We all want the best for our kids. We want to give them the best of everything, including advice. The challenge for many is the advice we have grown up with, is not relevant in today's changed world, yet many are still giving this advice. Yes, there are some basics that never change, such as values, character, etc., however, the world of employment is a different world than when many of us grew up through the industrial age.
Students are following the path laid out by parents and education. Go to school, get a degree, and get a "good job". The challenge is, what worked in the industrial age, is not working for 21st century students.
Underemployment is at an all time, along with astronomical student debt. Some young people are being denied mortgages because their student debt is so high.
Think back to when you were in your early twenties...imagine how it must feel to have debt of $30,000-$50,000+, before you even buy a car or a home? Before you get married and have a family. And, topping it off, you can't even find work in that field to justify the debt.
This is something every parent should be thinking about as there is no longer such a think as "job security". Layoffs, downsizing, etc. over the past few years has clearly affected people in absolutely every sector. People are looking for work that never thought they would be.
It's been stated that over 65% of the work that will be done by today's youth hasn't been invented yet. With this in mind we must encourage youth to become the CREATORS of work....not the VICTIMS of underemployment.
This is a mindset that can be developed. Encouraging kids to do things that create work for themselves teaches them self reliance, personal responsibility, leadership, and to utilize their natural creativity.
Lemonade stands, newspaper routes, selling handmade jewellery, cutting grass, snow shoveling, yard clean up, watering gardens, babysitting, car washing, dog walking, pet sitting when people are away, go to garage sales and buy old pieces of furniture, paint it and sell it......there are tons of things kids can do to generate spending money. It teaches them to create something out of nothing. It teaches them to think out of the box, to find solutions....
Blame is put on government and education, and people tend to want someone to "solve" the issue....to bring about needed change. We must stop blaming and start acting. PARENTS can take a stand to BE the change and provide change for their kids. We don't have to wait for approval to start teaching our kids to think differently, embrace creativity, learn self reliance, personal responsibility and leadership. It starts in the home. If we don't want our kids to be the victims of a changed economy, we must show them there are alternatives and they can create anything they choose.
Many years ago I found myself working harder and harder and not getting the results I wanted. I got to the point where I realized I couldn't physically work any harder, but more importantly, didn't want to. Sound familiar?
This was a great lesson that I have been able to apply to all aspects of my life. I also learned that everyone and everything is our teacher. The key is to be open to the messages as they present themselves, and implement the knowledge you gain.
A powerful distinction to be aware of is:
WHERE YOU ARE TODAY, IS A RESULT OF YOUR BEST THINKING.
In order to grow in a new or better direction, you must continue to learn, and, be willing to let go of the best thinking that brought you to this point.....
Let's look at a couple of examples:
In that situation I was working about 80 hr/wk. I was tired, I was frustrated, and I was burning out. My belief was that if I just worked harder (which we are conditioned to believe is the solution), it would give me the result I wanted. However, I couldn't work harder, and didn't want to keep this pace up. It was only when I came to this realization, that I also realized my very best thinking was NOT working. This can be demotivating, or, actually inspire you. When you authentically admit to yourself your best thinking isn't working, you also open yourself up to new possibilities. This is where the lesson comes in - learn from those that are getting the result you want.
I had a conversation recently with someone struggling with their career. They were doing the best they knew (best thinking). What they hadn't considered was learning from a mentor, asking better questions, learning and implementing new ideas, leaving their old thinking behind, and being willing to embrace new ideas and principles. You could physically see the difference this made when this individual gained this new hope.
Several years ago, I had a conversation with someone that was concerned about their employment. At that time, their best thinking was they would be at the company until they retired (this was 20 years prior to retirement age). When the threat of downsizing became apparent, it brought out a new side of this person I had never seen. They decided to buy a business and create their own job security instead of being a "victim" of downsizing. This person is thriving personally, happier than they have ever been and thriving in this business. They decided to let go of their previous "best thinking" which was I need to have an employer and stay there until I retire because I can't do anything else at my age. They replaced their previous "best thinking" with a new way of thinking....a more SELF RELIANT way of thinking. "I am going to buy a business since my job is being eliminated". Such a simple shift in thinking, but has changed everything in a positive direction for them.
Another person I spoke to recently has a business, but it is very physical work. They are very experienced in this field and we talked about the knowledge they have that is very valuable in their industry. They have now found a new way to work that is branching out of their existing business, and utilizing the knowledge base they have to grow their business. Like the experience I had, they realize it isn't about working physically harder. It is about learning to think differently to bring about a different or better result.
