As you reflect back on your year, thinking about the events that took place, the opportunities you received, the incredible people you met, the type of work you do, spending quality time with family and friends, the clients you helped, insights you learnt at a conference, the deal you signed or taking time out to travel overseas.
What are the words that immediately come to mind that accurately describe your year?
The word that comes to my mind is “challenging”. I have to say on a personal and professional front, 2015 was one of the most challenging years I have ever encountered. Let me be straight with you, it was neither good nor bad. Challenging describes it best mainly due to the fact it was the year for many ‘firsts’.
Let’s face it; entrepreneurs understand how different the business world is when you work for yourself versus an employee working for a company and receiving a paycheck every week. That said, I love challenges and no matter how many I encounter along the way, for every step I took, every decision I made, every client I helped and every person I met was worth every second of my unbelievable journey this year.
I can honestly say without a doubt the best part was the astronomical growth factor that impacts both your personal and business life. Although most days throughout the year, it felt like I was constantly moving through a dark thunderstorm in the hail without shelter. There were days when the rainbow appeared even if just for a moment. It was in those moments that the tiniest things in life you very quickly learn to appreciate; taking one step forward, deliriously delighted by your team member’s creativity, the joy of working with a new client, or that minute win no-one else notices. All of these things become a cause for serious celebration and occasionally tears of joy.
“From struggle, all greatness is born” – Jack Delosa
Not so long ago I learnt one of the most valuable lessons of my entire life when someone special came in and changed my perspective on the world. There is no greater joy than filling your life with exceptional experiences and beautiful memories rather than things.
So, if you are thinking of starting a business or in your first years of business I want to share with you my greatest lessons in the form of the 4 P’s.
These 4 P’s are the critical foundations required in business:
1. Pushing or forcing things doesn’t work
Being a determined, action taker I believed achievement of my goals was solely dependent upon the action I took. This is true to a point. However, when you push or force things to happen there is little room for flexibility and if you are too attached to a particular outcome it can mean nothing else can take place. If that is the case, you may receive nothing in return as you are wanting something to occur that cannot occur in the way you want it to.
The key is to go with the flow of life. Look at your business and find where there is the greatest amount of flow. What areas do you find work with very little effort on your part? When do you not notice the time? Identify where things are flowing in your business and start there. When you are pushing or forcing something to happen, you end up wasting your time and energy thus making it ten times harder than it needs to be.
“Not everything will go as you expect in your life. This is why you need to drop expectations, and go with the flow of life”. – Leon Brown
This was by far my biggest lesson this year. The universe works in magical ways and despite your best efforts it does not work on your clock. Being an impatient action taker, I honestly believed the goals I wanted to achieve would not take as long as they did. My philosophy was I completed the work and make things happen so why isn’t it? This lead to frustration with every little delay or obstacle that arose. It is important to remember, you are not working alone, as an entrepreneur you may be involved with a team or working with other professionals in order to make things happen.
So I worked 7 days a week thinking this would help. In hindsight, it only served to kill my creativity and clarity and left me feeling exhausted with insomnia. My point is take my advice and avoid learning the ‘hard way’. Be sure to learn the art of being patient in business.
Persevering means to continue working towards your goals despite adversity and minus any guarantees whatsoever that you will succeed. Perseverance requires you to develop a colossal amount of self-belief and develop an inner strength you never knew you had.
We all have challenges and this year they have not been in short supply from my book launch, editors, education providers, website designers, family members, friends, finance providers, mentors, singing teachers and even strangers. Trust me, when I say these challenges were all required for me to grow and I managed to find the blessings from most of these encounters. Some I am still working out.
I am a highly organized person so I consider being prepared as one of my strengths. Unfortunately, in business it takes on a different meaning for when you encounter new situations, you don’t know what you don’t know. Sometimes, you only learn how unprepared you were after the fact.
Remember, when engaging in new activities you have no or little experience in, things tend to take a lot longer than you were hoping for. There are things you may not have considered or questions you failed to ask before engaging a team member, or things you learn along the way that can extend your timeline for a few days, months and on occasions, years.
My advice is to do everything you can to be highly prepared. Ask those who have gone before you, call a friend or mentor who has experienced what you are planning to do, do some research or read a book on the subject. The bottom line is to do the work and take the time to prepare yourself and show up every day as the best version of yourself.
“Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation” – Zig Ziglar
I wrote this article to help you shortcut your own learning process and I sincerely hope you take action today to appreciate the 4 critical P’s in business. Take the time to understand what they mean for you and more importantly how you can implement them into your daily life.