Is your business down and out because of the pandemic? Are you waiting for the pandemic to end to grow or start your business? I believe that there is no better time to start a new business or grow your existing business than now, even as Covid is raging around the world with a vengeance. I say so because a business is a construct for making a difference and you can make a much bigger difference when the situation is more challenging. Bigger the challenge, greater the opportunity to contribute and therefore, greater the velocity with which you can grow your business. In the last few months, my business has grown exponentially, and the members of Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence™ have either built a strong foundation for scaling their business or have experienced commendable business growth.
Here's how to do it:
1. You now have time to step outside your business and look at it as a whole, instead of getting lost in the business. When you are a part of the painting, you have no clue how to make it better because you have no clue how it looks like as a whole. When you step out of the frame and turn around to look at the whole picture, you will begin to notice the colours that are missing and the lines that would be better erased. You will get creative ideas on how to make it into a beautiful work of art. That's what a business is - a beautiful work of art. And, as a business owner, you are the artist. You can view your business, you work of art as a whole through a simple one-page representation called the Business Model Canvas. Here's a blank Template for you to fill in for your business by answering the questions in each of the 9 boxes of the template.
I once had a business owner, who had been in the business for over 15 years, reach out to me. His complaint was that - Even after 15 years, I am struggling. I am still doing Operations, still chasing customers, whatever I earn gets spent and not much gets left behind. I work so much and yet, I am making no progress. He was stuck in what I call the Plateau of Mediocrity. I dug below the surface and wasn't surprised to find that he had no articulated Business Model, even after being in business for more than 15 years.
I had an opportunity to study another business, which started their venture with a clear Business Model which they tested to validate with real customers and ended up breaking more than 10 business models in their 1st year alone. At the end of their first year, they finally discovered a Business Model that they had tested for profitability, repeatability and scalability; and laughed all the way to the bank from Year 2 onwards.
So, the first thing to do to grow your Business in the time of Corona is to step outside your Business and look at it as a whole, using the Business Model Canvas, to identify areas to innovate to create greater value and make a much bigger difference to your customer community from the ecosystem of your Business.
Here's an article in Harvard Business Review from Steve Blank, the father of the Lean Startup Methodology, to understand more about the process of using Business Models, start-up assumptions, how to build experiments to validate the Business Model assumptions to discover your way to a deeply fulfilling, profitable, sustainable, successful Business:
Why the Lean Start-up Changes Everything?
Better would be to read his book written along with co-author, Bob Durf - The Startup Owner's Manual.
2. The second thing to do is to connect with your customers even more deeply and understand what are their challenges, what would contribute to them in this time, how has the pandemic impacted them and their business, listening from a place of 'Being of Service' to identify how you can innovate your Business Model to serve them even more powerfully, in ways you probably hadn't even considered before.
The business of one of the entrepreneurs I was coaching is to bring together suppliers and consumers of a particular service for networking in a physical meeting space. The idea really worked well till Covid happened and she could no longer offer the service the way it was designed before. She was feeling apologetic about suggesting to her customers about getting them together online and looking at offering the online model at a discount till we had a business model review. Here are the highlights of our review:
i. Her customers still have the need and are irritated at not being able to work at the velocity with which they could work before Covid and Lockdown.
ii. Covid and Lockdown has given them exposure to and familiarity with the online channel.
iii. The key benefit they received from her Business Model was an opportunity to make a new set of connections from their industry in a single place.
iv. They were spending hours on the road from all over Delhi NCR to come for the meeting.
v. One on one meetings were a critical component of the value being delivered in the earlier physical model.
As an outcome of our review, she innovated her Business Model to launch a premium higher-priced version of her service through Zoom using Breakout Rooms in Zoom to enable one-on-one meetings.
Before our review, she had hibernated her business in quiet frustration at the pandemic. After the review, she was grateful for the growth opportunity that the pandemic offered her.
3. Use the situation to breakfree from the 'Activity Trap' that most entrepreneurs get caught in. It is this 'busy being busy' that kills our creativity and productivity; and leads us on the path to Mediocrity. Use the current Corona times and the forced 'lock-in' to free yourself from the tyranny of 'busyness' and use the freed up time to learn, grow and evolve to be the world's best in your domain; be a master of your craft and become a key person of influence in industry globally.
I not only completed a Certificate Program in Psychodrama and Expressive Arts Therapy; but also started a 2 years Post Graduate Diploma in Psychodrama (a type of therapy work done in groups) with Tata Institute of Social Sciences. I am a CEO Coach; and work with CEOs, aspiring CEOs, Business Owners, Start-up Founders and High Performers to support them to lead their business from good to great. How can such a theme of learning support my customer community for me to invest so much of my time training on a topic that seems so irrelevant at the first glance? You see my work is about coaching people to step into their zone of genius and that requires an inside-out approach. That means I have to work with my clients not only on their Business Excellence and Craft Mastery journeys on the outside but also on their Leadership Depth journey on the inside, which would include supporting them to be healthy and fit - physically, mentally, emotionally. psychologically and spiritually. Only then, would they get the courage and clarity to lead their business from good to great.
4. Strengthen your Leadership Depth to build momentum to lead your business from good to great. Without a strong foundation of Leadership Depth, Business Excellence is a house of cards that will fall down eventually.
How do you measure Leadership Depth? You measure it by rating yourself on a scale of 0 to 10 in the 5 areas of your Wheel of Life. Your Leadership Depth is the lowest score you got across these 5 areas:
i. Deeply fulfilling, successful, profitable business / profession supporting you to live your purpose of life; gifting you with impact, contribution and financial freedom
ii. Loving, harmonious relationships at work and at home
iii. Happy, healthy, responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed
iv. Nourishing, nurturing yourself to the highest level of fitness and well-being (physically, emotionally, psychologically, mentally, spiritually)
v. Making a massive difference through the work you do
Wishing you the joy of the journey to learn to lead from inside out; which is when you get the courage, clarity and support (at work and at home) to lead your business from good to great.
My daughter says that Mother Nature has grounded us for not listening to her. I am constantly awed by her wisdom. Let us use this time to reflect on where we are on our leadership journey and learn to lead from inside out.
5. As I work, meet and interact with entrepreneurs, I get present to why there's a Harvard statistic on 75% startups failing in their first year and Fortune statistic on 90% businesses failing in the first five years of their existence. The founders are passionate about their domain, they are experts and are technically very strong though where they miss is to learn the art and science of entrepreneurship. They miss that the 3 aspects of their personality needs to be in balance for the business to grow - The Entrepreneur, The Manager, The Technician - in the words of Michael Gerber of The EMyth fame.
Now that Mother Nature has grounded us for not listening to her and being naughty, let us use this time to learn, understand and apply the science of Entrepreneurship. Just because you are a great technology expert, photographer, consultant, baker etc. does not mean you are a great entrepreneur or a great manager. You have to learn the entrepreneurial and managerial domains, as well, to be able to nurture and scale your business.
Make a list of all that you now know you can do to lead your business from good to great, even in the time of Corona, and experience the joy of implementing wonderful ideas and watching your business grow.
Love and gratitude for who you are as a human being; and reverence for your commitment to make a massive difference through your work,
What is the single-most important reason why entrepreneurial ventures die? What is the single-most important reason why dreams never get realized? What is the single-most important reason why most of us never live our destiny to make a dent in the Universe? What is the single-most important reason why we never achieve what we most desire, professionally and personally?
Interestingly, the answer to all these questions is the same - Self-doubt. If there was only one enemy that I could shoot down for all my clients, it would be self-doubt. It is a great equalizer. It doesn't matter how successful, how wealthy, how accomplished someone is or isn't, self-doubt has sneaked its way and hid itself very cunningly beneath layers in the mind. It is the legacy of our evolutionary process of survival and is
a vestigial emotion found in all human beings; except those who have consciously worked on themselves to go beyond the clutches of this demon by inculcating daily growth habits. If we stop practising those growth habits, the demon raises its ugly head all over again by getting its nourishment from our default limiting habits.
