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It is OK to have Low Self Confidence – Just Not Forever

It is OK to have Low Self Confidence – Just Not Forever

This post is specifically written to those of you out there that are in the beginning of their career. It is OK to have low self confidence – just not forever. 

I often get asked the question:

How do you manage to keep a constant high self confidence level?

I really could not provide a clear answer. At least, not until today. Does it come as a natural thing to me? Have I done something in the past that rewired my brain?

The Story of Low Self Confidence – Starting A New Job

The troubleshooting begins with a story from our everyday life. I have changed a considerable amount of job position is the past few years. The process of integration into a new company can be a daunting feat. A new environment, totally new personalities, specific hierarchy and a unique set of norms that define that organizational culture.

Jumping in, it is only natural to have low self confidence. You do not know anybody, you are unsure of their skills and abilities, but you are also afraid of their roles:

Role, in sociology, the behavior expected of an individual who occupies a given social position or status. A role is a comprehensive pattern of behavior that is socially recognized, providing a means of identifying and placing an individual in a society.

Wandering that unknown environment, we cannot help ourselves, but to indulge in role-trusting. As mentioned above, each person inside that new setting, has some specific role that gives them the right to do certain things.

Well, I learned something very early on – partly because I took an elective course in Sociology and sort of loved it ever since. The real factor for low self confidence in a new setting is:

we blindly believe in the roles everyone plays!

Even worse – we take for granted all that role demands of the one who holds it.

You meet your new boss. You have no way of knowing of judging his/her personality and abilities, so you take for granted what the position boss requires. Hmm – to really become the boss, you must be good?

Reality Check

Continuing the story – you start collaborating and trusting the “system”. You are supposed to be:

  1. curious (but not too much)
  2. “yes” man/woman
  3. respectful
  4. grateful for position you have been offered

But I learned that all these characteristics of the “system” are absolutely paradoxical and depressing. Each of us is unique. We all bring something different to the table. Being afraid to speak and act makes us virtually useless on the new job.

Starting out in the beginning of your career you are going to face all kinds of rejections and drawbacks. Not because there is something wrong with you, but because you are way better then them. You are not supposed to know so much, learn so fast, multitask or even have fun!

You are going to be constantly degraded for your years and “inexperience” because no one can really understand your true potentials. This in itself is a paradox. And it leads to your depression.

Two Choices

Soon enough, you come to an intersection:

conformity or rebellion

Everyone around stands for something you find paradoxical. Their sheer number must mean they are right! Low self confidence thrives in this setting. When you do not comply, it must mean there is something wrong with you. The thoughts creep in. Am I good enough? Will I ever be successful? I am young and inexperienced – everyone must know better than me. MISTAKE!

Thinking they are right is going to kill all your hopes and dreams. Living in the past is bad enough. It is even worse when you are not going to accept that you shape the future. You make your destiny. So do what you believe in.

Yes, you are probably going to be marked as a person who is not reliable. You are probably going to try to change a lot of jobs. Each would seem like a dead end. Just remember – persistence is virtue. Persist to achieve what you want and how you want it.

It All Ends Today

If you are reading this far, I am glad to say you are more than ready to change your life. Stop being the black sheep trying to satisfy everyone else. You will grow old by being miserable.

Staring doing something you love today is going to mark the beginning of a new chapter. No matter if it is a new business or a totally new career path, you, and only you will make that choice.

Stick to your vision – all setbacks are just one more gray hair you can look back upon. 

Have an Idea?

Use our Ultimate Business Idea Evaluation Guide to start walking on the right path.

 

What I Learned From Derek Sivers?

What I Learned From Derek Sivers?

The crash of my startup, in the least of terms, was a highly unpleasant experience. Failing before 25 does wonders (in a negative connotation) to your persona and confidence. Scouring the net for something to give me inspiration soon became an addiction. The Internet is full of useful information, but it can be a very unforgiving place for anyone trying to find purpose.

You get abused by so many success stories that soon you begin to question your abilities. Luckily I ran into Derek Sivers. A very unconventional entrepreneur, who made a very successful brand by defying the modern “principles” of running a business.

His book – “Anything You Want” became my lifeline.

