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What I’ve Learned Working In Finance For Six Years (Hint: It Applies To Everyone)

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I’ve been in the corporate world of finance now for more than six years. I get everyone from kids straight out of college, to older guys and girls that have been out of the workforce for ages, to people looking for a career change asking about the finance industry.

I’ve found the real lessons I’ve gained from working in finance are far broader than just one industry. Finance has taught me life skills and how to deal with people. While the startup world was fun, the finance industry gave me some extra skills.

Here’s what I learned working in finance:

1. The grass is never greener.

Over the years, many of my colleagues have left finance to start their own thing or join some new age fintech that apparently has all the answers – that is, until they come up against credit risk or accidentally fund terrorism through their products and services. The grass is never greener.

“Every company, whether it’s a large bank or one you started yourself, is going to have challenges. It comes down to which flavors of challenges you like the most”

Maybe you have to be really innovative in your career but don’t mind lack of funding or small travel budgets.

Maybe you have to work with really smart people but don’t mind being in a low budget office. The people I’ve met in finance that are always chasing greener grass never seem to find it.

At some point, we can’t avoid challenges or people we don’t like – they exist in all companies whether we like it or not. Learning to deal with these facts is how I’ve stayed in finance for six years and not given up on my career.

2. There are mediocre people everywhere we go.

In finance, like any industry, there are mediocre people. Some of them are uneducated; some of them lack critical thinking; some of them have zero sales ability; some are afraid of customers; some of them love a good company paid breakfast for no good reason. We can’t avoid mediocre people.

“What I’ve learned through my years in finance is that it’s not that people are mediocre or dumb; it’s that everyone has different priorities”

Some people want to leave at 5:01 pm to be with their kids and that’s okay.

Just because we don’t prioritize our career and our KPIs, doesn’t mean any of us are dumb because of it. There are many levels of intelligence within a company and all are acceptable.

I’ve visited a few unique and prestigious businesses in Silicon Valley where everyone is a genius and these companies spend half their time arguing who the smartest person is in the room rather than getting down to business and solving a real problem in the world.

3. There are good leaders and bad ones.

Don’t get emotional about it, just spend as much time as you can with the good ones. There will be leaders you encounter who are trying it out and who’ve been given a chance. There will be other leaders you meet that are born for the role.

Everyone has the right to step up and be a leader regardless of their ability.

My career in finance has been focused on getting around the good leaders. Sometimes you’ll have to work for a bad leader and the key is to suck it up, eat shit for a while, and then leave and work for a leader you believe in.

4. Your career is never going to be full of highlights.

I was on the homepage of our company’s website twice in one year. Many never get this chance ever in their career and it happened to me twice in one year.

Then there was a year after that where nothing happened. There were no big milestones, no punching the air and plenty of low points involving customers.

In finance, and in the business world, it’s never going to be a back-to-back show-reel of Instagram highlights where we win every day.

There will be periods of massive growth and then there will be months and even years where nothing happens – times where we show up for work each day expecting something big to happen and it doesn’t.

5. The need for a side hustle.

Our career can’t always be full of highlights, which is why we need a side hustle. Think of it like another avenue that we can use to kick goals, grow and broaden your skills. For me, outside of working in finance, it became social media and blogging. Over the last five years of my finance career, I’ve hustled my face off learning somewhat non-related skills that have nothing to do with finance.

Side hustles allow us to explore our wild side. Working in finance can be quite dry and without my side hustle, I may have succumbed to suppressing my emotions, wearing a corporate mask and dressing in a suit and tie every day.

Side hustles helped me keep it real. Some days I work in jeans and a t-shirt. Other days I wear the cliché suit. My side hustle helped me live a little and get some perspective on what the finance industry was really about. The answer? Like every business, finance is about people.

6. Once we understand people, we’re set.

People go through a range of emotions every day. Once we understand that what’s happening in business could be entirely down to the fact they’re human, and nothing to do with business, we see the business landscape differently.

