We either Win or we Learn.
This is a mantra I've lived by for most of my life and it's served me well, especially the last 2 years living in the mad world of Entrepreneurship. The strange, stressful, bitter-sweet, exhilarating world of being self-employed.
Now if you know me, you'll know I love to reflect. I love to analyze. I love to look back at my experiences and get curious. So, if I'm honest, I'm writing this article in part for my benefit. Having said that, I want to share my reflection process, as I know some people will find golden nuggets of value among my ramblings.
So here are my 5 biggest lessons after 2 years as an Entrepreneur…
1. Listen to my GUT. When I ignore my Gut, I regret it.
You know those moments when you say to yourself 'Hmm, I don't know what it is, but something doesn't feel right'? You just have a gut feeling.
Whether it's a business decision or our feelings about a person we've just met, our intuition is a powerful guidance system and I'm sure you'll agree- incredibly accurate!
Over the last 2 years, there have been moments when I've ignored my gut feeling.
It came back to bite me in the bum, and that hurt.
I've worked with people, even though my gut feeling said we are not a good fit. Soon after, sure enough, problems emerged, the person wasn't sticking our agreements or didn't pay on time. My gut was right!
Time and energy could have been saved if I had just listened to my intuition. Nowadays, I think of my gut as a consultant. If my gut says no, I say no.
2. Invest in myself (financially).
This one is a biggie. I've worked with several Coaches and Mentors. In the beginning, I got OK results.
Nowadays, I get so much more out of the relationship.
What has changed? Nowadays I pay.
The free mentorship I received at the start of my journey was good, there was nothing wrong with it. Like I said, I got OK results. However, like anything we get for Free, the perceived value isn't there in the same way it is when we pay for a product or service.
When we part with our money, we're 'buying in' to results.
We're invested in getting a good return.
I'm also a believer that (generally, there are exceptions) you pay for quality, whether you're investing in a service or buying a product. If I'm paying good money for a Mentor
I'm aware they're able to charge the money they do because they've got a track record of getting results, because they've invested in themselves too.
When I give my fees to a prospect, I feel confident to say the numbers with ease, knowing I've invested good money in my own development through paying for Coaching,
Seminars and Training. Otherwise, where is my integrity in asking someone to invest in me, if I'm not willing to invest in myself?
3. Create more than I consume.
We live in the age of information. There is SO MUCH INFORMATION. No matter what we want to learn, within a few clicks online, we can find Books, eBooks, Webinars,
Seminars, audiobooks giving us what we want.
Now, this can be an absolute blessing.
Or it can be an absolute curse.
It all comes down to balance.
As Entrepreneurs, it's important we are Creators.
We create: clients, opportunities, blogs, videos, campaigns, pitches… the list goes on.
We can't do this when we're consuming everyone else's creations, whether they are related to Entrepreneurship or pure entertainments (funny Cat videos- I am guilty of the occasional Cat video on Youtube).
My Tip: Be clear when you're Creating and when you're Consuming. There is a time for learning and there is a time for showing the world what you already know!
4. Take 100% responsibility for what happens in my life and business.
Nowadays, the word responsibility is synonymous with blame.
Who is responsible? can be translated to, Who is to blame?
No wonder then, I didn't like taking responsibility in the beginning. I mean, when I was getting Success, of course, I'd put my hands up and claim responsibility. When stuff was hitting the fan- no thanks. I'd make excuses.
It wasn't until I really looked at the word responsibility that I understood the original meaning.
Responsibility = our ability to respond.
No mention of playing the blame game at all.
It's about responding. It's about saying 'whether or not this is my fault, it's irrelevant because I'm here now and there is something I can do to make it better'.
I love the Eckhart Tolle quote that says,
Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it".
It's a nice reminder that it's irrelevant whether we label our reality good or bad, it doesn't change it. It's through action (responding) we can change, sometimes. If we can't change it? Accept it.
In a nutshell:
- When we accept responsibility- we are powerful.
- When we deny responsibility: we give our power away.
- Whatever life and business may throw at me, I will take full responsibility.
5. Give more.
There have been moments I've struggled over the last 2 years. I've told myself I didn't have enough clients or didn't have enough money. In this moments I ask myself one question 'How could I give more'?
I'm convinced we live in a Universe containing some type of magical loop.
The more I give, the more I receive (plus interest).
I did a little experiment some time ago during a time when money was low. I decided to go into the City and give. I'm passionate about supporting the homeless so I decided for one week, every day, I'd give to the homeless.
Somedays, I gave some money.
Others, a Coffee.
Others, just my time and attention.
Before the end of my little experiment, someone reached out to me out of the blue inquiring about my services. We connected and they became a paying Client. Call this Lawof Attraction, the universe, whatever you want- I firmly believe that if we're not willing to give more, whether it's money, love, praise, on some subconscious level we aren't willing to receive more.
So give, give, give! Not only does it feel great, trust the universe will return your gifts.
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