“The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” – C JoyBell C
Dear Business ME,
You’ve done ok. 6 years ago you left your 6-figure corporate job with all its trappings, to pursue your own path. I know it was hard at times, really hard. And I know there were times when you were seriously thinking about throwing in the towel. But, once again, you’ve done ok. You’ve found the work you love, the people and clients you enjoying working with and you’re passion for building connected leadership in businesses and organisations fires you up every day to do more and be more.
I apologise that I didn’t have the experience that we have now. But hindsight is of course a wonderful thing. However, in case time travel becomes a possibility… here are your top 7 tips to yourself for making success happen with, if not ease, then some grace and perhaps a bit less stress!
1. First and foremost own your dream
Throughout the years you will experience the good, the bad and sometimes even the downright ugly in terms of business and what you can expect from those involved in it. There will be moments where the unicorns have wandered off and as opposed to celebrating with the pop of a champagne bottle you find yourself drowning in it instead. But remember having a mindset for success is key. Through it all pay attention to your bigger picture dream, do the stuff that really matters, believe in yourself, maintain a positive attitude, adopt daily habits that feed your positivity vs. zap your confidence and see the opportunity to learn in every single moment – that will be key.
2. You can’t do it alone
Find your tribe – connect with the people that get you, your dreams and what you are doing. Don’t try to fit in with others simply because you think you should. Find like-minded thinkers, believers and dreamers. They will feed your self-belief and your dreams. They will push you to do more and they are there to support you every step of the way. Work together. Collaborate. Support each other. Make the journey fun as well as hard work. It will be so much more enjoyable.
3. Have a bias for action
Do the things that matter, the things that really matter. Do those important things that are a stepping stone to your ultimate ‘why’. This will require persistence and personal accountability. A bias for action will be the extra oomph where others may crumble. Wasn’t it Thomas Edison who said ‘genius is 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration’? He was right. It is hard work that gets you where you want to go. It's the focus on what matters as opposed to following shiny stuff that makes a difference. Inspiration and dreams are absolutely essential to making your story happen – but unless you are prepared to dedicate yourself to that story, it will never jump off the page and into real life.
4. Be courageous in everything you do
Have the courage to stand in your own spotlight, to use your voice, to ask for help and to be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to be different, and to challenge the status quo. There are times when you will be challenged or when you will give in to others’ values, expectations or plans – and you will look back and kick yourself, and wish you’d had the courage to trust your intuition. That intuition, that gut feeling? Don’t ever mistrust it. It is a key part of you, and you should learn that it is one of your best assets. Ignore it at your peril.
And it’s ok - we all experience fear and loss at some stage in our career – loss of face, loss of market share, loss of revenue. You will question, “Can I”, “ Who would want to listen to me?” “Do I have the experience to do this?” These are crazy thoughts and you can choose to be paralysed in to inaction or you can turn that fear into a powerful tool for success. Lean on your tribe in (2) above because they will help you get through this.
5. Learn every single day and continuously
Keep your eyes and ears open to everything around you. Recognise the gifts that are presented to you – to us – every day. See the value in the people you meet. Question them. Question their wealth of knowledge. Take in every available resource. Never ever lose sight of your goals – to know as much as you can about your business, your industry, your world. Learn. Listen. Do.
6. Whatever you do, look after yourself!
You will forget this at times, I know, especially in the early stages, when you are trying to get things up and running. And even when things are running well you still won’t stop out of fear of the business stopping. But remember that true success is a reflection of total vitality. Manage your mojo. Nurture you. Nurture the important people around you. Allow yourself the time to celebrate every little stage and each small achievement, to dream, to create, to rest and above all to think.
7. Above all else – be you
The reality is this. You matter. Every choice and action you take, every word you speak has the capacity to influence others and, in turn, the decisions being made at that moment in time. Your views are unique to you. There is nothing wrong with making your own profile as strong as you possibly can. Don't be afraid to be brilliant. Have the resilience to shine and follow your dreams. Walk the talk, own your skills, strengths and goals. Be you and commit wholeheartedly to the change you want to see.
Enjoy the business ride, dear Me.
I know I did.
And I still do.