Going for it

25/02/2014

Fear of the unknown can have a massive impact on our ability to realise our business dreams. Virtually anyone that has succeeded in their profession, career or sport has been able to overcome their inner fears. Fear comes in many shapes and forms, it could be:

  • Fear of losing a big contract
  • Fear of being unable to provide for our family
  • Fear of speaking in public
  • Fear of providing personal guarantees to support growth
  • Fear of taking on that new overseas market

In many instances fear is an emotion we create in our own mind and it often results from negative self talk. Fear can hold us back from doing what we want to do and what we want to achieve – it acts as a barrier to personal and business progression. The emotional turmoil created by fear stunts our personal growth, creates self limiting beliefs and leads to a lackluster performance that will not get you your desired outcome

By getting into the habit of confronting our fears, we release the internal brakes of the mind – this allows us to move forward with our personal intentions and create the life and career we desire. Mind conditioning is required if we are going to overcome the fears that hold us back. We must get into the habit of listening to those fears but asking ourselves – how real are they? Do away with those fears by:

  • Taking small steps to overcoming those fears by forcing yourself to take action
  • Visualise the outcome you want – not the fear factor
  • Ask yourself how real is the fear?
  • Dispel the invisible audience that fear creates in the mind
  • How much do you want success? If you cant do away with the fear, disappointment will result

Surrendering to fear will hold you back, don’t fall victim to it, take positive steps to embrace fear and push through it. Once in the habit you will never look back – almost anything becomes a possibility.

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Faith is important for entrepreneurs

26/06/2012

The life of an entrepreneur is full of ups and downs. The high’s are fantastic and the feeling of jubilation when you move closer to your intentions provides a clear sense of accomplishment – it delivers the impetus to keep pushing on. It’s a great place to be because motivation and energy helps to build an important ingredient for success – momentum.

However, we all know, building a business can likened to a roller coaster ride, the journey very rarely proceeds along a smooth path. Obstacles are just part of the game, these force us to create diversions and look for alternative ways of getting to our destination.

Constantly being forced to deal with the need to explore alternative roads to the end point can have a wearing effect on  mindset. The danger is when it stimulates negative self talk – what’s the point in doing this? Is it really worth it?  Many entrepreneurs will have at some point internally deliberated these issues. Only you can answer these questions, only you can decide whether to keep going or not.

The power of autosuggestion brought to us many years ago is a vital antidote. Autosuggestion is a psychological technique  developed by  Emile Coue in the late 19th century. It’s an important tool in conditioning our mind to achieve our goals. It can be as destructive and constructive. At the heart of autosuggestion lies conditioning ourselves, through our senses to achieve what we want.

Through observational research, I have come up with other practical tools to help at critical points where emotional support is vital for the entrepreneur. The reality is, it can be easier to give up than to carry on – winners in all walks of life dig deep, maintain focus and continue with their mission, they accept setbacks are just part of the game.  The old adage when the going gets tough the tough get going is one you should reflect on when these feelings kick in.

Mental toughness differentiates winners from losers, your sense of purpose ebbs away when you listen to negative self talk, phrases such as why am I doing this? are symptomatic of the condition, in turn it weakens the endurance of the mind thereby resulting in I give up. Successful people have an insatiable desire and internalised motivation to succeed – you have really got to want it!

Having faith in what your are trying to achieve is a vital ingredient for success. If you dont believe then dont expect others to. It’s important to condition your mind to becoming resilient. Without faith and mental toughness the reality is, winning becomes more difficult. When things are not going your way, embrace the principles of R.A.F

Rewind – and go back to your vision, picture success and hold this image in your mind. Quiet contemplation is vital to aiding this process. This activity will move you out of the negative state and refresh your mind then get you back “on purpose”

Accept – that things will not always go your way. Avoid long drawn out dissections of why things turned out the way they did. Coming runner up is sometimes a wake up call for us. Accept the position and move on otherwise negative self talk will hinder progression.

Have Faith in yourself and your ability to achieve what you want out of your business. When you develop faith, bouncing back when things go wrong is far easier. By having faith you convince your mind that anything is possible

Practice, practice and practice this philosophy and see your success improve dramatically.

 


The ego – a danger zone for leaders

11/01/2012

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins wrote about the power of humility, personal will and its links to leadership excellence. Not to be confused with being a big softy, my own experience is that effective leaders running successful companies exhibit loads of it! Humility is the inherent quality of treating everyone as an equal, with respect, candour and dignity. Unfortunately for many, success very often breeds ego’s the size of cannon balls – self-interest overshadows the importance of colleagues, friends, customers and very often family. Acquiring a big ego can lead to a danger zone for leaders – a disconnection from the things and people who lie at the heart of success, they become redundant and forgotten. The ego is a critical ingredient to making enemies and switching off the support from those who matter.

Ego’s are an unsavoury element to corporate life as well, pure observation leads me to believe that all too often judgements are made purely in self-interest. Well my advice is, make balanced business decisions ones which consider the impact on staff, shareholders and customers (and family!). Very often the mighty fall as a result of their ego’s drowning out any appreciation of humility. Self awareness is the antidote and as my Mum say’s – never get too big for your boots!


Global Brands – Did they take part in recession?

30/11/2011

The Autumn statement provided depressing news for many households and entrepreneurs trying to build a future. Running a business is hard enough without listening to Euro crisis problems, poor growth forecasts and a recovery in the dim and distant future. The resultant effect of the Chancellors statement for many will be – baton down the hatches and reduce investment in people development and new ideas. This becomes a self fulling prophecy and usually you get what you think about.

