Jul 092017
 
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How To Be Successful As A Defiant Entrepreneur

Maybe I should have titled this: How to be successful if you’re not a defiant entrepreneur!

Really. In my book and my experience, if you’re not defiant as an entrepreneur, your odds of being successful get much worse.

Think about it. What does it mean to be defiant? Here’s the dictionary definition:

Full of or showing a disposition to challenge, resist, or fight:  full of or showing defiance: boldimpudent 

From where I sit, you could almost substitute the word defiant for entrepreneur, and the definition would be the same! In fact, I guess the term defiant entrepreneur is kind of redundant.

Take a moment and run through a list in your mind of all the successful entrepreneurs that you know. How many of them are not “defiant”? I did this exercise a moment ago and for me, the answer was: “None”. Every single one of them is defiant. In fact, they’re some of the most defiant people I know!

Why is defiance important to being successful as an entrepreneur?

Well, here are some of the things you need to defy as an entrepreneur:

  • the odds of failure
  • authority
  • the status quo
  • naysayers
  • entrenched competition
  • “common wisdom”
  • inertia
  • your comfort zone
  • stereotypes
  • resistance to change
  • laziness
  • ignorance
  • jealousy

This list could go on and on!

As an entrepreneur, you are essentially in the business of being defiant!

Why is it important to your success in business that you are (or become) and you remain a defiant entrepreneur?

The answer is simple: the forces colluding against your success as an entrepreneur are numerous, as evidenced by the (incomplete) list above. If you give in and become anything less than defiant, your business is likely destined to fail.

In other words, the minute you acquiesce and give in to the forces conspiring against your success as an entrepreneur, you’re done. You might as well clean out your locker, go home, and find something else to do.

So, the next time you’re accused of being too intense, or of being too edgy – in other words, of being defiant – thank whomever it is who says it to you.

Don’t waste a lot of time explaining it to them, as you have defiant entrepreneur things to do, but let them know that as an entrepreneur, as someone who is trying to change your life and the world for the better, it is your job to be defiant!

You don’t need to apologize for it. You are simply doing your job to the best of your ability. It may be difficult for non-entrepreneurs to understand, but that is not your problem.

On a side note, I recently wrote an article about being successful as an introverted entrepreneur. I want to point out that I don’t think to be introverted and being defiant are mutually exclusive.

Some of the most defiant entrepreneurs I know are introverts – they just go about expressing their defiance differently than the extroverts in the crowd!

I look forward to your thoughts and questions.

 

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

 

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Jul 072017
 
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How Can An Introverted Entrepreneur Be Successful?

Are you an introverted entrepreneur trying to figure out how to be successful?

Let me start with the good news. It’s definitely possible for an introvert to be successful as an entrepreneur.

In fact, according to a recent Entrepreneur.com article, the following mega-successful entrepreneurs are introverts:

  • Larry Page
  • Bill Gates
  • Warren Buffet
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Elon Musk

This is a list of successful introverted entrepreneurs I would imagine that you would not mind being part of! Each one of these “introverts” is a billionaire, most of them several times over. We’re talking about some of the richest people in the world on this list. So, that is quite encouraging.

Ok, we started with the good news. Now, let’s talk about some of the not-so-good news, for you, the aspiring introverted entrepreneur.

First, let’s acknowledge that in order to be successful as an entrepreneur, you will typically have to interact with a wide variety of people. These interactions will usually take place daily if not many times per day. So, many times when you’d like to be on your own, enjoying some time to yourself, you will need to get out of your comfort zone and play the role of an extrovert. In entrepreneurship, perhaps even more than in most other endeavors, great things typically are accomplished by teams, rather than by entrepreneurs working alone.

Next, we should consider that the “extrovert world” is full of small talk, with which you probably are not particularly comfortable. You will need to work on striking a balance between getting right to the point and not seeming standoffish and/or aloof. Is this starting to sound familiar? You will have to work on being willing to listen to some personal or sports stories that aren’t relevant to the task at hand, as sharing such information is a mechanism for bonding with your colleagues. Who knows, you may even learn to enjoy some of these interactions.