As Einstein said...."The definition of insanity is doing the same things, expecting different results"
WHY Is This Important? What is potential? It is defined as "capable of becoming". We are all born with it....so why do so few reach it? There's a DANGEROUS spot where many reside.....called the Comfort Zone.
Many that reside in the comfort zone, belief this is safe. Many would also believe there is little to no risk inside the comfort zone, and believe they have "security" there.
Those in the comfort zone believe:
If you stay within your comfort zone you don't have to work as hard.
You don't have to challenge yourself.
Your don't have to learn new things.
You don't have to do things that you are unsure of.
Although some of these would be accurate (don't have to learn new things, challenge yourself or do things you are unsure of) in many cases staying in the comfort zone will actually require you to work harder because you are struggling. Struggling to keep anything from changing. However, change in life and in business is constant. If we are not growing and changing, we will struggle to maintain.
The problem with the comfort zone is it is like a drug that keeps us stuck. Those within the comfort zone don't realize the negative effect of it.
It leads you to just "surviving" and struggling to do so.
You may feel stressed over lack of results.
You may have a feeling of helplessness.
You may feel you are a victim of circumstances.
You don't have anything that excites you.
Life is dull.
You are unmotivated.
Others you care about may outgrow you.
Ask yourself, do you want to stay stuck just surviving in the comfort zone, or, do you want to take a step outside of what's comfortable to create more freedom in your life?
Taking a step out of the comfort zone is not as hard as most would imagine in their minds. Look at the X at the center of the diagram in the photo. This is where you are right now. To take a step outside of where you are right now, you must make a DECISION to do so, regardless of any fear or nervousness you may experience. So often people wish and hope and sit on the fence and can't decide on things. If you want to start living into more of your full potential, you must learn to make powerful decisions that lead you towards your goals, and then stick to those decisions, even if you feel fear. This is a temporary feeling that disappears when you take action, but you will not actually understand this until you take the action and can look back with your new perspective. Ask yourself if you want to spend your life in fear, struggling to stay "safely" in the comfort zone, or if you want to rid yourself of this feeling? Taking one small step outside of the inner circle expands the circle and makes it bigger, as demonstrated with the next X. Each time you do this, as you can see, the circle gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
The great thing you will experience is that although it can be scary to take that first step, once you do, you prove to yourself what you are truly capable of. This builds your self esteem and your confidence, and gives you the courage to do it again. When you do this continually and look back 6 months, 1 year, 5 years later, you won't believe how much you have grown, and also how stuck you were previously. You will feel more free than you ever thought possible.
Write down one small step you could take to step out of your comfort zone today. Regardless of how small it is, realize you have just widened your circle of comfort. Each time you have the courage to do this, that comfort zone will keep expanding. It's up to you to decide how far you will grow.....
WE HAVE ALL heard this phrase from reading Dr. Seuss books. How many actually took these words to heart and live them daily in their lives?
I know of a young man living these words. He works in a bank.
When he started at the bank, he started part time as a teller, and wanted to move up. He studied the company training manual on his lunch hour and after work. He spent the first year working in 5-6 different branch locations, going wherever he was needed.
He volunteers to fill in for employee’s that are sick or on holidays by driving to different cities to fill in for them. Whenever there is a need to be filled such as this, he is the first to volunteer to go.
He volunteers to represent his company at community charity events, by attending on his days off, getting up and speaking to the crowd about the company he represents. He does this to practice his public speaking to become more comfortable, as well as a way to give back to the community he lives in.
I saw a picture in our local newspaper of volunteers at one of the events. He was the only one, out of about 40 in the picture that was dressed up….everyone had t-shirts and casual pants on, he was in a suit because he wanted to professionally represent the company he works for. He stood out, not because he is 6’4″ and towered above everyone in the picture, but because he has this vibrant positive personality, great smile, and was dressed the part of who he is portraying.
He wears a suit and tie every day to work, even though it is not expected. On dress down day when everyone is wearing jeans, he wears a pair of dress jeans, shirt, tie and jacket.
It may seem like he is a more mature worker, however, he is 25 years of age. He does all of this not because he has to, because he wants to. He is going the extra mile because he understands this principle…why fit in when you were born to stand out. It is no surprise he is excelling at his career, and was promoted to assistant branch manager after the first year.
Clues for success in life and in business are all around us in everything we do. Many times, these clues seem so simple they are overlooked. Pull out a Dr. Seuss book, and share a quote that may have inspired you that other’s may have missed…..
Have you ever had a great idea but didn't act on it? Have you ever looked back years later and recognized that you should have acted on your idea? Have you ever stopped to identify what actually stopped you from taking action?
