The difference between those who strive for success or thrive in success is in the habits and daily actions.
Growing up many of us heard about the ‘American Dream’ the land of hope and how once moving to America was where people came to enjoy a successful life. Now I am not saying that is no longer true, this is not a political post by any means. BUT with the introduction of the world wide web and the astronomical growth in businesses to move on line the dream life is no longer location linked.
Location Freedom is the new ‘American Dream’.
With the knowledge industry booming right now and the movements being led by the big guns such as Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi to ‘make self education the new norm’ then there are now more than ever flurries of people looking to set out on the entrepreneurial journey with the flame of hope held high.
So, what is the difference between those that thrive or those that continue to strive for success? Habits!
1. Knowledge is Power
One of the first recommendations existing entrepreneurs tend to tell those asking how to start out is to read and not how to set up a business books but mostly recommend books on mindset. Whilst it is shown as such a glamourous lifestyle it takes hard frickin work to get to the level that you can then sit back and enjoy the freedom lifestyle. So you need to have a strong, growth mindset, be willing to learn and listen.
Look for books in your chosen business field (say coaching. I enjoyed The Quantum Leap Coach System by Femke Mortimore as a book to read on specific coaching tools and techniques).
Look for books about building the entrepreneur’s mindset. I liked Millionaire Success Habits by Dean Graziosi and his podcast of the same name is good for short burst of knowledge.
2. Anchor in your why
As Simon Sinek is most famous for teaching, start with Why. For me, this is a great starting point but the biggest challenge isn’t just about starting with why its continuing to remind yourself of why you started and why you need to keep going even on the tough days.
Have something visual whether that be a vision board for your business, a photo of your family or even just affirmations on your mirror. Have a place and make time each day to focus on your why as part of your daily morning routine.
3. Prioritise by Passion or Prosperity
Whether starting up or established, as business owners we always have a list of a million things we need to do each day. There are so many tools and techniques on how to prioritise (MoScOw method anyone?) that for me, break it down into two simple top priorities.
Will this action fuel my passion or my prosperity?
Will this make you happier in your business or will it make you money? If its not either, is it an enabler to either? If still no, then why is it important?
4. Refine Goals Regularly
If you don’t have goals for your business then you will never know if your actions are helping you or hindering you. Set yourself clear goals ensure you have smaller goals and associated tasks so you know that everything you are doing is in alignment.
If you set monthly goals or quarterly, then at the end of each week review your activity and look at what you were intending to do next week and refine them. Continuing to review and refine means you will always be aligned to goals and allocating time and energy to the most important activities.
5. Nurture Your Tribe
Wherever your audience or customers are then ensure they still know who you are and put some effort into nurturing them daily. This might mean having a social media strategy and auto-posting but from an audience perspective you are still there, asking them questions and providing value. You always need to be growing your following and nurturing them so when they are ready to buy, you’re the first one that they think of!
6. Have a routine
Whether its a morning routine or night-time routine or both, have some consistency in your routine so that you are grounding yourself, getting yourself ready for the day ahead both physically and mentally. Evening routines are often focused on reflection and gratitude so think about what has the most personal impact to your wellbeing at the start and end to each day and make that a non negotiable part of your daily routine.
7. Have a Strong Business Network
Often overlooked for the value that this creates but collaboration over competition is what will absolutely stand you out from the crowds in this online space. If you are a coach, network with coaches or therapists. Think about those in either the same business or a similar area. This way you can create referrals too. Networking may mean joining actual face to face networking groups or it may be as simple as joining online communities, contributing and being an active member so that you can build friendships. As a solopreneur when the days are tough and quiet, you need to have a call tree of people you can turn to.
In my online community I am starting to offer Power Hours, this will be a chance for people to join in Zoom for an hour of focused effort on whatever they want to do but they wont feel as alone because we are all sharing the experience. Means you can have a laugh, ask a question and share for feedback. To join my Facebook community for Purpose Drive Entrepreneurs click here.
