As we start the New Year, so many of us reflect upon what it would be like to make this year a better one. Instead, what if we think about how we can make it happen? How does the reality that we want to see actually manifest? It happens by first figuring out where you want to go and removing the obstacles that are stopping you from getting there.
I have written before on finding your purpose and discovering why you do what you do. It is important to understand your “why” because it changes the way you communicate with your target audience in order to sell your products or services. Most of us communicate with others by discussing our features and benefits, which is the “how” and “what” of the work we do.
Discovering and sharing your “why” with your audience connects them in an emotional way that motivates the decision making process. In Simon Sinek’s TED video, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” he shares his discovery of the “why” and understanding why you do something and why your organization exists.
Having a business and being an entrepreneur, you attempt to make a difference in your life, sometimes in the lives of others, and not so often, in the world. I see this on a daily basis because running a company is integral in the lives of many people around me.
You usually see the small things but not the larger impact that you might make someday in the future. For example, you may have created some great product that improves the lives of others in a meaningful way, or you may go public in an IPO and share stock with your early hard-working employees that one day generates more money than ever imagined.
A lot of what happens in business seems to be based on default. What do I mean by default? Well it goes like this: “I lost my job so I went into business myself”, “These clients buy my product so, this is the audience I sell towards”, “I was making all the money for the company, so I decided to go out on my own”, or “I was a really good engineer, carpenter, programmer, haircutter, etc, etc, so I decided to go into business for myself”. This is exciting, but it doesn’t create a great business until you determine its purpose for existence, beyond making a living.
If you’ve ever wondered why it is that other companies seem to be doing so well, and you are always struggling, it could be because you haven’t found or awakened to your true purpose for being in business. Making sure that purpose is always alive in your daily and weekly interactions and the culture of your business is essential to real success.
I’ve attended EO Universities for several years now, but this year was unlike any I’ve ever attended. I went for the first time to Barcelona, Spain. The theme of the University was “Design Your Life”. The idea was to focus on what you really want out of life, and what you’re doing to get there. It’s like choosing a personal BHAG – your very own Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
As entrepreneurs, we set goals all the time, but experience has taught me that we tend to view are business goals and life goals as one in the same; that by reaching our business goals we receive all we want out of life. Shouldn’t our businesses really be the means to our personal goals and the life legacies we want to create? This isn’t the case, in that, more often than not we let our businesses consume our lives and distract us from our families, spousal relationships, and our own personal paths.
For various business reasons, I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately. I’ve visited many cities, attended several events, and had the pleasure of learning from a variety of well known speakers. Recently I’ve heard from the likes of Tony Hsieh (Zappos), John Assaraf (from the movie The Secret, and author of The Answer), Guy Kawasaki (Apple), Sir Richard Branson (Virgin) and even George W. Bush (need I elaborate?). All of their messages were very educational and insightful, but there is one in particular I want to share with you.
Dewitt Jones tells an exceptional story. He does it with a passion and purpose that he has put into his life as a National Geographic photographer. The title of his talk, Extraordinary Vision, was truly extraordinary. He shares the stories behind these fantastic photographs that make them real and meaningful in a way that sticks with you. I was fortunate enough to see him at both the EO Arizona University and the EO Canada Regional, and was captivated both times. Many people said they felt teary eyed listening to his presentation.
I was born an entrepreneurial spirit, an inherent desire to create opportunities and realize them. My journey has led me around the world, given me the opportunity to learn from some remarkable people, and experience leadership on a whole new level.
In my life I have gone from pumping gas, delivering newspapers, and making clown shoes to creating a mutual fund from scratch that helped carry my firm to $1Billion in assets. I then created the first mutual fund in the world run solely by its shareholders. I have seen my ideas and investments flounder, and I have also seen them thrive. I have felt stupid and genius at the same time, and discovered the world of Dyslexia. I have identified the difference between my strengths and my weaknesses, and learned to use them to my advantage. I have found a world of people who share my entrepreneurial spirit within the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), and with them I have been everywhere from the Pentagon to the Playboy Mansion.
Today I run a custom software development company called Efficience, with offices in both the United States and India (Effindi). My team and I have realized success and failure, and from that have developed an effective form of execution that we call FlockGPS.
I know that I did not get here alone, and I feel that my path to success is ongoing. My point is this: I got here from what I learned from other people, and it’s only fair that I pass along my awareness and experiences. Our economy suffers right now. We are the only ones who can fix it. I want to succeed, and I want to see Entrepreneurs around the world succeed, as well. We are the ones providing the innovation and job growth in our economies.
I was told a long time ago that if you really want to know something, you teach it. So if sharing this blog exposes you to ideas that will help you grow your business and inspire the entrepreneur inside of you, then I think they refer to that as a win-win.