Now, we’ll talk about the fact that he or she who talks the most or the loudest often has a disproportionate impact on the outcome of decision-making conversations. It is here that you will need to develop your “assertiveness muscles” and come to terms with the fact that if you’re going to be a successful introverted entrepreneur, you will need to be willing to argue forcefully for your ideas. Don’t worry, with time, it’s likely you will become more and more comfortable with this reality.

At this point, we should talk about what may be one of the hardest leaps for you as an introvert, which is selling. As an entrepreneur, it’s often the case that you are selling from the time you wake up, until the time you go to sleep. You sell your ideas to your partners, your product development ideas to your engineers, your products and services to your customers, and the list goes on. Selling when you don’t see yourself as a salesperson is one of the hardest things for any entrepreneur, but perhaps even more difficult for the introverted entrepreneur. Take a look here for some ideas on how to sell better if you’re not a salesperson.

Finally, for now, let’s talk about how physically and emotionally draining it can be as an introverted entrepreneur to face the challenges mentioned above, as well as the many others you will encounter each day. The fact is, you will likely end each day completely drained! It is, therefore, extremely important that you find activities and hobbies that allow you to regenerate. These activities can include meditation, yoga, running, or hiking, among others. They could even include just reading a book or listening to music, but try to mix some physical activity in as well. If at all possible, try to do at least one such activity each day, so you can face the next day as an entrepreneur completely charged and ready to go.

How do you approach being an introverted entrepreneur?

I look forward to your thoughts, ideas, and questions.

 

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

 

 

 

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Feb 052013
 
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Success – You Have To Want It More

The best way to increase your odds of achieving success in your endeavors is to want it more than your competitors.

I’ve heard this expression quite a bit and as time has gone on, I have come to believe it’s correct.

Obviously there are extrinsic factors over which we have no control, some or all of which impact our likelihood of being successful in our endeavors.  Holding those extrinsic factors constant though, one of the main differentiators between those who are successful and those who are not is that they want it more!

What does “want it more” mean?  It means that relative to those against whom you are competing, the outcome matters more to you.  It’s more important to you, and for that reason, you are willing to put in the extra effort its going to take to be successful.  If you really want it, you may even go to extremes, such as cheating, which can be a negative byproduct of wanting it more (too much).

Why would one person want it more than the next?  We all have different reasons for doing what we do.  One person may want it more because they feel like they have something to prove, to themselves and others.  Another person may want it more because they believe if they’re successful, they can help their family and others in need.  A third person may want it more because they were raised to be very competitive and taught that winning was the most important thing.

So, one person’s “it” may be a means to an end and another person’s “it” may be an end in itself.  Regardless of the reasons behind the desire though, in my experience, whoever wants “it” more, is more likely to achieve success than the person who is ambivalent or even apathetic.

In order to create and nourish a strong desire to be successful, as I’ve written elsewhere, it’s important that you understand your “why” for undertaking a particular endeavor.  If your “why” is not clear enough, or not strong enough, it’s likely that when the chips are down and the pressure is on, you will not perform as well as someone who has a strong understanding of and commitment to their reason for playing the game.  I mean this metaphorically of course; whether it’s an actually game, a business deal, or most any other type of endeavor where you can measure success, it’s usually very helpful to have a “why”.   Your “why” can help you tap your willpower and increase your odds of a positive outcome.

How badly do you want success (however you’ve defined it – if you haven’t defined it, that’s a separate discussion) in your current endeavors?  Do you have a strong “why” for participating in those endeavors?  Or are you kind of fumbling along, not really sure why you’re doing what you’re doing?

In any endeavors where you have to compete against other “players,” whether the endeavors are focused on business, sports, or other areas of your life, I can assure you that if you don’t want it more, when the time comes to perform, you will be edged out or even blown away by those who have a hunger for success.  If you’re not feeling “hungry” in your endeavors, ask yourself why.  If you don’t like the answers, ask yourself if it’s time to move on to other challenges that stimulate you more.

