May 21 2010
I’m not a Christian, but I’ve noticed that the religious classics hold a lot of wisdom.
It’s pretty well agreed that the ideal business to create is a self-sustaining and independent entity, so it’s amazing how closely the process correlates with having a child, for example. It could even be argued that the field of business is the male response to women’s domination of that particular activity.
In any case, drawing on that idea, here’s a few thoughts that you can apply to your business.
In the Beginning Was The Word
As an Entrepreneur, bringing your idea to fruition is a process of creating something that didn’t exist before. The key to doing it successfully, though, is to have as much clarity as possible around every aspect of your business. You can’t create something distinct and independent if you have no idea what you’re creating, or if you start with a rough idea and figure you’ll “wing it” from there. The sharper your picture of what you’re working towards, the easier it will be for you to take the right steps, make the right moves, and slice off the unnecessary trimmings that aren’t part of that picture.
There’s a process map for creation in the Bible, in Genesis, and for those of you of different persuasion it’s not an idea unique to Christianity, but found in a few other doctrines as well. It starts by saying “In the Beginning was the Word” – the word was then made form, but Creation was generated from the Idea that existed first. The WORD. Not the phrase, the sentence, or the twenty-two page business plan, but the Word.
What word expresses the idea of your business most clearly?
If Your Business Is Your Baby, What Is Your Parenting Style?
In raising a child, you initially have to take care of a lot of things for it, but as it grows you show him/her how to do the same things for themselves, and your help is no longer needed. Likewise, for your business you will be responsible for many tasks in the first instance, but as your business grows, you should be teaching others how to perform these basic skills, in order to let them go.
If your child came to you to ask how to tie a shoelace, would you do it for them and send them away, only to come back the next time it came loose, and the next? Or would you take the extra time to show them, step by step, the process you use, so that next time they can do it for themselves. Maybe they’d come back a few more times until they got it right, but eventually you would no longer be required, and they would be one step closer to independence.
What tasks are you still “tying shoelaces” for? How often do you use the excuse that it would take longer to show someone how to do something than to just do it yourself? How much of your time is being taken up by tasks that your ‘business child’ is grown up enough to handle without you?
Baby Steps and Falling Over
There is a common misconception that failure is something bad, to be avoided at all costs. From the number of posts on the topic online, the fear of failure is one that faces most, if not all. It’s not surprising, really. We all want to succeed, and we learn early that failure is the opposite of that, and not only will it take us further from our goals, but further from admiration and approval of our friends and colleagues.
How would a child learn to walk if the first time it fell over, it decided to back off and find another way to get around? Most parents don’t like watching their child fall, but they know better than to step in, pick the child up and start carrying them around so it won’t happen again.
Leaving the topic of needing that admiration and approval for another time, any close look at the myth that failure takes you further from success is clearly shown to be just that – a MYTH. Every successful entrepreneur has faced, and repeatedly overcome, failures on the course to achieving their success. There are hurdles to overcome, and nobody being perfect it’s highly unlikely anybody can get over them all without at least a misstep on the way to the finish line. The race isn’t about that. It’s about seeing who gets over the hurdles, sure, but it’s also about how many give up and walk off the track, who lies there and screams for an ambulance to leave the field forever, and of the ones left, who picks themselves up, keeps going, and sticks it out ALL the way to the finish line.
Fear of failure is normal. It’s what the majority feel. It’s what paralyses most of us from taking the action orientation we need. The opportunities you fear to fail are the same opportunities that offer the chance of success. You can’t have one without the other. If you’re looking to be the uncommon success, you need to transmute this fear into resilience. It doesn’t mean not fearing failure anymore – it just means not letting it paralyse you from taking action. It’s the ability to take the risk, and no matter how many times it doesn’t pan out, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, figure out what you’ve learnt not to do and take another stab at finding what works.
What projects have you let fall by the wayside because you fell at the first, or second, hurdle? What if you knew that there were three (or five) failures you HAD to go through before you could reach success – would that change your attitude? What are you procrastinating from doing now because of fear of failing?