Anything you want

I have compiled a list of what I learned from Derek Sivers to show you his genius. Hopefully it will motivate you also.

We Are Taught To Over-try

I am not sure why, but as we grow older and more experienced, we gradually start thinking in a more complex way. On that note, look at the story of Ken Watanabe – his efforts to teach Japanese kids the problem solving mind set.

Derek Sivers took a totally different approach to anything we know of – start by doing.

Set up your business like you do not need the money, and it’ll likely come your way. – from the book “Anything You Want”

We forget that business is about solving problems first and bringing money second. Our societies have made us materialistic slaves that only care for themselves. Digging deep into the essence of our business, we can find the spark that makes our customers happy. It definitely is very, very simple.

Ditch The Conventional Way

I have always had an “in between” position when talking about business formalities. Should you not do some research/planning/testing and go all in? Or should you invest a lot of effort into all these before even thinking of starting?

What Derek taught me was to always look for your unique approach. If a business plan seems like a tough job for you, than you are probably better of without it. Or you hate formalities that surround almost every business? – Then do not use them:

As your business grows, don’t let the leeches sucker you into all that stuff they pretend you need. They’ll play on your fears, saying that you need this stuff to protect yourself against lawsuits. They’ll scare you with horrible worst-case scenarios. But those are just sales tactics. You don’t need any of it. – from the book “Anything You Want”

It Is NOT About YOU

Care about your customers more than about yourself. and you’ll do well. – Tao of business by Derek Sivers

Your sole purpose was to never satisfy your needs. It has always been to satisfy your clients’.

This approach has helped me gain new ground on any opportunity I see. Just imagine putting yourself in the your customer’s shoes. Be realistic and answer the following question:

Is what you are doing really helpful?

I strongly believe that whoever is reading this will start and think. More importantly, be able to throw away his ego and make the business better. Being flexible is not a bad thing. You can never have planned for everything that has/is or is about to happen:

Anytime you think you know what your new business will be doing, remember this quote from serial entrepreneur Steve Blank: “No business plan survives first contact with customers.” – from the book “Anything You Want”

What Is Success?

This is a very confusing question. Ask around and you will get different answers. Yet everybody talks about it!

Derek’s approach to this question is very simple. First you would need to define what success is to you and how to measure it:

Don’t be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursued little distractions instead of big dreams. You need to know your personal philosophy of what makes you happy and what’s worth doing. – from the book “Anything You Want”

His “compass” is a set of principles that can be applied to every part of your life.

The second thing you need is persistence. Not the usual definition though:

We’ve all heard about the importance of persistence. But I had misunderstood. Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working. – from the book “Anything You Want”

Bringing It Together

At first, Derek’s methods might be too simple to believe. You might argue that a business is a complex entity that cannot operate with such a simple mindset. Just remember – you are bound by the social norms of the society we live in. If living and succeeding means totally slashing them, then so be it. Each of us is unique, so we should to be expected to do the same things.

Please take the time and read Derek’s content. It is appealing to anyone looking for a path to success.

The Curse of the Pessimistic Workplace

The Curse of the Pessimistic Workplace

It’s Monday!

You wake up although the bed is very comfy. Nothing can make you get up. Or can it? You begin to think of work-related stuff. What are you going to expect this week? Will you meet your goals?

Being optimist has its pros and cons. If you are going to read this article, I have the feeling you are somewhat optimistic, although bounded by some external limitations. Back to the story – you tell yourself that today is going to be the best Monday ever! You are going to crush your goals and then some! By now, most people should envy you. It takes a lot of self motivation to, first think of such thoughts and second, to make them a reality.

Get up, do the rituals and head to work. Boom! The reality check. All that you have set out to do, sort of is extremely hard to do once you set foot in the office building. Why? – The “Curse” of the Pessimistic Workplace!

What is the Pessimistic Workplace?

It is your workplace that is full of pessimism. And it has a lot to do with your optimism too.

Pessimism is a state of mind in which one anticipates undesirable outcomes or believes that the evil or hardships in life outweigh the good or luxuries. source

Pessimism comes from the Latin word “pessimus” meaning “the worst”. In other words, pessimists simply look for the worst in everything. For the same reason, I have used the term “curse” because due to many studies, it is a curse for anyone set out to deliver results.