I look forward to your thoughts!

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Jan 252013
 
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accelerate your learning

7 Ways To Accelerate Your Learning And Progress

If you are looking to accelerate your learning and progress more rapidly, here are seven ideas to help make it happen in any endeavor.

1.     Create a sense of urgency.

Without a sense of urgency, often times it’s hard to get started and stay focused.  This step may include creating “unrealistic deadlines”.  Such deadlines, while tough to meet, by definition, force you to focus and to employ all available resources, with a strong sense of urgency.

2.     Don’t worry about failing.

As long as you learn from “failure,” it can help you rather than hinder you (the magnitude of the failure is a factor, obviously).  You will need to fail a certain amount to improve to the next level in almost any endeavor.  If you are unwilling to fail, therefore, you cannot make it to the next level.

3.     Focus.

Lack of focus affects almost all of us, at one point or another in our lives.  Study after study has now shown that multi-tasking does not work.  Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you can multi-task and be as effective as you are when you focus on one thing at a time.

4.     Have a why.

If you have a compelling (to you) reason for doing something, you are far more likely to stick with it when the going gets tough.  Many refer to this as “having a why”.  The most important characteristic of a good “why” is that it matters deeply to you; do not worry about what others think.

5.     Stop whining.

Whining in our society runs rampant.  The key is not to be a whiner; rather, put on your big boy pants and step up to the plate.  If you are truly committed to what you’re trying to accomplish, instead of whining when things go wrong, you’ll stay focused on the prize.

6.     Practice correctly, with feedback.

By now most everyone is familiar with the concept of “deliberate practice”.  It is a form of practice wherein you don’t just show up and practice indiscriminately, without paying attention to potential areas for improvement.  If you are going to practice deliberately, you will pay attention to the results you achieve, then use that feedback to continually adjust your approach.  If you practice in this manner, you will likely achieve better results, faster.  You can provide feedback to yourself, but often times it easier, even essential, to have a knowledgeable coach working with you to accelerate your learning.

7.     Don’t overthink everything.

Even if you are a left-brain, analytical type, learn not to overthink everything.  Be willing to do a certain amount of trial and error.  This way you can avoid analysis paralysis, which can be a real progress inhibitor for the person who tends to want to explore every last potential detail and problem before getting started on an endeavor.  For complex endeavors, which include most that are worth achieving, such an approach usually is not realistic.

While speed is not always a major point of focus when we are trying to accomplish a goal or just getting started in an endeavor, often it is.  Given the pace at which our world is changing, many times if we’re not moving at a reasonable speed in our endeavors, particularly in competitive areas such as business and sports, we’re being left behind.  Hopefully, the ideas above will help you with accelerating your learning and making more rapid progress toward the accomplishment of your goals!

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Jan 222013
 
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dealing with difficult people

How To Deal With Difficult People – Take Two

Here are five more ideas on how to deal with difficult people.  This is a challenge that will continue until there are no more difficult people; in other words, it’s going nowhere.  Since the problem isn’t going away, I’ve put some more ideas together for you, since my first post on dealing with difficult people – here you go – execute any or all of these with care:

How To Deal With Difficult People Rule #11

Document everything.  Don’t allow the difficult person to run you over without a record of what’s happening.  If you don’t document everything and “put a stake in the ground,” should the time come to escalate (or even litigate) the problem, you will have no record that this has been a pattern of behavior, rather than a one-off instance of poor judgment.

How To Deal With Difficult People Rule #12

Find an ally. If you are finding no success in persuading the difficult person to be reasonable, involve another person in the situation.  That person should be someone the difficult person respects, either because they want to, or just because they have to.  In other words, if you can’t bring someone in whom the person respects as a person, then bring in someone whose authority they must at least respect.  Often times, that will bring the matter (or attitude) to quick resolution.  You must be willing to take this step, so the person knows that you’re not an isolated, disenfranchised victim.