There are always different ways to view the world, we can be a builder or destroyer of our own future. Well my advice is life is too short for two years of life to evaporate, i.e sitting there and waiting for economic recovery to happen, we should embrace a mindset of not taking part in the recession. Scarcity is the mother of innovation and history tells us that some of the most successful brands on the planet started or thrived during recessionary times here are just a few examples:

General Electric – Not only did Thomas Edison set this Company up in the middle of a recession it thrived when the US economy faced collapse.

IBM – Set up in the middle of a US economy slump

General Motors – set up during the US financial crash of 1908 and went on a buying spree when the Federal Reserve was approaching melt down

Disney – really started to take off smack bang in the middle of the Great Depression

Burger King – started just after the Korean war, its founders philosophy being people still need to eat

Microsoft – Started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975 when the United States was mired in stagflation -the combination of rising unemployment and inflation combined with stagnant GDP

CNN – Started when the Federal Reserve made the decision to aggressively raise interest rates to curb inflation, it caused a “double dip” recession

Apple– Apple got its start in 1975, during another downturn and thrived just after the dot-com bubble burst!

So the message is…Its not all bad news, it’s about having a vision and mindset to create something special and different. Whilst we must avoid putting our head in the sand and thinking all is OK, we must find a balance – place one foot firmly on the accelerator and have the other hovering over the brake!


What do I think about the LEAD programme?

10/10/2011

I was asked today what I thought about the LEAD programme. The truth is it should still be running. For me LEAD was a fantastic stimulus for both personal and organisational change. It helped leaders to personally and professionally grow.

Anyone running a business knows that if you don’t adapt and constantly move with the needs of customers you will quickly get left behind. Living in the “Customers World” by spending at least 3 days a week with them is a habit successful entrepreneurs exhibit. By doing this you get close to their problems and issues, ultimately locking in by becoming a trusted adviser

Any leader should be promoting the fundamental importance of sales. Great selling is about adding value, leaving positive mental imprints of yourself and your business. Integrity, trust and a strong reputation are key foundations of happy customers. Remember – the desk is a very dangerous place to view the market and your customers needs, get out there and practice the philosophy of success is 20% thinking and 80% doing!

LEAD helped to embed these very important principles for growth – bring it back !


High Growth Foundation – Global Companies Event

07/10/2011

Last night we launched the HGF’s “Global Companies” initiative. Another great turnout of members with a fantastic and most distinguished panel of speakers.  I feel really proud that the High Growth Community we have built over the past three years, has come together and attracted the support of some of the North’s most successful entrepreneurs.  The HGF is about ambition and belief and last night a panel debate chaired by Michael Taylor, got to the heart of what it takes to create and build a company of scale. These are the key messages I took away:

Rob Cotton – Chief Executive NCC – go for it, if you don’t you will regret it.  Set the agenda lead in your market and don’t follow the competition.

Robert Fine – Metabridge Silicon Valley network – embrace risk and immerse yourself in the financial networks. The mindset of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is one where there is no ceiling on what can be achieved.  Those businesses start with the end game in mind.

John Meiklejohn – Strategem – On the West coast of the US professors in the universities are not only academics but entrepreneurs as well.  They have started companies, sit on the board of many businesses and they rub shoulders with VCs and financial communities. They are able to ‘speak each others language’.

Stephen Todd – Oxford Said Business School, University of Oxford – there is a fundamental lack of understanding of what going global means in the UK.  It’s more than exporting, it’s about creating a business that can be scaled and have an international orientation from day one of starting up.

Richard Young – Enterprise Ventures – The universities in the UK have to rethink how they go about commercialising. There have been some massive successes but there is always an opportunity to do more. Quote of the night was “pitching gets up my nose!”. Richard’s view was how on earth can you get to know about an idea in a 3 minute pitch?  You need at least an hour to talk to someone to get under the skin of who they are and what they are trying to do.  When you speak to Richard you know “he’s present”- how refreshing for a VC.

Really great feedback from the evening was from a very successful early stage entrepreneur, she said “I am buzzing – really going for it now big time”!

 

 

 

 

 


High Performers Need To Have Confidence

09/08/2011

Confidence is a key element to high performance and going the extra mile. When you have confidence you feel that you can take on the world – but be careful that this confidence does not come across as arrogance – always underpin outward facing high energy with humility.

Confidence can be viewed in context of three dimensions – inner self, external you and your profession or vocation:

Inner confidence – your game plan for life should be clear and you are comfortable with the direction in which you are heading. By setting personal intentions and putting energy into moving towards them you achieve a clear sense of purpose, it makes getting out of bed a pleasure. When you have a real meaning to what you do, you feel energised and motivated to get on with things

Outer confidence – physical well-being and feeling comfortable with our appearance does away with any inhibitions that we may have about ourself. If you feel over weight, unfit then this can have a negative impact on confidence. Take time for regular exercise, this is both mentally and physically stimulating.

Professional confidence – being the master of your trade, career, vocation or profession makes you confident when interacting with others. When you know your stuff and you are well prepared with your knowledge and expertise you do away with nerves associated with lack of understanding.

Communication with others whether that be one to one or to a group becomes easier when we can tick each of the confidence boxes. When any element is out of sync we end up with an uncomfortable feeling that manifests itself into lack of confidence. When these three areas are aligned we become comfortable with who we are and we reach a state of being confident in our own skin. We connect more effectively with others and take on new challenges far more easily.