According to a very insightful article by Lisa Mooney, featured on AzCentral.com, there are a number of strong effects that a pessimistic workplace leads to:

1. Very low levels of energy

Back to the story – the moment you walk in, all your energy is drained. How can that be? Well, energy can be understood as something that radiates. We feel very happy around people that radiate  optimism. The same can be said for the opposite situation.

Now, when the place you work is filled up with such energy, it can very easily be transferred to you. Although no one really wants to accept such bad influence, pessimism has another deadly trait.

2. Contagion

Pessimism spreads easily around the office. If one colleague starts to spread negative energy to others, everyone starts to feel it. The coworker can lack in productivity and simply accomplish task in a less than average manner. The path of least resistance somehow finds its way to you too.

Contagion can be stopped. But the failure, or inaction, to do so, leads to having the “cursed” workplace. Good management can go a long way in managing these situations.

3. Indifference

When employees lack passion, they lack feeling. Such compassion for the company, business, clients, coworkers, tasks, really boosts the productivity of everyone. A pessimistic workplace, on the other hand, strives on indifference. It only takes one, or few, to start feeling like they do not care anymore. If left unattended, are going to begin to feel the same way too? – It is likely probable.

4. Frustration

The real killer of optimism is the frustration of being in that pessimistic workplace. The optimistic nature of people tends to try to change things. To try new opportunities, to take risks, to make mistakes, but always be on the verge of something awesome. Even worse, is to try to do those things, when little, or no one is there to support you. How long can you be alone? When will your energy drain?

5. Bad working habits

According to Chris Newton’s article featured on smallbusiness.chron.com, pessimistic workers radiate bad working habits. Low energy leads to lack of motivation, bad working ethic, distraction and an unfocused mind.

The Other Side?

Researching any possible positive things from the pessimistic workplace, I came across an article that got me thinking – could there possibly be an another side to this? Allison Stadd at 99u.com wrote an article titled: How Pessimism Can Improve Your Life And Work. The article features a video by The School of Life that actually has some very solid points to support pessimism.

pessimism prepares you for the worst, reduces your expectations, and protects you from disappointment—all helpful for your psyche as well as your creative output

It further argues that the modern society is overwhelmed with optimism, mostly due to the extraordinary supply of products out there. The purpose of the sellers (read: businesses) is to try to present them in a happy and cheerful way, full of positive energy, so you would not feel bad spending money.

Surviving the Pessimistic Workplace?

I have compiled a list of three things you can start doing today to help you fight the curse of the pessimistic workplace:

speak out loud

Communication is the key to every problem solving. To fight the pessimism, be sure to openly talk about all problems. In an cross-functional team, communication is even more important. Be sure to keep things professional and always think of the common company good.


show up

Not showing up and delivering only means you have fallen victim to the pessimism around you. Whether you like it or not, this is the make or break moment. No matter how bad things get, follow your goals, take action and show up everyday.



become a leader

The pessimistic workplace can be a very opportunistic ground for any willing leader. If you feel that your voice and concerns are not being heard and results continue to fall behind, this might be your opportunity. Start to motivate your colleagues to be better at their job. Their success is your success too.


Resources

 

What is the “Success Bubble”?

What is the “Success Bubble”?

Few months back I wrote a Guide on Overcoming the “Success Bubble”It had some, but not a lot of traction. A nice blogging habit is to revisit old topics now and than. I feel a more detailed explanation of the concept should go a long way.

The Idea of Identifying the “Success Bubble”

My background in economics and business has wired my mind to think of life as basically a market. We sell ourselves, our skills, our traits, our talents – the market accepts them, or not. We define success by the amount of things we can accomplish. A very vague explanation for something far more complex.

A bubble (in economic terms) is surprisingly defined in many ways. Economics is an exact science, so this outcome was not expected. Paul Krugman to the rescue! The famous economist in an article for the New York Times titled  “Bernanke, Blower of Bubbles?”back in 2013, wrote a fairly simple definition of what a bubble is:

 …a situation in which asset prices appear to be based on implausible or inconsistent views about the future.