Over the years, from personal experiences, and from studying this extensively, I have learned that FEAR is one of the top reasons people don't take action on their ideas.
You may have said one or more of these things....
-I don't want to make a mistake
-I don't want to look foolish
-I am afraid to take the risk
-What if it doesn't work out
-It's not normal, no one else is doing "it"
-What would other people think or say
-I don't know where to start
-I don't know how to do it
-I don't have what I need (money, time, knowledge)
FEAR negatively affects every single aspect of our lives. The problem is, most don't realize they are frozen in fear, that they are holding themselves back, and they are fully capable of creating what they desire. In addition, when we are surrounded by others that settle, we buy into the belief that it is just normal. We believe everyone "does it", and this belief comforts our conformity.
A very revealing exercise is to list some things that have cost you over the years and bring a awareness to how you are holding yourself back. I have a couple of personal examples I will share with you.
-Real Estate - When we bought our first piece of real estate, over 30 years ago, it was a 2 bedroom condo. We paid around $40,000 and everyone we knew thought we were crazy for spending that kind of money on what was actually a 2 bedroom high rise apartment. My husband and I had a conversation and discussed how we actually thought it was a great way to get into first time home ownership and discussed how it would be great to buy 10 condos as an investment "if we had the money". THIS is exactly what most do and stop right at that point, believing "if" the money was there you could take action. We did it....because we didn't know better and we were afraid of risk. The 2nd excuse we bought into was people already thought we were crazy to buy one, imagine what they would think of us if we bought 10! We put more value in the opinion of others, than in trusting our own intuition. Those condo's are now selling for a minimum of $175,000.
What if we had of figured it out, and realized that you don't have the money for something like that just sitting around. You think from an entrepreneurial perspective and figure out how you can raise the capital to make the investment. If we had of acted on this idea, and found a way to raise the $400,000 required, and rented those condos out over the last 30 years, we would have earned a minimum of $540,000 on EACH one, for a total of $5,400,000! In addition we could have sold them today for an additional $1,750,000 for a total of $7,150,000. Not a bad return for a $400,000 investment. That was our first lesson in not acting on a great idea.
-Creativity & Innovation - Around the same time, I had an idea about inventing a lawn chair with a hole for your face to fit through if you were lying on your stomach. I was recently at the beach with our family, and our daughter was attempting to read a book while lying on her stomach. I told her about the idea I had and how I didn't act on it, and have since seen this very thing somewhere in a magazine. Although I don't have a dollar figure, i can just imagine what this could have equated to.
AWARENESS is a powerful concept. What we were lacking in those days was awareness. We can now clearly see that we should have bought those condos. We cannot do better, or make better decisions if we don't have an awareness. The great news is, we can learn from other people's experiences and use to our advantage. Ask yourself what it is costing you play it safe and not take action on YOUR ideas? The idea might be in any area of life. Real estate, starting a business, relationships, creating something innovative. Ask yourself, are you going to give in to the fear like most do in society, or, are you going to actually find a way to figure it out now that you have created the awareness and realize you CAN find out a solution as long as you are not giving in to fear.
Remember, nothing great is achieved by playing it safe. You have to get in the game and go for your dreams.......
Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians! On this Canada Day, I thought it appropriate to share some powerful inspiration from one of Canada's most successful people, Jim Carey.
One of the things about the truly successful, is the clear understanding of the personal responsibility of reaching back to help others. No matter what industry you are in, this principle applies. We often put celebrities and those that are in the limelight on a pedestal, and believe they possess some super human traits that most don't. The truth is, successful people have simply learned to take action on what they want to create. Successful people have all the same fears as anyone else, but push through despite those fears and take action. Most would be amazed at the fear, shyness, insecurities, lack of confidence, the uncertainties, etc., that successful people feel. However, despite all of this, those that create success push through and take action anyway. It is a choice, a choice anyone can make.
I came across this short 1 minute video of Jim Carey. I was curious to hear what he told the graduating class during his commencement address.
Jim has a way of teaching through humor, which is a powerful way to remember the message. Many times in life and in business, we spend so much time analyzing, and being serous, we complicate the process. Many of the most successful, understand the importance of enjoying the process, and having fun along the way.
For those interested, you can view the full 26 min version here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V80-gPkpH6M
At the beginning of his talk, Jim talks about planting a seed to move forward in life, with enthusiastic hearts and a sense of wholeness, and questions if the seed will have a chance to take root? There is a powerful distinction in this question.