How To Deal With Difficult People Rule #13

Be willing to walk away.  Make sure the difficult person understands, in no uncertain terms, that you are not willing to be subjected to abusive behavior.  It should be very clear to them that you are willing to walk away, from the situation, the company, the deal, etc. rather than be abused.  If you don’t take a strong position, anyone who is accustomed to running over others will use you for target practice.  Their abuse will be constant and unending, until you’re willing to stand up to them.

How To Deal With Difficult People Rule #14

Use an example.  Without divulging any confidential information or committing any crimes, give them examples of how you typically deal with such abusive behavior.  Tell them you’ll give them references, if they’d like.  The thing about bullies is that once you come back at them, they usually back down quite quickly.  Rather than take on a worthy adversary, they’d rather spend their time looking for someone else who will just “roll over”.

How To Deal With Difficult People Rule #15

 Find their weak point.  Most difficult people are difficult because they are bitter.  They feel as though they’ve been wronged on a macro and/or micro level and they want to pass on their misery.  As the saying goes, misery loves company.  If you find one or more of their reasons for bitterness, these become an offensive weapon for you to use, once they start their abuse routine.  Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense.

I realize that the previous list of tips for dealing with difficult people was not as direct or aggressive, particularly when compared to the last couple of approaches on the list above.  Take the high road when you can, but in some instances, you need to stand up for yourself and protect your interests in the face of a difficult person who is aggressive and doesn’t play fair.  In those moments, usually you have to take the gloves off and give it back to them directly – that’s the only way to get the message across that you won’t be their punching bag.  The last couple on this second list are more appropriate in those situations.

All that being said, if you’re dealing with someone who is (or may be) mentally imbalanced and capable of physical violence, then scrap this list and contact the authorities.  You will need to use your discretion to make sure you stay safe when you’re taking on difficult people and bullies.  Whatever approach you take, don’t be a willing victim.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

Go to the right-hand navigation bar near the top of the page, enter your email and click subscribe.  We respect your privacy and will not sell your email address.  Note:  once you subscribe, if the confirmation email doesn’t arrive, check your spam filter.  It usually makes it through, but sometimes those pesky spam filters don’t know what’s good..

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Jan 182013
 
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embrace the naysayers

Embrace The Naysayers

If you’ve ever tried to achieve anything meaningful, undoubtedly you’ve had to deal with naysayers!

These are the people who, often under the guise of trying to help you, will name every possible thing that can go wrong with the endeavor you are planning.

They’ll say things like, “not to discourage you” and “that sounds like a good idea, except…”.

I’m not sure whether you’ve noticed, but often times their comments, especially when repeated over and over again, begin to sound like “sour grapes”.  That is, you start to wonder whether their concern is really for you and your welfare, or whether, instead, they’re just trying to protect their own fragile egos.

The naysayers often seem negative to the point that they find it difficult to look at the positives of any undertaking.  They see themselves as self-appointed protectors of common sense (their definition of it, anyway) and fearless defenders of the status quo.

As it turns out, once you dig a little below the surface, you realize that your instincts were absolutely right:  most naysayers really don’t care about you or your welfare.  They care that you don’t achieve success in your endeavors, while they just sit around criticizing anyone who is trying to accomplish something meaningful.

My suggestion is that rather than resent naysayers, learn to embrace them.  I suggest this for a few reasons:

1.)   Once in a while, naysayers bring up valid points that you should consider before you undertake your endeavor.

2.)   Naysayers, by virtue of their consistent and maddening negativity, can give you the motivation you need to persevere when times get tough.  If nothing else, you’ll do so just to prove them wrong.

3.)   Negative people need love and crave attention, like all human beings.  By listening to their points and paying attention to what they have to say, you are performing a public service – listening carefully to people everyone else does everything they can to ignore.

4.)   Listening to naysayers and trying to understand where they’re coming from may help you to prevent yourself from becoming bitter and a “downer” like them.

