Over the last few months as the Wuhan Coronavirus has spread throughout the world, there has been death and suffering. I won't discount that. Chances are that you are affected in some way by the virus. Whether getting it yourself, knowing someone who has, or even knowing someone who passed from it, it has impacted your life - and mine as well.
I have written about suffering before and how it is frankly, a part of life. A big part of it. And I have noted that because of this, if we want to reach new levels in our lives and our full potential, then we must build a positive relationship with it.
In this piece, I want to talk about the other side of things. The blessings I see that have happened in my life and for all of us during the virus.
I have often noted that the pace of life over the last 10+ years has gotten so instant that it seems like we can never catch up nor keep track of things day to day. Outside of the virus, can you remember the top news headlines from a week ago? What about a day or two ago? Why do we stop the microwave with 2 seconds left? We really can't wait 2 seconds?
The speed of life has increased dramatically and one major blessing that I see from the virus is that it has slowed life back down some. It has allowed us to find time for something we rarely had a chance to do prior - have downtime and relax (at least I can say for me).
It has also brought us closer to family and friends and helped us to realize what is most important in our lives. It has brought us closer to God and my creator. It has reminded us of what truly matters.
Additionally, the virus has given us the time to reconnect with ourselves. I understand this is very uncomfortable for some. In fact, I surmise that one of the biggest reasons for the fast paced, go-go lives that we have had prior, was due in some part from the fear of truly just being alone with ourselves and who we are. What would see about ourselves that we don't want to deal with? What would we have to confront? And once we realized it and knew what was needed to change or become better - would we have the strength or will to do it? The hardest thing we will ever do is confront ourselves and work on who we are and want to become. It is the hardest work we can do, but the work that makes the most difference in our lives.
The virus has also brought out our caring for our fellow man and helped us realize the principles that we take for granted in our lives so we can better cherish them. For example, not having the freedom to get a haircut or even go to a park with your child when we want, has shown us how important it is to understand the basic rights and freedoms we have and how important they are when taken away or suspended.
It has also given us a greater appreciation for our work. As of this writing, there are almost 40 million people now unemployed in the U.S. - about 25% of the workforce. And to make matters worse, it was due to no fault of their own. And then you have the businesses that employed them, especially small businesses, fighting every day just to be there when "they are finally allowed to open." I can say, now more than ever, I truly cherish the work I get to do and for others. I cherish the opportunity I have every day and I pray that things will come back for those who are affected. And I think we will all see our work in a new light. I think we will find more joy in it, respect it more, and give even better effort. We were not made to sit idle. We are explorers. We are dreamers. We are meant to create, build, and solve problems. We will do that even better as we come back to work.
Lastly, the virus has made me believe even more in the power of the entrepreneur and the entrepreneur inside all of us. Entrepreneurship - that explorer looking to make our dreams a reality, exists in all of us. And I think we will see more people realize that and tap into this part of themselves, their "inner misfit."
The Wuhan Coronavirus has brought suffering, but it has also brought blessings in disguise. I will not deny the suffering, but I will choose to focus on the blessings. I hope you will find a way to do so too.
As you go through life, you will know doubt learn more. You will learn about this world, more about those around you, more about life, and more about yourself. And if you deliberately seek wisdom and knowledge, you will learn even more and expand your capabilities along with it.
But, the best thing you can do to help you learn and grow is to ask questions of yourself. And the better the questions you ask, the better the answers you will get - or seek.
I have been thinking about this lately and spending time asking myself questions - important ones. Some of them I have started formulating answers to, others I still have no answer as of yet. But, just in asking the question, it has stimulated new ways of thinking and breakthroughs in other areas of my life.
I've been asking myself a lot of questions, but here are 11 questions I think everyone needs to ask themselves at some point in their life.
These questions no doubt spur tons of other questions and each one is like it's own version of the white rabbit taking you down it's own rabbit hole. I don't know if I will ever settle on firm answers on all of them as the changing nature of life is part of the adventure. But isn't it worth it to seek the answers? I believe so. I believe the more I understand the answers to these questions, the better my life will be - not just for me, but all those in it with me. Ask better questions of yourself and better your life!
Each day that the world pandemic goes on, more and more destruction take place to people's lives, jobs, businesses, and psyche. There is no sugar coating it. It is a dark time economically. But everywhere I look there are incredible examples of resilience, ingenuity, fortitude, caring, and compassion. I short, there is beautiful light being put into this world all around us everyday.
And every day, we have an opportunity. We have our chance, to be the light for someone else.
Whether it is something as simple as a phone call to check in on a friend you haven't spoken to in a while, a note of encouragement for someone who is working hard to keep a business afloat during this time, or donating to a cause - there are many ways to be the light.
While, sadly, a great many people will let "life happen to them" during these times and let anger, resentment, the events that have transpired in their life, and in many ways give up; we cannot be one of them. We must be there for them and show them they have more control than think and that even in the darkest of times in their life, there is good - there is light. There is always light.
Be the light in someone's world today and shine as bright as you can!