Every experience we have contains seeds of possibility and opportunity. Successful people have learned to identify the seeds contained, and to take actions on ideas that grow from these seeds. This requires an individual to be willing to listen to their voice of intuition, their own hearts, and be willing to go against the mainstream popular "accepted" opinions of the masses. We are conditioned to "fit in". This is not where success is created. The most successful do not fit in. The most successful are willing to get outside of the box of what is considered "normal", and are not concerned about fitting in. Those that accept "fitting in" will experience the same type of results as those that have also accepted fitting in. A powerful concept that all successful people understand is the willingness to put this type of traditional thinking aside, and go against the perceived "norm" to create something different.
What a powerful message Jim gave by sharing an experience from his childhood and using himself as an example. When we are willing to share our authentic stories and adversities we have faced, we demonstrate through our actions how powerful the principles of success are, and how we can purposely create the mindset for success. This gives anyone that is willing to walk this walk, the opportunity to make a difference, to inspire others, just as Jim did in this speech. What an honor and a legacy to leave to touch lives in this way....this goes beyond the success experienced in the individuals chosen field.....
When what has been done in the past, isn't working, it's time to make different decisions and take different actions. As Einstein quoted, "doing the same things and expecting different results is the definition of insanity". Yet, this is exactly what many do....keep taking the same actions, doing the same things, making the same decisions, and wonder why nothing changes for them. Many believe "the way we've always done it", is a reason to keep doing something, even when it isn't working.
So, how does one come back from extreme adversity? When everything falls apart, there are TWO choices. Give into the adversity and become avictim of that adversity. The other choice, is to find seeds of opportunity within that extreme adversity to take a new innovative direction. We have all heard the phrase "when one door closes, another opens". Although most have heard this, those that play the victim role, can only focus on the closed door.
Most would be familiar with the economic situation that Detroit has been facing. Detroit is a great example of how to take the worst economic situation, and within it find new innovative opportunity. Detroit is setting many powerful examples of pulling out of adversity with new innovative solutions. One powerful example is within education. A charter school made up of innovative educators that are putting their hearts into making a difference to youth. Such a powerful example. As Ellen mentions, many of these children are poor and/or homeless. This is one of the most adverse situations anyone could be in, and would be very easy to accept the victim role. Because of vision, and caring educators, these children are beautifully clothed in uniforms, are excelling and beaming with authentic happiness. Take a look at this short video:
Another great example of seeing what many are resisting is in relation to business. Of course a massive number of individuals have been affected by the state of the economy and the closure of businesses that have been the main employment stream for many years. Through this adversity, Detroit sees the solution is entrepreneurship to create new opportunity and self reliance.
See article about what Detroit is doing:
Entrepreneurship is something that is often not considered through mainstreams "best thinking". Society is conditioned to play it safe, to need "security", and to not risk. What greater risk is there than putting your future in the hands of any employer, in a changed economy that no longer provides job security? Every single sector is being affected by this type of adversity. It's been stated that the work that will be done by today's youth, hasn't been invented yet. Detroit is coming back from adversity, and is leading the way by understanding the principle of finding opportunity within change and adversity. One of the greatest gifts we can give our youth, is to let go of the "best thinking" that brought us to this spot, and develop the mindset to be the CREATORS of their future through entrepreneurship, and not be the victim of a changed world. Well done to Detroit on walking the walk, and being the example.
Dan Roth, LI's Executive Editor, asked me to join others to share my thoughts to help guide the graduating class of 2014 in a series called #IfIWere22 . I am actually going to go back to when I was 19, because I distinctly remember something very important that will shape your life, if you take the lesson to heart.
When I was 19 I was engaged and about to marry, just days before my 20th birthday. There was a "moment" when I thought I was making a mistake and thought about not going through with the marriage. I quickly told myself it was just pre marriage jitters (which I had heard somewhere through my childhood). My father was an alcoholic, and if I called the wedding off, it meant I would still have to live in that environment, so I quickly gave my head a shake and told myself there was no other choice. Looking back, that was the biggest lessons of my life. Here are the first 2 lessons from that:
THERE IS ALWAYS A CHOICE - and it isn't just A or B. There are choices you haven't thought of in every situation. Learn to ask yourself better questions, such as what else could I do, what are other choices and solutions I haven't thought of, and what do I need to do to make the best choice happen.
2nd - That little voice, was the voice of intuition. It was right. 4 years later I was divorced, and so was my mom. The fear that I had wasn't real about living with my dad, because my mom ended the marriage, and I could have been there to help my mom through the challenges she went through. Follow your heart, our intuition is our own "internal guidance system." It is there to GUIDE you. The KEY is to listen, and follow the messages you hear when you get authentic with yourself. Really LISTEN to your intuition and allow it to guide you. Listen to your inner voice in relationships and in business. If either doesn't feel right, there is something better waiting for you. Have the courage to take a stand for what you deserve in your life.
