Sometimes when you think you have an “A” game, when you are polished and ready to roll, you might just rip your clothes off and look in the mirror first. No, I don’t mean literally (unless we are talking about health and fitness, then it’s a good place to start). I’m talking about ripping away the safety, the walls, the blankets, and all the things that make you feel cozy. Don’t lie to yourself or let others lie to you… Rip off your clothes and take a good hard look.

If you work at a bank (apologies in advance, as some of my smartest friends work in them), then leave and prove how smart you are. It’s not hard to look smart trading a few billion within the walls of a bank where you don’t have to raise the money and don’t have to see the face of the family that invested in you. Take that “outside” the bank, rip off your clothes, and prove it. Not so easy. What looks like Mr. America in clothes may be more anorexic when the tshirt comes off. But, if you do it, you’ll know. And once you go naked, you’ll never go back.

Entrepreneurs, this means you need to get in front of investors. Let them ask you questions. Your friends and your family aren’t usually hard enough on you. Go to the big boys, pitch your model, talk about your strategy and plans. Wait 30 seconds, then prepare to be bombarded with good questions. If you are ready, you’ll walk out feeling the warm sun. Otherwise, put your coat on and prepare to come back better prepared.

Thinking of starting your first company, pitch the idea to a seasoned entrepreneur, and let them challenge you. It may sting, but do it anyway.

Have a product you think is ready for primetime, put it in front of a professional retail buyer, and discuss sourcing, unit costs, and distribution.

If you are in a corporate environment, you might just be good enough, but remember how many layers of clothes you are wearing. It’s not Antartica out here; remove a few layers, test yourself. Get your idea in motion. Now, remove a few more layers. Eventually, you’ll be wearing flip flops and shorts. It feels great to get naked.

To those who are already out here running around in the nudist colony of startups, congratulations. You know how it feels. You’ve been sunburned and windburned. You’ve been laughed at or mocked. But, fact is you are still naked. You are proving it every day, getting more fit, getting a tan and proud of it.

Wherever you are in the process, my advice is GO GET NAKED and prove what you’ve got.



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