5.)   Once in a while, you may actually convert a naysayer to a fan of whatever you’re doing.  In the process, you’ll pick up a fan and help a naysayer become more open-minded.  This won’t happen often, but when it does, again, you’ll be performing a public service.

In summary, learn to embrace naysayers.  I’m not saying to go out of your way to hang out with them.  In fact, I make a practice of doing everything I can to avoid spending too much time with negative people.  What I am saying though, is that sometimes it’s simply not possible to avoid naysayers.  When you are confronted with such a situation, rather than becoming overly negative yourself, have some fun with it!  Do what you can to convert the naysayer.  At a minimum, listen to their ideas and see if there’s anything valid in their criticisms.  If there is, work to mitigate it.  Most importantly though, use their negativity to motivate you when times get tough.  There’s nothing more satisfying than proving the naysayers wrong.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Jan 122013
 
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sense of purpose

A Sense Of Purpose Is So Important, Especially During Tough Times

How important is it to have a sense of purpose in all that you do?  I would argue that it’s extremely important, especially during tough times.

What is a sense of purpose?  If you take a look at the definition of “purpose,” (see http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/purpose) you realize that it is a loaded word, with many potential meanings.  For the purposes of our discussion here, I’ll focus on the fifth definition:

         5.  The reason for which something is done, or the reason it is done in a particular way.

Other definitions and synonyms include such concepts as goals, intentions, and targets.  Here, I’d like to go for a higher sense of purpose.  While goals may be part of the picture, as we’re looking at it here, a sense of purpose takes it to a higher level.

Let’s look at an example of the difference between goals and a sense of purpose.

Example.  My wife and I decided we wanted to run a Tough Mudder (www.toughmudder.com) race together.  The race is usually a run somewhere between 11 and 12 miles, interrupted by roughly 25 military-style obstacles.

Our goals included:

1.)   Training sufficiently, so we would reduce the likelihood that we’d get injured during the race.

2.)   Finishing the race.  Finishing the race together.  Finishing the race in a certain amount of time.

3.)   Doing all the obstacles – not skipping any.

4.)   Helping others during the race.

5.)   Doing as well as the younger people in the race (other than the military folks and the top athletes).

Our corresponding sense of purpose included:

1.)   Staying in shape, in order to maintain a high overall level of health and fitness, in an effort to increase our longevity and our quality of life.

2.)   Enhancing our relationship and sharing an experience that we could always have in common.

3.)   Overcoming any fears we may have had, which would make us more confident in overcoming challenges in all areas of our lives.

4.)   Taking part in the camaraderie of the race, reinforcing our own contribution and our positive sense of the nature of human beings.

5.)   Showing our kids and ourselves that, to a large extent, age is a state of mind, and it is possible to be active and competitive throughout your life.

My wife and I have done several Tough Mudder and other challenging mud and endurance races together.  It’s been a great series of experiences, from which we’ve benefited in numerous ways.  I can assure you that if we did not have a sense of purpose, we would have been lucky to complete one such race.  In fact, we likely would have had a hard time even making it through the several months of intensive training that preceded each race.

I could say the same thing about many challenging experiences we’ve had in our lives.  I’ll bet that you can think of examples in your own life, where if you hadn’t had a sense of purpose, it’s likely that you would have quit somewhere along the way.

A clear sense of purpose gives us the ability to access our willpower on a level that simply is not available to most people who have no such sense of purpose.

I think there is a close connection between the idea of a sense of purpose and the common question, “what it your why”?  It gets closer to the core reason you do what you do, than do simple goals or ideas.  The real power comes when you are able to find your “why,” and back it up with goals that are specific and measurable.  Without a “why” or sense of purpose, it’s likely that, regardless of how precise and well-thought-out your goals may be, you will find it hard to persevere toward achieving them, especially when the inevitable tough times come along.

