Why you need to be ok with venturing out, venturing alone

Striving for balance you can live with

One of the hardest things to figure out when you begin something new – whether it’s a project or a business – is whether it’s going to succeed or fail. Oftentimes, when success comes, it’s easy to look back and see the signs you had not noticed initially. We tend to come to the conclusions we want to make and find the supporting evidence or points where we choose to look.

And when failure hits us, perhaps it is easier to just move on. Who wants to dwell on  the negative?

Anything new…
Anything you have no experience in …
Anything that makes you worried or scared …
is fraught with anxiety.
We are unsure of outcomes, processes and perhaps, even the milestones that may  guide us.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So when a new venture beckons, you’re really striving for a perfect balance as you move ahead.

You don’t want to be over eager and launch before you’ve set your path and laid the foundations for success.
And yet, you also don’t want to think too much and over analyse every move or result in line with the vision you’ve set.

The amount of thinking done needs to be weighed against the amount of action taking place. You’ve got to know when to push it out there – to ship it – and when to hold back for another revision. When what you’re doing is brand new to you and brand new in the space/industry you’re in, then there is no one you can really go to, to get guidance or a helping hand. You’re in this alone and that is typically the case when you’re making your own dreams happen.

Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength –  Napoleon

And you’ve got to be comfortable with that. You’ve got to be internally driven, guided by your expectations and a vision only you truly understand.

It’s scary.
But it’s also helluva exciting.

When pushing through with something new, something different, you’re in it alone but it’s ok.
Others may not get the vision or dream but it’s ok.
You can see the vision but you can’t quite articulate it as well as you’d like to but it’s ok.

Remember that there needs to be as much action as there is thought.
You’re content in the knowledge that you may just need to fumble your way forward.
But it’s ok.

#vision #courage #failure #success

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. 
I run Vertical Distinct, a media and learning organisation supporting both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog here on the entrepreneurial journey. I write for Women of HR and am also Associate Editor at the HR Gazette. Feel free to connect to talk or let me know how I can support you.
Advertisements

Kill fear. Do it anyway.

Blank page.
Many things to say.
None seem worthwhile though.
And so you keep quiet, moving on to the next tab on your browser, something to distract you, something else to do that you will call ‘work’.

The last event attracted 200 people.
This year’s is potentially going to double that number.
The stage had a ‘wow’ factor and yet, it was incredibly daunting.
You got the invite this year, one more time. Again, you hummed and hawed.
Made excuses, told them you would not be able to speak.
And so you just keep walking by these opportunities you call problems or a waste of time.

Do you have an idea you know will work? Yes.
Have you done anything to explore it? No.
Are you actually making excuses? Yes.
Does it keep popping into your head when you find a spare moment or when the busyness of the day begins to settle down? Yes.
And so you keep carrying on, filling your time with lots of stuff to do, while quietly stilling that inner voice that is both bold and scared at the same time.

You have important things to say. But you don’t say them.
You have things that you know you should do. But you don’t do them.
You have ideas you so badly want to explore. But again, you hold back, waiting for the perfect moment to present itself to you. It’s as if you are waiting for something or someone to shout out that it is safe to go try, that this indeed is that moment to jump.

It’s not going to happen.

No one is going to make you do it.
No one is in your head, living your life, thinking your thoughts or dreaming your dreams.
Not everyone is going to understand if you do go explore your path.
Not everyone is going to support your journey.

So, here’s the question?

Will you do it?
Will you do it now?
If not now, then when?
If not at all, why?

#makeithappen

Fear gets to all of us, even those who are successful. But we can’t let it beat us, we need great hacks to beat fear down and get us to a place where we are living the life we want to live. What do you do to beat fear? Please share your thoughts in the comments, as I too want to learn from you.

I run the VerticalDistinct platform to support both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog on the entrepreneurial journey. I write for Women of HR, post on LinkedIn and am an Associate Editor at the HR Gazette. Let’s connect, let’s learn from each other. Let me know how I can support you.

 

Two choices : accept it or get to work

YouDoTheMath

“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”
from the movie, The Martian (2015), starring Matt Damon.