-Don't be afraid to take risks - Society is conditioned to buy into fear and limiting beliefs. This is why so many in life struggle. Be willing to take risk - this is where the biggest rewards are and the least competition. On the topic of competition, it is only present when people think there is a lack of something. When you are willing to take risk and go after what you want, you will meet others on that same path, and it often leads to something bigger than you ever imagined, that hasn't even been created yet....there is no competition there.
-The most important thing you can do right now, is to reflect and get absolutely clear on your passions and what truly makes you happy. What do you love, what are you good at, what are you most interested in, what would you like to learn? Many people go through their entire lives searching for happiness, and waiting for the next ____ to "make"them happy. It doesn't work that way. Happiness is within you. It is YOUR job to discover it. The key is to listen to your heart and follow the path your heart is leading you.
-Consider self employment as a viable choice for your future. There is no such thing as job security...we are NOT in the industrial age any longer. The only job security there is, is your willingness to do what it takes to combine your ideas, skills, knowledge, education, passion, and combine with all the technology options available to create your own work. It has been stated that over 65% of the work that will be done by today's youth hasn't been invented yet - this is exciting!!!! GO AND BE THE CREATORS! There are choices out there for you in your career that no one has thought of yet.
-You are going to be working for a long time. Find a way to connect your passion to what you do for a living, you will never feel like you are working. Work for the meaning of the work and provide value - you will feel personally rewarded, and the financial reward will follow.
-Take personal responsibility for everything in your life, good and bad. Don't put blame on others. Have a high standard of ethics and integrity, because that will last long term and set you far above most others.
-Be the leader in your own life - don't wait for things to happen, go out and MAKE things happen. You have potential for a reason.....TO LIVE INTO IT.
-Don't give into fear. First, fear is not real, it is imagined in the mind, and will hold you back from what you want more than anything. YOU are driving your thoughts, and you have a choice whether your thoughts are based on fear or courage. Successful people have all the same fears, the difference is, successful people push through the fear. THAT is how fear actually disappears.
-Step out of your comfort zone consistently - Nothing great happens within the comfort zone. When you are willing to take a step out of your comfort zone, and do this continually in your life, you will grow more and accomplish more than you ever imagined.
-Keep learning and growing your knowledge - Nothing stays the same, change is constant. Be a life long learner and you will continually put yourself at an advantage.
-Embrace change and find opportunity within it - As I mentioned, change in life and business is constant. Don't resist change, instead embrace change and ask yourself what opportunities you can find within the change. It is very often the stepping stone to something incredible.
-Have more courage - This is the opposite of fear. By pulling out the courage from within, you will continue to raise the bar on what you are capable of.
-Surround yourself with like minded, positive, people, and let go of the negativity you come across in life - sometimes you have to love people from a distance.
-In business and in life, ONLY take advice from people that have the result you want and are therefore QUALIFIED to give you advice. Any other advice is usually from "well meaning" people, usually living inside the box of fear, conformity, theories, and mediocrity. They are NOT qualified to give you advice, no matter who they are and how much you may love them.
-Work hard, but play just as hard. It's important so you don't burn out.
-Remember as you build success, to reach back and help others to reach their potential. That is what true leaders do. True leaders are not threatened by the success of others....they reach back and help others succeed. This is one of the responsibilities of leadership.
-Know your parents did the best they could with what they knew. Good or bad, take the lessons and raise the bar to be a better parent yourself. When we know better we do better.
-Forgive - I learned to forgive my dad long after he passed away. Forgiveness is something you do for YOURSELF so that you are not carrying around the anger, the hatred, or any other negative emotion. Forgiveness allows you to let go and take that burden off your shoulders. You cannot be the best version of you, if you are carrying negative emotions inside of you.
-Marry your best friend - Why would you settle for spending your life with anyone less. Respect each other always. Do things you can both participate in. Share your dreams and goals together. Learn how to dance...you will be able to have a ton of fun with this as a couple for your whole lives:)
-When you have children remember to take time out as a couple - for date nights, and holidays....the kids will grow up and leave eventually. You want to have a great relationship with your partner still when they do. Don't hesitate to take the kids out of school to travel the world. They will learn more from this than anything they miss in the classroom.
I did manage to find the love of my life and have been happily married now for almost 29 years, with 2 grown successful kids. Ten years ago, I found my passion. It took that long because I didn't understand the relevance of identifying your passion, and had to go through all the stepping stones of challenge to find and identify it. People search their whole lives for happiness. Happiness is within us. Our job is to reflect and authentically identify our passion and then make sure all the decisions we make in our lives support it.When you are willing to do this, you will feel such a sense of control in your life, and will find that happiness within you. Life is a journey, not to a destination, but to be lived and enjoyed every moment of the ride!