Back to our language – an asset can be considered any of our traits, skills talents or anything we possess. The source of value. But if we live in a bubble, our assets would be valued based on fairly inconsistent views about the future. Let’s face it, no one can predict the future, but scientific methods have grown to be increasingly correct. Still we are nowhere close to clarifying the idea of the “success bubble”.

Something from my last article:

A “success bubble” is a bubble which is formed around people with high goals by reading a large quantity of information about highly successful people. What happens is that you (read: myself) tend to compare yourself to them and correct your activities to achieve the success of someone else. You actually drive away from your vision path and the strategy which you had planned.

The second component of our bubble is the “success” part. I have come to think that today’s readers are bombarded with so much information that we are unable to think for ourselves. But the fun part is that there is no reality check. A person can find any reliable information to support his views, even if they are not in tune with anything sane.

To clarify things further, I will paraphrase  John Oliver and his overview of Scientific Studies. According to his research, there are so much studies on the same topic, that people can choose the one with the results they want to believe.

This same analogy made me come up with the term of “success bubble”. We are riddled with information all types of information on success:

  1. What defines success?
  2. How to achieve ours?
  3. What activities to undertake?
  4. What other people did?

Yes, this information is very helpful to read, but I feel it leads to more confusion. Even worse, it leads to low levels of confidence. Everyone has at least once been there.

How the “Success Bubble” Works?

The inner motivation kicks in. We have set out to do something that will take a lot of hard work, dedication, risk and sacrifice. Of course, the place to get basic info is the Internet. We start to read all sorts of articles on success, motivation and personal development. And soon after, we are more confused than we started off.

bubble 1

Humans are social creatures. It is impossible for us to function without others. Therefore it is only natural to use bench-marking in every part of life.

evaluate or check (something) by comparison with a standard – Wikipedia

The real problem comes up when we use those “standard”. What is the standard for success? Has anyone ever created a formula that guarantees it? – NO! But no one can be fully immune to the “success bubble”.

Exiting our comfort zone with little, or no confidence makes us very susceptible to the effects of the “success bubble”. Comparing ourselves to different leaders in our industry, we might realize that we are quite different. Does that mean we will not reach success?

Of course not! Redefining reality is what creates improvement.

More to come on the topic of “Success Bubble”

 

Personal Brand Development – The Guide for Young People

Personal Brand Development – The Guide for Young People

Young people easily get carried away in ideas and goals. It has to do with life experience, or to be precise, the lack of it. Daily dreaming often leads to nothing but frustration for not achieving those high goals. What I have come to learn is that we all possess a crucial asset that is constantly underdevelopedthe personal brand. 

The essence of every business is to create something that will satisfy a need to a market that is willing to pay enough for the business to survive. We focus methodically to develop the best product/service possible – often getting carried away, that we forget why we started in the beginning.

There is also a chance to use our business skills to make ourselves even better:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernhard Shaw, Author

Why not create yourself to satisfy the market needs? Learn to do stuff, make yourself visible to the “customers” and gain long term rewards. Even better, starting young, you have the opportunity. Explore the things you might want to become, test ideas and make drastic changes to improve your personal brand development.

What is a personal brand?

I will start with words of Tim Ferriss, the Author of “The 4-Hour Workweek”:

“Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your “blind” date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.”

personal brand consists of all the unique characteristics that one persona has. The use of this skills or traits solves problems or satisfies needs, just as any other product would. How well this job is done directly relates to the success of the brand. Everything you have done is considered an achievement. So are all the failures that you have learned from. Just like a product in its creation, your personal brand undergoes similar steps in becoming a successful one. But first, one thing is for sure:

having a specific skill set does not equal a successful personal brand

Why would you want to invest in personal brand development?

Lets assume that you know how to motivate people. It is a very crowded industry that has taken up a significant size in recent years. You can do a better job at motivating people than the competition. Lets also assume you have undergone specific training, you have some/lot of experience and satisfied clients. The problem is that you can’t get the “big gigs”. Than again, no one knows about you! 

How would they know when you live in your bubble of mediocrity? Why not make it big? Go out there and capture the market when you have the product to satisfy the needs!