We become more compassionate to stakeholders, we treat customers with kindness and we quit thinking that we’re a freaking genius that has all the answers and if only people would listen to us the business would make 10X the profits.

Business is about people and by understanding them we can see it for what it is. Our customers are also people, and our interactions with them become easier when we come to grips with this fact.

If I were to get you to learn one thing, it would be the basics of psychology. Most of the key points can be Googled for free but the value they bring will help whether you’re in finance or any another industry.

7. We’re all constantly growing in secret.

I always thought that GM’s, CEO’s, etc, had it made. I always thought that they woke up each day and came to work with a killer instinct. The finance industry taught me I was wrong. The leaders we admire with those big job titles are just like you and me: they’re scared as F.

The difference is that the leaders we admire are growing in secret.

You think they have it made but when you get in their head, you realize that even with their success they suffer the same human pitfalls that you and I do. The difference is they embrace those pitfalls and take action regardless.

Even your heroes are fearful when they have to perform, but they do it anyway.

8. Your happiness doesn’t stay the same.

At the start of a new role in any industry, we’re loaded with energy. We come to work with new strategies and different ways to acquire customers. Then a few years go by and we become a bit negative. We see the same challenges over and over and the same people failing to take action.

This can lead to unhappiness in our career.

What working in finance has taught me is that there will be times we’re really happy with our role and other times where we are unhappy.

What we learn in the unhappy times helps us when we’re living through the happy times. If you expect to get into any industry and be blazing on fire for decades straight you’ll be sadly disappointed. One solution I’ve found is to change up my career and try new things.

Maybe you start in a sales role and end up working in product or risk. Maybe you work in customer service and end up in a strategy role.

Much of the unhappiness is tied to boredom and changing roles can help reboot our happiness at work.

9. Innovation is much harder than we think.

Geez, if there’s is one thing I have seen a lot of in many financial services businesses it’s innovation. So many companies have tried it and it never works. Sometimes it’s too much red tape that is put around the business or idea which ultimately suffocates the life out of any opportunity to innovate.

Other times it’s the wrong people that kill the innovation.

“Surprisingly, one thing that makes innovation really challenging is an abundance of resources”

Large businesses can afford to throw lots of money against the wall at innovation whereas startups can’t.

The limitations and budget restraints a startup has are often why they can be nimble and innovative. In the end, true innovation is damn hard. If it were easy, then many businesses would be more successful than they are.

The key is not to give up on innovation. It’s a slow process to embed innovation into the culture of a business and get results. True innovation requires a lot more failure than the leaders in the business world are often comfortable with.

It’s only by looking at what doesn’t work that we find truly innovative solutions.

10. It’s not about networking: it’s about helping.

Someone emailed me yesterday and said, “Hey I’d like to network with you.”

I thought to myself “Wow that sounds really silly!”

This idea that we have to network is stupid. What makes more sense is to build relationships just like we would with friends. Networking is focused too much on what we can get and what we will give in return. It’s transactional and it feels unnatural.

The subtle difference is that when we build a relationship with someone (instead of network with them) we’re not seeking anything from them. There’s no expectation and that’s where the magic lies right there.

11. We all experience bad publicity. It’s how we handle it.

Even monster success stories like Facebook have bad publicity. Working in finance can have some ugly moments. Not everyone is honest and there will be times where the business you work for or even your own business may face negative publicity.

No company or industry (including finance) is perfect. Businesses make mistakes just like humans do because ‘Business’ is just a label for a group of humans doing their life’s work.

Expecting the company you work for to be a perfect corporate citizen is a fantasy.

12. Listening to customers is not easy but it works.

Working in finance has allowed me to see my fair share of angry customers. For years, I tried to defend my position and this caused me to miss what the customer was saying.

After a while in finance, I learned that if you shut up and listen to the client, you learn much more. Sometimes they might yell at you for 30-minutes flat. Sit there and listen.