Let's explore the relationship between self-doubt and business success. Building a successful business is about iteratively discovering a profitable, repeatable, scalable business model much before your passion and resources run out. That means having the inner strength to keep listening to a 100 NOs before that one YES. If you feed your self-doubt, you will give-up after the first few NOs. I echo what Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz say in their book, 'Go for No' - 'Yes is the destination. No is how you get there.' Learnings about your business model really happen in the failures you have. Without the failures, you have no chance of learning and moving forward to discovering your profitable, repeatable and scalable business model. The whole process from a start-up to a Unicorn is an iterative process, with falling down, learning from the fall, integrating the learnings to decide the next action, moving forward, falling down again, and repeating this cycle again and again till you find profitability on Mountain 2 of Building a Great Business; continuing the iteration to climb to the peak of Mountain 3 to discover the formula for Repeatability and Scalability; learning by continuing to fail and discovering the way forward to Scale on Mountain 4; and finally learning how to Corporatize on Mountain 5, again through failing. So, there's no getting away from failure, rejection, NOs if you are upto building a great business that is an expression of your purpose this lifetime. If self-doubt is one of your best friends that won't leave you, then the journey to building a great business cannot be completed because you will give up along the way, lose your motivation, your inspiration, passion, commitment, energy, enthusiasm, self-belief, confidence to keep getting up every time you fall.
Let's understand Self-Doubt for what it really is to get an access to find freedom from it. Self-doubt is really the emotional expression of what I call the 'small mind'. Our 'small mind' is our default limiting experience of ourselves, of others and of life itself. If we don't make a conscious effort, our 'small mind' runs the show in our life, creating limiting circumstances and limiting / no results in our lives. Our brain, by default, is hard-wired with negativity. And, our generic purpose in this lifetime is to learn, grow and evolve to our highest potential by rewiring our brain to be positive and growth-oriented to shift to what I call the 'Big Mind' by working at the level of growth habits across all the 4 bodies of our Being - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
The 'small mind' is a reaction to the 3 fundamental fears that we humans have:
i. I am not good enough
ii. I am all alone. No one loves me.
iii. I am not important.
Self-awareness is about being aware of our default core fears and the limiting thought pattern that is a reaction to those fears. Without this self-awareness, we will unconsciously continue to be a prisoner of our own fears and limiting thought patterns; and continue to bang our head against the wall of circumstances without being able to fulfil our intentions or realise our dreams to grow to our highest potential.
My core fears are a combination of 'I am not good enough' and 'I am all alone. No one loves me.'. My small mind is - 'I don't deserve the best. I am not worthy. No one loves, appreciates and respects me. Life is a struggle.', which is a reaction to my core fears. My default limiting personality is a reaction to my small mind - 'I work incredibly hard in my life but without rewarding outcomes in relation to the enormous hard work I put in. I don't experience love, appreciation and respect. Infact, I keep experiencing the opposite of that and the result is I am unable to unconditionally love, appreciate and respect; which keeps the vicious cycle going. I keep working hard playing to get the best but the best continues to be beyond my reach, without my realising how I am at the source of all this melodrama or Maya as we say in our culture.'
How does one get out of this vicious cycle? There are many ways though I have chosen to integrate the many ways after studying, interviewing or getting coached from the master entrepreneurs, the super successful leaders, the masters of their craft, the giants of their field. Not surprisingly, they all share similar growth habits that they inculcate in their daily lives to protect themselves from the ferocious grip of the 'small mind'.
The first step is to be aware of your core fears, your small mind. The second step is to make a commitment to live from your Big Mind and feed that. Our Big Mind is our creation, that we will create consciously; while our small mind is our default limiting way of Being which will continue to run our lives till we choose to consciously feed our Big Mind to win over our small mind by stopping to feed the small mind.
Here's my Big Mind, it's my commitment to myself, my promise to myself how I choose to relate to myself, others and to life - 'I am love, gratitude and reverence. I am success and prosperity. I love, respect and appreciate myself and all beings. Therefore, I experience people's love, respect and appreciation for me. Life is fun and easy.' When I feel people walking all over me, I feel the grip of my small mind and then I remind myself of what my Big Mind is and I know how to respond. When I feel unappreciated, unloved and disrespected, I feel the clutch of the small mind and then I remind myself of what my Big Mind is and I know how to respond. When life throws challenges that throw me on the ground, my small mind wants to push me deeper into the deep ditch of dreariness and then I remind myself of what my Big Mind is and I use my creativity to use the trying circumstances and people who have betrayed and cheated me as opportunities of tremendous growth. If my business hasn't extinguished as yet, it is because I chose to be Big Mind though to chose small mind was tantalizingly easier at numerous occasions. Each time, my business seems to be near its death-bed, my Big Mind helps me to keep the small mind and it's best friend, self-doubt, at bay and brings back my childlike trust and faith in myself, in my impossible unimaginable dreams, in my mission to make a dent in the Universe, in the Universe to help me transform the impossible into possible, the unimaginable into the imaginable.
So, the next important question is how to stop feeding our small mind and start feeding our Big Mind to nourish and nurture it to become strong and healthy. It is through the practise of growth habits. The below habits are your 1st stage habits. I call them Gear 1 Starter RYD (Realize Your Dreams) Habits. By practising these habits, you will awaken the Big Mind in yourself; and de-fang and weaken the small mind. When that happens, self-doubt no longer befriends you and walks out on you, leaving you free and in the joyous experience of - I am me and that's enough. No longer anything to prove, no longer caught in the anxiety of what will others say, nothing to hide, nowhere to go to prove a point, nothing to be embarrassed about. Just a blessed feeling of having arrived on the inside to make a difference through your work on the outside. You will observe success and wealth coming your way as by-products of your having arrived on the inside and having found authentic happiness not linked to any cause. Inside of this transformation, the journey to build a great business truly begins.
The members of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence™, Centre for Transformational Leadership™, Mums At Work™, Centre for Personal Excellence™ and Centre for Coaching Excellence™ can click on the link below to access the online curriculum for the detailed note on these habits.
Gear 1 Starter RYD Habits
1. The Dream
2. Mirror Work
6. Read Your Book
7. Daily Inspiration
8. Buddy Call
9. Physical Exercise
10. Restoring your Word
11. Intention Creation and Scheduling
12. Keep a Journal
These habits are designed to strengthen you in the first leadership muscle - Agility of Mind™.
Wishing you the joy of living your purpose this lifetime through the work you do, the business you run and having the fulfilment of not dying with your Light intact inside of you.
Why is my Business not scaling up? That's one of the most frequent questions I get asked and the reason most of my clients sign up with me at Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence™. The fact is Businesses are meant to scale-up and if they aren't, it is because we come in the way. The only way a sustainable business can be built is to lead it to its highest potential; otherwise it meanders along the Path of Mediocrity in the company of Struggle, Burnt-out and Purposelessness.
Here are 5 different types of Entrepreneurs who will not be able to scale-up their business and one type who definitely will. If you are committed to grow your business, identify which one of these limiting entrepreneurial patterns you come close to and build a conscious growth strategy to not fall in the trap of these default patterns by inculcating a recommended set of habits, routines and practices.
1. The Embarrassed Entrepreneur: Scaling-up requires a deep-down authentically spiritual belief in one's product / service that it is meant to make a dent in the Universe. Without that kind of belief, founders are unable to do whatever it takes to scale-up. They feel embarrassed, uncomfortable and overwhelmed to take the audacious actions needed to grow their business. They feel embarrassed, uncomfortable and overwhelmed to talk about their most expensive and highest value-delivering offering because in their words, 'it feels uncomfortably salesy', and end up spending 80% of their customer creation time creating and selling low-end products. Then, they wonder why their revenues and profits are not growing inspite of all the hard-work they end up doing. They want to walk on the path which feels in sync with who they feel they are, which is avoiding anything that puts them out of their Comfort Zone.
Growth Strategy: Sara Blakely, youngest self-made woman billionaire in the world, makes it a daily practise to embarrass herself to ensure she gets off her fear of embarrassment on a daily basis, which is what she credits her growth as an entrepreneur to. She shared how one day she started singing in the elevator full of people. That requires massive guts. No wonder from being a chipmunk at Disney World welcoming people for 3 months and a door-to-door fax-machine sales person for 7 straight years, she has been able to bootstrap a global billion dollar business without any external funds. You need guts to build a business of that scale and therefore, build a daily practise to embarrass yourself. You will learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, giving you inner power and strength to build a great business.
