Peter Sims: The Power of Collaboration

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Some people seem to have points A to Z figured out straight out of the gate—from college to grad school to how they want to start their career to where they want to be by the end.

And good for them.

But even better is the journey of discovery, one that remains open to the evolution of life, values, unanticipated opportunities and unexpected mentors and collaborators.

Peter Sims is a true exemplar of this discovery driven approach. A small town California boy, he made the unlikely cross-country trip to attend not an Ivy League school, but tiny liberal arts oriented Bowdoin College in Maine. He majored in government and minored in history; he also discovered that the Board of Trustees “had a number of venture capital investors who were the movers and shakers in getting things done. I just thought, ‘Wow. I want to be somebody who can make things happen.’ I was really interested in business, so with that very naïve, early view of the business world, I thought that would be something to strive for.”

VC took him to London, where, in some ways, he was living the dream. He discovered a love for entrepreneurship. But he also realized that his life- and workstyle didn’t align with his values. “We were working 80 hours a week, 85 hours a week. And I burned to the ground. It was to the point where I couldn't get out of bed in the morning. That was a very strange phenomenon. But it was this achievement drive taken to the extreme….Physically unable to function. I would feel tired and uninspired every day. I would just feel like I couldn't function the way I was accustomed to functioning as a capable “successful” person. I was just going through a period of enormous confusion. I knew I had to try to figure out what to do next.

So at 27 he went to Business school. “When I went to business school, I really wanted to take a step back and figure out.”

And he did, and continues to do, while accumulating inspiring mentors and collaborators along the way. Hear what Peter, author of Little Bets, a Founder of Parliament, Inc., BLK SHP, Silicon Guild and more, has to say about stepping back, figuring it out and the miracles of the people we encounter in our path on the Disrupt Yourself podcast.

Resources Mentioned in the Show and Transcript

Harvard Business Review

HBR Ideacast

Peter Sims –
Twitter: @petersims

Parliament, Inc.

Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims

Bill George

Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value by Bill George

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership 

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant

Silicon Guild


Tom Rath

StrengthsFinder 2.0

Dan Pink

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Dan Pink

Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life by Tom Rath

Patty McCord

Netflix Culture Deck

Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord

Beth Comstock

New Power: How Movements Build, Businesses Thrive, and Ideas Catch Fire in Our Hyperconnected World by Jeremy Heimans & Henry Timms

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Ed Catmull

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

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