By listening, you get the chance to understand the problem fully and it gets your mind ticking with ideas. When people feel they are being properly listened to, they’re more receptive to the solutions you present for their problems.

It’s freaking revolutionary when you listen more. Not just in business but in life too.

13. What you have for lunch matters.

I was eating chicken nuggets in a bread roll for ages and it caused me to be sleepy in the afternoon. This killed my productivity and my desire to work effectively so I would cram all my challenging tasks into the morning.

Once I learned what a proper lunch was and began eating one every day, my energy, mood and productivity improved. I’m still getting better but what I learned is to monitor carefully what I eat if I want the energy to excel in my career. Bread, at lunchtime in particular, tends to suck away my energy later in the afternoon.

14. Kindness and compassion are superpowers.

Your humility separates you from the pack. Trying my best in my finance career to show compassion and be kind to people has helped me immensely. These two traits are rarer than you think.

In the business world, kindness and compassion are the glue that sticks all of the right opportunities together for you and presents them as a beautiful collage.

The reason I’ve had some cool opportunities (particularly of late) is that I’ve tried to be different instead of being like everyone else. I’ve questioned the way business works and experimented with kindness and compassion.

It turns out these two traits make people see me in a weird way. It’s almost like these two traits make me more human.

Kindness and compassion are about seeing the best in people before making assumptions that they’re out to screw you. Kindness and compassion are about believing in the power of the human species above all else.

15. Taking off the mask is freeing.

For the first half of my career in finance, I wore a mask. It’s hard to admit but it’s true. I used corporate language like “revenue targets” and “customer value proposition” and took a notepad to meetings to look smart. I wore the nicely ironed suit with the cute little cufflinks.

I said hello politely to everyone and was graceful. When it came to social media, I promoted the company and supported my colleagues. I told people I liked what they did even when I didn’t.

I did all of this because I thought that being fake and wearing a mask of bravery and perfection was what you had to do to succeed. I thought that’s how business land worked.

I found that all of this acting became exhausting and it was incongruent with who I really was. Deep down, I was an entrepreneur and a highly creative person that wanted to express himself.

After a string of bizarre situations – like narrowly missing cancer and seeing a few people close to me like my grandma pass away – I decided to throw away the mask.

I started dropping the odd F-Bomb. I told people politely when I didn’t like their idea. I became brutally honest with clients and stopped telling them what they wanted to hear.

All of this led to the real version of me being on display. Some people liked it and others weren’t interested.

“Either way, you can’t keep faking it till you make it at work every day because eventually, you’ll fall down from all the BS and wonder whose life you’ve been living for the last six years”

16. Scheduling holidays in advance provides additional motivation.

Let’s not pretend we’re 100% motivated each week at work. Some weeks will suck and that’s normal. Booking holidays in advance gives me a permanent memory of yet another thing that’s great about life: taking breaks.

The first half of my finance career involved almost no holidays. Not only did I become burnt out, but I also didn’t have as much to look forward to. Then I began booking in holidays to New Zealand, the USA and Japan. My motivation changed. I’d work harder leading up to holiday time so that I could take an even bigger break away from it all.

Holidays became like a reset button for my finance career and they gave me something else to aim for other than boring old KPIs.

17. Working really long hours means there’s a problem.

There have been a lot of times I’ve encountered people in finance working their butt off. I used to think it’s cool; now I see it as a problem.

If you’re working long hours, there is a problem. You’re either unproductive, distracted or under-resourced. All of these issues can be resolved and working stupidly hard is not the answer.

“Productivity is the opposite of working long hours”

18. You’ll have to speak in front of others.

That’s why I tell everybody to get their arse to Toastmasters and learn how to speak without having a thousand Ums and Ahs between every word. Public speaking is a basic form of communication and mastering it is how you get across your ideas, visions and tell phenomenal stories.

No matter your speaking ability in front of others, it’s time to improve it.