The feeling of overwhelm is the reaction of the body to what is uncomfortable to the mind. The mind dislikes being embarrassed because our fear-sourced survival-seeking reptilian brain considers it as dangerous, having been trained over million of years of our evolutionary process to consider 'fitting in' as safe.
We need to change the hard-wiring of this reptilian part of our brain for us to really take the powerful, bold, 'something that others will laugh at', 'different from what everyone else is doing' kind of actions to scale our business.
2. The Do-Gooder Entrepreneur: These entrepreneurs are usually found in the helping professions. They run their business for the good of others and are unable to monetise the enormous work that they do because they miss to look at their business through the lens of a Business Model and fail to apply the rigour of the science of entrepreneurship. They end up getting burnt out, not feeling good about themselves, drained of energy and passion which is why they started their business in the first place. They end up picking up a job or doing something else to generate income for them to survive and miss the opportunity to make an enormous difference, contribution, impact and financial freedom through the work they are passionate about. They also usually resist structures and discipling themselves. They are continually seeking to feel good and focus their energies on completing smaller, less value-adding, tactical activities which will give them instant gratification. What would serve them is to focus their energies and efforts on strengthening themselves on the inside such that the neediness to feel good doesn't drive their actions; and are instead able to create the willpower to do the strategic work to scale their business.
Growth Strategy: Daily do one thing that you resist, don't want to do, fear doing to get off seeking 'feeling good'. Create daily, weekly, monthly growth structures and follow them. Consciously choose to spend 80% of your time on the strategy side of your business. Write it in your soul that without monetising your do-good efforts in a structured fashion, you will limit your and your business' ability to scale, reach the highest potential and make a massive difference.
Challenge yourself to raise the price of your product / service beyond what feels comfortable; and then go ahead and give 10 times the value of this price.
3. The Needy Entrepreneur: Prospects end up running away from you as soon as possible because needy is creepy. You want customers, not so much to make a difference to their lives but because you are needy for their money as you need money to survive. You are running your business because you need money. A business scales and grows when it is focussed on making massive difference to its customer communities, instead of being focussed on generating money for you.
In the words of Steve Jobs, "Being an entrepreneur is not about money or fame. It's about solving problems for society and the passion for creating opportunities where people only see problems."
Growth Strategy: Like one of my coaches used to say, have two kinds of projects - the sexy project and the cash project. The sexy project is your business through which you are doing the work that you love. Leading it to its highest potential requires legendary patience and super-human perseverance. If you haven't committed to building your business and serving your customer community for atleast 20 years, you may just miss to experience the joy of seeing your dreams realised.
The cash project gives you the money to survive from one day to the next and gives you the space to work on your sexy project. Yes, you need to have a day job to manage your family expenses and your business that you are passionate about is the night job that you are working on. You can quit your day job when your night job begins to generate income equal to your day job.
This will ensure you are not needy for your customer's money; and are selling to solve your customer's problems or helping them realise their dreams through your product / service. This way you will have customers chase you, instead of you chasing your customers and begging them to buy from you.
4. The Uninspired Entrepreneur: You don't know why you are doing the work you are doing. You don't feel the connection with your business. You are passionate about your craft but don't understand its purpose. You feel listless, uninspired and lost around your work. You are cutting stones instead of building cathedrals through your business and the emptiness in your heart keeps you unfulfilled. Good money comes in whenever you make yourself get up and go about the business of running your business and yet there isn't inspiration to scale it, grow it to its highest potential, to its greatest version. You wonder if you are in the right business, whether you should explore doing something else that would fulfil you more. Funny enough, the hollow emptiness follows you in your personal life as well and you remain unfulfilled there as well. Whatever you do, nothing seems to fill the hole in your heart, stitch the tear in your soul, bring peace and harmony in your mind and deep restfulness to your body.
You are missing the connection with your purpose of life which is the source of all inspiration. We live our purpose of life through the work we do, through the businesses we run. Your purpose is the Big Why of your Business. Without the Big Why, there doesn't seem to be any point in doing anything. You are an acknowledged expert in your domain and yet you don't feel the joyous exultation of running your business
Growth Strategy: Drop everything to figure the purpose of your life, and create a visceral connection between your purpose and your business. You will suddenly rediscover the stars in your eyes, a song on your lips, a dance to your feet, love in your heart for what you do and who you are. You will find the energy to effortlessly do all the hard work you used to avoid before to build a great business.
5. The Know-It-All Entrepreneur: I have deep compassion for this kind of an entrepreneur, though this is the type I cannot coach because they are uncoachable. They are in a rut and they can't even see it. They have all the answers, keep working and yet never seem to grow, professionally or personally. They are always arriving but never arrive. They pretend to others but what is even more debilitating is that they pretend to themselves and don't even know it. Their business is going to fall off from a cliff to a certain death unless they wake up.
Growth Strategy: Make deep self-inquiry and reflection a habit. Practise vulnerability, though it is the hardest for you. Be authentic about your own inauthenticity. Recognise your fear of not being good enough and that your 'Know-it-all' is a mask that you are wearing to hide this shameful secret in the basement of your psyche from others and from your own self. Know that we all have that shameful secret hiding inside of us; and part of our human journey to live in the expression of our highest self is to arrive at a point where 'I am me and that's enough.' rings true and loud. Learn to be coachable and take support. We all can do with support. Infact, without support of our mastermind group and our coach, it's rarely possible to hit the genius level work in our lives.
What type of Entrepreneur should we be then? The Peaceful Warrior Entrepreneur, who knows in his heart and as much as in his soul, that he is here on Earth to make a dent in the Universe through his business which is an expression of his work and his mission this lifetime. The Peaceful Warrior knows that scaling up the business is an inside-out job, that work is needed to be done on the inside for her to grow her business on the outside. Therefore, she neither feels helpless nor wastes her energy fighting the world. She works on transforming within instead of complaining about what's on the outside. She focuses her energy to learn massively to be the best in the world in her industry, instead of chasing customers. She connects with people with vulnerable authenticity instead of networking. He learns to balance the feminine and masculine aspects of his Being, instead of negating one aspect. Today, most of the businesses are an extreme expression of the masculine aspect - the war approach, the aggression, the need to dominate. The Peaceful Warrior learns to access her feminine aspect to balance the masculine and feminine energies in her to run her business by relying on her intuition, being empathetic and vulnerable, knowing how to talk to the Universe to take support to scale her business; while being assertive, having crystal clear clarity on what she wants and going after it with confidence to create it, having methods, processes and structures to quantify the process of business building and being determined to scale-up her business, integrating the feminine energy of growing in Leadership Depth with the masculine energy of Business Excellence and creating harmony between the two aspects through Craft Mastery.
Wishing you the joy of the journey of the Peaceful Warrior Entrepreneur (PWE) because it is only the PWE who believes in having it all and creates it for himself; instead of focussing on one area of his life at the cost of other areas:
i. Deeply fulfilling, successful, profitable business supporting him to live his purpose of life; gifting him with impact, contribution and financial freedom
ii. Loving, harmonious relationships at work and at home
iii. Happy, healthy, responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed
iv. Nourishing, nurturing himself to the highest level of fitness and well-being (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually)
v. Making a massive difference through the work he does
Photo Credit: www.thehansindia.com
A son of a coffee planter to a Billionaire Founder and Owner of India’s biggest coffee chain, Cafe Coffee Day, committed suicide earlier this week. His tragic end is a huge wake-up call for the Global Business Community and has learnings for all of us that we must pause to reflect and ruminate upon. And, hopefully, this helpless act of a powerful business magnate will trigger a transformation in the way we work and who we are as human beings.
1. His death is a reminder that a Business Model is not only made robust, profitable and sustainable by the business elements that define it; but also by the human depth of the founder and the leadership team, displayed by the fitness levels of their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies.
A business model’s effectiveness needs to be measured not only by the outer business elements, but also by the inner human elements of the people engaged in that business.