Set goals and monitor your progress toward achieving them.  But before you do so, make sure you have a sense of purpose for what you’re doing.  It’s not necessary that you fully understand that purpose(s), but at least have a sense of your “why”.  In my experience and observation, such an approach will greatly increase the likelihood that you will achieve your goals, and perhaps more importantly, that you will enjoy both the journey and destination.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

Go to the right-hand navigation bar near the top of the page, enter your email and click subscribe.  We respect your privacy and will not sell your email address.  Note:  once you subscribe, if the confirmation email doesn’t arrive, check your spam filter.  It usually makes it through, but sometimes those pesky spam filters don’t know what’s good..

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Jan 012013
 
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Learn To Give Yourself An Attitude Adjustment – 20 Ideas To Make It Happen

It’s important to be able to recognize when you need to give yourself an attitude adjustment.  It took me a while, but I’ve learned to do this when I start obsessing about negative stuff or other things out of my control.  As I sat at my desk yesterday fuming about a couple of personal and business issues I was confronting, I decided to write down some of the ways I give myself an attitude adjustment.  Maybe you’ll find them helpful in your quest to “get your head right”.

Here are some of the ways I’ve found that usually work for me:

  1. Listen to classical music.  I know this isn’t for everyone, and sometimes, classical music isn’t the ticket for me, either, but I do find that listening to music, whatever the genre, often can help me get my attitude back on track.  Usually, the louder the music, the better it works for me.
  2. Watch (or listen to) TED talks.  This is one of my favorite ways to get my attitude back on track.  TED is an acronym for technology, education and design.  It’s a series of conferences where they get all the best thinkers and innovators in the world to give talks on a variety of topics.  GREAT stuff.  Check it out at www.ted.com.
  3. Read an inspirational book, blog or quote.  This approach is tried and true.  Whatever your favorite written source of inspiration may be, have at it.  We all have our “go-to” sources for getting our attitude back on track.
  4. Exercise.  Even if you haven’t seen the inside of a gym in a while, give it a shot.  You’ll be amazed the miracles a bit of exercise can work on your state of mind.  If you can’t (or won’t) make it to the gym, exercise at home or somewhere else where you’re comfortable.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
  5. Eat ice cream.  Just kidding – I’d stay away from using food to adjust your attitude.  It’s a bad habit that’s far too easy to start and tough to break.  Choose something else from the list.
  6. Take a walk on the beach.  Or take a walk in the mountains.  Try to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and get some exercise at the same time.  If neither beach nor mountain is available nearby, take a walk anywhere.  Bring along some music if it helps.  This is an easy one, requiring no special equipment other than walking or running shoes.
  7. Look at your vision board.  Assuming you’ve create a vision board for your future, taking a look at that can help change your state of mind.  This is especially true if you’ve populated your vision board with images that inspire and motivate you.  If you don’t have a vision board, I strongly recommend creating one.
  8. Look at photos that make you happy.  This is an easy one.  Look at your own camera roll (iPhone terminology) or photo album.  If you have neither, look at Instagram or Pinterest, or whatever site contains images that you enjoy.  This can be a quick and painless way to get your mind back on track.  It can also be quite distracting, so use this one with care.
  9. Plan a trip.  Take a few moments to plan your next trip.  This can be a great virtual getaway for your mind, as you think about some of the details of your next escape from reality.  If you don’t have any trips in your near future, make a list of some of the places you’d like to visit when you do get a chance to travel.  Don’t spend the whole day on this, but putting a few minutes into it can help return your mind to a positive state.
