A passion for transformation of personal lives and business, and how to accelerate such processes, led me to meet many entrepreneurs in various phases of their lives.
From young, smart and eager (and sometimes even aggressive) to serial entrepreneurs and senior entrepreneurs, some of whom were pondering retirement in quaint coastal towns in Spain. I felt fortunate to explore their spiritual paths of to entrepreneurship, or being an entrepreneur, for a while, getting a feel for people building something unique, driven by ambition, passion and purpose.
My conversations with entrepreneurs typically started about their path to entrepreneurship itself or on their role as an entrepreneur, which then spilled over into different areas, such as relationships and family. This made me realize how unconscious patterns lead from success in entrepreneurship to success on other paths as well.
Of all the lessons I learned through conversations with entrepreneurs, five stand out. I am excited to share these with you.
1. Make trust the key selection criterion for finding the right people around you
The behavior of people around you can affect you deeply and cost a lot of energy, time and money. In building your own Gaul village resisting the Romans, make sure you use proper bricks and keep the Romans out.
My dear friend and former coach, John Blakey, wrote a beautiful book called The Trusted Executive. Its key point is to stress the importance of trust for executives and leaders and how they can achieve and maintain trust. In this best-selling book, Blakey defines trust as a combination of three critical human features: integrity, ability and benevolence. It is exactly these aspects that I feel we should prioritize when picking the people we work with.
While integrity seems to be an easy-to-understand trait (meaning people ‘say what they do and do what they say’), it is difficult to foresee what people will do in dire circumstances. When it comes to character, history will often repeat itself, so diving into that makes sense.
Ability can be properly tested, especially when it comes to people who have demonstrated a specific capability.
Benevolence is more intriguing and comes down to wishing others well. It’s about basic compassionate behavior, going above the call of duty and expecting nothing in return. It’s a touch of kindness, as opposed to being cruel or negligent. You may ask yourself the question here; are people willing to be humble?
Please note that Trust = Integrity x Ability x Benevolence. Ergo, if one of these factors is zero, the end result will be zero.
2. True wisdom is found in the depths of your consciousness: it deserves your time and attention and requires action
Carl Jung stated: “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” Becoming more self-conscious requires change, and change is only possible through action.
Many people’s lives are like going to the movies without seeing the movie. They bought a ticket, sat down in the front row, but fell asleep during the trailers. They wake up when the lights come back on and realize it’s over. This would be a sure way to waste your franchise.
Suppose you reach the end of the road and suddenly you realize that your life was mainly a projection, on screen 24 hours a day. Your own thoughts and emotions kept you busy. The way you think is the way you feel. If you can distinguish between your made-up psychological drama and reality, you are conscious.
If you can identify what is existentially true and what is make-belief, you can navigate life effortlessly and with more wisdom. You face reality and choose consciously, even about the nature of your experiences.
If you want to become more conscious, you need to be a truth seeker. You can seek the truth in many areas of consciousness, like self-consciousness, environmental consciousness, physical consciousness (body), food consciousness, spiritual consciousness or sexual consciousness. Are you willing to seek for the truth in these areas?
3. You may be your own greatest enemy in building your company
You are not a different person in your professional life as who you are in your private life. Many entrepreneurs assume that they are, and I often had to point out to them that they were not becoming a better version of themselves just by stepping into an office. The same limiting beliefs you have in private life will hinder you in your business career and in truly reaching for the stars. Love your business like your biggest love in life, and this includes sales.
Stop deluding yourself if you do. Snap out of your autopilot, take a hard look at your financials and conduct an honest self-appraisal in the light of day. Figure out where the leaks are in your business. Look for red flags. Deal with the uncomfortable tasks you've been putting off. Denial is a business owner's worst enemy. Wake up and deal with it now. Do whatever it takes to build a stronger business.
It’s hard to be objective about our own behavior and surroundings. Instead, use your colleagues, employees, coaches and environment as a mirror to reflect back how you are perceived and how this perception is impacting your business. Then, take the appropriate action to mitigate these challenges. A good coach or Advisory Board can be valuable in these cases. Don’t try to do it all on your own.
4. Don’t confuse the ‘how’ and ‘what’ in preparing your business plan
If you want to reach for the stars, it is crucial to clearly distinguish the ‘how’ from the ‘what’ in your business plan. State exactly what you are going to build. Make the future state of your business as clear as possible and leave the ‘how’ question out of it.
Come up with a ‘stretch’, like ‘becoming the global leader’, as it often shows what your priorities should be. If you are not willing to face the unknown, you will most likely have to settle for the ordinary. In many companies, next year’s objectives are driven by the current state, because how the hell would you achieve it otherwise? What a pity.
5. True transformation comes from imagination
Albert Einstein considered imagination more important than knowledge.
Imagination can be described as the process by which the mind creates images, possible outcomes and other thoughts that have not been directly observed or experienced in reality. Imagination is a powerful tool and is sometimes called ‘the eye of the soul’. Imagination is key in most creative endeavors, from invention to art, and the biological process behind it is not fully understood.
What is certain is that when you combine the power of faith and the power of imagination, you receive the inspiration to manifest your ideas in the physical world. The ideas you see through your imagination have the potential to improve your life and the
lives of others. Imagination is a reflection of your consciousness, gifting you the power of creating your reality. Your envisioning power can work for or against your best interest, so better cast your thoughts in a positive light.
Being imaginative in your leisure time can help you overcome obstacles at work. It can help you train your memory, improve your social interactions, pique your curiosity and develop your self-confidence.
Take the time to explore your passions, decide where to channel your energies, observe yourself and other successful people (talk less and listen more), take time for yourself and picture your new reality.
As Mahatma Gandhi put it: “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” Picture your own reality and make it happen!
I hope you recognize one or more of these lessons and that these are of value to you. Please share your insights with me in this post or send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. I am looking forward to our conversation.