We mostly get carried away by what is visible - number of outlets, number of employees, turnover, number of cities, national vs global presence etc. - that we miss the foundation on which all of this is standing.
The foundation is the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health of the person at the helm of the business, who is leading from the front. The business really ends up being a mirror of who she or he really is, what his / her personal, leadership and business habits are.
2. In the light of the above point, it is important that the leadership team at the helm including the CEO / Founder / Business Owner have a mentoring / coaching structure so that they are building themselves to be the world’s best physical, emotional, mental and spiritual athletes; without which a great business cannot be built.
3. The reason that the leaders don’t create a support structure for themselves is because as a society we tend to idolise those who have created ‘success’. So, the idols fail to realise that they too need to continuously learn, grow and evolve with the support of others.
Sooner, as a society, we realise, encourage and walk towards a relationship of equals between all, irrespective of all labels; the sooner will we all experience freedom to be and less pressure for all to put up a brave face to hide a sad reality within.
4. Don’t replace ‘building a sustainable business’ with ‘raising money’. Let the money in the business ecosystem be because the customers are crazy about your product / service, not your investors.
5. Just as highest levels of fitness across the 4 bodies of the Being of the Founder / CEO is the real foundation of the business model, so is Integrity. Without integrity, the business will fall sooner or later. Sooner is better because then there is less damage. Though unfortunately, mostly it is later where both direct and collateral damage is massive.
6. Create, own and enjoy wealth but don’t be owned by it. At the end of it all, you can take none of it with you. If you can’t take it with you, then all you really are is the custodian of all the wealth that you create.
So, why be perturbed when you have less of it or somebody takes it away from you or become jubilant when you have more of it. It is this emotional instability that causes so much of the stress and heartburn we have.
Yes, it is a lot of hard work to reach that balance. Yet, the struggle to reach there is totally worth it allowing you to experience ‘happiness without a cause or reason’, which is when happiness can truly be yours.
7. We are part of an energy system and every action we take has an impact. We cannot act as if what we do only has an impact on us. Imagine what Siddhartha’s 2 sons, one in college and the other as yet in school) and his wife must be going through.
Of course, the net worth of Cafe Coffee Day fell. Probably worse than the fall of the net worth, which is easier to re-build, is the widespread discouragement and disillusionment experienced by his employees and aspiring entrepreneurs.
8. You don’t need fancy foreign degrees to build big business. A local school and college is just as good. All that matters is the size of your dream.
9. One really doesn’t know what anyone around us is really going through on the inside. Choosing to act and speak from a place of loving kindness is probably the biggest difference we can make to people in our lives, known and unknown.
10. Being a Fighter is exhausting. What would serve us is embracing the way of the Peaceful Warrior, who knows that the real battles are really on the inside and, therefore, all battles on the outside are merely reflections of the chaos inside.
You can’t kill the reflections by shooting them. Shooting the attachment and being ok with owning nothing after building an empire ground up may be a lesson one is meant to learn and having learnt that, it is likely that no pressure on the outside can cause the balance to disrupt on the inside.
That is what stress really is - disruption of the inner emotional balance.
11. What has spirituality got to do with all of this? Everything because a spiritual perspective gives us a higher meaning and purpose to all that we do from moment to moment. It strengthens in us childlike trust and faith, giving us the ability to see the gift in all challenges along the journey of life and to receive them gratefully.
Loved the story of a doctor that I read in Mother Teresa’s Biography sometime back. His pregnant wife and unborn child were battling death. On being asked what he was praying for; he replied he was praying for the strength and faith to accept God’s will, whatever that maybe. This spiritual perspective is the only way to access emotional balance, which is necessary to create anything masterful, genius-level and extraordinary on a sustainable basis.
Siddhartha’s soul will rest in peace if we can learn and live the above lessons from his life and death because then, how he lived and how he died would not be in vain.
I believe that the next stage of evolution of the human consciousness is through business. Its through building great businesses that the leaders at the helm of those businesses and employees who are part of that journey find themselves on their own journey of inner transformation. Both the outer journey of creating a great business and the inner journey of personal transformation are intrinsically inter-connected. One journey cannot happen without the other.
Michael Gerber does genius level work in making the complex business of building an extraordinary business into a simple step by step process. In all the research on why 9 out of 10 start-ups fail, there's very little that captures the human element. There's very little that tells the story from the heart, mind and spirit of the business owner. That is why The EMyth connects, educates and inspires a shift needed for the founder to get the business out from the '9 out of 10' statistic to '1 out of 10'.
This is one book that spends more time telling you what and how to make that shift instead of merely stating 'why' of failure. It also gives a whole new perspective on the 'why' that leaves you with quite a few 'aha' moments.
The EMyth is one of the essential reads from the recommended book list in the entrepreneurship program I run for business owners. Running a business without having read this book is like committing entrepreneurial hara kiri.
Here's an extract from the first quarter of the book to give you a taste of what this book is about.
Wishing you the deeply fulfilling joyous journey of building a great business.
This perhaps is the most frequent question I am asked by my clients. Here is my answer to this question, trusting it will serve not only my clients but all in the world of business to generate big sales and become prosperous.
1. If your intention is to sell, you will not close the sale because people don’t like to be sold to.
2. The only reason someone buys a product / service is because they have a genuine need for it; not because you are a smart salesperson who managed to hoodwink them into parting with their money.
3. The purpose of a sale is to fulfil a need, not to make the sales person earn money.
4. If to whom you are trying to sell does not experience an authentic human connection with you, he / she will not trust you. Without TRUST, a sale cannot happen. Whenever a sale falls through, ask yourself the question - How do I rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how much the potential customer trusts me?
5. If you think all you have to do to make a sale happen is to create a snazzy website, a cool visiting card, create hoopla on social media and send messages to all your family, friends and various groups you are a part of on WhatsApp; you will soon shut shop as many numerous startups that I have seen go bust with either their passion or their cash burning out much before they found their profitable, repeatable, scalable business model.
6. Understand if you are starting-up, phase 1 is about discovering working in which field will fill you up with joyous passion that no amount of downs in your business can dim its intensity. It is about discovering what your purpose is, what makes your heart sing, feet dance on their own to a song that never stops.
Having found such a business idea, your next job is NOT to sell. The next stage is about deeply understanding your target customer community. Selling becomes the pretext to facilitate that. You don’t sell in this stage to earn money. You sell in this stage to design your product / service that has customers chase you, instead of you chasing the customers to buy from you. This 2nd stage is about discovering a profitable business model, not by closing the sale but by connecting with people in your customer community, inviting them for a conversation to make a difference to their lives through the 1st iteration of your product / service, making a difference to them if they say yes to having that conversation with you, proposing to them if it feels what you have to offer will contribute to them.
You learn at every step how to design that Blue Ocean product / service - when they refuse to connect, when they say NO to your invitation for a conversation to discuss how you could make a difference to them through your product / service, when they say NO to your proposal. Every NO here is more valuable than the one chance sale that you may make in this stage, because you are getting valuable information on what the customer community really needs.
Please don’t try to close a sale at this stage because this stage is not about closing the sale. This stage is about really understanding who your customer is, what does he or she wants (Can someone innovate the English language to get us one word for He and She?), what does he or she needs, what are his / her hidden desires, what is her / his problem that you are trying to solve.
Business building is an iterative process. There is no such thing as overnight success. Legendary success is created over 10 to 20 years. If you cannot enjoy the long-drawn step-by-step iterative ambiguous process of building a great business, it may be better to pick up a job instead.
7. Assuming you have discovered through the iterative process the product / service that has your customer community chase you because you are solving a problem that they really want to solve and are willing to pay you money to solve it. At this stage, your business model is profitable.
The next stage (Stage 3) is to make your Business Model repeatable and then scalable. How do you make your Business Model Repeatable - by ensuring that with the same input, you get the same output which is a 'super delighted customer who can’t wait to talk about your business with his family, friends and colleagues'. Yes, this stage is about defining processes so accurately that you can pick up anyone from the road and they can run your business.