  10. Get some sleep.  I find that a lot of times when my attitude is out of whack, I’m at least somewhat sleep deprived, if not totally exhausted.  If you’re having attitude challenges and you know you’ve been burning the candle at both ends, get some rest.  Take a short nap, or get to bed early.  I’m not saying to sleep all the time – that too can be taken to an extreme – but it’s worth making sure you are rested.  Your performance on all levels should improve when you’ve had enough rest.
  11. Drink alcohol.  Just kidding – I’d stay away from this one as much as possible.  It’s been an approach I’ve used at times, but it’s a rough road to take, particularly if you use it with great frequency.  Whenever possible, select something else from the list.
  12. Call a close friend you haven’t talked to in a while.  This is a great one!  Getting in touch with old friends is great for your state of mind!  Use this one whenever you have the time to talk for a bit.  Often times, these conversations will go on for a while, and time will stand still as you’re talking about old times.  This will be good for your attitude and your soul.
  13. Watch a comedy movie.  Laughter is often the best medicine.  Check out a comedy you’ve heard is great, or go back to an old standby that you know will make you laugh.  Laughing causes physiological changes in your body and often has a positive effect on your attitude.  Use this one when you have a couple hours to watch a movie.  If you have less time, watch a sitcom.  Just use this with care – this one can be addictive, and a huge time waster if you’re not careful.
  14. Take a ride in your car.  This isn’t for everyone, but for some, driving can be therapeutic, particularly if you live in a place where you can take a scenic route.  It can also be fun to hit the accelerator a little harder than usual – use that one at your own risk though and stay safe, based on where you are and who’s around.
  15. Play a game with friends or family.  I find that playing a game with my kids can, at times, be a great distraction from ”reality”.  Obviously, it also has the collateral benefit of allowing you to spend some quality time with your kids – a win-win situation.  The same can be said if you play with friends.
  16. Remember, “it’s only a time and it will pass”.  This is one of my Mom’s favorite expressions.  I’ve found it quite helpful sometimes when I need an attitude adjustment.  When confronting difficult situations, it’s often quite helpful to bear in mind that whatever it may be, it’s not going to last forever – “this too shall pass”.
  17. Realize that whatever you’re facing, it’s likely relatively minor.  This is not always true, of course, but often times we get all bent out of shape over small issues.  We tend to blow things out of proportion.  Sometimes it helps to remind ourselves that there are people out there with much more difficult situations and challenges.  Get a sense of perspective.  It should help you get your mind right.
  18. Do something you’ve been putting off.  There are few better feelings than knocking something off your To Do List, especially something you’ve been putting off for a while.  When your attitude gets bad, respond from a position of strength and attack something on your list about which you’ve been procrastinating.  Do that and your attitude will change instantly.
  19. Buy yourself a gift.  This one’s often referred to as “retail therapy”.  Use this one with care – it can be addictive and usually really doesn’t fix much, but it can snap you out of a negative state of mind.  Learn what works for you, hopefully something relatively affordable.
  20. Remember where we fit in the universe.  This is another good one for gaining perspective.  You’re facing an issue that’s giving you a bad attitude; it’s likely a minor issue.  In the meantime, we’re really a small speck in the universe – quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things.  We’re inhabitants of a small (but beautiful) planet in a solar system, the center of which is a star that is one of BILLIONS in the universe.  How big is your problem in this context?  Don’t blow it out of proportion.  Put your big boy (or girl) pants on and get back on track!

