Recently, I had a conversation that opened up a critical new distinction.
A client was struggling with redefining her relationship with a new partner in her business who wasn’t working out as well as expected.
During our call, as she grappled with how to move forward, I noticed she repeatedly seemed to be taking the path of least resistance and making concessions I thought, deep in her heart, she knew were not in her best interest.
The decisions she reached seemed reasonable enough; her decision process sounded rational enough, yet I knew something was amiss.
I interrupted her thinking out loud process by throwing her a curve ball posing the question, “If your business had a personality, how would you describe it?” She proceeded, quite quickly I might add, to use terms like ‘curious, detailed, tech savvy, trendy, challenging, informed and knowledgeable’.
It was quite an amazing experience to hear her describe her company and ‘brand’ so clearly. It also gave me new insight into how she sees herself and business and gave HER a new decision-making tool.
I asked her how well her partner represented the feel of that brand. “Hmmm. Not very well”, was her response.
I then asked if that curious, tech savvy, trendy entitywere hiring someone for the business, would he/she hire the person who is now the owner’s business partner. “Probably not”, she replied.
Our businesses have needs that , while intimately connected, are separate and distinct from our personal needs (and fears). When we look from that more impartial, perspective we can be more objective, less concerned about our insecurities. When our ego is out of the way, the truth is more apparent. If we don’t to that, we’re doing a disservice to the future of our business and casting a shadow over the possibility of our life.
So the next time you’re agonizing over a decision about your business, take a step back. Rather than making the decision from your point of view, envision the best and highest expression of your business and determine what IT needs for that highest expression rather that what would make you feel safe and comfortable.
Stepping into the ‘role’ of the business and making decisions based on what it needs in order to accomplish the goals you’ve set for it will give you a different perspective from which to view the landscape and the perspective to make critical decisions using the right criteria.
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.”
The challenge for many business owners and sales professionals is that they’re so absorbed in doing their business and hitting their sales goals that they don’t believe they have the time to think. Yet, Napoleon Hill wrote a world-famous book, “Think and Grow Rich” which implied that thought is the first step in growing rich.
so, what does it take to use thought to grow rich. I’ve identified 3 keys for blowing your mind and then growing your business.
1) The first key is re-wiring your mindset.
Without the proper mindset, you won’t see opportunities that are right in front of you. You’ll talk yourself out of doing even simple things that could make a world of difference because you won’t believe they’ll work for you. Even if you do try, things likely won’t work to their full potential. Have you ever noticed that you do all the stuff that gurus say to do, but you still aren’t enjoying the results they promise?
The key here is to start retraining your subconscious mind by sending it new messages to replace the fight-or-flight tendencies it is organized around. It’s role is to ‘protect’ us from harm. But ‘harm’ to the subconscious mind means a ‘change’ of any sort. So when you get the bright idea to try something new, if it’s too far outside your comfort zone, your subconscious mind decides ‘that’s a bad idea’ and does whatever it can to convince you not to do it. It makes you feel doubtful, hesitant and fearful in order to encourage you to ‘leave well enough alone’ and stay where you are.
To retrain your subconscious, you must become the master of it. Set big goals, don’t succumb to the fear, feed yourself with empowering thoughts from books, audios, personal development courses, associate with people who are up to the same courageous growth trajectory.
2) Transform your relationship with money
Most people, whether they grew up in wealth, poverty or somewhere in-between, also grew up with misinformed or even warped beliefs, concepts and ideas about money. Those ideas shape what’s possible for you. They influence your career choices, your relationships, your spending and saving habits. Without close examination, the beliefs will continue to run the show.
I could write an entire article, or series of articles, on this subject alone. So I’ll have to just skim the surface today. Most people focus on the ‘negative’ energy of money…bills, shortfalls, worrying it will run out some day or they avoid thinking about it altogether.
Money is energy and demands attention. So instead, focus on the more positive aspects of it. Focus on the money that comes INTO your life. Show gratitude for money. Recognize that it has a spiritual aspect to it. As my coach often says, “Imagine that making fabulous money is part of your spiritual path.” Hmmm.
3) Have a marketing plan
Most people I know DO marketing activities (e.g. networking), but they don’t have a plan. They flit from activity to activity with not much thought to whether or not it’s the right activity. You need to know where your business is in its evolution and have a plan specifically designed to move you from where you are to the next level of success. If you do marketing activities that are designed for a business in a different phase than you are in, those activities won’t have the same positive outcomes for you. You’ll be wasting your time, energy and money and miss out on the success that could be just around the corner.
When you implement these three concepts, you’ll be well on your way to growing your business
1. Bring people together. Don’t separate them.
The world is filled with real and potential conflict. Conflict is a way of life. It won’t be avoided so long as people have different values, motivations, wants, goals, thought patterns and desires (the list goes on).
