A business in the hand is worth two in the bush

I could have thrown up my hands and given up, disgusted or dismayed that the one interview I expected to launch my career never happened.

March 19, 2012 23:34
4 minute read.
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I was once interviewed for a two-part feature interview in an industry publication. Industry publications are the niche publications for people in specific industries. For instance, there are home-decorating magazines for the general public. Those magazines may have the occasional article about laying tile, or painting sheds, or growing flowers for people who may have a passing interest in those topics.

But there is a different kind of magazine, an “industry publication.”

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Industry publications are niche magazines that cater only to a specific niche. There is a magazine for only tile layers and another for painters. There are niche publications specifically for flower growers, and one for people in the motivational-speaking industry.

The down side is that niche publications don’t have the same distribution numbers. But the up side is that they are more likely to be read by people who actually know their stuff, whatever it is. Those are the people who are more likely to contact you or hire you if you appear in an industry magazine they read.

So, when I learned this interview was for a magazine targeting financial institutions – a niche magazine read by banking executives across the United States – I was pleased to be interviewed.

After a really fantastic hour-and-a-half interview, the reporter let me know that it was so good that the magazine publisher had agreed, for the first time, to split it into a twopart serial. This would not only give me a tremendous amount of additional exposure – which, when combined with my unexpected look and intriguing background – it would be tremendously valuable to me.

The editor-in-chief of the magazine asked me, “Would you rather we put it in this month or next month? The cover of next month’s magazine is someone extremely popular here in the USA. That guarantees that next month’s issue will be well-read and distributed.”


That sounded good to me, so I said yes. But, the following month, I wasn’t in the magazine. I called to check on the status of the article, but no one returned my calls or emails. At the time, I was counting on this tremendous piece for credibility in the banking sector so I could get consulting gigs and speaking engagements in that market.

But it didn’t happen.

It later turned out that the magazine hadn’t paid the staff in several months. Not only were they not paying their staff, they would constantly hire new staff every time the old staff left due to nonpayment. The writers had written the article, but they were holding it hostage, not releasing it to the magazine owners until they were sure they would get paid.

They didn’t get paid and my two-part spread was never published.

I once read a quote, which if I remember correctly was: “Some people wait their entire lifetime for their 15 minutes of fame... and when their time finally comes, they are not ready to take advantage of it.” I was ready for my 15 minutes of fame, but it didn’t come. I could have blamed the magazine or the writers, but I realized that at whichever stage you are in your life, it’s time to stop sitting on the fence and waiting for someone or something else to “pull it all together” for you. The excuses we feed ourselves about why the time is not right for a major life change are for the most part, exactly that: excuses! Baruch Hashem, I could have thrown up my hands and given up, disgusted or dismayed that the one interview I expected to launch my career never happened. But I didn’t.

Today I’m constantly speaking and consulting for entrepreneurs and corporations of all sizes. I’m lecturing at events of all kinds and doing all the things I dreamed would happen once that article was published.

Looking back I learned my lesson, and I’ve tried never to believe that things outside of us control our future. While it seems quite concrete and inflexible, time passing can lead to a tremendous amount of unexpected change... and, as the expression goes, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

I never did get that article published (although in hindsight the lessons I learned from that made the experience worthwhile). I learned to never put things off for next season, for better weather, for more money, or until you achieve this or that, or until someone else comes along to help you, or makes you a promise. The time to act is NOW. The person controlling your life is YOU, and your rocket ship needs to leave now so it doesn’t miss the window of opportunity that awaits.

Whether you read these lines the date the paper gets published or in 30 years’ time, today, the first day of the rest of your life, is the day to get moving.


Issamar Ginzberg is a rabbi, businessman, public speaker and marketer.

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