I am pretty selective of the movies I watch (except the mandatory ones the kids drag me to) but when someone shared this scene from the movie, I decided I had to give this show a shot.

These lines resonated because it is the life I live. I won’t use this space to talk about all the other things I might not have liked about the movie because I simply want to hone in on just this part.

Things go wrong and you have a choice. It’s simple and yet, we complicate and worsen things by analysing, procrastinating and just plain refusing to deal with it. If you accept that hardship and failure are regular companions on this journey as are the emotions that are consequent to it, then you can move on to the real work. The work of making things happen.

What I like about solving one problem and then solving the next is  :-

  • it’s all about getting things done. Sitting and discussing all the what-ifs just don’t move the needle until you actually move;
  • it’s focused on one problem at a time. We try too hard and take on too much when we try to fix all our problems at the same time. We can’t.
  • by keeping track of all the problems you’ve now solved, you begin to feel a sense of accomplishment and you’ve got history to guide you, support you, strengthen you and learn from; and
  • it oozes positive, vibrant energy and that is what you need to move ahead.

#entrepreneurdreams #makeithappen

Did you catch the movie? What do you think of this scene? Please share your thoughts in the comments, as I too want to learn from you.

I run the VerticalDistinct platform to support both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog on the entrepreneurial journey. I also write for Women of HR and post on LinkedIn. Let’s connect, let’s learn from each other. Let me know how I can support you.

Run the day

Either you run the day or the day runs you.
– Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author and speaker

No doubt you’ve heard time and again how the life of an entrepreneur is filled with many ups and downs. Days can be an endless rollercoaster of emotions but this is part of the journey.

It’s easy when things are going well… to run with things, to think that whatever you’ve got going is holding up well and that you are generally on the right track. But sometimes, even when things are going well, it could already be on the downhill slide. It takes guts and being open to see what’s coming before it’s here.

Conversely, it is as easy to get all bleak and disheartened when everything around you seems to be crumbling, when the deals don’t happen, when things fall through the cracks and when you don’t get the kind of feedback or response that you were hoping or even gunning for.

They say the light is at the end of the tunnel. Right.

But here’s something particularly useful which I go back to, when things get a bit hairy. When driving, you don’t need your entire journey lit. You only need to see as far as your headlights, enough for you to take the next couple of steps.

And that’s useful and hopeful because you can’t always see the entire journey in your mind’s eye. You can’t always be expected to know all the answers.

As far as your headlights is enough.

Don’t let every niggling doubt crowd your mind. Take charge. Decide. Get it done. Stay positive.

#entrepreneurdreams #makeithappen

It works for me, what works for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments, as I too want to learn from you.

I run the VerticalDistinct platform to support both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog on the entrepreneurial journey. I also write for Women of HR and post on LinkedIn. Let’s connect, let’s learn from each other. Let me know how I can support you.

Jack of all trades or master of one?

As an entrepreneur, you’ll likely come across arguments from both camps.

You need to specialise in one thing because it takes time to develop expertise in anything.
Yet, to specialise means ignorance (or close to) of many other things that you, as a business owner, really need to be aware of, and make decisions on.

So how do you choose?

When you started your career, you began by mastering one thing. So, that’s in your pocket. But I believe that you need to be a Jack of all trades to own a business. You need to pick one or two key focus areas that you will gain mastery of, that you will own but you will also spend time getting to know the other parts of the business.

It will help you put the pieces of the puzzle together.
It will reduce your exposure and reliance on outside help,where everything represents a line item to be charged.
It will help you develop a better sense of the service offering you’re creating.

So yea, Jack of all trades.

#entrepreneurdreams

Which do you choose and why? Please share your thoughts in the comments, as I too want to learn from you.

I run the VerticalDistinct platform to support both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog on the entrepreneurial journey. I also write for Women of HR and post on LinkedIn. Let’s connect, let’s learn from each other. Let me know how I can support you.

You won’t know till you try

Granted, it does seem obvious, but it bears repetition.