People very often fear entrepreneurship believing it takes hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to start a business. We hear about the greatest success stories and it can often create a misconception about who can succeed as an entrepreneur. Although people like Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are all successful role models we can learn from, not everyone wants to create the level of business these individuals have created. Your hobbies, passions, interests and challenges hold clues for your entrepreneurial future.
The key is..... to learn the distinctions in thinking that self made successes have, and apply this thinking, the MINDSET to creating your own work.
Many individuals are not fulfilled in their day to day jobs. They crave more freedom and flexibility, want independence, and want to stop working for an employer, but, most are afraid to take that step due to the belief system of what they believe it takes, and instead, chose to be at the effect of their situation. Successful people do not play this victim role, instead, chose to be at cause in their lives and their careers.
To start on this path, ask yourself QUESTIONS. Everyone has interests and passions in their lives. So often we experience things we think we could do better. In fact, most people can identify a challenge they have in their own life, and actually could create a living providing a solution to THAT challenge. These are CLUES. This is where you have to break out of how the "masses" think, ask yourself questions, and make a decision to create a life on purpose.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur is not limited to starting an airline, a social media platform, or a technology empire. Many people have created a self reliant entrepreneurial life for themselves by following their heart and choosing something that is meaningful or of interest for them and their clients. In my local community there are two food trucks I see everywhere. One sells deep fried apple slices and deep fried mars bars, the other sells french fries. There is ALWAYS a lineup at both, despite all the health conscious messages we see daily. These are two local entrepreneurs that just made a decision to take action on an idea they had, knowing there is a market for what they offer. They have been around for years, and very successful.
What challenges have you experienced lately? Do you know of a solution that others would appreciate?
Have you noticed something people generally don't like doing themselves? Could you turn it into a service? How much could you charge for this service? Could you hire others to do the work, and you focus on the business development side? How many customers a week would you require to replace your salary? Could you grow this business idea by continuing to take on new clients and hiring staff to duplicate what you are doing? Think of hairdressers who own salons and hire other hairdressers as an example. Cleaning services, lawn care, junk removal, dog walking, grocery delivery, etc. are all services that started as an idea. Many of these have started as a small idea in a local community and have become multi million dollar businesses. What other services haven't people though of that you have noticed most don't like doing?
Have you thought of a creative way of doing something that others have admired? How could you turn that into a business? If people have admired your work, it is a clue there could be a budding business there.
Are you creative....could you turn that passion into a business? There may not be enough business to sustain your passion in your local community, especially if it is a unique niche market, but in today's world, you can expand globally. Today, with technology, there are many ways to create a global audience for your product or service.
Another option is freelancing....doing what you do for a living now for several businesses instead of just the one you work for. For instance, an office assistant could decide to start a business from home, providing this service for multiple clients. A computer, phone and whatever programs required, and you have a business that works around your own schedule. You are not limited to the clients in your own geographical area, and could be serving clients all over the world if you chose.
There is also the option of starting a franchise, starting with a direct sales company, or buying an established business. There are lots of options....the key is to identify what your best fit is and then take the action necessary to pursue it.
It isn't always smooth sailing when you are building a business! As an entrepreneur is building their business, there will be challenges, and times when you feel you need to make adjustments. This is a NORMAL part of the process! Very rarely do we hit the destination without a few bumps in the road along the way.
Reaching your business goals is somewhat like sailing....it's important to be able to adjust the sail when necessary in order to stay on course and reach the destination. Challenges can be compared to the wind blowing you off course. When you are sailing, it is actually the wind that you embrace to push you towards your destination....the key is to work with the wind (the challenge) to get you there.
Although it's important to have a plan to follow, successful people do not need every single detail to be known in advance, and have learned to be flexible when necessary. There will be times you set out in a specific direction, however, new things come up you may not have foreseen, or new information becomes available. It's important to know when to implement changes to get back on track. This can be compared to detours on a road when you are driving towards a destination. Sometimes you have to turn down a road that takes you around the construction. In sailing, sometimes the wind is blowing you off course and you have to adjust the sail to compensate.....you catch the wind and let it push you in the direction you want to go. These things are just part of the process. You may not have expected the detour, or the winds, however, it's there and you have to deal with it. So follow the new route, go around, make adjustments and get back on track.