19. Most people have no idea about business so don’t feel so bad.

Yep, that’s the truth! All these people you meet in business that sound like they know what they’re talking about often don’t. They are just regurgitating something they heard or read which they thought was right.

We all pretend like business is an art and so many times it’s not what it’s made out to be. The science of business has more to do with life skills than anything else. Most books about business try and overcomplicate something that isn’t that hard.

“The greatest challenge and complexity with business is understanding its simplicity”

20. Change is guaranteed. Why not embrace it?

And here’s the final thing I’ll say: whether you work in finance like me or in another industry, change is guaranteed. One of these will happen to you:

–    Your industry will be disrupted if it hasn’t been already

–    Your company will go through a restructure, merger or be acquired which may cause you to lose your job

–    The business you are a part of could fail

–    Or a natural disaster or manmade event like a GFC could screw with your career

Change is guaranteed in your career so rather than avoiding it, what I’ve learned in finance is to embrace it. See the fork in the road as the greatest gift you’ve ever been given.

Welcome change with open arms otherwise it will be the kiss of death to your perfect, cookie-cutter career in whatever.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship.You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Matt Swintz

    May 7, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks, Tim!

    As someone who is relatively early on in my professional life, I really appreciate this wisdom.

    #1 is a big part of my life because it seems like there’s always something better I should have done.

    #10 sticks out as well because I have always felt awkward trying to “network”. Your thoughts here echo the book Never Eat Alone where they talk about being a connector and helping people as opposed to what networking is typically thought of as.

    I really enjoyed this article!

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Success Advice

3 Steps to Overcome Your Brain Biases and Become a Better Leader

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how to become a better leader
Image Credit: Unsplash

If I asked you what time it was, you would likely look at your watch or a clock and read the time out to me. And if I were to ask you where you were, you would likely tell me the exact place, city, or state. If I were to then ask you who you were, you would likely identify yourself by your name, demographics, and perhaps a work description. On the surface, answering these questions correctly would indicate that you were not delirious. But are these answers technically correct?

Biological research indicates that superficial orientation to time, place, or person is actually far from accurate. Rather, leaders might benefit from tending toward a non-dual awareness of the world, or at least offer themselves the opportunity to see the world this way. For time, place, and person, the biological realities differ from what we might initially think.

1. Don’t let the past dictate the future

We are not ever-present in the moment, nor should we be. In the human brain, the past, present, and future are all represented at the same time. Although we consciously organize our experiences using this segmentation of time, each of these networks can intrude upon the other. In fact, what you remember can influence what you can imagine for yourself in the future as well.

As a leader, ensure that you frequently examine your memory for positive reminders and biases, take advantage of your presence circuits by incorporating mindfulness practices into your day, and use your “possibility” circuits to imagine or simulate future scenarios. In fact, in the brain, imagination is a lot like reality.

Using all three components at all times will help you to become aware of biases and could also help you escape traps or an impasse. For instance, when a possible solution for product development is vague, thinking in terms of what you want and then reverse-engineering this process to make what you imagine could be helpful.

Walt Disney saw great success after building Disneyland in Anaheim, California, but outside interests began crowding his theme park. When he decided to build another park in Florida, Disney didn’t let the experience of California dissuade him. He expanded his vision to something greater — a city of tomorrow. He created fake companies to secretly purchase acres upon acres of land near where Interstate 4 intersected with the Florida turnpike so his company could develop the area around the theme park.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

2. Think beyond your reach

We are not where we think we are. The notion of “place” has become increasingly irrelevant in a globalized world. With the increasing interconnectedness of societies, cultures, and economies, leaders need to be careful not to think of themselves too locally. When leaders are global in their thinking, they are likely to elicit more widespread cooperation from international markets.

Ask yourself, “What communities beyond my local community do I want to impact?” and “What communities am I impacting?” When you take this approach, it can help your advertising strategies, for example, become more congruous with specific or global markets. Also, leaders who think globally will be more aware of competition from afar and opportunities for collaboration, too.

Jack Ma can be credited with being a global thinker for founding Alibaba, allowing Chinese consumers to access domestic and international markets that they could not previously access. By moving into e-commerce, online banking, and cloud computing, Alibaba has expanded into India and Southeast Asia. Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform has even enabled farmers in Rwanda to sell coffee in China. This is a perfect example of thinking beyond your reach.

3. Connect the body and mind

We are not what we think we are. We are made up of 50% human and 50% bacterial cells. And water comprises 60% of our body weight. So we are basically bags of water and bacteria — with a dash of human cells thrown in for good measure.

Also, though we might think of ourselves as being separate from other people and things, many people or things you encounter in your life are stored in your brain’s memory centers. Our brain tissue contains images, voices, and other attributes of people and things, too. We are not actually as separate as we think.

Take care of your bacteria, and they will take care of you. Having the right balance of bacteria is of paramount importance to effective functioning because the wrong balance can make you depressed or anxious. Taking a probiotic can help restore this balance. Understanding that you are part human, part bacteria can change the way you take care of your moods by essentially reminding you to take care of your gut.

Mindy Grossman, the CEO of WW International — formerly Weight Watchers — is a good example of someone who understands the mind-body connection. Grossman has led the company’s focus from strictly weight loss to wellness through healthy habits. Part of the transformation includes a partnership with meditation app Headspace to help members maintain a positive mindset.

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” – Mahatma Gandhi

When you engage in non-dual awareness by recognizing that your brain fuses and connects time, places, and people, your leadership capacities might also be enhanced. As Warren Bennis, founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California, suggests, “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself.” And your “self” is more intriguing and mysterious than you might first imagine.

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Success Advice

3 Ways to Optimize Your Life for Success

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how to optimize your life for success

Welcome to the 21st Century! The era of the Internet and computers, lack of focus and superficiality. I know it sounds scary, maybe a little more exaggerated, but it’s true. We live in a world of short posts and 3-minute videos. We barely engage in deep learning, deep thinking, and deep focus to produce iPhone-level products or services. So, the majority of us are actually a failure, thousands of miles away from achieving our life goals and business visions. How do we turn things around? We need to optimize our lives.

Here are 3 tried and tested tips that will help optimize your life for success:

1. Upgrade your sleep

When I started my freelance writing career—about seven years ago—I was passionate and excited at the beginning. I’d fill my To-Do list with 6-10 items, worked until 12 am, set my alarm to go off at 3 am, and had my running shoes close to my bed before I went to sleep. However, I barely accomplished anything. I usually became weak and bored before noon.

I noticed that I was putting a huge strain on myself. I was sleep deprived, which is the primary reason why I didn’t have the energy and the drive to accomplish my tasks. Many studies have shown that sleep-deprivation affects productivity.

As soon as I began increasing my sleeping time from 4 hours to 7 hours, my whole life changed. I started producing a lot and earning a lot more than before while also improving my health. With more sleep, I get the emotional energy and willpower I need to read, learn, and optimize my career.

“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.” – Arianna Huffington

2. Read every day

I get it. You’re in the middle-class struggling to survive. You simply have enough to deal with. Reading? That’s not included on your to-do list. Well, if that’s you, then you’re not alone. The global literacy rates are at an all-time high at 84 percent, which means people don’t read as much anymore.

We already have enough on our plates. In fact, a study by the National Endowment for the Arts has found that the reading culture among American adults has drastically declined. That’s a big issue in our world.

Nothing can prevent you from reading, not even your plate that’s chock-full of other life’s priorities. If you want to produce more and impact the world around you, you’ve got to read more and learn more.

Take a look at the visionaries and business titans in our world. All of them are avid readers and avid learners. Bill Gates is a bibliophile and Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, reveres books. In fact, Knight customized his library to the extent that, before you enter into his library, you have to take off your shoes and bow.

So, what would you do next? Take Roald Dahl’s advice, captured in this beautiful line of the poem: “So please, oh please, we beg, we pray / go throw your TV set away / and in its place, you can install / a lovely bookshelf on the wall.”

3. Use Pomodoro to time yourself

You can’t go far in life if you can’t stay totally focused on a task. If you want to achieve your goals, you have got to stay laser-focused on a single task before jumping on to another. Why? Because goals are not achieved in one session, they’re achieved in a series of tasks, one after the other.

To install the focus habit in your system; therefore, you need to use a time-management kind of “system” that will keep you firm and attentive on a specific project. Pomodoro is that time-management tool that will help you stay focused.

It’s an excellent app that lets you set a timer for a particular task. You can set it for 30, 60, or 90 minutes and stop working when it goes off. I use it all the time, and I can’t imagine my work life without it.

“I know when I stay focused, good things will undoubtedly happen.” – Marc Trestman

Optimizing your life for more power, passion, and productivity is not about working hard late at night or running multiple projects at a time. It’s about maintaining your health and recharging your energy (having a deep, quality sleep), updating your knowledge (by reading every day), and staying focused on a project—until you accomplished it (by using Pomodoro technique to boost your concentration).

Of course, developing these sets of habits is not easy. You’ll fail and get frustrated, but as the productivity guru Robin Sharma beautifully puts it, “all changes are hard at first, messy at the middle, and beautiful at the end.”

Which one of these three ways to optimize your life resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

If You Want Your Business to Grow, You Need to Increase Your Capacity in the Following 4 Areas

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Every entrepreneur must come face to face with the reality that there is only a limited amount of time, money, and people that you can use within your current position. The question is how do we increase or maximize the things that we find limiting?

As we walk through our hectic and often over packed ten, twelve, or fourteen hour work days, one of the questions that we should be asking is “What can I do to get more, to do more?” Instead, we just put our heads down and plow through the ever growing mountain of work. We are limited by capacity.

Webster’s dictionary defines capacity as “the maximum amount that something can contain.” As an entrepreneur, we have to be a little more creative than the average person and find ways to increase our capacity.

Below, we’ll identify the four areas where we need more capacity and ways to get more with less:

1. Time

Every human on this planet is granted twenty-four hours a day. That is it. Your capacity is a total of twenty-four hours. Within that amount of time you must manage several different demands. Our goal is to buy back our time, when we can, and operate at peak performance when we are accomplishing our daily task list.

First, without staying in performance shape, you will lose the ability to stay at optimal performance levels. Our bodies are truly a machine with an amazing capacity, but when it is abused by lack of sleep, improper nutrition, and lack of exercise, you are reducing the capacity at which you are able to work and function. The closer you are to peak performance, the more you are able to accomplish in a shorter amount of time.

Second is our mental condition. Here is what my experience has taught me. If I am mentally rested, I can think and make decisions faster because I can reason more quickly in addition to understanding the circumstances and information at an extremely fast pace. 

When your brain is healthy, it becomes easier to absorb and process information at a lightning fast rate. Taking the time to allow your brain to rest will give it the ability to function at peak performance.

Third is our ability to train and delegate. So often, entrepreneurs are control freaks. No one can do it as good, as fast, or with the same passion as they can. While that may be true in most cases, you are only one person with twenty-four hours in a day. 

You’ve got to delegate and accept people’s help. If you add one person that’s willing to give you eight hours of work a day, you have now bought back hours in your day to focus on activities that will generate more income and grow your business. Why wouldn’t you want to add more hours to your day by delegating out the appropriate task to qualified individuals?

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

2. Money

Money tends to be a sensitive topic. We all have beliefs that were formed through our childhood on the concept of money. With many different views and beliefs on this topic, let’s just focus on the fact that money is a tool that will either help grow the company or a tool that limits a company’s growth.

It is always amazing that the faster a company grows, the greater the challenge of money becomes, and this could potentially cause the company to implode on its own success. How do we then increase the capacity and have more money available to keep the company healthy?

Here are a couple of things to watch out for: 

  • Keep an eye on your budget and get accurate figures. 
  • Look at your Accounts Receivables. If they get too long, they could cause significant cash flow issues. 
  • Find investment opportunities. There are many private investors that are often willing to invest in companies that have true growth with solid foundations. 
  • Look at additional profit generators, products, or services that fit within your current business model. 

Each of these are ways to increase the capacity that money contributes to the growth of your business.

3. Space and Supply

I will never forget exactly where I was standing when I had a manufacture call and tell me they were unable to supply anymore products. They had sold us everything they had, and they weren’t going to have anything available to sell for at least another six months. At that time, we were selling customer printed t-shirts and had tens of thousands of orders that we needed to fulfill within the next thirty days.

Space and Supply are tied closely together. Space is often associated with the production. Do you have a space large enough to meet the demands of the supply? If production can only create 1,000 products a day and buyers need 5,000 a day, there is a conflict. 

A business needs to understand that challenge, and there are only 3 solutions to this problem: The business figures out how to increase production within the current workable hours, adds more workable hours with the equipment and space, or adds more equipment and space to increase production.

Space and supplies are assets that can be used towards the business advantage. Here are a few questions to ask when making decisions based on space and supply. 

  • Evaluate your supply channel. Are they able to maintain a solid supply of your raw product materials to match your growth as a company? 
  • Are there back up supply manufactures that can create a safety net for your raw products? 
  • Evaluate the amount of space you have available along with the time the space is usable. Can you run a second or third shift with the current space and equipment?

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. People

Your employees are likely going to be the most important way to create more capacity. We talked briefly about delegating to qualified individuals to increase capacity around your own personal time. The next phase is to create more capacity by adding additional, trained people. 

You need to create leaders of leaders instead of you being the leader of followers. Don’t miss this because the greatest of all companies focuses on increasing their capacity by training leaders of leaders and not just a loyal following.

Entrepreneurs tend to be a lonely bunch of souls. Too often, we are misunderstood and looked at with slight amount of annoyance. Others just don’t always know how to take someone that is passionately thinking outside the box. 

People skills are a must in order to have more than just yourself work to achieve that dream. As an entrepreneur, develop the social skills to work with individuals that are different than yourself.  

Here is a 3 step plan to have great capacity with people as your allies:

  1. Start by learning how to delegate your own tasks to buy back your time. Identify the tasks that are easiest to delegate and document how you do them. This will give you a specific job description, set achievable goals, and create a daily action plan that is now something that is teachable. 
  2. Use this system and apply it to the other things you are currently doing. I would suggest building out an organization chart and dividing the different tasks you do within the company. Then create a plan that will allow you to hire the right person and move you onto the next area in the organization that you will systematize. 
  3. Finally, create the culture. Culture is like a child, it will grow whether or not you pay attention to it. So be intentional. Learn what it takes to build a culture that attracts the employees that want to be there and grow with the company. 

Each of these four areas has an incredible amount of potential to increase your capacity, and allow your business to grow. Don’t attempt to tackle everything at once. Identify just one area that you will commit to grow within the next three to six months. Take action and implement. 

What is your next step? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

The Importance of Failure: Why We Should Fail Forward

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how to fail forward
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What Is failing forward? Will Smith said it best in a viral Instagram video that engaged the world. “You’ve gotta take a shot, you have to live at the edge of your capabilities. You gotta live where you’re almost certain you’re going to fail. Failure actually helps you to recognize the areas where you need to evolve. So fail early, fail often, fail forward.”

Failing forward is about using leverage on your mistakes and making a realistic assessment of the risks involved. It’s your ability to live with the downside, control your emotions and experiment with new approaches. When we fail forward, we need to look at the reason why we fail and understand that it’s all part of the process of achievement.

