Many of us go down different paths for different reasons without really knowing where it will lead us. We usually go down the path because we feel there is no option or alternatively because we have a sense that by taking a risk, good things might happen.
When I first went into business 17 years ago, I had no idea what path I should go down, but an opportunity came up, I took it and it worked out just fine.
Then just over 10 years ago, I matured a little and started to think for myself. What road did I want to go down and where did I want that road to take me? I thought long and hard. I wrote a business plan with a vision in mind, and an exit strategy. I took it to a friend and he invested in that plan, and the rest is history.
I also bought out that friend at the right time. He was a mentor that is one of the most amazing, kind people I have ever met. Still today, if I have a problem I go to him and ask for his advice. He always gives the right answer or cheers me up if I am feeling a little down.
A good lifestyle came to me in my early 20's but "success" by most entrepreneurs definitions came to me in my early thirties. The penny dropped. The ah-ha moment happened. The world changed. Somehow, my business became something bigger and better than I ever imagined it to be. Today, it still keeps on growing and prospering, but not without hurdles along the way. Things that test me and test those around me.
When I talk about success, I do so with hesitation because it means different things to different people. Given that kindness is the most important thing in my life followed by deep meaningful love connections albeit with my dog, family or others; success in business requires a different type of thought process.
Here are the things I have learned:
- Make no excuse for failure or an inability to achieve something. There is always a way.
- Don't focus on making money. If you focus on money, you are a different type of person, and usually someone who I certainly wouldn't aspire to be like. Really wealthy people have mostly a different mindset and its one that comes with ruthlessness and at times an ability to be unkind to people. That is not everyone, but it certainly is a majority of those I have met. Having said that, the one's that are closest to me are kind, thoughtful, generous and without doubt some of the best people I have ever met.
- Confidence is always king. Even if you are not feeling your most confident, pretend. People respect and look up to people that show confidence and often associate it with presence. Have you ever thought that someone who walked in a room that was unknown to everyone had presence? I have, but that is just another term for confidence. Also, believe in yourself and have the confidence to stand by your values and beliefs.
- Have a purpose and make sure it's your purpose, not someone else's. I can't live without purpose. If I don't have purpose it sends me into a spiral that completely puts me off balance. Write down your purpose and remind yourself of it daily.
- Wake up early and listen to the birds chirping. Be in the office before everyone else, even if it means you leave early. Keep a routine that allows you to get the things you need to get done finished each day.
- Keep a to do list and share it. It's not just up to you to finish it, it's up to everyone on your team.
- Learn and develop your skills. Never stop learning and never believe you know everything. Keep researching and developing your skills. There is always something to take away from someone else.
- Have the honesty and integrity to know "why" you want to be successful. Is it because you grew up poor? Is it because that is what the person you looked up to most represented to you? Is it because you feel like if you are successful people will like you? That you may be important? Know your "why".
- Create value for others. Always leave something on the table for others in every equation. Don't be greedy. Don't always 'have to win'. Be kind and generous and supportive of others. Take your team with you on your route to success.
- Be brave and courageous enough to constantly be knocked down knowing that your family and friends will give you words of wisdom and hugs every time you feel like it gets too much - and that in itself is success. Real success.
Being 42 has empowered me to be an authentic version of myself, always ready to wear my heart on my sleeve and encourage others to do so as well. Be present in the relationships you have with your staff, your family and friends. No pretense. No acting. If you just be yourself I am sure you will have success in many more ways than you ever imagined.