8. Take A Break
A burnt out and tired business owner is not happy and is not going to be able to sustain this level of energy long term. To prevent you hitting that wall you need to incorporate time each day to blow off steam and enjoy life. Yes, I know, controversial for some people but you are doing this to build a life and lifestyle for yourself and/or your family. if you make yourself ill and burnt out then you aint going to reach or enjoy any success. Spend time doing something you enjoy whether that’s with family, going for a walk/run or just watching Netflix. Take 30 mins at least each day to disconnect 100% from your business and business network!
9. Fail Fast, Learn Faster and Repeat
Failure will happen. The most successful business owners have failed so many times but they have chosen to never give up. You fail fast to learn faster. Be eager to fail, and ensure you can reflect, tweak and learn from that failure as it will bring you one step closer to success. Even if you take Facebook Ads as an example, when you first start out you will waste money because you are trying to figure out the right targets, the right key words that connect with the right people. That’s why you run parallel campaigns and that’s why you need to understand the analytics. Not to be technical but so you can recognise the trends and fix what isn’t working. Or hire an expert!
Having an open and growth mindset is about learning and the best way to learn is to fail. So Fail Fast, Learn Faster and Repeat!
10. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency!
We will keep the last habit quite simple. What you put intentional energy behind consistently will grow. If you are consistently focus on audience building activities for an hour a day, your audience will grow in size and engagement levels. If you are consistently writing 2000 words a day for your book, you will finish it quicker than 100 words here and there.
When you maintain good habits and a good routine and do this consistently, your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing will improve.
Its the simplest and most difficult habit to maintain but the rewards are limitless!
Visualise your perfect day. Close your eyes right now and think of exactly what you would want your perfect day to be. I’m closing my eyes whilst I write this so that I am doing the same. I have read the ‘perfect day’ activity so many times in different books or free downloads as well as doing the full activity in workshops. Hell, I have even held a perfect day workshop in a corporate setting. All different perspectives but the same theme… achieving perfection!
If you have done this I bet the first instinct is vacation! Being on a each sipping pina coladas whilst the sun shines on you. Or watching the perfect sunset like in the image above just feeling the pure love of mother nature at her best.
These are fantastic images for a perfect day, absolutely but they are usually vacation days or millionaire dreams that people have fun visualising but don’t actually believe are in their future. So, the perfect day tool which as I mentioned is widely used as a basis for life coaching isn’t about the perfect vacation or perfect sunset. Its about quantum leaping from whatever your working normal day looks like right now into what you wish and want it to be.
May you sit at your office cubicle with your desktop computer with a plastic plant on the cabinet nearby (because any attempt at a real life plant dies within days in this place) and the plain white/grey wall because your desk is no where near a window and you often doubt if the outside world still keeps turning whilst you plug away for 7-10 maybe more hours a day at this computer. Ok That reads a bit dramatic (or does it?)… whatever your starting point is, the aim of the perfect day is to quantum leap your imagination into what it could be.
So if you are still an aspiring entrepreneur or if you have your business and its thriving, revisiting or thinking about your perfect day is always motivating.
Wake up, where? Where do you want to live? Will you live in an apartment or a ranch or a detached country cottage.
After the perfect breakfast you check your calendar for the day, what lies ahead? Are you a coach or knowledge broker? Do you have calls scheduled with people who have paid 6 figures to work with you? Are you recording a podcast or interview? Do you have a planning session with your VA or team who are pulling together options for your next Mastermind location or are you planning that weekend retreat?
Do you have lunch plans at a networking event?
Maybe you have appointments in the afternoon, maybe a couple of discovery calls with some potential new clients who are interested in your top ticket programme.
Maybe this is more my perfect day than yours, but the point is that you are never going to live that perfect day if you do not know what it is. How can you put a business building plan together if you don’t have the clear vision of the direction you want your business to move in.
Ok maybe you aren’t looking for the big house, big income and big dreams. It doesn’t matter, if you perfect day is filled with 1:1 appointments as a therapist or doing a speaking event at a local womans support group it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is for you is whats important and for you to start to live and work towards that life then you need to know where you are going.
So I have a secret, I hate goal setting. Not sure why but I do. It’s not that I doubt my ability to reach a goal to anything like that but goal setting feels transactional and I don’t want a transactional life.
