening and if the answer is not adequate, youcan be found liable, facing serious fined and lawsuits even if you trusted an outsourced IT support company to protect you.

Uncomfortable doesn’t begin to describe it.  But it is reality.  If you are ready to stop pretending everything is OK, that bad things will never happen to you, then take me up on my offer for a free cybersecurity audit.  It’s the first step in a comprehensive battleplan to protect your business, your clients and patients, and your personal reputation.

If that somehow feels too uncomfortable, at least join me on our upcoming Cybersecurity webinar series.

But if you are ready to do battle today, give me a call at 940-324-9400 and let’s dig in and get our hands dirty!