Sometimes, the best posts or articles are the shortest. This will be one of those.
There is a simple ingredient you need to succeed in anything. Without it, it is nearly impossible to achieve and get what you want. That ingredient? A Burning Desire.
If you do not have a burning desire to get what you are after, you won't be motivated to do what it takes, go through the challenges, put in the work, or innovate at the level you must to make it a reality.
What do you really want? In you life? Your work? What is success to you? If you don't have a burning desire to get these things - they aren't the right things. Figure out what you really desire. What do you have an almost healthy obsession with? And once you have it, don't let go. Keep pushing. Keep going. Keep working. Keep innovating. Until it becomes a reality.
The starting point of all achievement is desire - Napoleon Hill
I was recently reminded of what a great team can accomplish and what it takes to truly have a great team. I little while ago, I one of the best product launches I have had in a very long time in one of businesses. It broke records and set new bars to shoot for and achieve in the future.
But the reason it was so successful, wasn't due to me or the solution I was sharing with people, it was due to the team behind it (OK, I had a little to do with it as a member of the team!). It was amazing how to group worked together, put together all the assets needed, nailed the outreach and marketing in both messaging and scaling to thousands all over the world. They drilled the presentation and process with me until we knew like it was second nature, and everyone executed their duties at the highest level I've seen.
As we celebrated the launch and the impact we had on the lives of those we served with our product/service, it really got me thinking back to the elements that make a great team and how all of them were present with this team.
There are 5 Elements tat make a great team.
If you look for and foster these 5 Elements in your teams, you can and will achieve great things and have wonderful successes. Here's to making it happen!
The other day I saw an incredible stat. There has been over 2 BILLION media mentions of the Wuhan Coronavirus in the last few months. The next closest outbreak had only 60 million media mentions during its entire time.
This got me thinking about how much this can impact people and create fear for them - with this much media bombardment, how it could it not.
As I was thinking on this, something awesome happened. My daughter had a breakthrough. She had been trying to learn how to ride her bike for some time without training wheels and we had worked on it together - she was getting close, but just hadn't been able keep her balance for a long period.
On her own, she went out and started practicing in the driveway and after 10-15 mins, she can running to tell me she did it. So, I went out to watch her and sure enough, she had figured it out and had a breakthrough. It was amazing to see the sense of freedom that came over her as she realized the capability she now had.
As I stood there, proud of her accomplishment, it made me think of all the other awesome things that were happening right now in our lives and businesses - even in the midst of a pandemic.
So, I decided to sit down and write out 20 Awesome things happening in my life right now. It was a great exercise. And I was energized as I got to 20 and could continue to name more. It also gave me perspective and a new insight into everything that is good in my life right now, because there is a lot.
Try this exercise for yourself. Shut off the TV and social media and tune out the billions of pandemic media mentions and focus for a little while on the awesome things happening in your life. Write them down. It will open your eyes and show you new opportunities available to you. Write your 20 Awesome Things today!
Entrepreneurs are unique breed. We spend our lives working through challenges, pushing ourselves through barriers, and figuring out how to succeed. During these uncertain times in dealing with the Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I feel entrepreneurs are needed now more than ever to help the world.
It is important that we also stick together and help each other as best as possible. Aside from doing the weekly Misfit Entrepreneur, I wanted to share 3 actions my partners and I are doing across our businesses as it may help you in yours and with those around you.
First, we are doing our best to take care of all employees and our customers. We are helping our employees with everything they need to work from home, give them timely resources to stay safe, and support their individual needs during this time. For our clients, we are doing all we can to help them both financially and with our products and solutions. We are evaluating everything we can do and give to them while making sure to keep ourselves viable and stable for them. And, anywhere we can give our resources to help them, we are doing so for minimal cost or free if possible.
Second, we are evaluating all plans and strategies and adjusting them as needed, but also positioning ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities when this situation ends. Make no mistake, on the other side of this will be one of the best environments to gain market share and grow a business in our lifetimes and we need to be prepared. For example, while others are pulling back in all areas of their business, we are pushing forward with marketing and sales and making sure that we are the solution clients go to when they are ready. We will be uniquely positioned for when things turn around. Look for ways to have your business ready for when things get back to normal.
Lastly, I am doing my best to be a resource and voice of reason to those around me and help them through things as best as I can. Now is not a time for emotional decisions or to let emotions run our daily lives. There is a place for it, but it is most important to use logic and reason in your decision making and in your interactions with others. Make no mistake, this will be hard as things most likely will get worse before they get better, but it is the right way to approach it. Remember, the way you think directly impacts you actions and results. You must think clearly at this time.
This situation is "once in a lifetime" situation, but it will pass and entrepreneurs will be there to lead the world back and help in many ways. It is what we were made for and it is what we are called to do.
Books are plentiful. Everybody is writing one these days. But, every once in a while something comes along that really separates itself from the crowd and can make a real different in your life and success. If you are looking for a book that will not only educate, but also enlighten you and help you to truly think in new ways, I suggest reading one or all of these 5 books in 2020.
