I did not realise but now I understand why? – there are more new businesses set up in September than other time of the year. Why is this? Well I think the holidays and having the opportunity to get your head into a new space has something to do with it. When I come to think of it I am one of these statistics myself – having arrived back from holiday in August 2005 – I had decided that a new chapter in my life had to open – one that would allow me to release my passion – business set up in September 2005 – doors and till opened for trading in January 2006.
Come to think of it, coming back off holiday having spent two weeks in the sun putting back pints of San Miguel and rose wine – has been the stimulus for lots of new ideas – decided to write two books, develop new products and have a go at a whole raft of ideas – some of which do OK and others are bonkers and would preferably rather forget.
The point is life is too short to go unnoticed (a quote from Picasso) – use the reflective time that holiday and the summer months have brought to try new stuff. All too often fear and comfort zones hold us back from having a go at something we have a deep desire to do – if it works then brilliant and if it doesn’t then at least you had a go – after all will it make a big difference in 100 years time?
What is your BSC!
It’s clear to me that there are so many entrepreneurs at the moment having a difficult time – it was great to hear a comment from a lady running a business who said – “recession I have decided not to participate”. Her company is doing really well and she avoids at all cost any negative environments. What she reads in the press she avoids personalising it as the reality is, she wants to control her own destiny. It can be so easy to be dragged down by what we read and listen to people talking about. If we allow negativity to bed into our mindset we can become extremely demotivated and create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I really admire those people who can detach from whats going on around them and focus their efforts on controlling the things they can. So many of us get caught up worrying about issues we have no power to effect – so maybe going forward we should divert attention to those areas that we can impact and not consume energy with the things we cant. Easier said than done – but like anything practice makes perfect
Not being able to see the wood for the trees is a common feature of life. People regularly talk about being busy and overworked – but just how much of this is self-inflicted. All too often we engage in activity that brings no value to achieving our highest goals and ambitions. Without reflective time, our decision making becomes blurred and it is common to lose sight of what we want. The result is stale thought with patterns of behaviour that fail to deliver our deepest desires. Successful people have the fortunate ability to think clearly, this is helped by finding the time to take well-earned breaks from being “busy”. This cleansing process provides the opportunity to de clutter the mind.
The practice of finding sanctuary helps to remove mental blockages and fosters a sense of balance between work and play. Without regular periods of reflection you will find yourself eventually in a rut – the place you don’t want to be!
You must think of Sanctuary on three levels of “time out”:
Daily sanctuary to help us to prepare for the day ahead – time with family, exercise, meditation, prayer, reading. Starting each day with 10 minutes of deep reflection, provides a kick-start to focused activity and just being aware
Weekly sanctuary that helps divert our energies into non related activities like pursuing a hobby, sport or spending more time with family and relationships. These activities release you from the week that was – puts you in a good frame for the week ahead
Sanctuary includes those activities that most people can only fit in two or three times a year. They would typically involve family holiday’s, short breaks or some form or retreat. This level gives you the opportunity to ask the big questions – what is my life all about? What needs to change? Should I go and do something else?
Dedication to the 3 Levels will open your mind to new possibilities and opportunities. Chasing success can be as destructive as it is constructive – practicing the art of Finding Sanctuary will build perspective into your life and help to differentiate between what is and what is not important, what brings fulfilment and what does not – embed these disciplines into your routine and you will experience a profound improvement in clarity of thought – you will see things more clearly, you will make better decisions and life will feel less hectic.
Another great week of speaking to entrepreneurs at various events. What has struck me this week is the need for individuals to spend more time thinking about their personal aims and aspirations – then, align these to their business ambitions. It seems to me that there are three dimensions of the entrepreneurs mindset:
1. Thinking in the past – many companies are stuck in the thinking of – “the good old days” and have failed to move on. Consequently they and their businesses have stagnated.
2. Stuck in the reality of today – many entrepreneurs are living lives they don’t want to be living they are bogged down by necessity – but they keep going – they are real hero’s of the economy
3. Utopia – many entrepreneurs want more but they don’t know what they are looking for. They are seraching for a higher sense of purpose and meaning for their life. They must take time out to reflect and define with clarity their personal intentions. My advice is create the rules and live the life YOU want.
I am finding that people are searching for more ! That more is not material – it’s about a sense of higher purpose and fulfillment. Well rather than look for that new red Ferrari – discover what you really love doing then make it your life’s purpose. Explore the spiritual resources at your disposal….
– A walk in the countryside
– Time out in sacred space
– Go on retreat
– Experience silence for a day
– Speak to your mentor/coach
– Read poetry or a classic
– Meditate on a religious text
Accessing these resources helps you to prioritise and identify what is important and what you want….It helps to answer that very important question what do I want from life, career or my business ? Work out what spiritual resources you have at your disposal then use them!
Academic achievement must go hand in hand with the right mindset
The next two months will see universities churning out thousands of very proud new graduates – BA Hons, BSc’s, the lot. A great education with brains packed full of new learning, knowledge and facts. But why do only 1 in 3 expect to get a job? How many of these bright new graduates have had their prospects limited by the conditioning of the external environment – the press and media telling them there are no jobs, whilst the economic conditions have (to a certain extent) limited prospects. How many of these young adults have been supported in life skills and getting their head in shape for the next stage of their life? How many walk away with a personal growth plan that defines very clearly how to move their life on and make the best of their three years spent at university? How many have thought creatively about next steps…charity work, setting up their own business, freelancing using the specialist skills they have acquired?
My view is that we have some of the best academic institutions in the world and we create some of the finest talent – but so many never realise their potential and end up in jobs that fall way below their true capability, with futures that lack direction, bouncing around from one job to another. It’s no use having a long list of qualifications if you don’t put them to best use. More effort and energy should be put into developing the creative and entrepreneurial mindsets that drive ambition and ultimately greater achievements.
I speak from experience – I left university in 1986 with a degree in Chemistry – great technical skills, but struggled having conversations, making presentations and generally selling myself to potential employers – no skills for life. I am not sure much has changed to be honest – I had to work it out for myself. We need to equip this next generation with a more rounded experience thereby allowing them to combine great academic qualifications with a mindset conducive to achievement and releasing personal potential. We must remember that we get what we think about – if we think there are no jobs then guess what…..?
Is the cap and gown; photograph that hangs on mum and dads wall and the handshake from the university chancellor the best send off we can give them? As well as the well-earned degree certificate, they should all leave with a “plan for life”.