Improving your personal brand does the following good things for you:

  1. Gives direction and focus – being devoted to something specific will only lead to success because of a clear devotion and direction. Your traits will shape your personal brand, thus giving you focus.
  2. Boost confidence – projecting yourself as a brand improves your professional success rate. If you are known for doing something successfully, repeating the success is a major bonus for your confidence.
  3. Sense of ownership – your professional “destiny” is in your hands. You face all the failures but also reep the rewards.
  4. Projects competence – you do not have to claim to be able to do stuff – your personal brand will speak for your ability.
  5. Makes you visible – anyone wanting to know more about you can easily find such info. Right away you are way better than anyone who does not invest in a personal brand. 

Tools of the trade

Before we go into the tools, you would have to define your target market. This would help a lot with picking the right channels for the job.

  1. Define your specific skills – what can you do with them?
  2. Find the market – the needs, the competition, the behaviour patterns
  3. Reach the market – different markets have different channels of reach
  4. Be patient – success does not come over night.

Once you have defined the prerequisites, get to work:

  1. LinkedIn – the worlds biggest professional network is the best place to start. Check out some of the following guides to help you use LinkedIn efficiently:
    1. The Ultimate Guide to a Perfect LinkedIn Profile
    2. 8 Steps To Creating A Powerful LinkedIn Profile
    3. How to Use LinkedIn: The Ultimate List of LinkedIn Tips
    4. So You’re on LinkedIn … Now What?
    5. 7 Steps To Creating the Best LinkedIn Profile
    6. The Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn
    7. LinkedIn – MOZ
    8. 5-Step Quick Guide For Getting Started On LinkedIn
  2. Blog/Personal Website – the most custom solution for personal brand development. Creating a personal website or a blog can do wonders for you. It is far more work demanding because it requires a wide range of additional skills, which you should be willing to learn (code, graphic design, SEO, marketing, social media and other). The best guides out there are:
    1. How To Start a Blog – A Complete Beginner’s Guide
    2. 10 Dos and Don’ts for The Personal Blogger
    3. How To Start a Blog – Beginner’s Guide for 2015
    4. The Ultimate Guide To Building A Personal Website
    5. The Newbie Guide to Blogging
    6. How to Start a Successful Blog Today
    7. How To Start A Blog (The Definitive Guide)
  3. Networking – the Internet is a tool that makes our life easier. Yet sometimes going the old fashioned way does the job. Go out there and meet the right people. Some interesting articles:
    1. Five Technology Tools To Boost Your Networking
    2. The Professional’s Guide to Networking
    3. 5 Tools for Managing Your Contacts and Boosting Your Network
    4. Networking: a How-to Guide
    5. The Introvert’s Guide to Networking
  4. Social Media – the presence of a lot of people on social media is a potential market that must not be undermined, no matter what target market you are trying to reach. Great insights at:
    1. A Brand of One: On Social Media Branding for Professionals
    2. 13 Ways to Use Facebook for Personal Branding
    3. How to Use Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand
    4. The 5 Keys to Building a Social Media Strategy for Your Personal Brand
    5. 26 Tips for Creating a Powerful Personal Brand Online

Bringing it Together

The idea behind this guide is to help you to start thinking of the concept of the personal brand. Once you have identified your need to recreate yourself the rest is relatively easy. My personal view is that every ambitious young professional should invest in personal branding for countless reasons. It is an investment that does not seem to ever have a return, but actually is the best one you will ever make.

Until next time!

Short Term Thinking- The Story of the Street Musician

Short Term Thinking- The Story of the Street Musician

This is the story of how one excellent street musician will never get pocket change from returning visitors. He has short term thinking!

For the past week I have been passing a young street musician who plays a brass instrument. He sits in one of the most congested locations in the city center, daily being heard by tens of thousands of people. My first impression was that he is very talented. He plays a rare instrument so he brings more value than, lets say, a guitar player simply because everyone has heard a guitar at one point in time. The outcome – lot more attention and tips. Without hesitation, I left tips two days in a row.

Here is the fun part – the “value” he brings to the listener somehow started to feel dull after a few days. That is when I noticed something: he was playing the same song all the time! Or 2 which were very similar. You did not have to be a musician to notice the same tunes, which made it even more obscure. This is when I started to ask the following questions:

  • Am I the only one who noticed this?
  • Am I grabbing lunch at the same time daily, so I catch him playing the same song in his repertoire?

To answer my questions I changed my schedule by 15 minutes. And whoala – he did the same thing, even in time differences of 15, 30 and 45 minutes! A song cannot be that long.

Now you would ask yourself what does this story have to do with business at all? Well you see, he does have a product (music with a rare instrument), that brings value to customers (listening to music makes increases happiness) and makes money selling it (or at least tips by anyone who has that wish). But the strategy behind the whole gig is set on short term goals. Why?

Not differentiating customers and their needs

Bringing the same value to every listener might be good in the beginning when no one knows your product. They are aroused by the new tunes and instantly attracted. But this is only for first or second time listeners. I pass there every day at least twice, so in a month I approximately count as 40 first time listeners. Now count all the business people who work around the location, visiting 40 times a month. WOW!

Money

Why would you want to keep your tip box empty? Or, even worse, stop your performance to empty it!? The perception is that he does not attract returning listeners because keeping the box empty attracts pitying first time listeners. They seem to think: “look at this poor talent! No one wants to help him”. But, for me, as a returning listener, this practice had an extremely negative effect. Once you see it, you start to question his credibility and talent. Things will never be the same.

Lack of motivation

Passing few days later I started to notice that he actually lacked energy. Imagine a young person playing a cool instrument, but having no passion and interaction with the public. Why would anyone in their right mind do that? It is all up to the short term goals – they are achieved with a lot less energy than needed, tips are good, I do not care to improve, who cares about returning visitors. Well your goals are way too mediocre for the product you have on hand.

The customer

Well informed customers will not pay for the product/service if the delivery is below average, or if they have been “defrauded” once. But the reality is how many actually are in this group? If such critical mass of customers formed, he would have been changing often and I would have seen it.

Bringing it together!

We can conclude that the street musician’s strategy for short term thinking just enough to please his needs and the market. Who needs to grow when the market has no need for more. Or is that the presumption you need to have? Thinking short term does have immediate rewards, but it does not enable sustainability. Think of this basic example – did people really need the first Ford Model T? Of course they needed it, but did not know it was possible. Now, do really people need the Tesla, when we have a saturated market of combustion engine cars? Time will tell, but it is the future of energy. My point is that eventually short term strategies get run over by those thinking on the long term. Their value is far more superior and customers love them more. Yes, it is extremely hard to think and act on the long run, but it is always worth the wait.

Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur – A Single Step Guide

Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur – A Single Step Guide

You have got an excellent idea! The next Facebook, Amazon, or E-bay? It must have been hard to come up with it. So now you reap the rewards of nothing. An idea, no matter how good or bad, is nothing until put to the test. I can say that the idea of Facebook was mine, but you would laugh and close this tab right away! Even if I did think of it, Mark made it a reality. Rewards do come from action.

Recently I read a few posts about the concept of wantrepreneurship. In the open space of the Net there is even a definition of a wantrepreneur:

someone who thinks about being an entrepreneur or starting a business but never gets started.

Going deeper into the concept, some features start to appear. According to Entrepreneur the differentiation between an entrepreneur and a wantrepreneur is about passion, taking massive action and sacrifice. Others say it comes down to worrying over ideas, worrying about capital, procrastination, fear of failure and lifeless goals. Some even mention the team, perception of success, motivation behind money and the concept of learning forever. 

We can go even further in depth but that is not the point. The conclusion: these are the basics of entrepreneurship itself. The curiosity behind this new idea (at least for me) has brought me back to starting a business. You constantly walk the line of no action/action, and believe me, it is very thin. At least this is the case of the beginning stages – idea stage. But no need to worry! Please follow my short SINGLE STEP GUIDE on how to stop being a wantrepreneur:

From Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur – A Single Step Guide

A question for you:

How long should you look into an idea before taking action?

What does look into mean? Any action towards research, learning, reading or any type of gathering information is part of this process. It is fully justified for you to take your time in inaction to properly do background research. But this can be an endless phase! Going through a lot of info in a short amount of time can have a toll on your mind. This is why you start to second guess you idea. You see a competitor which you did know existed, or a superior product, or even unforeseen regulatory framework and suddenly all you confidence is gone. But should it be? Of course not! Doing the research prepares you more for venturing and entrepreneurship always follows change. Be open to a bit of idea tweaking. 

