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resilience for business owners

3 Ways Resilience Blocks Business Growth

3 MIN READ

Resilience for business owners is usually something people think of highly. Pushing through hardship to emerge victoriously is celebrated by successful business owners everywhere. It is certainly an asset to be able to battle through challenges in business. Surviving tough times is an essential aspect of business success, but is it always a positive thing?

Don’t get me wrong. You should be genuinely proud of the way you have grown your business, holding on with white-knuckled determination to make it through. Like all your peers, things have not always been easy for you in business. But you have prevailed. Every win you’ve enjoyed has been possible because you gritted your teeth and decided to battle through. You chose to forge a pathway of success right through the eye of the storm.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” Nelson Mandela

Resilience is essential for business owners intent on achieving increasing levels of success. However, there is a risk that the pride you take in your ability to push through could be holding you back. Let me explain …

Resilience focuses on survival instead of growth

When you’re battling it out in the trenches of adversity, making it out alive is the name of the game. You need to harness every resource you have and direct all your efforts towards overcoming the threat. It is vital that when tough times come, you have the strength, tenacity and determination to survive. This approach itself is not a problem, but it can’t draw you on to greater heights.

If you’re a survivor you need resilience, but if you have the visionary aspirations of a leader you will rise from strength to strength to build a legacy others only dream of. This is how you can lead your business away from the battler phase through to wide open spaces of lasting influence. Shifting away from the survival mentality empowers ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results in their business.

A dependency on hardship can become an identity problem

Business owners should take pride in their resilience. In fact, often this resilience becomes a defining attribute of the person themselves. When you pride yourself on being the one who pushes through, others will notice. You will inspire others to keep fighting through their own tough times, and you will likely inspire yourself. These are all good things.

But if the story ends there, you will always be tied to the battle, and you will inadvertently create a model for others to stay tied to their battles too. If you ultimately see yourself as a battler, you will always be drawn to battles. As a result, you will never be free of those battles. You will never rise above to access freedom, abundance, and true wealth. How you see changes what you see. Lift your vision beyond the trenches. Do away with the drama. Don’t look for what you can achieve by winning the fight. Instead, look outside the fight altogether. Imagine what life could be like if you weren’t caught that cycle any more.

Resilience attracts battlers

“It’s great to see you! How have you been?”

“Oh, it’s been tough. I’ve got problems with my staff, delays with my suppliers, and my daughter is 16 going on 35. Need I say more!”

“Yes, I know what you mean. I’ve been working late all month fixing mistakes my staff made, and I’ve got stock stuck on a dock because of a strike. And my son… suspended for two days because he just can’t keep his mouth shut. I’m hearing you.”

Does this type of conversation sound familiar to you? Like attracts like. If you’re wearing your tough times like a badge of honour, chances are you’ll find others who approach life exactly the same way. Jim Rohn says you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Take a look around your circle and honestly evaluate the attitudes your closest people have. Then, pause to consider the effect this might be having on you and your attitude.

At the end of the day, resilience will get you through almost anything, so it is vital for business success. But it is only ever useful amidst hardships. Isn’t life meant to be a little better than that?

How To Achieve Business Freedom

3 MIN READ

Business freedom is a motivating driver for the vast majority of owners. Having the freedom to make choices with your time, relationships, health and finances is a goal that keeps most business leaders pushing through. No matter how much hardship or adversity they face, many owners will keep chasing that pot of freedom goal at the end of the rainbow. Where others would fail, those set on freedom are determined to prevail.

I wonder though … have you thought much about the relationship between freedom and control? As you pursue increasing amounts of freedom, you may have noticed the correlation. It takes dedicated hard work to persist through challenges, and disciplined focus to keep your eyes on the prize. You need to harness all your resources and strategically mobilise them towards the achievement of your aims. Controlling your attitude, schedule, finances, workflow and attention are all essential aspects of gaining freedom.

“Freedom cannot be bestowed — it must be achieved.” Elbert Hubbard

Business freedom allows you to throw off the shackles of obligation, constraint and expectation. However, there is a directly related value in embracing the benefits of control. Working hard at freedom in these five areas will allow you to reap boundless rewards of liberty.

