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The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 47

May 23rd, 2014 5 comments

IMG_2981 - Version 2This is the forty-seventh post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

The theme for this week turns out to be miracles.  I didn’t think that’s what it would be.  I thought it would be hate, or anger, or frustration or defeat.

I wrote this post for Evergrowth earlier in the week, in the throes of a breakdown.  Struggling to be with my stuff.  Hanging out in panic.

It’s ugly when I start panicking.  It’s busy too.  So busy.  I get working hard, I stop focusing on my heart, what really matters and the things around me.

But then stuff started to shift.  Slowly.  Somehow, it started to seem less like everything was falling apart around me.  I got supported by people.  People were telling me, if I could listen, what a profound difference we were making in their lives every time we had a coaching session.

In one of my coaching sessions with Steve Chandler, he had me look at the places I was currently underserving my clients, and I saw opportunities everywhere to take things even further.  To be the coach that doesn’t stop at “customer satisfaction”, and instead aims for “customer astonishment”.  And I took those on too.

I was out for dinner last night to celebrate my birthday with Bay, and Happy, by Pharrell Williams came on.

I said “Man, this is such a good song, what is this?”.  Bay told me about Pharrell Williams, and what the song was about.  Her enthusiasm kind of touched me.

Then I woke up this morning and put on the song just before a client call.  While watching the video, suddenly a chord was struck in my heart.  Then six more chords were struck.  Then the whole piano came crashing down.

Suddenly, I was crying.  I was overcome with emotion.  Joy.  A release.  I started to manage it, to avoid being too emotional — what if Bay saw me crying because of a music video?

But then I realized:

WHO FUCKING CARES?

After reading about the song on Wikipedia, I saw this link to Steve Carell (along with a bunch of other people) dancing to the song, and I got hit again, right in the heart.  The emotion didn’t run out or stop before my client called, and I didn’t want it to.  I answered the phone, and choked out that I wanted to share what had just happened with him.  And then, while doing so, I had to put the phone down for a few seconds, just to be with everything that was showing up.

I went over and hugged Bay, and then came back and just sat with my client.

I’ve been searching for intimacy for 2.5 years, and this morning, one day after my 35th birthday, a miracle occurred.  Suddenly it was right there, sitting in front of me.  Rolling down my cheeks and making it hard to speak.

Miracles can happen.  Thanks for letting me share mine.

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The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 46

May 10th, 2014 No comments

IMG_2958 - Version 2This is the forty-sixth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

Astonishing that we have only six weeks remaining.  Writing this series has taught me one thing for certain: writing an ongoing weekly series of blog posts for an entire year is a lot of work.  Even though each of these posts is fairly small, the simple act of sitting down and writing every week, consistently, is hard work.  It does not come easily.

And that speaks to one of the big takeaways from this week: commitment.

Without my commitment, right at the start, to take this series on, I have no doubt that I would have given up.

Some days, I wake up and have zero desire to write.  I don’t want to open my laptop, I don’t want to type words, I don’t want to take another photo of my socks and shoes (no matter how damn good they may look today).

I just want to crack a beer, play some video games, and watch Game of Thrones.

But I haven’t done that, and the reason is because I’m committed to something.

Creative endeavours are notoriously challenging to make a living at, because some days, you get up and you just don’t feel creative.  No matter how much you want it, you don’t feel like doing that thing that your creativity produces.  Steven Pressfield wrote about this exact thing in his book The War of Art.  

In a lot of ways, entrepreneurialism is a creative endeavour.  Perhaps the ultimate creative endeavour.  There’s no precedent for what you want to do (or at least, not the exact thing you want to do).  There’s no one there to tell you that you’re taking the approach in the wrong direction, and there isn’t anyone that is calling you in to their office telling you that the work you did was or was not good enough.

The only thing that will really keep you going, through the ups, the downs, the fear, the inspiration, and every other part of the ride, is your commitment.

Steve Chandler compared struggling coaches to a truck driver.  A struggling coach doesn’t have a system.  When they wake up and don’t feel like working, they mill about.  They say they don’t feel like working and they choose instead to spend their time doing something else.  They wake up to a bad e-mail and decide that today isn’t the day to take on that project they’ve had set aside.

Contrast this with the truck driver.  The truck driver doesn’t have a choice about how they feel.  They wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, and head out to their truck.  Whether they’re feeling happy, sad, motivated or tired, they go out and drive truck.  Whether its raining, sunny, thundering or clear out, they go to work.  Their mood is irrelevant to whether or not they do their work.

The missing ingredient is commitment.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 45

May 2nd, 2014 No comments

photo - Version 2This is the forty-fifth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

This post is a week late because I spent the last week in Disneyland.  Entrepreneurs need vacations too (actually, we need them more than non-entrepreneurs).  Make sure you’re taking yours.

The theme this week has really been reinvesting.  My experience with a number of entrepreneurs I’ve met with is the assumption that they shouldn’t have to pay more money to invest in themselves.  They should simply be able to make things go, and the only place really worthy of investing in themselves is their business.  Buying more infrastructure, paying their employees more, generating more capital so as to buy more advertising, and so on.

I think that’s crazy.  As an entrepreneur, you are your business.  You are its lifeblood.

When training leaders, we often say that how the team is being is a reflection of how the leader is being, and this holds true for businesses as well.

When I start working with businesses, the first thing I do is meet with the people in charge of leading the organization, and see how they’re being.  The way the leader is being will always tell me volumes about how things operate organizationally.

If the leader shows up late to meeting, and then dashes off to his next one with only minutes between each appointment, I know that the business is going to be frequently operating by the seat of its pants, likely lacking clear systems and often pushing up against, if not overstepping, its deadlines.

Because of this simple fact, it’s imperative that entrepreneurs invest in themselves.

This week, I hired my second coach.  I’ve admired Steve Chandler for years, ever since my friend and colleague, Lisa Peake, sent me a copy of his book Wealth Warrior.  Wealth Warrior changed my perspective on how I related to making money and generating lasting wealth and prosperity.

It was a big investment — $3,000 for 7 coaching sessions.  That took a couple of conversations with my wife, and even more conversations in my own head.  But at the end of the day, if I’m not investing in myself, how can I expect anyone else to?  And if I’m not willing to invest money in growing the leadership of my organization, how can I expect my organization to grow?

Investing in your business is important.  Think of these as things like buying better infrastructure, buying more computers, buying redesigning your workplace, buying pizza for your employees, etc.  These things are all essential.

As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.  If you’re not investing in your own development, your company is going to get stuck where you get stuck (note that this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t make a lot of money — financial success is only one place someone can get stuck)

Start there.  Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.