I found myself yesterday sat in front an array of big boxes each filled with the parts to build 5 different pieces of bathroom furniture. I had been ordering them over last few weeks for my mum who wanted to change her 2 bathrooms.
I don’t get excited at the thought of building for pack anything so I had been avoiding going to my mums in the hope that she would get someone else to build them. (joke)
Tools and courage at the ready we started to unpack the parts to our first cabinet. Mum tried to help but with fibromyalgia and arthritis she couldn’t hold a normal screw driver and the electric one didn’t last long before it gave up.
First one completed
After 30 minutes the first one was complete! What a success. Not as awkward as I thought it would be. Mum and auntie keep saying how I learnt from my dad how to be patient and how to build things. This is very true, as an engineer if you ever wanted something dad would say don’t but he will build. And he did. Always.
We continued on and after a few more hours we had all 5 cabinets built. The last one, that was the hardest. The fixtures didn’t fit as well and some of them would literally just pop out if you weren’t touching it. It was a struggle to get that last piece right, like a jigsaw puzzle but someone chewed the final pieces so they don’t quite fit but they are meant too.
Goal Setting v Delivering Value
Goal setting can become more of a to-do list. A tick box action. Yes it takes hard work but when you have big goals it can often feel overwhelming. If I had set goals to build all cabinets at the start I would have felt overwhelmed. Seeing all the boxes was enough.
However I chose instead to focus on why I was doing this. It wasn’t about the transaction of building a cabinet, I’m not a factory. It was the value my mum would gain from starting to see and feel her bathroom changes moving along. I would be successful if I make my mum happy by having at least some new furniture built today. Make a start at least. If I only built one she would still be better off than before.
Why is this different?
If you focus on just hitting a goal or delivering stuff to your customer then your sense of achievement isn’t around whether you delivered the right stuff or how much value it brings. If you focus instead on value, and providing value in increments then your customer will be happier, quicker. Putting the customer value at the heart of your action instead of the action of completing the goal. Doing stuff.
Plus you get a greater sense of achievement from delivering increments of value as it provides motivation to keep going when your customer is happy.
After completing the first cabinet, I was motivated. I knew because I had my dad’s logical approach it was easier than I expected.
Another cabinet down, then another. Then a refuel and break ( with cheese and crackers, yum).
2 more to go, I told mum I was getting tired so maybe only one more today. Which she was fine with. So the second to last was an easy one, just a box basically for a laundry hamper. Done. Simples.
And then just one left. It was dark outside and I was getting tired. My arms were aching now.
Should I stop or should I carry on. I was 80% through all of the building and 80% delivery is great value. However, I am a ‘completer/finisher’ by nature so not finishing the last 20% would have bugged me. So, swig of coffee and back to it. The last one was the most challenging. The fixtures didn’t seem to want to stay put. The screws no longer wanted to be screwed. We got there though. Finally finished the last piece 4 hours after I started.
Don’t set out to do stuff, set out to deliver value first and foremost. It’s not a course you are creating or a workshop, it’s a transformation or a solution to your clients pain.
Be aware of the bigger picture but focus on breaking that down into achievable chunks. It’s far easier to focus on building one cabinet than 2 bathrooms worth of cabinets. So focus on one video, one module and make that valuable and high quality.
Don’t let obstacles be the reason for not delivering. Figure out how to remove a blocker or decide it’s not a blocker. My electric screwdriver gave up and so I used different normal screwdrivers to get each bit done. I was offered the option to give up but my dad never used electric so I knew I didn’t need to either. Sometimes going ‘old skool’ is best. Post it notes on a wall or big sheets of paper to map out ideas or outlines to courses are much better than using new software or fancy tools. Both equally have a place. Always focus on the solution not the problem!
Take a break. All work and no play makes anyone feel dull. Breaks allow us to reboot and refresh.
Remember your why! Seeing my mum happy at her new bathroom furniture coming to life is why I started. Out with the old and in with the new. Keeping your why in mind will help when the journey gets tough, when obstacles get in your way and you wanna give in.
Focus on the value behind the goal, not the goal itself.