Conflict is inevitable. However, an extraordinary person seeks not just to fan the flames but to bring resolution to the issue. (As the ‘revolutionaries’ of the 70s used to say, ‘If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.’)
Complaining and protesting have their place but true progress is made with people collaborate and create solutions that meet the needs of the parties in conflict. Positions are hard to meld. Interests, on the other hand, once thoroughly uncovered can be addressed. When groups or individuals are at odds over something, strive to discover their underlying interests and needs. Focus on them, not the ‘solution’ each of them is arguing for.
2. Respect people’s partners.
The last article spoke about the importance of respecting people’s property and not taking what isn’t yours. This idea builds on that one. While people aren’t property, respecting existing relationships will deter a whole lot of ‘mess’ and drama.
A colleague of mine found herself on the verge of a triangle – 2 triangles really. She and her attraction were both married, neither happily. But before they ‘jumped in’, they both ended their relationships so they could start with a clean slate. It was still hard, but at least they didn’t muddy their existing relationships with an extra person. Realizing how unhappy they individually were, they courageous decisions, untangled their commitments and then moved forward together.
3. Don’t waste other people’s time.
One of the bullets in the last article had to do with making the world a better place. It seems that the way some people feel empowered is by usurping the energy and time of those around them. If you ask people for things you don’t need or create processes that are unnecessary, just because you can, you’re doing damage. You’re wasting valuable resources, time and energy just to build yourself up. Don’t do that.
4. Avoid fascination with other people’s problems.
Unfortunately, an entire genre of ‘reality’ shows are dedicated to telecasting people’s troubled lives. People who watch have said that seeing the issues others face make them feel better about their own lives. I know that’s possible, but here’s another alternative.
Do proactive, positive things in your own life and feel good about that rather than measuring yourself as ‘superior’ to people who can’t get it together. Shape your life the way you want. Set the bar high and get to work. Living vicariously while judging others poorly isn’t a good way to move forward.
5. When someone else is happy or successful, celebrate and enjoy it.
The ‘cheap’ approach is to be envious and diminish their success. It’s the counterpoint to the bullet above. If they’re ‘all that’, they must have cheated or they must be bad humans.
When people accomplish great things, especially things you’d like to have, you must appreciate it, even if you don’t like the person. Doing otherwise tells the Universe you don’t like success, you don’t value having a lot of money, you don’t want to get promoted. Don’t be a hater! Celebrate the success of others and keep doing what it takes to create that success for yourself.
I heard this great line at my conference last week, “If you’re not getting recognized as fast as you believe you should, make sure you’re doing everything you can to be WORTHY of recognition.”
What does it take to live an extraordinary life? What would that mean for you on a day-to-day basis?
I was recently reminded of some simple (yet not necessarily easy-to-do) concepts that if installed in your life would place you squarely on the higher road, the road less traveled.
I’m still working on some aspect of each of these myself. It’s a lifelong discipline. Not for the faint of heart, but surely well worth the effort.
1. Be truthful.
Being truthful is about honesty and accuracy. The accuracy aspect is about re-conveying an experience such that your words evoke the thoughts and emotions you experienced in the person you’re sharing with. While each of us has our own perspective of life and interpretation of events, if your intention is to have them experience what you did, you’re on the right track. No shading of the truth to make yourself look better.
Additionally, the honesty aspect will likely cause you so alter your behavior. You may have heard the phrase, ‘Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the newspaper.’ Living your commitment to transparency encourages good behavior and lack of deception at work and home.
2. Give more than you take.
Give freely of your time, love and money. Give generously and not with the expectation that your gifts will be repaid. Purposeful giving fulfills you. It’s almost like you’re not giving for the benefit of the recipient. Make life easier for yourself and others. Don’t forget yourself. The problem some over-givers encounter is that they deplete themselves in the process and end up feeling resentful.
3. Don’t take what isn’t yours.
This is more than just ‘don’t steal’. It’s about not benefiting from ‘mistakes’. Now I’m all for serendipity and miracles and to be honest, I don’t know that I can tell you how to distinguish between those incidents and the ones that are to be avoided. I think the barometer here may be how you feel internally although the internal barometers of habitual ‘takers’ are probably flawed.
Here’s an example…My husband and I were shopping in a store last week. We bought something together and each paid for half in cash. The cashier gave us both our change back, but it seemed like too much. I didn’t say anything, not sure there was a problem, but the more I thought about it, the more I was pretty sure we got too much change. My mind tried to justify it by telling me ‘It’s a big store. They won’t notice it.’ But my heart felt something else. So I went back to the store, found the clerk and reminded him of the transaction. He couldn’t really validate the error with their sales system and ended up telling me to keep the $5 for my honesty.
