Companies can easily absorb the cost of mistakes and inefficiencies when growing quickly. As entrepreneurs, however, we learn through failures as much as our successes.
The public-facing image of most companies and entrepreneurs is largely dominated by their successes and praises, so it is difficult for people starting out to understand the true story.
Mistake 1: Agreeing to more than I could handle
The biggest mistake I have (repeatedly) made during the past 12 years is overextending myself and saying yes to too many things. This, coupled with my propensity for starting new businesses, has sometimes impacted my family, my main business, and my wellbeing.
The key lesson from this is understanding when to say “no”. Taking on too much can be detrimental to you and those around you. After all, when you look back over your life, will you remember that extra board position or the memories of time spent with family and friends?
Mistake 2: Letting misplaced trust interfere with my goals
Trust is an emotional and complex issue for me. Trust is my core value. For some reason, it is the one thing that elicits a visceral reaction from me when breached. However, my default attitude is to trust people unless they have done something that I feel explicitly breached that trust.
Over the years, numerous people have taken advantage of my nature and abused the trust I placed in them. This always impacts me deeply and requires much effort and time to overcome.
From these moments, I’ve learned that many different personalities and ethics exist, and what works for one person is not necessarily compatible with someone else. For example, some people believe that casual ethics do not matter because “it’s only business”. They may say one thing to lead you down an incorrect path whilst simultaneously doing something else to give them an advantage.
Understanding how different people think has helped me move on faster and not hold onto upset and resentment.
Mistake 3: Putting my health and wellbeing second
I have not always prioritised exercise or self-care, especially in the early days of my business. At one point, I was up to 93kgs (I am 75kgs today), and I did very little to put my health and wellbeing first. I reached a stage where I was so unfit that just the thought of exercise brought shame and fear.
Ultimately, having a child on the way motivated me to get fit again (I was always very fit and sporty as a kid). I started with a personal trainer who got me to a base level of fitness, and then I took up kickboxing (which I have done ever since). I also have a massage at least every fortnight. I use this as a time to think and relax. More recently, I have taken up singing lessons!
Nowadays, I couldn’t imagine not exercising or taking some time for myself. The key learning from this is that no matter your starting point, the hardest bit is biting the bullet and deciding to start today. It will be hard at first but will get significantly easier. Find an exercise regime that works for you and ensure you have some time for yourself, separate from family or work. It will make you a better and happier human being!
It was hard to select just three mistakes from the past 15 years. All mistakes, however, are opportunities for learning, growth, and change. Ultimately, working on yourself has the ancillary benefit of making you a happier person, which also benefits those around you. Everyone wins!