Doubt is a "double edged sword." Used wisely, it can product great results, but used un-wisely, it can destroy a person.
We all have doubts. In fact, it was doubt that crept into my mind on a certain area of one of my businesses that prompted me to write this post.
Let's start with how doubt can destroy you and your success. Doubt is powerful and can consume you. It can eat at you and sit in your mind - almost like a lead weight around your neck. No matter where you go, it's there. When you doubt yourself in area of your life and let it get the most of you, it will affect you negatively. It is very much like a downward spiral if you let the negativity take over. Your doubt feeds the negativity, the negativity affects other areas of your life and things get worse across more of those areas. This can and will adversely impact you.
This is what happens for most people because they don't know how to use doubt in a healthy way.
Used properly, doubt can fuel you. It can make you look inward and learn more about yourself, your character, and gain strength. You can leverage doubt to your advantage. But how do you do so?
The way I use doubt is to face it head on. If I have doubt creeping into my life in some area and I find myself questioning it or myself - I stop and concentrate on where it is coming from and why? Did I change anything major that caused it? Did I step out of character? Am I not be true to my principles and values? If it is any of those things, it is easily corrected by admitting it and righting the ship. But, if it is not one of those things and is just questioning myself or an area of my life, I make sure to gain perspective. For example, my doubt in my one businesses came from questioning one of my strategies I've used in the business successfully for some time. Recently, it has not worked very well and all the adjustments I tried didn't seem to work or made things worse. So, I stepped away and asked, "Has the market really changed that much or is the market for the strategy acting out of character?" It turns out, it was the latter. The market hadn't changed as a whole, it was just going through a weird patch. So, stuck with the strategy and while things are not fully back to normal, they definitely have gotten more in line and strategy is working again.
If I had let doubt win, I may have abandoned the strategy all together which would have been a horrible decision. Instead, I needed perspective and patience and by utilizing both, I was able to overcome my doubt and get back on track.
As I said in the beginning, you can leverage doubt for good or let it negatively impact you. It is choice, but stepping back, gaining clarity on the situation, and finding perspective will allow you to use to to your advantage and succeed at higher levels.
It's incredible that the end of 2021 is almost upon us. And with a final month to go, outside of finishing the year as strong as possible, entrepreneurs also need to do their best to prepare for success in the New Year.
Here are 3 important exercises all entrepreneurs should do before the New Year starts.
Review the Successes and Failures of the Current Year
A great exercise that should be done prior the end of every year is to take time for a serious review of the successes and failures of the current year. This needs to be planned and should have a day or so devoted to it. This is an opportunity to really look at your business, yourself, and your life and be honest with what you are doing well and where you need work. It is an opportunity to identify where you can better yourself in the new year. You put focused time into each area: Business, Yourself, and Your Life. Write down the successes you had over the year and the failures. Ask yourself why had the successes you had and what you can take from them to keep doing. More importantly, ask yourself where you failed and WHY and the write down how you can do better or overcome the failure the next time a similar situation presents itself.
Set Your Goals
I know, I know - everybody tells you to set goals. I am going to as well, but only after you have analyzed your successes and failures. How can you set goals if you don't know where you've been or how you got there? Analyzing your successes and failures in the areas of your life gives you the information you need to better set goals and make them more meaningful so you achieve them. As you set your goals, identify the resources or partners you may need to reach the goals and start reaching out to them to get things setup going into the New Year.
Plan for Your Success
Most people don't like doing tedious work - me included. But it's the tedious work that pays off over time. It is the attention to detail that can make the biggest difference. Once you have written your goals and identified the things you need to help reach them, you must plan for their success. At minimum, you should write what you need to do by month to stay on pace to reach them. Ideally, you should have it broken down by week and look for ways to accelerate reaching the goals so you can accomplish them even faster.
A lot of people know and talk about these 3 things when it comes to success, but very few actually do them. That may be the 4th action - Do it. Put the work in and it will pay off for you. Here's to a great 2022!
My Thanksgiving proclamation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On this day, we give thanks. We give thanks to God. We give thanks to free enterprise and the possibility that entrepreneurship brings. And we give thanks to all of those who are with us, support us, and are part of our entrepreneur journey.
On this day, let us celebrate the incredible opportunity and life we have been given. Let us celebrate the ability to create the enterprise and life we desire, for entrepreneurs are a unique group of people that directly shape and change the world. Entrepreneurs have the ability to change lives and make them better and have the opportunity to help others reach their dreams as they reach for theirs.
