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Articles filed in: Entrepreneurship

Most People

Most people believe that the day starts at nine and ends at five.
That you need the permission of others to start.
Most people believe that rules are made by others.
That their horizon is a definite line.
Most people believe that work must be difficult.
That life begins in the two weeks when they aren’t working.
Most people are afraid to take a place at the front of the line.
To listen to themselves first.
Most people choose not to embrace things they cannot change.
And accept those they can.
Most people think they long to be free.
Even though they don’t know what makes them feel free at all.
Most people don’t choose.
Or get to be the most they can be.
Most people are just like you.
When you’re not being most people.

Image by Atila TheHun.

It’s All Been Done Before

This is what I call ‘the pioneer’s lament’. It’s been my personal lament many a day.

It goes something like this…

You have a great idea. It could be for a product, service, a book, blog post, or a new kind of dog food. You start planning, taking notes, visualising the impact of said thing on the world, then the research kicks in and you discover it’s been done before.

Bubble popped.

The bad news is it’s all been done before. The good news is it doesn’t matter, because it hasn’t been done by you.

7,012 books (and counting) have been written about ‘startups’, that didn’t stop Eric Ries having a bestseller, also dubbed as the idea of 2011.

What makes anything you do unique is your voice. The story that only you can tell, from a perspective that nobody else can have. There is more than one way to say something important that needs to be said and a million ways to bring ideas that matter to the world. Or maybe just 350,000.

I’d love to know how you stop yourself from popping your bubble mid blow.
What do you do to stop research killing off your idea too early? Tools or tactics?

Image by Noukka Signe.

21 Ways To Nurture Your Ideas

Your mountain is waiting.
So… Get on your way. ~ Dr Suess

1. Create an idea saving system.
Find tools that work for you, Moleskine or Evernote anyone?

2. Be ready to capture ideas anywhere.
J.K. Rowling tells the story of how Harry Potter “fell into her head” on a train journey.

3. Step away from the computer.
Pick up a pen, doodle, mindmap, take photos. Use both sides of your brain.

4. Understand your creative process.

Be aware of what drives you. Reflect on how you make things happen.

5. Use tools that inspire you.
Leather journals, coloured pens, scrapbooks, green ink….

6. Be on a mission.

Why does the idea excite you? Why this idea, why now? What difference will it make in the world?

7. Begin with the end in mind.
Visualise the end product, the colour of the book cover, the texture of the paper, the graphics on the packaging.

8. Stand in the shoes of the people you want to impact.
Now create the thing that makes the biggest difference to them.

9. Set goals.
Have milestones you can reach. A launch date. Write them down, then stick to them.

10. Don’t set goals.
Just go.

11. Follow hunches.
Trust your gut. Act on your wildest dreams.

12. Find quiet space.

Meditation, walks, getting closer to nature, time to journal. What works for you?

13. Plan meticulously.

Map out desired outcomes, skill sets, milestones, resources.

14. Work quickly.
Start to finish in a day.

15. Practice blue sky thinking.
Ask what if.

16. Resource and outsource.
Play to your strengths. Learn the skills you need to execute and get help when you need it.

17. Try and fail.
Today’s mistakes are the foundation for tomorrow’s successes.

18. Focus.
Limit distractions.

19. Do the work.
Hit publish, press send, hang the picture or launch the website. An idea without execution is just an idea, it has no impact on the world.

20. Do what it feels good to do.

Ideas that get you up early and keep you up late are the ones that live.

21. Remember that You Are The Map Maker.

Don’t let fear stop you from doing the things that matter.

How do you nurture your ideas? Over to you in the comments.

Image by Bethan.

If Only

If only there were 26 hours in each day.
If only they understood.
If only the competition didn’t compete.
If only there was more space.
If only the economy wasn’t in such a mess.
If only chocolate didn’t taste so good.
If only the gym wasn’t so far away.
If only they hadn’t launched first.
If only holidays were longer.
If only you didn’t have to take so much time off.
If only people still cared.
If only the margins could be moved by two pixels.
If only you’d read the instructions first.
If only you hadn’t waited.
If only they’d paid attention.
If only she hadn’t noticed.
If only that, not this.
If only then, not now.
If only you had [————].
If only you could do [————].
Nothing to stop you.
If only you could let go of if only.

P.S. If only the media uploader was working you’d see this gorgeous image….. seriously!

Image by Jamie Henderson.

What Does Success Look Like?

Is it starting or finishing?
Getting there in a hurry?
Or stopping to take in the view on the way?
Is success the elimination of failure or growing with every experience?
Big deals?
Or a series of tiny impacts?
Is success really a destination or more of a journey?
One big blinding flash of brilliance?
Or a thousand of sparks wisdom?
Empire or legacy?
All or nothing?

Success could be viewed from 336,000 different perspectives.

True success though, is creating your own definition, then living that.

Image by Paojus Alquiza.

What For What

I gave, now it’s your turn.

Quid pro quo.

Now we’re even.

That’s how business is supposed to work.

Exchanges of like for like.

A trade.

Transfer of ownership.

Profit and loss.

Transactions that can be measured.

There’s no room for generosity in business.

Unless it’s your business.

