Who do you NOT want to be?

Here’s another take on a couple of posts I wrote a few weeks ago on and then .


Part of crafting a business strategy is defining a vision, mission and values. One of the problems I see with this is it’s done more like an uninspired exercise of ‘we have to do it because Strategic Planning for Dummies says so’ (Watch this great video to help set you on your way), a predictable outcome is ‘wished upon’ and what you get is ‘more of the same’ uninspired strategies. The goal of these exercises it seems to me is to just get started without answering ‘WHY’.


An unconventional idea I use to eliminate the ‘uninspired’ is to shift the perspective from ‘who I want to be’ to ‘who I don’t want to be’. Why? Because what you don’t want to do determines what you will do and since most people are judgmental, they can actually tell you more about what they don’t like than what they do.


Get down to the core

We are defined by our relationship to other people, as kids we tried to differentiate ourselves from other kids and would rebel just to be treated differently. Same thing happens in business, the more clearly you recognize who you do not want to be, then, the clearer your sense of identity and purpose will be. Focus on an enemy. It can be anyone or anything that blocks your path, it can be an abstract idea, a group of people with whom you don’t identify with.


This is clearly an unconventional idea, but like I said above, it shifts your thinking from I want to be a singer (just another singer) to I want to be a singer with these specific attributes, values and purpose. It helps you get down to the core!


Desire is born

All the ‘Greats’ have had an enemy. All we hear is where they got their inspiration but they all have an enemy, they might not explicitly say it, but if you read between the lines you’ll figure out who their enemy is or was. A recent example of this is Michael Jordan, just watch his and see how he thanks all the people who provided obstacles for him throughout his career which fueled him with desire and motivation.


An example of how I personally apply this idea is I DON’T WANT to grow old and become less mentally productive when I’m 100 years old. Why? Because I don’t like the fact that as humans we get less mentally productive as we age and so I WANT to grow old and still be able to think of wild ideas that contribute to the world and be as mentally sharp as I am right now. This clearly tells me what I should do and not do and it’s also one of the reasons I started this blog.


Who do you NOT want to be? Find out, declare war on it and use it as fuel to stoke your fire.

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  • Jorge, I really liked this post! I like working with anti-values to help people get to their core values, so I've seen it from that perspective. But I realize I've defined myself a lot by what I DON'T want or like: I DON'T like the status quo, DON”T like clones, DON'T like corporate–so I do like change, creativity and uniqueness and new entrepreneurs!

    I think your take is brilliant!

  • At my last stratup, I had my roadmap. We were looking for client engagements. There were the engagements that were on the roadmap, and those that were “Christmas Money.” Yes, cash would have been great, but then what? I wouldn't put the “Christmas Money” engagements on our website, because they had us doing things and being a company we didn't want to be. We wanted to be on the roadmap making progress towards the goal, instead of scattering our efforts all over someone else's map.

  • Hello Cris, thank you. I'm with you! I've always thought that if ones likes everything as it is then one doesn't really believe there's a better way to do things.

    This idea is 80/20'ish in a way, for example we could take the 'who are you top customers' and invert it to 'who don't you want as customers' and that will give you your ideal customer.

    Glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Good Post