 

Business Freedom Is You At Your Best

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” Albert Camus

Self-control is foundational to business freedom. Indeed, freedom in all things comes down to your ability to manage yourself and your choices well. Choose who you want to become, then take powerful strides to make that person alive each day. Developing maturity in conflict leads to harmony and positive influence. Growing in your ability to manage your own wellness results in a long life of energised zest. Aspiring to become your best self relies on you making responsible choices. This will allow you to be who you want to become in any given moment.

 

Freedom Relies On Independent Thought

“To find yourself, think for yourself.” Socrates

You cannot possibly enjoy freedom is your mind is not your own. In this way, empowering yourself to increasing liberty is about finding your own highest thoughts. When you dedicate yourself to learning you gain a stream of sharp insights to make wise decisions. Surrounding yourself with intelligent, empowered people who share your values will help with this too. Setting clear boundaries in your social life, and making firm commitments to your own improvement will enhance your freedom as nothing else can.

 

You Can Choose Freedom Responses

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” Vicktor Emil Frankl

I urge you to read “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. The pages of this book show you how to make freedom choices better than any other I have read. You will see truths that continue to become evident in daily life. Your freedom starts with your mindset, which creates the attitudes you bring to your daily life. Regardless of hardship, opposition or deficit, you can respond to every situation with a freedom mindset. It won’t always be easy, but the journey will define you. If you get it right, you will access untold power to make positive impacts on all those around you, simply by being truly free.

 

Business Freedom Comes From Hard Work

“Shovel today’s challenges for your tomorrow’s freedom” Aniekee Ezekiel

Yes, life is tough. Today might be one of the toughest you have faced so far. You may feel like you are facing limitations and setbacks at every turn. But the only way out of these constraints is working right through them. Decide to engage your full self in resolving conflicts, developing strength and advancing your position. Avoidance only takes you off track. Even amidst the most overwhelming adversity is the opportunity to breakthrough in resilience. Work hard to be your best, learn better ways, and make positive choices. This is the key to freedom.

 

Discipline Is Key To Freedom

“Discipline will put you on the path to strength and health and intelligence and happiness. And most important, discipline will put you on the path to FREEDOM” Jocko Willink

Being disciplined is not a trendy habit or a sexy concept. Ideas of self-control, strict self-management and regimented routines are rarely connected with conversations of freedom. However, real freedom relies on discipline, and this is especially true in business. You might know the experience of working hard to increase your sales, expand your workforce, or finally get some long-overdue time off. In my experience, I have found that freedom in business does not magically appear. Business freedom is the reward that comes from a ruthless dedication to being consistent in the little things which lead to big results.

 

time management tips that work

The Little Things Make Big Things Happen

4 MIN READ

Time management is a term so overly used that it has come to mean almost nothing. In our supremely fast-paced society, we dedicate our days to grand projects and pressing deadlines. We set goals and push through daily pressures, resistance and obstacles to achieve them. Sometimes it is easy to become so focussed on the elusive rewards of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that we become disconnected from the here and now. 

If your aim is to become the master of time management, it’s time to grab hold of one simple truth:

It’s the little things that make big things happen. 

On their own, most of the little jobs and activities you do each day don’t amount to much. Even if you had constantly clean workplaces, crystal clear filing and record-breaking levels of output, they wouldn’t make that much of a difference in themselves.

time management tips that work

“Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.” Lord Chesterfield

Lasting impact is made when each small part of your business system flows freely. This is the only way any organisation can consistently generate positive change. Effective time management comes down to these five simple principles:

Leaders Maximise Their Time

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Michael Altshuler

When it comes to making the most of your time, it’s all too easy to fall into the victim trap without even realising it. With your overfull schedule this week you might wonder how you will get anything done. The phone rings and you need to attend to someone else’s urgent priority. Then there are your family, friends and team members who seem to need you constantly.

If your schedule is too busy you are the only one who can change that. Regardless of the demands on your time or the pressures around you, you do have the capability to carve out the time you need. Block out No Go Zones that are reserved for the achievement of your aims without negotiation.

 

Effective Planning Is Foundational To Time Management

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Abraham Lincoln

Jumping headlong into the first task that pops into your mind without mapping out a plan is a recipe for time-wasting. Develop a system which reminds you of the routine tasks you need to complete regularly, and schedule time for these. Then set up a notes system to get all those work thoughts out of your head and recorded somewhere for reference. I love my Rocketbook for this (and so does the environment 😉  ).