Because that’s how you’ve designed it and that is who you are.

This doesn’t mean you give away the farm or work for coffee.

It means you practice wholeheartedness.

You work with integrity from a place of intention.

Stand up for what you believe in.

Make sure that every interaction is one that you are proud of.

Walk in your client’s shoes.

Because you can.

And because you recognise that doing business doesn’t mean you have to live by a what for what ideology.

Image by Amy Lloyd.

Embrace Your Singularity : An Anthem To You

The secret of the most successful brands and similarly the most fulfilled people in the world, is that they know what they’ve got and they are not afraid to show it. They embrace their uniqueness and singular ideas, then tell the best story they can to the right people. Do you?

That’s how I started this post about brand story. I changed the title six times. As I wrote on, it became so much more. It morphed into an anthem to my clients, my dear friends and you.

For years I carried around the legacy of a convent education that taught me if I wasn’t a round peg, then I wasn’t good enough for university. My square peg story was my greatest asset and I didn’t even know it. My eventual epiphany? That degree I once mourned would have smoothed out my edges, given me information, not the knowledge that would serve my growth or my legacy. In the short term it might have made it easier for me to tell my story. Over time it would have made me lazy instead of self directed. Not having that piece of paper set me free. It forced me to trust my gut, to listen harder and made me embrace my singularity.

“I am always doing things I can’t do, that’s how I get to do them” ~ Pablo Picasso

Don’t be afraid to go out there and live your singular life. Be aware of what only you can do. Know that your singularity is your friend and embrace it. Allow it to embrace you. Shout it from the roof tops. Tell the world the truth you see when you look deep into your eyes in the bathroom mirror.

You really are one of a kind. Stop pretending you’re not. You are genius with a capital ‘G’. A sparkler of dreams. A muse. Gifted. The evidence is there for all the world to see. So stop being afraid to taste what those words feel like on your tongue, spit them out. Articulate your dreams, then go live them. Step into the story you were meant to live. The world so wants you to do that…. me too.

Image by Amarit Opassetthakul.

If : A Love Note To Entrepreneurs

If you’re doing your best work.
If you touched one person.
If it makes a difference to a handful.
If you’re building a legacy, not just an empire.
If your values are front and centre.
If you’re launching ideas from the heart.
If you understand why you’re doing this.
If it doesn’t have to matter to everyone.
If you care.
If you can see the world as it isn’t.
If passion is your master.
If possibility feeds your soul.
If meaning is your currency.
If you embrace failure alongside success.
If permission doesn’t get in your way.
If understanding the problem to solve matters.
If people are your inspiration.
If you could change one thing.
If you know the questions to ask and aren’t afraid of the answers.
If you could ask for anything today, would ‘this’ be it?
If not this, then what?

Image by Tram Painter.

Why Learning To Say No Matters

When you started out you were so glad to get email enquiries, calls and visitors. Getting people through the door, even a virtual one was the best feeling! Someone was interested in what you were doing. Your idea wasn’t going to flop, your services were needed and more importantly wanted. You weren’t going to fail and starve. You were so overjoyed to see and hear from these clients that you forgot to set boundaries. “Just email me anytime.” “No problem.” Your fear of failure created a monster. A never-ending stream of questions, requests and demands.

Now there are days, lots of them, when you feel you are suffocating under the weight of your inbox. It’s not the client’s fault, they are just doing their best to manage their own emergencies and so the cycle is never broken. Unless you do something about it that is.

When was the last time you said, “no”? What’s stopping you? Maybe you’re afraid that your reputation will be hurt, that people will stop coming back or go somewhere else. Perhaps they’ll tell their friends and that will be that. The work will dry up and you’ll be out of the game.

The thing is if you allow unnecessary admin, (the kind that you can clear up by managing client expectations), to suck all the joy out of your work, then you’re going to kill your ‘art’, and your business slowly anyway. Your impatience with clients and staff will eventually show, and your resentment will mean that you never do your best work.

If you are overwhelmed by mismanaged expectations, then you leave no space. No time to think, create, design, brainstorm, make maps and come up with ideas worth caring about. No time to say, “yes” to the right things, and no time for the thing that brought people to you in the first place.

Image by Joe Shlabotnik.

The Truth About You

Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing.
Labels are not for people.
~ Martina Navratilova

If there’s one question you can guarantee to be asked within the first five minutes of meeting someone it’s, “so… what do you do?” We all know it’s coming so why are we so ill prepared for it?

During the years I chose to be a stay at home Mum I loathed this question. There was no way that one sentence could define everything it meant to be a mother. Announcing that you are a writer, business coach, graphic designer or CEO doesn’t cut it either.

You are way more compelling than your job description.

The reason you choose a particular role says nothing about what you uniquely bring to the world. So my question is, why are you hiding the best of you?

You and I both know that the official line can’t hold a candle to the unspoken reality, and I promise you, if you tell the real story your results will be different too. What’s keeping you grounded in the generic and stopping you sharing more of the truth?

Work on peeling away some of those generalisations, kiss goodbye to your generic bio and shine a light on what you really do and why you do it.

Over to you and your bios in the comments.

Image by Sheeshoo.