Scalability is built into the business model by making yourself redundant. Please understand making yourself redundant is not about finding the right resources. Let me keep this burning topic for the next day to discuss.
How do you close a sale at this stage? You do that by having a pre-defined step-by-step process on how to make a sale happen based on your experience of successfully doing it. You figured that process at the end of stage 2 and continued to refine it in stage 3. It is time to train your people on that process.
Closing the Sale becomes a completely different process in stage 4 (Scaling up) and stage 5 (Corporatizing) of the business-building process.
Here are few excerpts from the book by my favourite teacher of Starting-up - The Start-up Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank - interspersed with the teachings of Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence™ on building a great business.
Wishing you deeply fulfilling, successful, abundance-creating business that contributes to your customer and employee communities, and to you and your family.
There are essentially three models of running a business:
a. High Volume, Low Impact
b. Low Volume, High Impact
The third model - High Volume, High Impact is essentially a second stage available only to businesses who start off as Low Volume, High Impact and choose to step-up to the next stage.
High Volume, Low Impact takes you on the path on which High Volume, High Impact is not part of the journey.
Therefore, if you are looking to build your business to the Platinum Standard of High Value, High Impact; start your business with the intention to make a big impact to your customer communities through your business. Let’s understand that in a bit more detail; and how all this is linked to staying lean and selling big.
It seems easier to build a business with low hanging fruit of low impact, high volume. It doesn’t require you to be a master of your craft. It doesn’t need you to learn and grow yourself to be a person of influence in your industry. It doesn’t require you to have the leadership depth to challenge your industry’s status quo or have the deep understanding of how to implement business excellence.
With very little entry barrier because of limited requirement of domain expertise or insightful customer understanding or in-depth knowledge of business building, High Volume Low Impact is in the red ocean with numerous other businesses competing with each other primarily on cost. The focus is how to make as much money as possible as soon as possible.
The challenge with this strategy is not only that there’s constant struggle to stay afloat in the red ocean with negligible customer loyalty who are likely to switch based on marginal price differences, there is also no experience of contribution, mastery and purpose that we all crave for.
Leaving aside the higher perspective, a High Volume Low Impact is also a low margin business with profitability constantly under pressure. It is a business at best mediocre, at worst on the verge of death.
Yet, 80% of businesses operate here; fighting it out for 20% pie of the market in terms of revenue, working hard, struggling to make ends meet, with people engaged in the running of the business invariably under a lot of stress. There is no experience of fun, fulfilment, freedom.
In sharp contrast, building a High Volume, High Impact business ground-up from Low Volume, High Impact stage is a lot more fun and fulfilling with greater autonomy as you re-define the market landscape with the courage sourced in greater leadership depth, commitment to serve and make a difference to your customer communities and the joy of mastering your craft. This journey of Business Mastery is in reality a journey of mastering your own self.
Then, why do a majority not follow this path. Here’s why:
1. It requires one to be constantly pushing oneself and one’s business out of the comfort zone; battling against inner demons of fear and resistances.
2. It requires a lot of purposeful, persistent, deliberate learning and practise to build oneself as a master of the domain / craft that one has chosen to build one’s business in.
3. Most people start businesses to make money rather than use it as an opportunity to make a dent in the Universe and live their purpose and passion through their business.
4. This path gives outcomes in the long-term but those results are massive and sustainable. You need to have tremendous patience to build legendary businesses. Therefore, this is not the path that those looking for a quick buck choose.
5. It requires one to be purpose-driven with deep belief in one’s impossible, unimaginable dreams. Most people never grow themselves to reach this level of depth.
With the above background, here’s how to stay lean and sell big:
1. Chase impact, purpose and passion; instead of money or external success.
2. Spend time in learning to be the best in the world in your field. Like Newton, stand on the shoulders of giants in your industry to see further than anyone else has seen before. Stand on their shoulders by learning from them either directly or indirectly by reading whatever they have learnt from the books published by them or on them.
3. Choose to work at the top-end of the customer pyramid - premium customers who are seeking high value.
4. To work at the top-end of the pyramid requires high-end expertise. So, invest in a few high-end experts rather than many low-end resources.
5. Focus on few customers at the top of the pyramid and build deep trusting relationships with them by giving them what they need to be successful in what they are upto in the world, instead of selling what you have.
6. If you assess your current customer profile, you will realize 20% of your customers contribute to 80% of your profitability but you are spending 80% of your energy on those 80% who are only contributing to 20% of your profitability.
If you shift 80% of this inefficient use of your energy to serve your top 20% clients, you will not only build deeper relationship with them but also a more profitable equation for both you and your clients.
This shift in focus to your top 20% releases a lot of your resources (customer creation, operational and delivery) which are no longer required allowing you to become leaner in resource investment and yet bigger in profitability.
Wishing you the joy of purpose, impact and mastery.
Wealth follows if you build yourself as a key person of influence in your industry and not the other way around. Priestly gives his take on how to build yourself to be a key person of influence. It's an idea that needs continual re-enforcement as we tend to confuse the cause and the effect; and end up wasting a lot of money, time and effort.
Here are some key ideas from the book:
1. The harder you work, the less you earn. Your best ideas will come out to play ... not to work. ... The minute you begin to feel yourself "working hard" as opposed to "playing a challenging game", its time to take a break.
2. ... the difference between successful people (and unsuccessful people) on the planet is not Functionality, it's Vitality. Functionality is about performing a task well, whereas Vitality is about doing it joyfully. ... Beneath your desire to have a great home, a snappy wardrobe and some money in the bank is a part of you that longs to make a difference as well. Getting in touch with this part of you will give you a broadband connection to your Vitality.
3. Your greatest asset is your existing passion, the skills you already have and, most of all, your own personal story. ... The truth is that your real wealth lies in your story. Your journey thus far has not been a waste of time; it's been perfect. Your hobbies and interests are not meaningless, they are a gold mine. Your passion isn't hollow; it's the best fuel you will ever have. ... The person who just made a fortune from real estate loved real estate for a long time before they got rich. The person who trades the markets was happy trading through the ups and downs for a long time before they just seemed to "get it right". The NLP Life Coach did three years of unpaid work in the industry before they got their break. ... Unless you have been keenly interested in something for atleast seven years, forget trying to be a success story in that field. You simply can't outdo the people who genuinely love that industry, because they don't think it is a quick formula for cashing in.
4. All of your future learnings will come from the process of producing value.
5. The top 20% of the USA's wealthy control 89% of all the wealth! The top 1% control 34%. ... Wealth moves to and from a small percentage of Key People of Influence. If you are a Key Person in the top 20%, you can expect to be sharing in 89% of the pie. If you aren't, you will be fighting it out with the other 80% of people for the remaining 11%. It will be exhausting...
6. There are 5 things that you need to have in place for you to demonstrate that you are a Key Person of Influence (KPI):
i. Know and communicate your micro-niche
a. KPIs can answer the question "what do you do?" with power and clarity. ... When you know "what you are upto in the world", you become a magnet for opportunity.
b. … at the heart of a "Perfect Pitch" is a mission …,”Your Big Game" you and your business want to be known for. Your perfect pitch is your "why". It's your compass. It's the reason you get up each day.
c. More often than not, YOU will be the micro-niche. Your target market comprising a specific age group and gender will be YOU. The frustrations will be YOURS.
d. Your micro-niche should consist of people who you would enjoy connecting with and people who would equally enjoy connecting with you.
e. Choose a micro-niche that you identify with personally, with genuine concern and interest. ... you must know your stuff well that it comes more from your heart than your mind.
ii. Gain credibility through writing - Your book ... tells the world that you are an authority in your field.
a. A published book communicates some important and necessary messages about you. It says you have put enough thought into this idea to have written a book on it. People can read your ideas and get to know your story and your take on things. It also says that you must either be an expert or have access to experts. … Very few people have ever published a book and for most people, it’s impressive to know that you have completed this project.
b. … there’s a book in everyone if they follow a process and commit to its completion.
c. Here are 5 types of books you could write:
d. … a great book answers a significant question that the reader (your customer segment) is trying desperately to answer.
e. Mark Twain - “The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time, you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.”