Once you have all those tasks and projects out of your head and in front of you, it’s time to map out a plan. Larger projects are best managed with software such as Trello, Asana or Monday.com. Work that can be completed in one sitting should be set as daily goals. The message here is to plan your work then work your plan.

 

Managing Time Means Forget About Multi-Tasking

“The shorter way to do many things is to only do one thing at a time.” Mozart

Slipping into old habits of distraction is a perfectly normal challenge to overcome when mastering the use of your time. You might find your self with 20 browser tabs open at any given time. Perhaps you have three emails drafts that can’t be sent until you complete them. Maybe you have shiny new tech tools that you bought but never got around to installing or implementing. You might even tell yourself your brain works best with multiple pots on the boil.

If increasing your output whilst reducing stress is your aim, this has to stop. You can’t argue with science. Your brain is not capable of giving high-level attention and focus to more than one task at one time. Set up one task, work on it until it is done, then focus on switching quickly between tasks. If you need to capture those runaway thoughts that spring up while you’re working, make a habit of working with a notebook beside you.

 

Prioritise Your Efforts To Make The Most Of Your Time

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent, and not enough time on what is important.” Steven Covey

Setting boundaries around your life’s most vital priorities, then maintaining these boundaries ruthlessly is key. This is the only way to succeed in making the most of your time. Not everything you are tasked with is urgent. Indeed not everything you have on your plate right now is important. Some of the things on your to-do list are probably not even relevant to where you’re headed. If you’re struggling with knowing what to invest your time and effort into, your first step to managing your time well is to sort that out.

I realised long ago that true success is about choosing what you want, then choosing what you are willing to give up to get it. Dedicate yourself to clarifying exactly what you want out of your life. Commit to finding what you want to give back. Purchase some personal development books to focus your vision. You might even reach out to a coach or mentor to help you find your purpose.

 

What Does Your Time Really Mean?

At the end of the day, the big things in your life rely on the little things to work. Mastering each moment is the only way to truly create the impact you’re looking for. Functioning smoothly in wide open workspaces elevates your performance. Quickly accessing quality resources fuels transformational outcomes. Producing exemplary results every time turns your workers into leaders. All of this comes back to their ability to make the most of their time.

Becoming empowered with skills and strategies to master your time, means the energy you spend on the little things feeds the achievement of the big thing. When companies function this way, every effort contributes to the delivery of solutions which change your clients’ world.  

 

business leaders inspiring their staff

Why Business Leaders Shift From Inspired to Inspiring

4 MIN READ

Like most of us, business leaders all over the world are looking for inspiration. Billions of dollars are generated each year in sales related to self-help. People spend money on life coaches, motivational speakers, and courses or events which inspire attendees to achieve new greatness. It is a massive consumer industry on the rise. Soul searching millennials, stressed-out parents, and ambitious career builders are all on the hunt for the next way to elevate themselves and enhance their futures.

To participate in this trend is easy. Social media provides access to the promotion of resources that never end. The internet delivers materials right to your inbox or Zoom screen. Your global community joins you in celebrating the learning and development. They cheer you on as you advance towards your potential.

It feels great too! Who wouldn’t want to join an army of optimistic people on a mission to achieve more, be better, pursue their own personal greatness? Sharing with others as they come into their own is uplifting; doing that yourself can be euphoric.

But today, a question for business leaders:

Are you merely inspired yourself, or do you inspire others?

“A boss has the title, a leader has the people,” Simon Sinek

There is a massive difference between sitting in the crowd and presenting from the stage. When you’re building a business, it’s all about commanding that leadership role.

Inspiration is not conveyed by mere osmosis. Simply being positive and optimistic about how things are going in your business will not make your team automatically positive and optimistic too. Influential business leaders know it’s vital to shift from being inspired yourself, to inspiring others with your business mission. You need to strategically communicate the vision you have for your team, your clients, and your community. This does not happen by accident. Here are three ways you can master the art of harnessing your own inspiration to go on and inspire others.

 

Business Visionaries Have Consistent Messaging

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” Jeff Bezos

You started your business to achieve one main thing. Clarify exactly what that mission is to make it short and sweet so it is easy for others to capture that vision.

Think tagline!