We entrepreneurs have been given this opportunity and responsibility, not just by our choice to be an entrepreneur, but by our creator who put us on this earth to become the best of ourselves and share it with the world.
For this we must be ever thankful and humble, and we must give every day the best to we have to offer and share with this world. We must never give up or quit in the pursuit of our dreams and we should strive to share entrepreneurship and its benefits with all those around us. Entrepreneurs are what makes the world go. Without entrepreneurs, there are no jobs, no funding for governments, no progress, or no improvement in quality of life. Everything. I mean everything begins with entrepreneurship.
Because of this, we cannot and should not take our responsibility lightly and on this day of thanks, we should unite to as I take and adapt a phrase from George Washington, ”humbly offer our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our business and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually and to bless them with peace and concord, and grant unto entrepreneurs a degree of prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
With God’s help, Entrepreneurship is the answer to much of the problems and challenges in our world, and everyone can tap into this spirit within. May they do so and give thanks for the incredible opportunity that it brings.
So, there you have, my proclamation and solute to you entrepreneurs. Let me close by again saying thank you and expressing my gratitude for your support of the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wish you a wonderful, blessed day with your families and a great start to the holiday season!
Our world is rapidly changing and entrepreneurs must adapt to thrive and stay successful.
The challenge is that much of the old advice that worked for so long doesn't necessarily work nowadays. For example, "hard work" has always been advice to get ahead. Work hard and you will succeed, right? Maybe in some things these days, but I know people that work very hard and they don't get ahead. They are stuck in the same job or role and no matter how hard they work, there is not going to be a drastic change to their life situation - unless they change where and how they work.
The secret to thrive and succeed is to learn to become more productive - to do more with less and continue to expand it. This means that you need to work hard, but more importantly, smart at the right endeavor. You must have a way to create and expand wealth as an individual and as an entrepreneur. A great example of this is that for much of the last century, people were told to save their money and some day they could retire. But, since the early 1970's savers have become losers as the US dollar was taken off the gold standard and the currency has inflated ever since, eroding over 95% of the dollar's buying power. Because of this, saving money can't keep up with the rising costs that will continue, so savings will just continue to erode in value.
I'm not saying that people shouldn't save some money or have some cash on hand. What I am saying is that saving alone is not a good idea. Money is currency and that means it needs to keep moving to grow - it needs to be productive. To do this, it must be invested and used to continuously expand and grow either itself, a business, etc.
Take time to think about how you can be more productive and gain leverage. How can you do more with less? How can you invest to expand and grow? What old ways of thinking don't work any more and need to be cut out of your life or business?
Answer these questions and you'll be on your way to thriving in todays world!
If you are professional B2B sales, there is a lot you must learn and understand to be successful. You need to have great communication and relationship skills. You need to have great attention to detail and follow up. You need to think differently about how to work with clients and find creative solutions and ways for them to do business with you. You must learn to create value and show how your value aligns with the wants and needs of your clients. And you must be consistent and dependable.
I could go on with what it to takes to succeed, but there is one very important thing professional salespeople must learn to do - and it is very hard for them.
What is it? It is the willingness to walk away from a sale.
Sometimes, things just are not a good fit. And as a pro, you must recognize that and be OK with it - even after all the effort you put in to try and get the sale.
A lot of salespeople have trouble with this. They get emotionally attached to an outcome and they also have the pressure of getting new business. But, if things are not a fit and sales are made desperation, then several things happen. First, the salespeople devalues their solution and themselves. This may also lead to low profitability for their organization (if any at all). Second, when this happens, most salespeople resort to discounting their value and lowers your capability to be paid what your solution is worth in the marketplace as word typically gets out on pricing. Third, if a salespeople resorts to do this, they very rarely get anything in return. This is a problem.
There is not doubt, in today's world, that in some industries is it harder to make sales and get to a decision. The pandemic is still having an effect. This is where leadership must be innovative with their sales teams and figure out the best solution for the market that is fairly prices and gives a good value to the client. And there will be negotiations. But, as a salesperson, you need to know where you will walk away prior to the negotiation and why - as you should clearly articulate that to a prospect. If someone is a great fit for your product and needs your help to get on your solution - work with them, but don't give up everything to do so. You can do things like help them pay over time or build setup fees into the monthly fees, or sign a longer term agreement and amortize costs over that time. If you are going to give, you will want to get something in return. That will be different for each situation, but make sure you are getting value in return for giving up value.
You must be innovative as a salesperson, but you must also be willing to walk away if the exchange of value is just not there. You'll be surprised at how your conviction and willingness to stand up for yourself and your solution will end up getting you the sale in the end.