f. … you should choose a title that reinforces that you are a Key Person of Influence. It should be “brand enhancing” and you should feel proud to tell people that you are the author.
g. … it is not vital that your book is a massive seller. It is more important that you are an author. … The purpose of the book is to promote you, not the other way around. The mere fact that you are an author and that people can see you on Amazon gives you more kudos and opportunities.
h. … it is not authors who get great opportunities, it is Key Persons of Influence. Your goal is to become the Key Person of Influence …, not to spend all the energy to sell books.
i. … atleast write a set of ten articles, each 1000-1500 words in length before you even begin to talk to publications.
j. A book is a very valuable way to publish your ideas; however, if it’s genuinely not right for you at this time, get started on creating your set of articles ready for publication.
iii. Turn what you know into product - An information product (such as a CD, DVD, Download etc.) opens up a world of opportunities. ... An information product can also be a high-value, high-margin product that can add considerable profit to your enterprise.
a. From Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning - “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfilment. Therein, he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is as unique as his specific opportunity.”
b. There will always be a limitation on what you can earn if your earning capacity is based on your personal appearance.
c. Regardless of your business, it is the ideas behind your business that make it special and prevent you from having to constantly compete on price.
d. Any industry-specific product can be worth a lot of money and can make you one of the most respected people in your field, opening you up to joint ventures and partnerships.
e. Everyone should have a free product. … The person who will dominate your industry in the next ten years will be the one who is able to give more away for free than anyone else. The fastest growing companies in the 2000s were all companies that gave away incredible value for free - Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
f. There’s nothing you can create more cheaply that has more value than an information product that shares your experience and insights with your potential clients.
g. Share your best ideas with everyone. … The more people have, the more they want, so share your ideas freely. You will also make room in your mind to have even better ideas.
iv. Raise your profile and Google well - When people do a search for your name, it must come up on the first results page that you are a KPI in your chosen field.
Social media is like a microphone that amplifies you out to every corner of the world. Most people are too busy playing with the technology and go too far “off message”.
v. Forge Joint Ventures & Partnerships - There are already experts in your industry who would jump up at the chance to be interviewed by you to create a product that enhances their brand (and yours).
a. Always approach this with the question: “What is my client REALLY trying to accomplish when they work with me and who could I team up with to get an even better outcome?”
b. All the time, I hear people say, “I just had a good idea but how do I actually make it happen?”. Firstly, you should never ask,”HOW do I make it happen?”. You should ask, “WHO do I need to talk to?” Whenever you have an idea, no matter how crazy, make at least 3 calls to see if it’s doable.
c. One of the key differences between KPIs and everyone else is that KPIs don’t go out looking for clients, they go looking for partnerships and JVs. … KPIs only go networking to find leverage. … To step things up as a KPI, forget looking for clients and start looking for relationships that can really make things happen for both parties.
d. A KPI is not interested in chasing sales. A KPI knows that their goal is to attract the right types of opportunities and the right opportunities for a KPI will always be win / win.
e. The money is in great partnerships and joint ventures. Whenever you want to take your income up to a higher level, go looking for a higher level partnership or joint venture.
7. Unfortunately, our brains are mostly geared to look for quick, easy wins. You mind will play all sorts of tricks on you to stop you from making it big.
8. The most powerful way to save time, money and mistakes is to learn from others who have walked the path before you. … In this age, its possible to find someone who has done what you want to achieve already and learn from them. It’s called standing on the shoulders of giants.
9. No matter what you need in your business or your life, getting it will be a function of your resourcefulness rather than whether the resources are available. The 3 biggest factors that determine your resourcefulness are:
i. The questions you ask
ii. The people you know
iii. Your willingness to stretch into the unknown
10. Unless you are a child asking your parents for something small, the language of requests does not work very often. You need to learn the language of opportunities. This is where you win, by helping someone else win. When you want something, you express it in a way that works for the person you want assistance from. … Great business people speak the language of opportunity ALL the time.
11. Firstly, get in the habit of spotting great opportunities for others. Quite often I will see something in a blog and email it to a friend. Quite often, I will connect two people who I know can do business together. Often enough I will share an idea with someone if I think it would be beneficial.
I don’t spot opportunities for friends because I am looking for an immediate reward. I do it because I believe that it strengthens my network.
Given time, a strong network leads to more wealth, more fun and more success.
12. You must focus on your passion and become a KPI in that field. As soon as you are a KPI, you will not even notice opportunities in other industries because you will be swamped with great things to do in your own industry. And the rewards will come thick and fast.
13. Resist the temptation to chase the new thing and keep taking steps closer to the inner circle of the industry you love.
14. … the people who are successful are the ones who commit to things that take them forward, even when they aren’t sure exactly how it will all come together. … there’s never a right time. You will always have challenges going on with either your time, your money or your focus. If something comes along that you know you should do, then do it, and figure it out along the way.
15. Resources show up AFTER Resourcefulness. Resourcefulness shows up AFTER you make a commitment.
16. Without a commitment, humans use too much brain energy on assessment of the idea, the timing and trying to predict an unpredictable future.
When you finally commit to an outcome, you free up gallons of energy to become more resourceful in following through.
Commit to a big goal (… sign yourself up to some sort of deadline or external commitment) and then start filling in the blanks.
17. Becoming a KPI doesn’t happen for most people because they are waiting for the clearing. They think that “one day” they will have the time, money and focus to get something done. … I ask them, “Why you are working so hard?” They reply. “So I can get some spare time and money to go and do what I want.” … Don’t work for the clearing, work for the result. Ask yourself what it is you actually want to do. Then go and do it. … Bite off more than you can chew and then figure it out as you go.
18. If you don’t become a KPI, you will get stuck chasing revenue, spend too much time searching for (half decent) opportunities and forever feel undervalued.
Now, everything Priestley says is logical and makes sense. You know if you followed the advice in the book, you will become a Key Person of Influence. But the challenge is taking effective actions consistently over a period of time without letting yourself come in the way. We all know how to be fit but how many of us are actually able to take the required actions to become fit.
Based on my experience, there are 3 journeys you would need to undertake in parallel to become a Key Person of Influence. Those journeys would give you the depth and mastery to consistently take precise powerful actions as outlined in the book.
1. Leadership Depth - The inner journey of personal transformation for an integrated wheel of life for deeply fulfilling success at work and at home; and for greater impact in the world through living our Purpose of Life.
This journey is from Gear 0 to Gear 5, where Gear 0 is when our life is still driven by unconscious fears that create our circumstances. The journey forward is an outcome of moving from limiting habits to growth habits across all the 4 bodies of our Being - physical, mental / intellectual, emotional and spiritual.
In Gear 1, you strengthen your Agility of Mind Leadership muscle that has you experience your own greatness, instead of doubting it. It has you finally recognise that your suspicion of self (I am not loved, I am not good enough, I am not important) is just that - a suspicion with no basis in truth; it is simply a paper ghost.
In Gear 2, you strengthen your Being of Service Leadership muscle that has you not just intellectually, but viscerally feel for your customer. You genuinely want to make a difference to your customer community for the sake of making an authentic difference, not because you want wealth and fame.
In Gear 3, you strengthen your Communicating while Being in the World of Others leadership muscle that has you find your voice and have the courage to speak your truth.
In Gear 4, you strengthen your Delivering on Your Word leadership muscle that gives you the depth and humility to have people experience their own greatness in your space and through your work.
In Gear 5, you strengthen your Excellence leadership muscle that you gives you access to Personal Mastery and has people relate to each other as extraordinary in your space and through your work.
You cannot find your niche if you are not operating from Gear 2 consciousness. You will not have the courage to write your book if you are not operating from Gear 3 consciousness.
2. Business Excellence - The outer journey of professional success by contributing to the communities that we serve through the work we do and leading our organisations / business functions from good to great.
This journey is from Mountain 1 to Mountain 5.
In Mountain 1, you discover your business idea in alignment with your Purpose of Life.
In Mountain 2, you discover your niche iteratively by marrying your Purpose with what’s missing in the world.
In Mountain 3, you arrive at a repeatable, scalable, profitable business model through a series of iterative experiments.