Then plaster that short, sweet mission statement everywhere: on your website, in your company email footers, on your signage and in the tea room. Print it on T-shirts, open your team meetings with reminders, put it in your team position descriptions. Put it on your company header, tell your team members in their quarterly review, make it the centrepiece of your advertising and marketing.

Do not waver. Do not deviate. Do not become distracted. Shout that one message from the rooftops so everyone can join the inspiration you have for your business mission.

 

Business Leaders Set Achievable Goals

“Process drives culture, not the other way around, so you can’t just change the culture, you have to change the system.” Eric Ries

It may not seem as romantic as your original vision, but leading others to their own inspiration starts with taking a systematic approach. The inspiration you have needs to inform not only what people believe about the business, but how they operate each day.

Think systems and processes!

Lead your team in building out the procedures that get everyone working towards that vision with momentum and confidence. Empower your team to find the most effective, efficient way to work. Then  make that way the new normal. Set up regular reviews for your team so you routinely check in with them to offer support and celebrate their progress each quarter. Have systems in place to ensure that you can help your team get back on track even when standards might start to slip at work.

Everyone in your team will be inspired when you find ways to celebrate the vision being brought to life through achievement and increase.

 

Business Mentors Build Personal Connections

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing” W. Edwards Deming

You can talk all you like about how your business is growing and your team is expanding. But taking others with you on the journey of business inspiration relies on you building a system to lead them. When you connect with other business leaders, you should be able to describe exactly what you’re doing to build the visionary leaders in your company.

Establishing ways to facilitate a sense of personal ownership, belonging and success for your team is foundational to your success. Your staff don’t only want to be acknowledged and rewarded. They actually need it. 79% of people who quit their job cite lack of appreciation as the reason, so actively demonstrating you care is vital to the long term health of your company.

Think mentorship!

When you were just starting out on your own, your job was to just keep going! With so much to do and so little time, your own inspiration was the fuel you burned to get that business off the ground. But building a business to expand and scale requires a paradigm shift. Inspiring your team to build your business for you means maintaining routines which make your staff know just how much you value their contribution. Take them under your wing. Connect with them regularly. Set them up for success with clearly defined expectations and rewards for achievement. Ask them what they want to achieve, and give them what they need to make that happen. As a business leader, you can make their days count for something more significant than their salary.

Watch what happens in your company when you shift from being inspired yourself to inspiring others.

 

Sending A Burst Of Positive Energy

3 MIN READ

Today, a moment that taught me a fresh way to practice love and goodness.

We picked my son up the other day to do the grocery shopping. He is 25 and lives a couple of suburbs away with no car. If we are out and about doing our own errands we will often check to see if he needs a lift. It’s a wonderful low-key way to catch up and get things done at the same time.

This was a big day for him. Only one week earlier the beautiful black cat that he has adopted as his own over the last couple of years was moved away. GiGi was never actually his cat, but with my son’s housemates complaining constantly about the cat, the owner had decided to relocate this gorgeous little creature to a more welcoming home.

My son was absolutely devastated. If you have ever lost a pet you know the grief can feel just the same as losing any other family member. He was gutted beyond words and searching to find ways to resolve the heartbreak.

My son is also a typical young man with no girlfriend. As we drove towards the supermarket we happened to pass a beautiful young girl with simply stunning long brown hair. I commented that her hair was to die for. My son agreed. “She is absolutely gorgeous,” he said.

The conversation moved on but as a big thinker, my son was clearly still reflecting on this girl, the universe, and the meaning of existence. He looped back around to the conversation.

“Do you ever send bursts of positive energy to people?” he asks.

“What do you mean?”

“Well like, if you see someone beautiful like that girl, or you’re away from someone you love, do you ever send them a wave of positive energy and hope that it somehow reaches them?”

Oh my!

My eyes instantly filled with tears at the beauty of this practice.

“That is absolutely beautiful!” I say in overwhelm.

“Yeah …” he continues. “Like with GiGi. I can’t see her anymore and I don’t know where she is but whenever I think of her I send her a burst of energy and hope that she feels it.”

“There is only one happiness in life. To love and be loved” Georges Sand

I have a lump in my throat and tears filling my eyes as I reflect this morning.