I left feeling happier, but I still feel like giving that $5 to someone who needs it more will make me even happier. Think “Pay it forward.”
4. Make the world a better place
Do your actions make life easier for those around you? Is the world a better place because of what you think, do and say each day?
Or do you make people jump through hoops to get your favor? Do you consistently ‘block’ other people’s progress?
How would you behave differently if you knew your purpose was to leave the world in a better place because you lived here? Be constructive. Be helpful.
5. Honor life.
All living beings have the right to their lives. Respect them. This applies to not only to humans (even the ones you don’t like) but to non-human creatures as well. Last summer, I accidentally severed a praying mantis while pruning some plants. I was heartsick as he stared at me mournfully it seemed, with half of his abdominal cavity missing.
While I carefully carry spiders out of my home, I still intentionally kill crickets and scorpions when I find them inside. I guess now, I’ll work on finding some non-lethal way to rid them from my home when I encounter them.
6. Do no harm.
Intentionally ending the life of another (even an ant), when living rigorously, is an extreme measure. But what about the ‘little’ harms we do during the course of life?
Have you ever tried to get someone in trouble at home or work without first discussing the situation with them with the intent to resolve it? Do you gossip? Do you have nasty, judgmental thoughts about others?
Once I took this discipline on, I had to confront the judgments I made of others. Casting frequent silent aspersions seemed automatic at times. I’ve taken on the practice now of blessing people, especially those my internal judge initially denounces.
7. Recognize that you are the source of everything.
It’s easy to blame others for the status of the world and even for your experience of your own personal life. In the training and coaching I do, I often share the concept of “Those idiots over there…”. When you place blame on your co-workers, spouse, children, parents, siblings, neighbors, strangers, political opponents, you rob yourself of power. You pine for changes in them. You want to ‘fix’ them.
You can’t change them. You’ll never change them. And if you wait for that, you’ll be in misery forever.
The only person you can change is you. The only person who can change the experience of the life you are living is you.
When you shift your thinking, emotional responses and actions, you will start having a new experience of life. Additionally, your new perspective, behavior and words will eventually impact the people around you and their response to you will likely change as well. The dynamic of your relationship will be different.
So stop trying to fix them. Work on improving yourself.
One of my favorite sayings is, “We all have more options that we generally see and more control than we tend to take”. So I challenge you to implement the ideas mentioned here. Open your eyes to options that are currently hidden from your view and take control of the way you live your life.
Focus is defined as “a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity.
I love that the first ‘focus’ is ‘attraction’! That connotes a purposeful flow of energy that arises when one is focused. When our attention is focused, I believe the Universe lines up to support our intention.
I’ll never forget all of the things that came to me when I started my first business, Laibon: Charms for the Soul™. It was a jewelry
design and retail company.
I won’t go into the entire creation of it, but here’s the short version. In a guided meditation, a voice said to me, in a very matter-of-fact tone, “You should make jewelry.”
I love jewelry and ALWAYS stopped by jewelry booths at art & wine festivals. So, even though I had only made one pair of earrings in high school art class, I said “OK” to the command in my head.
I left the session and immediately began telling people I was going to start a jewelry company and as a result, amazing things began to happen.
One person told me about a great place I could go near where I lived to take a class on how to make jewelry.
Another told me about a fabulous bead store, also close to my home.
A different person told me how to get started selling at the art and wine festivals.
An author shared with me his publications that rated the shows from the artists perspective and said which ones were retail sales winners and which to stay away from.
A hypnotherapist offered to put my first batch of creations on display at her kick-off-the-new-year workshop.
An attendee said “I LOVE your work. I’d pay more than that for these!”
A bead store sales person said “When you collect sales tax, immediately transfer it to a different account so you don’t spend all your earnings and then have nothing left to pay the quarterly taxes” (Great advice)
So, why is focus so important?
1. When you focus, you get excited.
Nothing robs your energy like not sitting around doing ‘whatever’. Once I got clear about my new venture, I was on a mission. Even though I knew next to nothing about making jewelry, I new I was on to something I loved and I was like an eager little child, all wild-eyed and bushy-tailed (where did that expression come from anyway?)
2. When you focus, it’s easier to make decisions
Procrastination often arises from confusion. So when the confusion is swept away, taking action is easy. Any other thing you could do becomes less desirable and drops to the bottom of the to-do list (if one even exists).
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
That jewelry company birthed my entrepreneurial spirit and paid for a 3 1/2- week trip for a safari in Tanzania and a week in Zanzibar.
So, take heed. Take a stand. Take action. Grab life and move forward.