In Mountain 4, using the repeatable, scalable, profitable business model you arrived at through multiple iterative experiments in Mountain 3, you begin scaling up your business. You need Gear 4 consciousness to create high productivity, performance, creativity and innovation in your organization for the task of scaling up within (your employees) to scale up outside (customers, profitability).
In Mountain 5, your business is ready to run without you. Your organization is now a self-sustaining, value creating engine giving you passive income.
Only on scaling the 2nd Mountain of the Business Excellence journey will you find your niche and you need to have Gear 2 consciousness for inner power to climb Mountain 2.
Only on doing the work required to climb the 3rd Mountain of Business Excellence, will you deepen your understanding of the customer needs and increase your expertise. This will give you the required breakthrough ideas and solutions for the problems faced by your customer community to write the book that is relevant, meaningful and makes a difference. You need Gear 3 consciousness to find your authentic voice and the experience gained from work done till Mountain 3 for content to write your book.
To convert your knowledge and experience into an information product that is a runaway success requires you to operate from Gear 4 consciousness. Building a successful profitable information product is needed for you to scale your business and climb Mountain 4.
Joint Ventures and Partnerships create value only if you are in Gear 5 consciousness and you have time on your hand as an outcome of being on Mountain 5 to invest in meaningful business relationships. Before, Mountain 5 and Gear 5, spending substantial amount of time on Social Media wastes your energy and distracts you away from Craft Mastery.
3. Craft Mastery - Becoming a key person of influence in our industry through continual learning, unlearning, re-learning to become the master of our craft.
This journey also has 5 stages.
Stage 1 of Craft Mastery is passive learning through reading the books and researching for information on Google. It starts when you are on Mountain 1 and it helps you to zero down to the domain that fills you up with excitement, passion and joy. Gear 1 consciousness is needed to slow down to learn passively. The usual norm is for people to get excited about an area because there seems to be wealth creation opportunity and quickly invest money for certifications without ploughing through to discover what inspires them, about which community and for what problem.
Stage 2 of Craft Mastery is active learning where you are applying your knowledge learnt passively to make a difference to your customer community. This requires Gear 2 consciousness and happens while you are on Mountain 2. This process helps you to zero down on your niche.
Stage 3 of Craft Mastery is seeking out mentors of your domain and apprenticing with them to become an expert. This requires Gear 3 consciousness because without your own voice and the courage to speak it, you will merely become a copy of another master and create no differentiated value in the world. Finding your unique take on the problems of your customer community and discovering / inventing a unique, innovative solution helps you to establish yourself on Mountain 3 by arriving at a repeatable, scalable, profitable business model.
Stage 4 of Craft Mastery is mentoring others in your industry to become experts (bring them to stage 3). To give away all that you learnt in your journey requires you to be in Gear 4 consciousness and helps you to do the work of scaling up in Mountain 4. In this stage, you seek masters of your domain to apprentice with.
Stage 5 of Craft Mastery is mentoring the experts to become mentors (bring them to stage 4). You need Gear 5 consciousness for this work. Creating mentors for your industry helps you to lead your Business to Mountain 5. You have now become the master of your craft, you have become your craft and your craft has become you. You transform your industry through your work, leadership and depth of understanding of your domain. Now, you become a Key Person of Influence.
In Stage 2, writing articles to make a difference to your customer community will help you integrate all that you are learning and all your unique experiences to deepen your understanding of your craft and discover innovative solutions for the challenges faced by your customer community.
In Stage 3, you are ready to write your book. It will now be a process of reviewing your articles from a fresh perspective and collating them together to create something that is meaningful, impactful and transformational.
In Stage 4, while mentoring industry professionals to become experts and having done deep work to write a book, creating an information products for your customer community and industry professionals becomes an almost effortless process.
In Stage 5, having established your credibility by writing a book, mentoring professionals and experts, finding the right Joint Ventures becomes the next logical step. Instead of chasing customers and partners, your customers and partners chase you. When that happens, you know that you have arrived.
Too often, the journey outside gets the focus without the realization that the success outside is always an outcome of the growth within.
I am grateful to Daniel Priestly for his understanding of what it takes to be a Key Personal of Influence as it helped me to clarify lot of concepts in my own head. My reverence for his massive commitment to make a difference to entrepreneurs and professionals by writing this book.
Wishing you all the joy of the journey. Stand on the shoulders of the giants to see further than they saw and go further than anyone has gone before.
Point A - Rushing from moment to moment, each minute scheduled, each minute driven to reach somewhere. No time to stop and think. So much to do, so little time. When I reached there, it did not fulfil. Instead, I looked in the mirror to find emptiness and incompletion staring back at me.
Point B - They said every minute scheduled and structured is no spontaneity, no fun and oh, so boring. I gave up my routine, aimlessly wandered from minute to minute; gave up my personal practises that I had so assiduously built over time. Suddenly; life had no meaning, no purpose, no centredness. I was lost, rudderless, empty, incomplete.
Point C - I figured my purpose, my life's task that guides me like the North Star. I move with immeasurable joyous stillness from moment to moment; with purposeful passion in my heart that fills me up with unconditional love and acceptance for my own self and for each one in my space. The Universe is holding me in her warm loving embrace, guiding me forward. There's a definite purpose, yet there's nowhere to go, nothing to prove; and I flow along effortlessly being, creating and having it all.
Wishing that each one of us find our path to Point C and win the Gold Medal in this Olympics of Life.
For that, lets work together to find the Purpose of Life.
What is your Quest this Lifetime?
The first step is to find what you most deeply want for yourself. Over multiple iterations and quiet meditative reflection on what I want, I discovered that what inspires me is to find the way to my highest self, lead myself and my work from good to great, and have it all - deeply fulfilling successful career, loving harmonious relationships, happy responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed, lots of nourishing nurturing me-time, while contributing and making a difference.
My Quest this Lifetime is to walk the path to my highest self, lead myself and my work from good to great, and have it all.
What is your Quest this Lifetime?
What is your Purpose this Lifetime?
Remember, Newton's third law - Every action has equal and opposite reaction. Fulfilling on my quest is the reaction from the Universe, something that I want to receive. Therefore, I have to start the cycle by giving to the Universe, to the people in the world exactly what I want to receive back.
My Purpose this Lifetime is to support others to walk the path to their highest self, lead themselves and their work from good to great, and have it all - deeply fulfilling successful career, loving harmonious relationships at work and at home, happy responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed, lots of nourishing nurturing me-time, while contributing and making a difference.
What is your Purpose this Lifetime?
What is your Vision this Lifetime?
Vision is the future you want to create through your life and your work. Our real opportunity to live our purpose of life is through our work and how we live our life.
If you are an entrepreneur, your purpose this lifetime will be the Vision of your organization. If you are a CEO, your and your leadership team's integrated purpose will be the Vision of your organization. If your purpose is not reflected in the Vision of your Business, the vision statement will essentially be empty lines plastered on walls with no meaning, connection or inspiration.
If you are a corporate professional, find your purpose and find the connection between your purpose and the vision of your organization. Without that connection, you are likely to remain busy being busy without meaning or inspiration, waiting to retire to start living. It is possible to live your purpose through the role that you play, however tiny it may seem to you.
Why is meaningfulness, authentic connection and inspiration important? It is because that is the doorway to productivity, performance, creativity and innovation; leading to profitability and market leadership.
The Vision of my organization is to create a world where each one is walking the path to their highest self, leading themselves and their work from good to great, and having it all - deeply fulfilling successful career, loving harmonious relationships at work and at home, happy responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed, lots of nourishing nurturing me-time, while contributing and making a difference.
What is the Vision of your organization or part of the organization that is within your circle of influence?
What is your Mission this Lifetime?
Mission is what will you do now for which community to create the future you want to create, the Vision you want to realize.
For this, make a list of all your passions. My passions are coaching, reading, writing, golfing, positive parenting. You walk the path of your passions to create the future you want to create, the Vision you want to realize, the purpose you want to fulfil to receive for yourself what your quest is this Lifetime.
You pick up that passion, to begin with, which can integrate all or most of your other passions. For me, coaching supports me to read and write extensively, learn to become a positive parent and play golf.