Most important is to be solution oriented. One of the reasons that people fail in business is they are not solution oriented and able to overcome challenges that come along. Challenges become stop signs for these individuals. Instead of looking at challenges as a stop sign, ask yourself questions:
-How can you find a solution to get around this?
-What haven't you done?
-Who could you get advice from?
-What else can you do?
Let's take an example. You have a retail shop in a tourist town. You open at the beginning of the season, the tourists keep your shop humming. But then in the off season, you find sales are dramatically down, bills are high, and you are in the hole each month. First, why are you surprised? If walk in traffic dramatically decreases at the end of the tourist season, you should have been thinking ahead on a plan of action to compensate. It is not too late, though, as long as you are willing to make adjustments, innovate and test new things. So ask yourself, what are you going to do about it? This is where a lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs fail, however, this is THE exciting part of being an entrepreneur! This is where YOU can actually DO something about it! Realize that when you work for an employer and this happens, you have no control, and you would be laid off or downsized. When you are self employed, it is up to you to create the business solutions. So ask yourself the questions above.
Cash flow may be low or non existent. What are you gong to do about it? Ask yourself those questions.
What are you going to do to appeal to your local clients? Have you thought about this market or have you been caught up with the tourists?
It's easy to do business when things are flowing easily, clients are coming into your shop, and purchases are being made. Get creative and innovative when things are slower. you could offer a "local's loyalty program". Reach out to the local market and become your local's favorite place to do business. For instance, a restaurant could offer different specials, Monday through Friday throughout the non tourist months.
How about doing business globally? Is it possible to ship your products to people around the world? How can social media and all the technology options allow you to get the message out to create new clients? Are people likely to be repeat clients? How can you generate future business from those tourists that already loved the experience of buying from you? Could you offer a mail order or online special? ASK yourself questions!!!! This allows the creative side of your brain to get to work finding solutions that don't seem obvious, but could be the stepping stones to exploding your business in a direction you hadn't thought of.
The key is to have the attitude "failure is NOT an option". Be solution oriented. Think outside the box. Be willing to innovate, create and implement new ideas and don't just sit around waiting for people to come to you. It is your responsibility to do what it takes to make your business work. Remember, it rarely goes exactly as planned....it is often in the challenges that we have the biggest breakthrough ideas that take the business to a level of success that you never imagined!
We live in a very connected world through the internet. First impressions used to come from face to face interaction with people we met. Today that is done very differently through platforms like social networking and websites.
How do you want to be known? Do you see yourself as a professional? Do you understand the importance of branding yourself properly to make the first impression strong enough that someone would want to know you and what you have to offer?
Profile pictures are one way to start. A good headshot is necessary and should be congruent among all your different social networking sites so that when people visit different platforms they know for sure they have the right person. A headshot should be a close up from the shoulders up, looking directly and confidently at the camera with a great smile. A quick scan of profile photos on any social network will give you an idea. Pay attention to YOUR first reaction when you see the back of someone's head, a body shot so far back you can't see their face, a cartoon, or worse yet, no photo. Would you be excited to meet or do business with any of these people? It would be a shame to shoot yourself in the foot by not taking the time to put up a great headshot. Note, this is not about being handsome or beautiful. It is about looking the part of someone you would want to do business with.
Words used are often underestimated, in website copy, descriptions in about me sections, email addresses, etc. For instance, I once met a psychologist that had a hobby of belly dancing. Can you imagine her being taken professionally if her email address to clients was Janesbellydancing@gmail.com? Look at the difference here: Dr.Jane@gmail.com. Words can make a big difference.
In our technologically connected world, it's important to give yourself the best chance for success. We all know that first impressions are the starting point. If the first impression is not good, you will be overlooked even if you are the most qualified. It's really just about common sense. You have to sell yourself first before people will listen to the value you offer.
Old style management still believes they must rule their employees with an iron fist, instilling fear to gain respect and results. These bully style, ego driven managers believe the constant threat of losing their jobs is what brings out the best in people. This may have worked in the industrial age, but it is not effective in today's work environment.
It's been stated that 75% of the workforce will be millennials by 2015. This is a group that is more educated than previous generations, they are more confident, know what they want, will not put up with poor treatment and are not threatened by losing their jobs. Thankfully, this generation is not a generation of followers, living in a fear based society, sacrificing what they deserve for a paycheck.
If todays employees really want to leave, they will leave. It is much better to develop a great culture and working environment where people feel valued, rather than building a fear based culture based on threats. When employees do leave a great culture and working environment, for whatever reason, they can become your biggest cheerleaders. With the power of the internet and social media, this is often the best free advertising a company could get. How much more powerful is that for future growth than an ex employee that bad mouths your organization?