I'm a fan of Jordan Peterson because of his reasoned, logical, realistic view on things. He also has deeply contemplated how to live a great life and when he speaks, gives perspective at a level that most would never consider. If you listen to his words carefully, they have deep meaning and will help you in your life. Here are 3 videos of Jordan worth watching.
I was reading some verses from Proverbs the other day. If you are not familiar with Proverbs, it is a book of practical wisdom for life from the Bible. Not matter whether you are religious or not, there is excellent wisdom for life in Proverbs.
One of the passages I read struck me as great advice for life. Here it the passage:
If you don't take the initiative to find the work you choose to do, you will in the end find yourself doing the work you are forced to do.
Read that a couple times and let it sink in. Then ask yourself if you are doing what you have chosen to do and are focused on it.
In a society where people are being incentivized not to work and in many ways paid not to, I cannot help but think how important this passage will come into play. When you choose to do something, you are acting out of your own freedom. When you choose the work you want to do and pursue it with vigor and integrity, it will bring you prosperity and freedom. But, when you do not choose your work or choose not to work, you are not free. You are beholden to the source you rely on to sustain you such as a government or other. This means that in order to continue getting what they are giving you, you have to comply and do what they want and force you to do. You are no longer free.
Choose your work and earn your freedom.
We live in a time where truth is increasingly hard to find. Whether it is the latest headline or post on social media or a newsbyte - most of these are not true and many of them will take kernel of truth and use it to make a point that is not true.
What does this have to do with entrepreneurship?
We as entrepreneurs need to be truth tellers. We are critical thinkers, seekers, and drivers of society and life. We help to shape the world and its future. Should that future be built on lies or half-truths? I don't think so and I certainly hope you don't think so.
So, with that in mind, what should we do to ensure we are acting from and on truth in our businesses and lives? First, we must develop or solidify our principles and convictions. We must draw our lines that we will not cross for anything. A great example of a set of principles and convictions is the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution. This document clearly defines rights and principles - truths that must not be violated by anyone, not an individual, government, or any other entity. As entrepreneurs, we should develop our own "Bill of Rights" of sorts that defines the principles we will live by and govern our lives and business by.
Next, we must take the time to seek and find the truth when communicating and putting things out in the world. For example, you may see a headline or post online that you believe confirms something you thought was true and use that as a way to solidify your position - but how do you know it is true? Do you do the diligence to find the source or author and see what their agenda is? Can you get to the root of where it comes from to make sure it is indeed true? We must.
If you commit to follow a set of solid principles and convictions and do the work to seek the actual truth putting the full picture together prior to sharing it, you will make a much bigger difference in the world. And you will be able to better sleep at night, knowing that you are doing what is right.
Seek the truth and live from principle and conviction.
There are some things you can do for your success that have a big impact and make a big difference for you and those around you. One of those things is to understand you personality type and the way you think and how that relates to others.
And you cannot do this just once. A lot of people will take a personality test once and then think everything will stay the same 10 years later. That is not the case. We are constantly adapting and evolving ourselves and learning new things.
For example, many years ago when I first took a personality test, it gave me a lot of confirmations on things I knew about myself, but it also showed I had low empathy. I then began to learn about how to increase my empathy outwardly and use it in my life and business. So over many years, the results of the test changed for me because I was teaching myself to get better in areas I needed to work on.
My favorite and most widely used test for understanding self is the DISC test. This test has been around for 100 years or so and is easy to understand. It will show you where you rank on the 4 personality types, D-I-S-C. It will also show you how to interact with the other personality types and pitfalls to look out for.
But, as stated above, you should not take this test just once. You should schedule yourself to take it every year as part of your personal growth and development. You will be surprised at how many things stay the same, but also surprised at how some big things change over time.
There are a lot of different DISC tests out there and it's worth it to use a paid version, $50-70 or so. But there are free ones you can use to get your started. Here is a link to one I've used before:
Take the test and see where you come out and then use the results to better yourself and improve the relationships with those around you. It will make a big difference in your success and your life!
David Goggins is a beast. If you haven't heard of him, you need to check him out. He's a former Navy SEAL turned endurance racer and world record holder of the most pullups in 24 hours. He's the author of the best-selling book, "Can't Hurt Me." He went from weighing over 300lbs to being one of the baddest dudes out there. And he knows it too - he's not overly cocky, but he knows how to win in his mind and conquer any challenge or opponent in front of him.
I've chosen a few of his best messages below for you to watch and learn from him. Warning - he does not hold back on language.
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