Let me explain. For every one person who tells you to focus on building a platform, there will be another who tells you to focus on your writing. For every one person who tells you to build that product you’ve been dreaming and refining in your head and on scraps of paper, excited yet nervous about what could be, there will be another who says that you need to go out and figure out what the market wants and then go build it.

There are gurus everywhere.

I say the best person to decide is you.

There’s also no shortage of opinions. But like a restaurant review, you can either jump in and go explore what your gut tells you or you can listen to the reviewer(s) and make a call based on what they say.

I say the best person to decide is you.
You’ve got tons of experience under your belt, which at times, you might not be able to articulate or speak to. But when the time is right, this experience will be there to guide you. Let it.

You’ve got one shot at this thing called life.
Why give it up because of what someone else said? You don’t always know their frame of reference or motivation.
Why give it up because someone else thinks something of you or is trying to steer you in a particular direction? Go in the direction of your dreams.
Why let this go? Waiting for that time for things to gel and come together in perfect harmony and you’re almost invited to come to the table? That time will never come.

Seize the day.
Seize the moment.
Seize the opportunity.
Do what in your heart you know to be true, and be true to who you are.

There’s a long journey ahead. It will be filled with joy and anguish even when you take the road you want to be on. Don’t let your dream die by the wayside.

Seize the day.
Seize the moment.
Seize the opportunity.

#entrepreneurdreams

Looking back on your entrepreneurial journey, what story had the most impact on you? Please share your thoughts in the comments, as I too want to learn from you.

I run the VerticalDistinct platform to support both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog on the entrepreneurial journey. I also write for Women of HR and post on LinkedIn. Let’s connect, let’s learn from each other. Let me know how I can support you.

Focus on one thing means no focus on the other

One thing that I’ve struggled with, in building a business, especially in those early start-up days, is that with limited resources, you’re constantly faced with a series of choices. The choices regularly seem to be do or die, in terms of priority.

When you are building a business, you want to spend time figuring out what it is you are trying to do so that it’s clear to everyone else what your offer is. You also want to do that because knowing what you’re trying to do will ensure you pull the right resources at the right time and drive the right message about what you can deliver.

So, for example, I started out the business offering an opportunity to people to network and learn at business conferences and technical seminars. I saw myself as a creative person, our products were crafted to deliver a certain type of content and platform to the audience we were after. I saw myself as a producer of content.

That affected how we marketed, how we described ourselves, our product and where we went looking for audiences.

Over the years, we shifted from producing conferences to providing technical and business training through certification-led programmes.

This was different.

I was no longer creating content – the content was pretty much already there, in defined and structured syllabi, already familiar to those looking for it.

The approach had to change.

Progress comes when you acknowledge the change before you and begin to work to adapt or respond effectively to them.

We were no longer producers of content, we were now marketers. We were bringing established, internationally renowned and benchmarked programmes to new markets and our success relied not on the quality of the content (that was now a given) but on the success of our marketing efforts.

As you grow your business, you will encounter change. Some you will face happily and some you may resist. Progress comes when you acknowledge the change before you and begin to work to adapt or respond effectively to them.

A willingness to see those changes can take time to develop especially when you’ve spent so much effort on building things up in a certain way. It’s a fine line, knowing when to stop and when to push through. When to listen to the market and when to refine further.

I’ve read stories about people who’ve taken years to find the success they crave.

Years.

Matthew Weiner, the Mad Men creator, said it took him seven years from the time he wrote Mad Men until it finally got on the screen. “I lived every day with that script as if it were going to happen tomorrow. That’s the faith you have to have”.

Jeff Kinney , author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, talked about how he pursued his newspaper-cartooning career, where he would spend anywhere from six to nine months putting together submission packets and sending it out to all the syndicates – only to get really tough, terse rejection letters back.

“This went on for a few years and it was very soul sucking. It’s hard to send your best work out there and get no encouragement whatsoever”. Both were featured in Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal. ( I interviewed Gillian about her book).

The point is that it takes time.

We read about successes but rarely do we get a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes. And perhaps, most of the time, we like to fool ourselves into believing it was a case of good luck or innate talent.