Last week we were receiving weather warnings for 24 hrs in advance of an upcoming storm the next day. 15 cm of snow and winds picking up to 50 km/hr. At 8 am, when people would be leaving for work commutes, the snow was already coming down hard and winds were picking up. It was clearly evident by simply looking outside, and checking the forecast, that no one should have been driving.
I spoke to an employee of a business out of town, and by 9:40 am, the employees in this business were all leaving to go back home, after being given "permission". How unfortunate that these people were not given the space to make a judgement call about the weather, and felt they had to risk the roads to go into work. How unfortunate that they were not confident enough in their own decisions. How unfortunate they chose to go in because they felt obligated and felt like they didn't have choice. There were several fatal accidents that morning. How unfortunate that those that lost their lives may have felt this way and were driving into a similar job.
These are precisely the type of things that lead to disengagement and dissatisfaction within an organization.
Why is it important to give employees the space to make good judgement calls?
-Builds trust - they will feel like doing more for a company that puts them first. They won't mind staying late for other projects down the road because they know the company appreciates them, and stands behind them.
-Builds confidence - they will perform better. When people are not given the space to make simple judgement calls, they lose confidence and this affects other areas of their performance. Build their confidence and they step into their own greatness and prove what they are capable of.
What did the snow day example demonstrate to employees?
-The decision makers couldn't make a simple judgement call before everyone risked their lives. This causes distrust.
-The company didn't truly care about their people. This causes resentment.
-Employees lives are not valued over profits. This causes disengagement and destroys company culture.
This is the reality of the message the employees feel in situations like this. They don't feel valued, they become disillusioned and distrust and resent the company.
Giving people the space to make responsible decisions helps them take ownership of those decisions, which builds their leadership, self esteem, confidence and personal responsibility. Respect and trust for the company goes up, it increases their level of happiness and job satisfaction, which leads to higher engagement and more productivity. A true win/win for both the company and the employee, which is how long term successful businesses are built.
I'm very pleased to be invited to publish articles on Linkedin....feel free to share with anyone that you feel would benefit from these articles...
Debbie Ruston - Success Educator & Home Business Mentor
Society has been conditioned to believe the only way to work is to be employed by an employer. Most that have bought into this belief see this as "job security".
The reality in today's economic climate is there is no such thing as job security. People from all sectors that thought they would be working their entire careers in their job, are finding themselves laid off or downsized. Very often after securing new employment, the pattern repeats itself after a couple of years and they find themselves in the same situation. Others wait 2, 3 years putting out resume after resume, waiting for someone to hire them or government to provide solutions.
One of the most overlooked possibilities is starting your own business. There are so many talented, experienced people going through change due to downsizing or layoffs that do not recognize how capable they are of starting their own businesses. The "fear" of risk and stepping out on your own has been so ingrained into society that even when people have a deep down desire, they are too afraid to take action. These type of questions go through a person's mind:
– what if it doesn't work?
– I don't have the investment
– what if I can't find customers÷
– what if I fail÷
When you work for an employer and their business is not doing well, you have zero control over finding new clients or making the changes necessary to turn that business around. The control ultimately lies in the hands of the owners of that business. If they are not willing to make necessary changes, or do what it takes to find new customers, you will be affected. This is not job security. This is a false belief so ingrained into society it has destroyed people's internal confidence to take personal responsibility for their own futures.
In the world we live in today there are so many new opportunities. A person can choose to re-invent themselves and take a new direction. It starts with developing the mindset necessary to take on a higher level of leadership and personal responsibility in one's life. It requires asking yourself new/better questions. A new business may be different from the exact role you used to play as an employee. To get started, one must ask themselves what skills do I have, what are my interests, experience and passions? Make a list of these things and start asking better questions. What are all the things I could do with this list? Perhaps you are going to take a different direction. Change creates new opportunities.
Another option is freelancing, which is another way to be self employed. Rather than putting all your eggs in one employers basket, offer your experience to many businesses. Businesses today do not want to hire full time and do not want to pay benefits. By freelancing, you have the opportunity to work for many employers so if one falls off, you are not totally out of work. You simply replace that contract and you are back on track. Very often freelancing gives a person the opportunity to earn far more than they ever would have made working for a single employer. It also creates the opportunity to build a global freelance business rather than focusing on one geographical area. For instance a web designer, consultant, office admin, etc etc can all do work from a home office for anyone globally. There are possibilities for any field...you simply must start thinking outside of the limitations you perceive.
The only way you can truly secure your future is being willing to be the one that takes full responsibility for creating your own work. Realize the value you have and stop buying into this false belief of "job security". YOU are the only one that can create your own job security.
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader