People are often quick to provide advice or opinions. Sometimes you receive a nugget of gold, and sometimes you have to roll your eyes in disbelief. It’s up to you to decipher what to take on board, and what to discard, but the effort is worth it.
Seeking the counsel of mentors and other entrepreneurs has had an enormous impact on my career, and this month I thought I would detail six pieces of advice which I have found to be the most profound:
1. ‘Choose Your Attitude’
A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Debra Searle MVO MBE. She’s a remarkable person, who has undertaken seemingly impossible tasks and seen them through. Debra has put together a whole toolkit of methods to help change and improve your mindset. Look her up, watch her videos—you will not be disappointed.
2. Only Invest What You Are Prepared To Lose
This one comes from Tony Falkenstein. When embarking on a new venture, or investing in something or someone else, only invest what you are prepared to lose. Investments are risky by nature. Before you put your equity in, think about what would happen if it all disappeared.
3. Get Over Your Fear Of Public Speaking
I am a natural introvert, and the thought of public speaking terrifies me. Back in 2011, I was interviewed by Gill South at the Herald; she gave me this advice and it gave me the push I needed. Now, I regularly speak about entrepreneurship and digital marketing. This has not only brought in lots of customers; it has helped inspire others to follow their dreams.
4. ‘No One Died’
Dominic Sutton, a good friend and fellow entrepreneur, likes to put things into perspective with this saying: “Well, no one died, did they?” When you really think about it, a lot of the problems that get us down are relatively small problems in the grand scheme of things. Lost a big contract? Well, at least no one died! Better to move forward and tackle the next challenge.
5. Don’t Hold Grudges
Once you have been in business a while, there will be people that you work with who have behaved in a manner that you consider to be unethical or downright dishonest. It is very easy to get myopic and focus on these negative people and incidents, but the truth is, this invariably only negatively impacts yourself. Learn from it, draw a line under it and move on.
6. Focus On The ‘A’ Players
This idea from Jack Daly has really stuck with me. It’s natural as an empathetic leader to want to help people, and put effort into those that are not succeeding, but this can’t be the only place you focus your attention. Jack used a sporting analogy: The coach picks her best players and focuses on helping them improve. She doesn’t spend all her time focused on the second- and third-rate players.
I’m not saying you should ignore those in your organisation who need assistance. Rather, it’s important that the best people in your business do not get penalised with a lack of attention just because they don’t appear to need it as much.
There has never been a time in history when we have had such easy access to information from successful people. My parting advice is to find something you are truly passionate about.
It’s often said that if you can make a passion your business or career, you will never have to ‘work’ a day in your life, but it’s true. When you love what you do, the trials will never seem insurmountable.