Perhaps we don’t want to hear about the countless hours of practice, botched attempts and failed pitches.
Perhaps we don’t know about the inner and outer game that takes place.

The one thing that should guide you : your goal.

You have a product or service you are working on and want to bring to market. You cannot rely on the well-meaning support and understanding of others – friends or family  – who are there to lend moral support and yet are not familiar with the challenges and experiences you will undergo.

It is you who knows fully what it is you are trying to achieve, what that final product or service should look like. And until such time that it is out there – launched, shipped – you owe it to yourself to give it everything you got to make it happen. No one else will come close to making it a reality as you will.

And the title of the post?
A realisation that every time you focus on one thing and you commit to deep work (the subject of Cal Newport’s new book) on it, you have to come to terms with the fact that there are many other things you will not be able to focus on.

That often proves hard to reconcile when the other things you want to do are equally important or related to the big project. Acknowledging and acting on this is critical to traction though.

Starting with knowing nothing

One of the hardest things to do when you start a business is to figure out where and how to begin and the balance you need to strive for in knowing how much planning and execution is necessary.

There’s so much to do, from a strategic perspective, to decide on what it is you want to achieve, how you want to position yourself and the goals you have for your business. Trying to do too much, too soon and wanting to please all segments of the market are real challenges. And they can distort your reality and your goals.

At the same time, you can’t spend all your time on planning. Perfecting the service, tidying up loose ends and improving the product  – this can go on forever if you let it. You know you want to produce the best product you can. You know the product you have right now is not quite what you envisioned and yet it’s taking so much time to bridge this gap.

Ship now.

That’s one significant lesson I learnt. The market is growing, day by day. New businesses are launching all the time.  Innovative products spring up all around you. And while you wait to perfect your product, someone else will come to market with the same thing. And that will throw you off. It will cause you to reassess where you are going.

There’s a lot to be said for making the best you can with what you have and then releasing it and putting it out there. You can spend time once it’s launched, once you’ve received market feedback to revise, reposition and enhance.

It seems that you always seem to start with knowing nothing. Knowing not quite enough and yet you must push ahead, you must launch, you must address the market.

That requires a resilience, a strength within, and a level of comfort with knowing that you do not have all the answers.

But the answers are out there, there are people who may help you and your job right here, right now, is to commit and to begin.

To begin your life’s work.
To begin your journey of purpose.
To find your way forward.

I run the Verticaldistinct.com platform to support both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I now blog on the entrepreneurial journey, which will still include posts on mindfulness, growth and habits. I contribute posts regularly to Women of HR and post on LinkedIn.  Let’s connect, let’s talk, let’s learn from each other. Let me know how I can support you.

Revamps, Pivots and Admissions

Let’s face it. Trying anything new or big feels scary. You don’t want to flop on your face. You don’t want to expose yourself, you’ve worked hard to build that brand. But as you and I both know, growth happens when you take a chance. When you decide that you need to step out of that comfort zone, when you’ve heard that niggling voice long enough to finally do something about it.

The revamp
I’ve struggled, I must admit, to keep up a schedule of posts that strike a chord. I second guess myself still, wondering if the topics are worth mentioning. So much ground has been covered, the points need to be unique and deliver real value.

But as you and I both know, growth happens when you take a chance.

The truth is – talking about self development is about being on a journey, one that can feel almost like groundhog day, where you get tested on the same things over and over. Until such time you realise that these tests are there to move you and you will keep seeing them until you move. And so, I’ve struggled with coming up with a valid differentiating factor for this blog. It does not help that, in growing a business, I am pulled in many directions daily.

Until this point today.

I have rewritten my About page to update my change of focus. While I will continue to write about building habits, personal growth and execution of ideas, I feel that where I can best be of service is to write about what I know and do passionately every single day. Which is build and grow a business.