Hopefully these ideas will be helpful to you next time you need an attitude adjustment.  If you have others that work for you, I’d love to hear about them!

I look forward to your thoughts!

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Dec 262012
 
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role of luck in success

The Most Important Lesson Regarding The Role Of Luck In Success

What is the role of luck in success?  If we’re being honest with ourselves, luck plays an important role in almost everything we do.  Do you agree?

I used to have the following mindset:  someone would wish me good luck with something and I’d respond with something along the lines of “no luck necessary, I’ve got it under control”.  Even if I didn’t say it out loud, that’s usually what I was thinking.

As I’ve grown older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I’ve realized that luck plays at least some role in everything we do.  That wisdom has caused me to lean toward accepting sayings like “better lucky than good,” which I used to reject as the words of people with a weak mindset.

I’ve also seen a tendency in many people I coach, and even in my own kids, to come out with comments like, “they’re not good, they’re just lucky”.  Such a comment and mindset have embedded in them equal parts hope and denial.  Pointing out the luck of others can be used as an excuse, which tends to be a very unhealthy behavior that serves no purpose in helping you reach your goals.

So, what is the role of luck in success?  In my experience and observation, luck is shared equally among most people; that is, it’s shared equally among most people who are in the game!  The point is, that if you’re not “in the game,” you cannot be the beneficiary of luck in that game, nor can you be the beneficiary of the skills and willpower you bring to the table.  In such a scenario, you’re usually a powerless observer.

You see, the reality is that many of the people who are busy pointing out how lucky this person or that person is, are people who are sitting on the sidelines!  And if they’re not sitting on the sidelines, they’re often sort of half playing “the game,” while all the “lucky” players are pouring their hearts and souls into their efforts.  The casual observer or player takes comfort in the fact that the others are so much luckier than them, so they don’t have to feel bad about how their lackluster efforts are yielding less than extraordinary results.  Go figure!

Granted, there are people who put in very little effort and end up being successful based solely on luck.  They are few and far between.  They are literal (or virtual) “lottery winners” and we all know the stories of how they often end up squandering the wealth and other success that they obtained purely through luck.

True, sustainable success is that which we earn through our efforts and our willingness to “fail” over and over again, then get right back up and continue playing the game.  If we have that sort of “never say die” mindset as a player in the “game,” we appreciate any luck that comes our way, but we do not dwell on it, just as we don’t lament or dwell on the luck of others.

We know that sometimes our luck will be good and sometimes it will be bad, but at the end of the day, our true success will be dependent upon our ability to take on tough challenges again and again without becoming discouraged and quitting.

As the saying goes, luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.  The most important lesson is:  We must be in the game, prepared, and playing our hearts out in order to succeed, not sitting on the sidelines criticizing others and pointing out how lucky they may be.  Luck, be it good or bad, is just one part of the equation.  When it’s good, let it be the wind in your sails; when it’s bad, let it stir your sense of challenge, adventure, and determination and spur you along toward achievement of your goals.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Dec 102012
 
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Stop Whining – Put Your Big Boy Pants On

I have to laugh every time I hear this saying:  Put Your Big Boy Pants On, or, so we don’t leave anyone out, Put Your Big Girl Pants On!

I never thought I’d be inspired by anything Kobe Bryant said, but I heard this expression most recently when he was talking about how, after some early season difficulties, his teammate Pau Gasol had to step up, stop whining, and make it happen.

I’ve been going through some challenging stuff recently with the illness of my Dad and this expression keeps popping into my head.  So, I have to admit it then, something Kobe said was useful and inspiring to me.  Thanks, Kobe, from a lifelong Celtics fan.

There’s a great need for more “big boy pants” thinking in our society.  There’s too much of a tendency to whine and to blame others for our problems.  This is not constructive.  I like to refer to it as the “victim mindset” – where people are not willing to take control of and responsibility for their own lives and actions.  Some people seem to actually enjoy walking around with a (figurative) large “V” for “victim” stamped on their forehead.

So, next time you’re thinking about whining, consider the following benefits of putting your big boy (girl) pants on:

1.)   You’re taking a positive step to take control of the situation.

2.)   You’re maintaining your self-respect by not becoming a willing victim.

3.)   You’re keeping the insidious procrastination tendency at bay.

4.)   You’re setting an example for those who look to you as a role model.

5.)   You’re acknowledging reality, rather than taking the ostrich approach and burying your head in the sand.

6.)   You’re increasing the odds that the outcome of the situation will be to your liking.

7.)   You’re performing a public service of sorts, to help keep us from becoming a nation (world) of whiners.

Put those big boy pants (or big girl pants) on and set an example for those around you!  You can then also keep the mirrors in your house and not worry what you’re going to see when you happen to look into one of them.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

Go to the right-hand navigation bar near the top of the page, enter your email and click subscribe.  We respect your privacy and will not sell your email address.  Note:  once you subscribe, if the confirmation email doesn’t arrive, check your spam filter.  It usually makes it through, but sometimes those pesky spam filters don’t know what’s good..

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