Curated Leadership for Today's World

The Summer of My Discontent

Posted on 27 July 2010

I moved back home one year ago to oversee the family business. Stepping into the role of President, daughter, sister, and child of a legend has been both exhilarating and petrifying. The first year consisted of getting into the ledgers, understanding who does what and how to best change the world one book at a time. I’ve hired various folks to help us craft our brand and market our image. After all before I can get folks to come, I’ve got to clearly identify what we are and what we stand for. Max DePree said, "Management has a lot to do with answers. Leadership is a function of questions. And the first question for a leader always is: 'Who do we intend to be?' Not 'What are we going to do?' but 'Who do we intend to be?'"

Our business has a unique purpose. In addition to publishing and promoting the most amazing leadership, inspirational and motivational material, we also sell it at the lowest cost on the planet. We had a year of very modest growth and were able to give $100k to our foundation in its first year. I’m told to be happy that we had any growth at all due to the economy. I consider this comment to be a cop out and it makes me discontented because my goal is to give ten times as much to those who need it.

So after this year of courting and publishing new authors, moving into the realm of social media and developing greater brand awareness, my discontent becomes more palpable every day. And I am glad. Being discontent means I am not happy with the status quo. There have been many times in my life where I’ve struggled with a decision. My course of action has been to work as hard as I am in my current situation until I wake up and clearly see the course of action I should take.  Sometimes this takes years but as they say, “when you’re going through hell, keep going!” It doesn’t mean that I am unhappy. It means that I am restless because I know there is something more out there. My Dad used to call this state “happy miserable” which was a good place to be since you know why you were miserable and could therefore do something about it.

So here I am after my first year home and as a fully fledged entrepreneur. It’s been an amazing learning process regarding things that have worked and things that haven’t. But the one thing all these successes and failures make me is restless. Knowledge makes you yearn for movement, to move one step closer on the map to your destination, to click in one more level of clarity on your site glass as your vision becomes clearer. Seeing the goal more clearly makes me discontent with anything in my circle that doesn’t fully support my mission.

So here’s to a long, hot summer of discontent. May it bring about the seasons of change needed to accomplish our ultimate goals.

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  • Sylvia Henderson: February 20, 2016

    I have had the honor of meeting, visiting over dinner, interviewing, and staying in touch with you throughout your first year “back”. Has it really just been one year? Congratulations!

    I look at ten years in business on my own and think I should be growing faster with greater results and giving more than where I am today. That just motivates me to keep pushing, innovating, building relationships, and searching for ways in which to be of greater value to people. The fact that you are discontent with “as is” and “be happy with” shows that you WILL build exponentially from where you are today. Here’s to discontent! :o)

  • Tony Michalski: February 20, 2016

    Hi Tracey!

    One more thing … The link on your name here in the comments — ‘traceyjones’ — is incorrect. You have the link as ‘’ when it should be ‘….com’.

    In other words, you forgot the “o” in “com.” :-)


  • Tony Michalski: February 20, 2016

    Hi Tracey!

    You are most welcome. You are and will do fine. If I can be of service to you, please let me know.

    Have fun … Tony.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thanks very much Tony. You’re a real encouragement to me as I venture down this road!

  • Tony Michalski: February 20, 2016

    Hi Tracey!

    Do you know what I like best about this article? It’s not just the insightfulness, nor is it just the honesty. What really strikes me the introspective bluntness. Far too often in the personal development field — the publishing genre you and I both share — people sugar coat things in platitudes and tropes rather than acknowledging the discontent, the gnawing, the head held in palms as one frets over a decision. What you (via your father) call “happy miserable” is what we know as living.

    Unlike most people in our field who deny negative feelings or who do their best to erase “bad” thoughts, you embrace them because you know that you can “do something about it.”

    Your father taught you well. I wish I had known him better. You’re a worthy successor for Tremendous Life Books.

    Thank you for this article. It actually made me feel … Good.

    Have fun … Tony.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Amen sister, I am right there with you! Yes Sylvia, it’s been a year and I feel honored to have met and learned from you in particular. I look forward to catching up with you in person next month so we can share how we’re “happy miserable” and make plans for the future:-)

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