Are You Hurting Yourself?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have always been a person who loves to study various business models and try to learn from them.  I am genuinely curious about what works and doesn’t work.  During my journey I have experienced the good and the bad, the exceptional, and the ridiculous while working for others.  Every business had something to offer, and I have learned from each and every one.

My wife and I work together.  We have three primary businesses, real estate investing, direct marketing, and our internet marketing businesses.

Our direct marketing business company has the most perfect business model I have ever seen.  It is genius!  It has all the tools, systems, and leadership in place to allow anyone to become a world class entrepreneur.  Will everyone who joins be highly successful?  No they won’t, not because the systems don’t work, but because they need to adjust their mindset to that of the entrepreneur. 

How do I know this?  Because I have witnessed so many people, from all walks of life, with all kinds of educational backgrounds, some with very humble beginnings and even very tragic pasts, become highly successful (6 figure income successful) in this business.  If they can all do it, then anyone can do it but many won’t because of a poor mindset.  The good news is we call all adjust our mindsets.

So without hyping the company, because that is not my intent, I am going to share with you some of the lessons we have learned, or relearned, over the last year while working with this company.  These lessons will apply to everyone who wants to be achieving more, whether you are an employee who wants to be a leader or an entrepreneur who must be a leader.  You see, all successful entrepreneurs are leaders.

First, there is a great difference between the way entrepreneurs/leaders think and the way employees think.  This is why so many people who start their own businesses, whether those businesses have storefronts, deal in real estate, or are run from home, fail. 

The entrepreneur/leader understands that “If it is going to be, it is up to me.”  They must have the drive and discipline to build their organization to achieve their dreams.

This was actually a difficult transition for me.  I was fairly successful in corporate America but when it came to being my own boss I failed at first.  In corporate America, even as a senior leader, I had leaders over me, someone to be accountable to.  I had a yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly road map.  I knew what needed to be done and how to do it.  As a leader of other employees I just needed to help them catch the vision and keep them headed in the right direction.  

As an entrepreneur you are accountable to only you.  You are 100% responsible for your vision, planning, and execution each day.  Even with a system to follow you are responsible for the daily execution of that system.  You are the only one holding you accountable so it is far too easy to make excuses for yourself or let income reducers (TV, Games, friends, family, etc.) distract you from you goals. 

I am not suggesting you have to give up the income reducers entirely, however, you will have to regulate how much time you can devote to them and still be able to achieve your goals.  After all, to do the same things you have always done, and expect different results, is just nuts!

Second, before you go into business for yourself, you need a dream that is bigger than the challenges you will encounter along the way.  Your dream must be big, I mean BIG!  This will be your “WHY” for doing the business.  Why does it need to be so big?  Because there will be challenges along the way.  There will be distractions, setbacks, rejections, and yes failures.  If your dream is BIG enough, you will get up every time you are knocked down, dust yourself off, learn, and get back to work on your dream.

For me, money alone is not a big enough dream.  We tried that while I was in corporate America once with a goal of generating one hundred million dollars revenue in a single year.  That alone was not enough for me to alter my pattern of behavior to achieve that goal. 

My dream has to be what I can do with the money.  My BIG dream is to personally demonstrate to our 7 children that they do not have to be dependent upon anyone else to be able to take care of their families.  I also want a few things money can buy so they are part of my dream, for instance we want: a house on a lake in Maine, to serve a mission for our church, to help our family who can’t help themselves, and to help others.  You get the idea. 

Third, your dream must have substance in order to give you something tangible to shoot for. Determine as many specifics as you can for it.  How much will it cost?  When will you achieve it?  Be specific, picture it in your mind. 

So let’s say you want a new car.  You need to know what kind it is, what color it is, how it will smell brand new off the lot (go sit in one take it all in), when you will be driving it.  Put a picture of it where you can see it every day.  It’s yours and you are going to make it happen!

When your dream is that strong you will find a way to make it happen.

Speaking of dreams, there are timeless principles that just work.  One of these is taught in the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, click here for free download.  YOUR dream will drive and sustain you when times get tough.

Forth, when the failures come, and they will, learn from them.  Recently we were privileged to spend a couple of hours with Mr. John Maxwell, a tremendous teacher and leadership coach.  He shared with us some of his failures along his life journey and how he learned from each one.  He is a guy who considers himself a “failure factory” even though has written more than 70 books and is a world renowned speaker.

The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is this: those who don’t succeed will often let the failure define who they are or block their way.  No one and nothing should define who you are except you!  Those who succeed understand that everyone fails.  They embrace the failure as part of the growing process.  They learn from failures and stay focused on their dream.

It is said that Thomas Edison tried 10,000 times to create an electric light bulb before he finally got it to work.  He said, he didn’t have 10,000 failures, he just discovered 10,000 ways it wouldn’t work.  He was simply learning.

Mary Jane and I have had some big failures along our journey.  I call them expensive seminars.  We learn what we can and move forward.

Fifth, attitude will determine your altitude in life!  I learned early on in corporate America that I could teach almost anything to someone willing to learn, except attitude.  Therefore, when I was interviewing someone for a position on my team I constructed “what if” or “what would you do” type questions that presented different scenarios that would give insight into their attitude.

The good news is you can improve your attitude.  I work on my attitude everyday.  This last year has been very helpful to me in this regard.  As I have removed some of the junk from my mind, i.e. too much news, and filled it with more constructive information, I find my attitude is much more positive each day.  We know we are going to the top, the only question we have now is who is going with us?

Six, develop an attitude of gratitude.  Being grateful for the blessings you receive as well as the challenges you experience will help you stay on the path to your dream.  An “attitude of gratitude” keeps you humble enough to continue learning and provides you with a heart big enough to help those you can along the way.  Both of these traits will help you achieve any success in life you want.

Well that’s all for now because I’m trying to keep this short.  However, as an added bonus I encourage you to watch this funny and insightful 13 minute video about success and happiness.  You’ll enjoy it, just click here.



Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

3 Responses to “Are You Hurting Yourself?”

  1. I love the knowledge on your web sites. Regards!

  2. Well done. I really appreciate your insight and can totally relate to your description of the transition from the Corporate mindset to the Entrepreneurial!!

    Entrepreneurial = great word, can I buy a vowel…..

    • Thanks, some lessons learned the hard way are worth sharing so others don’t have to make the same mistakes.