Here are 4 Reasons Why We Fail:

1. We Are Too Distracted

Distractions are everywhere. They can take us off course and could make it impossible to keep our mind on our goal or purpose. It’s important to be selective, strategic and supportive in our distractions. We all control certain aspects of our day, so be selective and prioritise tasks that are in line with your goals.

We should be strategic by understanding when we work best. Personally, I write more efficiently in the early mornings and late evenings. So that’s what I stick to. Try different things and see when you are least distracted. You’ll then be able to be supportive and generous with your time. Being supportive of others costs us little and drives our own success whilst boosting our health and happiness.

2. Lack of Self Belief

Lack of self belief runs differently from person to person. Our experiences, childhood history, genes, culture and life circumstances play a part in our self confidence. The truth is, we can’t alter the experiences that our past has given us. What we can do though, is change our thoughts to gain more belief in ourselves. Ways to increase our self-belief is to find out more about ourselves. We can do this by taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally. Giving ourselves a healthy support system and understanding our emotions are just a couple of ways to practice self-belief.

3. Fear of Failure

Failure often induces fear. When we fear failure, we allow ourselves to stop doing the things that can help us achieve our goals, help us move forward and open up possibilities we never thought were possible. We should have faith in ourselves and start to shift our inner dialogue from ‘not good enough’ to ‘more than enough’. If our inner critic takes the lead on self talk, then it’s more than likely we aren’t feeling good enough. It’s important to surround ourselves with positive people and positive thoughts.

4. Procrastination

Procrastination is a common reason for failure. It’s delaying or putting off a task or action to attend to at a later time. Procrastination is essentially giving in, to feel good. We prefer avoiding negative emotions and stressful tasks, which are the very things we procrastinate about. The first step to overcoming procrastination is recognising we do it.

We then need to understand why we do it and use appropriate strategies to prevent it from happening. We may not know that we are procrastinating and this can be damaging to reaching our full potential. With a solid understanding, we can get to the core of our reasons and make positive changes to fail forward.

Now that you know why we fail, here are the 3 ways you can fail forward:

1. Take Risks

When risks are taken, we generally overestimate the chances of something going wrong. What we focus on tends to magnify in our imagination and in return, causes us to misjudge an outcome of a situation. The reality is, the likelihood is often a far better return than we imagine it out to be. To take risks, we should not be afraid of failure.

2. Understanding Failure Should Be Your Motivation

It may sound comical but, be happy when you fail. We’ve been taught to believe that when we fail it’s because of bad attempts, bad judgment and bad luck at improving our lives. For example, we link failure with the colour red (to stop) and success with the colour green (to keep going). In reality, we are stronger and more courageous when we fail. It’s a sign of improvement, so we should recognise that failure is growth and if we’re not making mistakes, we are not really trying. Use failure as motivation and keep going.

3. Perseverance

Perseverance is the ability to recover from failure. Your chances of success is also dependent on your persistence and your willingness to persevere. You have two options when you fail: Become self-defeated or become resilient and encouraged. Perseverance requires a goal, a passion and patience. It’s important to set your own pace when persevering and not comparing your failures to others. In doing this, when we fail forward, we are more in tune with ourselves and more controlled with new approaches.

“Recognize that you will spend much of your life making mistakes. If you can take action and keep making mistakes, you gain experience.” – John C. Maxwell

Think of it this way. When we’re at the gym pushing ourselves in the weight room, the trainer would yell “One more rep!”. Our trainer wants us to succeed, but also wants us to fail. They want us to be uncomfortable to the point where our muscles fatigue. Why? Because of muscle adaptation. That’s where our muscle growth comes from. It’s the ability to learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable. This concept doesn’t just apply physically within our muscles, it applies mentally and in our minds. In understanding this perspective, we can fail forward with more awareness and are in a better position to achieve success.

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