Also, make a list of all the communities you want to serve. Interestingly, the list will end up becoming all the communities you are a part of. Why? Because you understand the pain of being a part of that community and therefore, would have in you the inspiration and understanding to make a difference to all those communities.
Here is my list:
1. CEOs - I get the exhausting exhilarating struggle of taking the business from good to great and then to maintain it there for evermore.
2. Business Owners - I understand the high of building a business and letting lot of things slip up in the other areas without realising.
3. High Performers - I understand the pain, loneliness and 'something missing' of being a high performer.
4. Coaches - I have experienced the pain of building a successful, profitable coaching practise.
5. Women - I viscerally feel what's missing for the women community and that the current solutions for what is called 'empowerment' totally missing the point.
The Mission of my organisations this Lifetime is to serve each one of the above communities through coaching to walk the path to their highest self, leading themselves and their work from good to great, and having it all - deeply fulfilling successful career, loving harmonious relationships at work and at home, happy responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed, lots of nourishing nurturing me-time, while contributing and making a difference.
Each community with their specific missing need requires a separate business model to serve that community. Profitability and growth is always an outcome of having served so powerfully that the customers chase you instead of you chasing them.
In distinguishing my mission, 5 organisations have taken birth and are at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey from purpose; finding the blue ocean for the community I am committed to serve; business modelling for profitability, scalability, repeatability; scaling organically and corporatization.
1. CEOs and Veteran Business Owners - Centre for Transformational Leadership™
2. Founder Business Owners - Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence™
3. High Performers - Centre for Personal Excellence™
4. Coaches - Centre for Coaching Excellence™
5. Women - Mums At Work™
What are your passions? What are the communities that inspire you to serve them? What is your Mission this Lifetime? How are you living it through the work you do?
You don't have to leave your job to become an entrepreneur to live your purpose. A powerful efficient and fulfilling way to work in an organization is to consider yourself an entrepreneur with a captive client (the company that you work for). The work you do is the service that your client is consuming and paying for.
Enjoy your journey as you walk home to yourself, fully integrating all aspects of your life.
Consider the car as the human being with its destination as living the purpose of one's life. The four wheels of the car are the four bodies of the human being -
a. Physical - How healthy are you?
b. Mental - How well can you focus?
c. Emotional - How happy are you?
d. Spiritual - What is your purpose? Why are you doing what you are doing? Is your source Fear or Love?
It is obvious there has to be adequate pressure in all the four wheels for the car to move towards its destination. Even if one wheel is punctured or has less pressure, the car will come to a grinding halt or slow down.
The car needs the gear system to accelerate forward with velocity towards its destination (purpose of life). Lets call it Leadership Depth. By default, leadership depth is in Gear 0 where we are victims of our circumstances, the world defines who we are rather than us defining what the world is. We are born in Gear 0, we can stay here forever till death finally embraces us and we are as far away from having fulfilled our purpose of having been born as we were on the day we were born; with our dreams wrapped up in shroud in our heart, our inner Light (our greatness) having found no way out as we are being burnt on the funeral pyre or getting buried under the ground.
Our evolution so far has been a fear-sourced process, that is why it is called Survival of the Fittest. In order to evolve forward, we first need to be aware of what our fears are. Fundamentally, all humans have 3 core fears. Each one of us will have one or a combination of these fears which unconsciously drive our life. These fears are:
1. I am all alone. No one loves me.
2. I am not good enough.
3. I am not important.
We become High Performers in response to the core fears that drive us unconsciously. Low Performers give in to these fears, while High Performers rise up against these fears to prove to themselves and the world that these fears don't exist in them. This is the level of a good life. Unfortunately, good is the enemy of great. And, so a large majority of us choose the mediocrity of a good life and deny ourselves the deep joy, freedom and fulfilment of a great life. We stop growing beyond High Performance, without realising Super Performance is a milestone lying not too far ahead which is where we can have it all - deeply fulfilling successful career, loving harmonious relationships, happy healthy responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed, lots of nourishing nurturing me-time, while making a difference in the world by living our specific purpose of life through our work.
We cannot have it all when we have a good life, when we are a High Performer. It is a gift available to those who journey forward in the evolutionary path and transmute their core fears to compassionate love for themselves and for all beings with childlike trust and faith in the Universe. On this journey, they open up to allow their individual consciousness to be connected to the Universal Consciousness to experience harmony, connection and joy inside and outside. As an outcome of being on this path, they get access to the creative energy to realize their greatest dreams in deepest communion with their highest self. That is mastery of life itself.
We are like an onion. When we are in Gear 0,
1. The core of the onion is the fear that defines us. It will be one or a combination of the 3 core fears
i. I am all alone. No one loves me.
ii. I am not good enough.
iii. I am not important.
This is the hole in our soul that we keep running away from, and seeking other people to fill which they can't because only we can. Seeking our spouses, children, parents, friends to fill this hole to make us feel whole, complete and perfect makes us feel needy and miserable; and comes in the way of creating deeply fulfilling loving harmonious relationships.
This hole is the rotten core of our Inner Onion, which creates the other layers. Our purpose of Life is to fill this hole using our work as the playground.
2. The next layer in our Inner Onion is our limiting thought patterns in the form of
i. our limiting experience of our own self
ii. our limiting experience of people
iii. our limiting experience of life itself
These limiting thought patterns could be in the form of
i. I am ...
ii. People are ... , My spouse is ... , She is ... , He is ...,
iii. Life is ...
You could explore The Work of Byron Katie for a deeper dive into this layer.
3. The next layer in our Inner Onion is our limiting emotional experience, which is a derivative of our limiting thought patterns.
You could review Brandon Bays' Journey Work for a deeper exploration.
4. Limiting emotional experience sustained over a period of time creates discomfort and dis-ease in the Physical Body.
The work of Louise Hay will help you to unravel why you can't lose body fat, have certain aches or certain diseases.
5. The next outer layer is our default coping strategy (explore Enneagram for more details on this) based on default limiting emotional experience of our own self, of others and of life itself.
6. The next outer layer is our default personality which is not as yet in balance because the core of our Inner Onion is Fear. This layer includes our habit patterns at work and other areas of our life, our behaviour patterns, how we communicate (the words we choose, the tone of our voice, our body language) and the unconscious impact of all of this.
7. Leading to the final layer of our default limiting circumstances (our career, relationships, kids, our health and happiness levels, the difference we make) which is the outcome of all the layers within it.
Leadership is an inner journey to transform the rotten core (Fear) of our Inner Onion, shifting from Gear 0 to Gear 5, transforming each layer along the way. Only such an inside-out approach can bring about authentic, irreversible, holistic leadership development. Too often, we try to bring about transformation from outside-in and waste a lot of time trying to shift circumstances or personality. They are an outcome of what's within. At Gear 0, our core is Fear. At Gear 5, we have been able to transmute Fear to Love. Just as darkness is an absence of light, fear is an absence of love. At Gear 5, we let go of the absence and open ourselves to a Presence and what was unimaginable, impossible becomes possible.
Going back to our car analogy, we need three levers to move the 'Human Being' car from where it is to its destination of the Purpose of our Life -
1. Leadership Depth - From Gear 0 to Gear 5 by shifting limiting (physical, emotional, mental / intellectual, spiritual) habits into growth habits; giving acceleration power to the car.
2. Business Excellence - This is the Navigation Tool, the Google Maps as it were which guides us to our destination. There are five mountains (business stages) that we need to journey across to reach our destination. There are three sub-components of this Navigator - Business Creation, Operational Excellence and Extraordinary Service.
3. Craft Mastery - is the skill (domain expertise) of the driver that navigates the car across the five mountains of Business Excellence, leveraging the acceleration power of the 5 Gears of Leadership Depth to support the car to reach its destination - the purpose of life.
While the car is racing forward on its journey to its destination, Pit Stops are critical to ensure the health and well-being of the car, the four wheels, the gears, the navigator and the driver. Without these pit stops (Review and Reflection - daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, year-end), we will lose steam along the way and are likely to lose direction and end up somewhere else.
Wishing you energy, enthusiasm and commitment to journey to your destination this lifetime.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.