Continuing with our Leadership Series bringing you exclusive interviews from the Los Angeles Tribune with leaders making an impact in our community. We had the pleasure of interviewing Stephen Mashney, a Lawyer, Community Leader and Entrepreneur. CEO of a growing and expanding law firm, as well as being a man involved with many different ventures – Mashney spoke to us about leadership, business and his unique and inspiring story.
What inspired you to start this business?
I can’t sit still and I have to see myself in a productive—rather than consumptive—mode at all times possible. While I work well with others whom I respect and learn from, I’m an incurable stickler for details and perfection and the only way for me to see to it that everything I can change is quintessentially optimized is to own my own business. Law is a station in my life and I strive to become a writer and a motivational speaker.
What inspired the name of the company?
The name A1 Accident Lawyer name signifies that what we do is top notch and that we have no tolerance for mediocrity. So when someone is looking for a lawyer to handle their personal injury case, they don’t get just any lawyer, they get an A1 Lawyer.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your life?
I feel free form the oppressive and suffocating control of others. I have a free spirit like a bird and I can make whatever decisions I deem appropriate without having someone to override me and scuttle my creativity. My philosophy is to say “yes, why not,” instead of saying “no, why.” If I work for others, I will frequently get bombarded with opposition and questions that say “why” and “no.” I don’t feel I have to explain myself in a context where the person to whom I’m explaining, can simply shut me down by saying “no.”
What motivates you?
We all have a mission in life. My mission is to whenever I can to decrease the chaos around me and make this world a better world in the limited time I have n this Earth. We owe each other the duty of efficiency, clarity, peace, love, forgiveness and friendship. These are the things that motivate me.
How do you generate new ideas?
I am constantly thinking. I wake up in the middle of the night 2 to 3 times thinking. My mind is always analytically active. I am infinitesimally analytical to the point I may bore others who cannot keep up with me or don’t understand. I would rather think than listen to music, or even read because thinking is original while reading is second hand thinking. I don’t read opinions. I only read technical and factual writings. Whatever I see, hear or experience, my first thought is always is how to optimize it and make it even better.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
I have no fears period because I analyze everything and decide if I can change them or not. I put aside the things I can’t change and spend my energy on the things I can. Even if there is nuclear war, I can’t change that and I don’t think about it. It’s that simple. Fear is unproductive and I don’t spend my time in an unproductive mode. Deep constant philosophical analysis is my antidote for fear.
What are your ideals?
I strive to make the lives of the others better, warmer, healthier and more satisfying. Integrity and honesty with the meek is essential to me. The rules may be different if I’m dealing with the wolves. Life has to be rich with love, excitement, productivity, chivalry and kindness to others. This is what makes me tick.
How do you define success?
It’s a state of mind. It’s not defined by money or power but with the intrinsic knowledge that I am making a difference in the lives of others, the more lives I’m affecting positively, the more successful I feel.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Yes. While you should listen to and solicit the advice of others, don’t listen to them, especially toxic negative people. Listen only to yourself after you conduct deep and thorough analysis. Also, you must never quit unless you see yourself going nowhere. Most people fail because they stop making attempts after not succeeding in their first trials. You must continue until you succeed.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Freedom from the shackles of others. The exhilaration of coming with an idea and knowing that you will do your best to implement it without others telling why or no it can’t or shouldn’t be done. Freedom is priceless.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When everything is going smoothly and business is running like a beehive with the employees happy and cheerful and the clients are satisfied and grateful. When I look forward to getting up early and head straight to work! When something that fought long and hard for materializes. The sweet smell of success.
What do you wish this company to accomplish within the next year?
Continue on its trajectory and being able to help more and more people get fair compensation for their injuries.
What do you wish this company will accomplish within the next five years?
That our firm will grow vertically and horizontally and that we will have offices in other states.
For the aspiring entrepreneur reading this what advice will you give?
Believe in yourself and use your time wisely. Your most important commodity is your time. Time is irretrievable. Don’t get stuck in ideas created by others. Question everything and never take anything for granted unless you devised it yourself. And even then, question yourself occasionally and never become a fossil in your thinking.
What final words do you have for all of the supporters?
The most important thing for you is the sovereignty of your mind. While you may be impressed by others’ thinking and teachings, your ultimate goal is for you to become your won final authority on thought and that you consider your mind as sovereign as an independent state.