INACTION TIME FRAME 

The SINGLE STEP GUIDE suggests the concept of INACTION TIME FRAME. It is the amount of time that you will willingly use up with no real action. As you read above, doing all the things to justify you idea is perfectly fine, but setting up an INACTION TIME FRAME is crucial for success. Before doing anything with any idea, predefine the amount of time you are willing to spent and FOLLOW it! In my experience it takes anywhere form 2 weeks to a month to do excellent preparation.

TIP 1: An excellent tool for the job is the Gantt Chart – a basic action plan, which you might have seen in sales plans. It looks like this:

Blog_2012_02_08_ProjMgmt1

The method does two things at the same time – uses pressure to push towards action and provides accountability for past actions. If you really want to achieve business success, one of the easiest ways to make yourself do things is to be under pressure. Creating an INACTION TIME FRAME does exactly that because it provides time boundaries. It constantly keeps you on the edge because it forces you to do things. The second important thing that makes this method successful is accountability. When developing a business idea most of the tasks are up to you, or a small team of people. If tasks are assigned to you/team than the outcome is directly and only related to performer of the task. Should something go wrong or be done better than expected, that person will be held accountable. Being accountable fights procrastination and free rider problems.

TIP 2: Setup clear actions and realistic time frames. Example: “research competition or “research legal framework” or “find and analyze substitute products”

The Leap

When is the actual leap from the inaction phase to the action phase? I always advise that the undertaking of these actions begins the process of creating a company:

  • getting your hands dirty
  • developing a product prototype and testing
  • recruiting team members
  • finding sources of capital
  • pitching the product to as many people as possible
  • negotiating contracts with vendors
  • going to the market (rather than waiting for it to come)

Basically any action which leads to the implementation of the idea ends the inaction phase. This is the braking point between a wantrepreneur and an entrepreneur. Once you have gathered the courage and confidence to take the leap, the real fun begins!

Best of luck future Entrepreneurs!

Your guide to overcoming the “Success Bubble”

Your guide to overcoming the “Success Bubble”

Daily digestion of large quantity of posts and news about successful people is part of our daily lives. How they have achieved something from nothing, done this, that and whatsoever. All that is cool for most readers, but what happens to those who want to thrive? But first of all – the success bubble

What is a success bubble?

I’ve come to create this concept because I fall in the category of people who like to read a lot and gather large quantities of info – God bless the Internet! Information does prove beneficial in achieving your goals and realising your ideas. But “information overload” – a concept, which seems to be present for some time now is far from just a concept. In my personal experience there seems to be an even more dangerous bubble forming inside the information overload concept – the “success bubble” as I like to call it.

A “success bubble” is a bubble which is formed around people with high goals by reading a large quantity of information about highly successful people. What happens is that you (read: myself) tend to compare yourself to them and correct your activities to achieve the success of someone else. You actually drive away from your vision path and the strategy which you had planned.

Just basic examples are the types of content like:

Number of things someone successful did to achieve that.

What are the traits/characteristics of high achievers/leaders/entrepreneurs?

Are you a leader/entrepreneur according to someone successful?

You get the idea.

As I said before, I used to read these posts a lot. I used to compare myself to them and correct my actions accordingly. I would get demotivated if according to someone I did not posses the traits of a successful person, or the opposite, motivated if I found myself in the content. But just a few days ago I came to understand something that has changed the way I digest daily content.

The guide to overcoming the “success bubble” for aspiring people

This guide comes from my personal views and experience – it has proven beneficial to me and would recommend it to anyone in similar position.

Do not stop your daily digest of the “success bubble”

In no way should you stop the daily intake of the information you find beneficial for you. Reading means learning so keep on learning.

Take info with a pinch of salt

By continuing to read content about success you might easily fall back in the “success bubble”. But have in mind what YOU want to achieve, compare but do not take for granted! Remember that high achievement comes from people who challenge reality and are often misunderstood by their social circles.

Write one yourself

Creating similar content from your personal perspective will show you how different you actually are. Be extremely open and honest with yourself and the results will come. There is no need to publish it or share it, just write it for yourself – because you create your success.