Regardless of what you believe about God, religion, politics or the meaning of life itself, the power of goodness cannot be understated. The impact that we have on each other can never be denied. Often it is easy to forget just how much effect we can and do have on those around us.

The privilege of connection with others is a humbling honour bestowed upon us all. Whether you are a member of a family, a team at work, a sporting club or a community group, what you do with, and who you are to, the people around you influences the way they experience life. Moreover, the way you approach people actually defines the way you experience your own life. By giving love freely, that gift reflects back to bless your life as much as it does the rest of the world.

You might be devastated by grief, broken by failure, empty with loss, or overwhelmed by anxiety in lockdown.

But love.

I would normally have some short points for you to take away and ponder over the next few days, but today, there is only one message. Simple? Yes … but the most powerful one of all to carry us all through even the most devastating losses or gruelling challenges.

Love.

Love.

Love.

That is all. And it is everything.

 

Home Truths About Business Leadership

3 MIN READ

With all of us in isolation lately, we’ve been spending vastly less time around others than our usual schedules would require. It’s got me to thinking about the person we are when nobody is looking. I’ve been reflecting on how to make the most of the extra time we have to spend with ourselves at the moment. My thoughts lead me to realise a powerful key to personal growth. Today, I wanted to share it with you:

Who you are in private determines what people see in public.

A Time For Reflection

There’s a significant reduction in the amount of face time many have with their staff, their friends, and even their family and loved ones right now. Many are working from home, pushing through the distractions that come from children, pets, partners and even deliveries. Some are struggling through at their dining tables or makeshift work stations without a dedicated space to get stuff done. Others, like myself, have adult children living out of home now, so isolation brings the sadness of not being able to visit them or other loved ones.

I bet all of us are missing the comfort of our old routines, and the familiarity of how things were. Despite the massive changes we’ve been forced to navigate lately, all of us have been gifted with a unique opportunity to dig down deep to explore more of what we’re really made of in this season of isolation.

I’d love to invite you to join me in this special time of reflection by having a “heart to heart” with yourself. Who we are now is everything. How we respond in ourselves will make a defining difference to the outcomes we experience on the other side of the crisis.

“The empires of the future are empires of the mind” Winston Churchill

Do Your Routines Serve You?

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

Take a look around the landscape of your “normal life”. Honestly evaluate how you’re going with managing the areas that are key to fulfilment and well-being. Boldly ask yourself if you’re happy with the state of your health, your relationships, your mindset and mood, your financial management, your business growth, and other areas that are important to you as a person.

The physical distance you need to keep right now might just be a blessing. It may well give you the space to conduct a lifestyle audit you’ve never had the opportunity to do before. Take advantage of the viewpoint you have right now to create some healthy new habits in your life. Match your intentions and ambitions with the little actions that will progressively create ease and flow across every area of your life.

Are You Getting Where You Want To Go?

“Long term success is a direct result of what you achieve every day. Goals provide your daily routine” Rick Pitino

For many business leaders, this lifestyle audit has been long overdue. The small things you do each day lead directly to the circumstances experienced by your family, your staff, and of course by you! If you’ve become stuck in a rut now is the time to acknowledge where you are and plan to turn the corner. The insights you uncover and plans you devise now in isolation may change the very future of your company.

Have the courage to think about how things actually run in your business. Will the way routine work is managed actually lead you to the achievement of your goals? Are your staff engaged and productive at work? Is everyone clear on exactly what they need to do, how it needs to be done, and why they are doing the work at all? Business success relies on clear vision being activated in tight workplace routines.

Do You Feel Free And Empowered?

“Freedom is people realising they are their own leader.” Diane Nash

I’ve never met a business owner who started their business because they wanted to work long hours and get stuck at work fixing other people’s mistakes. Every owner I know, plus all those in the research, says they are in business because they want to make a real difference. They want to be their own boss and enjoy freedoms in their lifestyle, their finances, and their relationships.

If you cannot confidently say that your daily routines at home and at work have created a lifestyle of freedom and empowerment for you and yours, it is time for a change. The entire world is in transition! You have the chance now to prepare for new outcomes. Set up new ways of working which liberate you from the burden of business growth. Develop systems which elevate your team and increase their performance at work. Create new boundaries for your life which lock away time for the things that matter most.

Now you can work in private to make a big difference in public. Now it is time to focus only on building a business that can make an impact that lasts.