If you stay long enough through the end credits of Air, you're rewarded with the viewing of Michael Jordan's 1992 Gatorade commercial, Be Like Mike.  I surprisingly found myself crying through a lot of Air, but when Be Like Mike came on, the floodgates opened. I was so overcome with emotion that the only other patron in the theatre (it was 11am on a Sunday) stood by as the lights came on, my husband believes, to make sure I was ok. I gathered myself and headed out into the east village, blinded by the sun, and spent the afternoon talking to my husband about why I had felt so moved.

I'm sure nostalgia had a lot to do with it—remembering meeting my best friend at the bus stop freshman year—he was dressed in full Bulls swag, watching my brother practice his dunks in our driveway filming himself with our camcorder only to be replayed on the VHS, and most of all the anticipation and utter joy you felt with the opening bars of The Alan Parson's Project, Sirius, with Ray Clay's voice ringing out beckoning all to gather around for the greatness ahead. 


At the same time Michael Jordan was winning all the championships, I was learning how to become a professional dancer. I was in high school, developing myself as both an athlete and artist and learning what it took to become the best version of myself in some arena. I was given the opportunity for leads and solos in most performances, and I was still incredibly insecure. But before every performance, my teacher, Gina, gave the same speech: now is the time to rise to the occasion. Rise to the occasion became a mantra, an invitation for growth, and an opportunity for self-transcendence. It was a gift from a mentor to have someone who could see a better version of you and to be held accountable to change.

What ultimately moved me so much about Air, and the experience of Michael Jordan in the 90s, is the story of meeting the moment and the self-awareness and dedication to growth that it takes to be able to do so. In that theatre, I felt a palpable sense of loss in an era where we confuse optimization with actual realization. 


On Saturday night, I will put on my highest heels and make a pilgrimage to David Geffen Hall to see Gustavo Dudamel conduct Mahler's Ninth Symphony. We'll grab a Negroni on tap and head upstairs to sip them under Chen & Kai's fabulous chandeliers. This will be Dudamel's first performance with the NY Phil since it was announced that he will lead as the music director there in 2026. When it was announced in February, I told my husband that, in the classical music world, this is like having Michael Jordan come to town.

Gustavo Dudamel is also a master of meeting the moment. A native of Venezuela, he got his start in his local youth orchestra, picking up the button at 13 and never looking back. He is one of the most decorated conductors of our generation and a fierce advocate for music education for the youth. The documentary ¡Viva Maestro! is an inspiring portrait of someone who finds the path of transcendence and realization when faced with both existential and physical threats, thereby liberating others with his actions. 


My clients and students have asked me lately: "What are you seeing in the other companies you work with?" I typically see about 35 private clients in any month and engage with roughly 20+ students. Intimately engaging with roughly 50 companies, though a small sample size in the bigger context of the economy, does give me a privileged position to notice patterns and themes. What has been interesting to me in these times is how many entrepreneurs have experienced a slowdown and pointed at the economy as the culprit. What is so interesting about that was so well articulated by Economist Paul Krugman in his NYT Opinion piece yesterday, "Why Are Americans So Negative About the Economy?" :

So what’s going on? The general rule seems to be that Americans are feeling good about their personal situation but believe that bad things are happening to other people. A Federal Reserve study found that in late 2021 a record-high percentage of Americans were positive about their own finances while a record low were positive about the economy. We don’t have results for 2022 yet, but my guess is that they’ll look similar.

Yes, there are big things happening in the world. Yes, there is always "news" about the economy, the debt ceiling, and my favorite, the AI Killer Robots. But ultimately, what I see to be the issue is entrepreneurs rising up to meet this moment. What has changed is the sense of urgency so many consumers felt over the past few covid years, which fueled a lot of consumption. That space that is being created as the urgency wanes is causing entrepreneurs to attune to stories of scarcity and stagnation. Once we are attuned to stagnation, we'll act as if that is the only true story.

Instead, it is true that most entrepreneurs who launched their businesses in the last ten years have maxed out on their leadership capabilities. Most are leading with skillsets developed in an era of easy access to consumers and little to no existential threats. Look no further than the crumbling of Vice and Buzzfeed for confirmation that the model everyone believed would drive the economy (using ads and social media) is d.e.a.d.

What is happening now, as the living landscape of entrepreneurship changes, is that all are being asked to rise to the occasion and meet the moment of this economy. What this requires is a different awareness of how you lead and how you lead your teams. If you find yourself, in this moment, listing out the reasons why the economy causing your business to slow without also listing the ways in which your leadership needs to change to meet this moment, you're missing the most important list. What got you here will not get you there. What Michael and the Maestro knew about these types of moments is that they were the most authentic opportunities for growth. But that growth requires focus and a healthy dose of self-confrontation. Where do you find the inspiration to rise to the occasion?

This spring, I have found myself deeply immersed in the NBA playoffs. Each series feels like a metaphor for economic shifts—one week you're up, one week you're down. One quarter you're up, one quarter you're down. My team this year is the Celtics, who were down in the series to the 76ers. When they began to climb back with a game-six win, Jayson Tutam was asked where he found his confidence to trust himself and come back, to which he responded that he was HUMBLY one of the greatest basketball players in the world and that everyone goes through struggles and slumps and what is most important is to find a way (and Deuce for cuteness). What way will you define for yourself in this moment? 

This email may contain affiliate links via such as our page. If you purchase through these, AHH may receive a small commission.


You are receiving this email because we thought you would be interested in Ask Holly How.
You can or
unsubscribe or update your subscription preferences.

Add Holly to your
Ask Holly How

Add us to your address book" target="_blank" style="mso-line-height-rule: exactly;-ms-text-size-adjust: 100%;-webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;color: #e88e46;font-weight: normal;text-decoration: underline;">address book