Be open to new information streams

Reading the same websites may be part of the routine, but have in mind that routine is only as good as the benefit it brings to you. Research new sites, go on forums, read on social media – there are endless opportunities just try to be open to them.

Final thoughts

Remember that information can also have a negative impact. Use this guide to channel the “success bubble” info to your needs. If someone became successful in one way, it does not mean it will work for you.

Now continue to roam the fields of info, but with a new weapon in mind.

What would you do if you had no fear?

What would you do if you had no fear?

Just a few weeks ago I re-read “Who moved my cheese” by Spencer Johnson and have to say that it gets to you every time. Last time it was from a perspective of a college bachelor and now from a young professional. The life motivation is not the same, so the book has a new meaning. Just a brief reminder – the book is about 2 mice and 2 people who chase cheese in labyrinths. the cheese is a metaphor for success and the different profiles of characters go after the cheese in different ways and at different time. The book is considered to be a must-read for change management.

And exactly the current changes in my life lead me to read it. What astounded me is that I actually see the “cheese” very differently. In college it was to finish exams on time, get excellent grades and gain the most out of your time. But now, just 4 years later there are new priorities. In the mean time I launched my startup, closed my startup, worked as an analyst and started this website. Going thought the book I found one quote struck me the most – “What would you do if you had no fear?”

And the more I think about it the more I love it. The premise behind the quote sits at the base of success – fear itself. Now trying to use this quote everyday is something to try. The results seem to come a lot easier later than at first. It took a week time to actually try to use it despite thinking of it. The situation was:

Starting my own blog/website which I have thought of for a long time. I always seemed to find an excuse not to launch, not to continue writing content and learn web design. Until the day I actually used IT.

What I have come to understand is that every young person lacks in confidence. Their society is not ready to accept them, they have too progressive ideas and are considered to be outlaws. But the thing is – you have nothing to lose, nothing to fear! Come to accept the baldness of your ideas and passions and make them you reality. Use this quote whenever you feel the lack of confidence and give yourself the push you need. Believe me, it does work, it brings results and it makes your path to success a LOT easier.

Is there ANYTHING good after closing your first start-up before 25?

Is there ANYTHING good after closing your first start-up before 25?

It is true that a new business endeavour requires beyond-human efforts, from the moment an idea is born, to the reality it turns out to be. Failure is always an option (despite how anyone expresses it, or doesn’t). But the thrill of doing something from scratch, never done before, defining the conventional thinking is addictive. Yet not every start-up succeeds, despite how good they were on the inside, or had huge market potentials on the outside.

Now imagine having the opportunity before the age of 25? Failing could/should have devastating effects on your future career? Well…..NO!

Starting and failing before 25 had taught me a few lessons about personal and professional growth that people who fail at 40 would absolutely kill to have known. I will try to summarise them in a few points:

You are way ahead of your peers!

It is good to have confidence in business, but I mean, how many people around you have pursued their idea and made it a reality – despite having failed at the end. The things learned throughout the process are invaluable and cannot be taught at school. Only YOU will benefit from this in the future. Experience gained, no matter if good or bad, is something which cannot be ever taken away, but will be your competitive advantage on the professional playing field.

You value your time!

Closing your start-up wasn’t about not trying anymore – but about doing something which will get higher return of your INVESTED time.  Every successful businessperson knows a thing, or two, about opportunity cost. There comes a time where the opportunity cost of trying too hard to achieve something becomes greater than the expected return of your time. It is not a question of giving up, but rather being smart in setting your future goals.

Financials

You must have developed a different perspective on money by now! Once you start earning it, they seem a bit more important. But that is a good thing since wise money management is considered to come with experience. Yet making your own (money) before 25 gives you an early advantage over anyone who hasn’t. Everything learned can be put to use in personal wealth management too, since concepts like investments, time value of money and opportunity cost have become second nature to you.

People

People form businesses and their interactions create value. So understanding and knowing people is key. But having your own business shows that you are already fairly familiar to this. Just forming my own startup team stretched my boundaries of understating people – how to find the ones with skills, but even more – people to who will align to THE vision.

P.S.

Now you see that there is a bigger purpose planned for you. Use everything you already have, never make the same mistakes twice and challenge the universe again!

Till next time.