1.) Redefine Impossible by James Lawrence
James is also know as the Iron Cowboy because, well he is seemingly tougher than iron. James was the guy who came up with the crazy idea of doing 50 full Ironman Triathlons, in 50 states, in 50 days. And he did. As a frame of reference, a full Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, followed by a marathon. Could you imagine doing 50 back to back and traveling every night across the country doing them on 5-6 hours sleep? James book tells the story, but more importantly shares deeply everything he went through internally and externally to reach this goal. It will make think much bigger about what is possible for you.
2.) The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather
What could be crazier than being a lone wolf fighter against the Nazi army at it's fiercest? Volunteering to go into Auschwitz death camp to try and bring it down from the inside. That is exactly what Witold Pilecki volunteered to do in 1940 years before the camp was liberated. He spent 2.5 years in the camp before his escape. This books shows us what the human spirit is capable of at it's best (and worst). It is painstakingly researched and real. This is true hero story. Warning: It does not sugarcoat what happened in Auschwitz, so be prepare to get a full view of the atrocities.
3.) Innovation on Tap by Eric B. Schultz
I had Eric on the show and really enjoyed my time with him. I enjoyed his book just as much as it explores and shares some of the greatest entrepreneur stories of U.S. history and brings them to life in the setting of the entrepreneurs sitting at a bar swapping their stories together. It is a great, inspirational read that will help you to think in more innovative ways.
4.) Everybody Always by Bob Goff
If you think you know what love is, I challenge you to read this book and learn from the adventures of Bob Goff. He truly is an amazing individual and has more in his life than most people can dream of - all in the name of goodness and love. This book will help you understand the true contribution that is possible for you to make in this world and after reading, you'll have no choice but to get started doing it.
5.) Augmented by Brett King
Brett was also a guest on the show and his work as a futurist and in the technology space, especially in the new age of banking is profiled all over the world. In Augmented, Brett shows what the future looks like with the technologies being created today. He also shows you how you can take advantage and set yourself and business up to prosper in the rapidly changing world over the next decade. You'll be amazed at what is possible and already being done in this world.
Rejection is part of being an entrepreneur, but even the strongest entrepreneurs can reach the end of the rope after a long string of rejections. It's at that point that you need inspiration and perspective. So, in that spirit. Take a look at the notices below. These are all rejection notices from VC's when the founders of AirBNB were starting out. They were trying to raise just $150k on a valuation of $1.5 million meaning that $150k investment would have give the investor a 10% stake in the company. I bet these guys wished they had gotten their 10% now!
The next time you deal with a string of rejections, just remember what the founders of AirBNB went through over the course of almost a year before someone took a chance on them. Your time will come if you just keep pushing!
The little things matter. In fact, many times, it is the littlest of things that can make the biggest difference in our success. This is one thing I've learned in hosting the Misfit Entrepreneur. It's amazing how the little details can make such a big difference. But, the trick is that the little details are only important in the context of going after something truth big and worthwhile.
Most people think small. In fact, most don't think beyond the next 10 minutes in their lives - especially in the instant gratification world we live in. And for most this is just fine. But, for some of us, it's not. We want to do big things, make tremendous impacts, and have our chance at potentially changing the world around us.
To do that, we have to think BIG and thinking BIG is an art unto itself. Here are 3 things I've learned in my life on how to truly think big.
The first step to thinking big or bigger than you do now is to stop thinking. Wait, what? In order to think big, you need to get your mind out of the way and out of the day to day and let it wander. We get so bogged down, by the minute by minute things in our lives that they consume our thoughts throughout the day. In order to get to a place where you can think big, you have to get out of that day to day and let your mind have the ability to go big and look at life, the world, business, etc. without the distractions. In order to do this right, you need to schedule the time for it. I suggest at least 4 hours a week and in one block where you don't let yourself be interrupted. For example, every Friday from 1pm-5pm or whatever works in your schedule.
The second step in thinking big or bigger is to change your state and location. If you schedule your 4 hours and do it at the desk you do your work from all week long, your brain will not focus on the bigger things. It will instead do what it's been trained to do at your desk - work on the day to day and those things that you do at your desk. If you truly want to give your mind the opportunity to think bigger. You have to change your state and location. By changing your state, I mean getting out of anything that resembles your normal day to day. And by location, I mean doing this in a place that you don't normally work. It could be going to a park and splitting time between walking trails and writing in a journal. Or going to the library and grabbing a room with a white board. Whatever you do, do not do your "thinking big time" in the same place and state where you work daily.
The third step is to keep track and share it with others that think big as well. Keep a journal of your ideas and what happens in your weekly sessions. Take some time to review it each week before you begin your thinking time. Be open to sharing it with those that think big like you as well. Better yet, schedule separate time with them to have a thinking session together and share your ideas and discuss them.
Remember, everything begins with an idea. Every business begins with an idea. The United States began with an idea. Ideas are what change the world. And those ideas come from brains like yours thinking big, so take the time to let your brain do what it was designed to do - Think BIG!
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