The pivot
I just spoke last week with Marc Miller of Career Pivot, the author of Repurpose Your Career – Practical Guide for Baby Boomers. We had a marvelous conversation which is going to be the subject of an article in the November 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine. But what I want to share with you is the idea of pivoting as Marc shared with me. The idea is that you don’t necessarily need to take huge 180 degree turns but merely smaller turns of direction. It’s a situation where you almost have one foot in the old and one in the new, enabling you to transition smoothly. It allows you to continue leveraging what expertise and skillls you have, while learning new things in the direction you want to take.

Which is what I am doing now.

The admission
So, it has to come to this – an admission that things didn’t work or perhaps didn’t go in the direction as I expected. Today, I read a super blog post on social media marketing. The post was entitled, We’ve lost nearly half our social referral traffic in the last 12 months. Written by Kevan Lee, content crafter at Buffer, it’s a post about how a company that has a product which helps people succeed on social media admits publicly how they have lost traffic and admit that they are unsure how they got there. That is amazing in today’s world to see such refreshing honesty. This could have been an internal discussion yet it was made public.

Think about what he’s saying for a minute…. and also, what he’s not saying.
It’s a post that speaks of energy, ambition, curiosity and a drive to get things right.

So, this is how I mark my change. I hope you will stay with me as I travel a new path, it’s exciting. Won’t you join me?

I run the Verticaldistinct.com platform and Accelerate Magazine. I now blog on the entrepreneurial journey, which will still include posts on mindfulness, growth and habits. I contribute posts regularly to Women of HR and post on LinkedIn.  Check out Accelerate Magazine’s August 2015 issue – let me know what you think! 

How to raise your visibility : Put your stamp on it

Profile building involves being clear about what it is that you want to be known for.

In our life, it’s natural to have many spheres, some of which may overlap. Our different roles and responsibilities, the things we are passionate about, the causes we want to fight all make up part of who we are and what we do. The internet and rise of social media has only served to increase our options when it comes to raising our visibility. We need only ‘to quiet the lizard brain‘, as Seth Godin would put it.

We can create our own brand of content, we can self publish, we can build a following of like-minded souls.

It can be particularly confusing when you are starting on this journey – there are so many roads to take, which ones are the most successful? How soon before you give up? Where do you start?

Facebook works for some, Twitter kills it for others. Some prefer blog posts and there are some, strange as it may sound, who avoid cellphones. My point? It does not matter what others do.

Each person uses each platform or technology for different needs. Further, each person has different objectives. The answer is : there is no right or wrong answer. You need to discover what works for you by yourself.

But if you are starting out, the first thing you need to do is to get clarity about the areas/things you want to be known for. What you want is to put your stamp on it. This simply means you have carved a space you call your own. When people think social media specialist, conversion strategist, turnaround guru or whoever it is you are establishing yourself as, you are the person who comes to mind.

Doing the work involved is hard undoubtedly hard and it requires patience, time and a thick skin.

How do you do this?

1. Figure out firstly what it is that you want to be known for.

2. Don’t try to do too much and be too many things to too many people.

3. Put the time in so that the work necessary, to call this space yours, is done. Develop your expertise.

4. Experiment. How else will you discover?

5. Focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. This is about celebrating what is good, brave and solid – not about fixing, bettering or making adjustments.

6. Embrace a sense of bold adventure – you cannot escape the need for courage, for curiosity, for wonder…. for what could be.

Slowly, surely, you build this, one step at a time. As you look back, you gather traction and you gain a kind of satisfaction as you examine your body of work. Yes, it now begins to take shape.

And there you have it – a plan for moving forward.

What are you waiting for? This is all the inspiration you need.

Updated – here are the links to all the posts in this series :

#1 How to raise your visibility – give it time
#2 How to raise your visibility – put your stamp on it
#3 How to raise your visibility – build expertise and show value
#4 How to raise your visibility – test and tweak relentlessly.

 

I run the Verticaldistinct.com platform and Accelerate Magazine. I blog regularly on personal development, mindfulness, growth and habits. I also contribute posts regularly to Women of HR, HRIS World and post on LinkedIn.  Check out the May 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine – let me know what you think!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,256 other followers

Social

Blog Stats

  • 6,840 hits
%d bloggers like this: