How to Create Purpose and Not Fall into the Trap of Entrepreneurial Angst

Everyone asked Harvey, “What’s next?”

He’d always wanted to be an entrepreneur and from the age of 30 he lived the full cycle dream over the next decade: he founded a company; he attracted on board the right people and customers that enabled him to grow the business; he accelerated the company’s market share by raising multiple funding rounds; he sold the company and stayed for a further year before leaving.

At 40 Harvey felt that he had established himself. What’s next is a period of rest: a time to recharge and reflect; an introspective contemplation on the journey, the gruel and the grit and a time to look forward.

When he thought about the journey of building his business certain words came to mind: exciting, frothy, turbulent, dark, viable path, rebuild.

He’d been through a lot: he’d focused exclusively on the business; joy was a distraction and whenever it appeared he quashed it with anxiety; the stress of keeping the business on track was all consuming; he’d deferred his personal well-being until the business was sold.

In his mind he held a construct: growing a business leads to fulfilment, but the journey is an unhappy one; building a business involves a lot of sacrifice; relationships are put to the test and can be destroyed.

He had started his business because of a passion he had and a desire to be an entrepreneur rather than working for someone else. Unfortunately, his entrepreneurial experience had dark moments.

The real question Harvey was grappling with now was how could he do things differently in his next entrepreneurial cycle? He wanted to have the fulfilment of growing another great, world-changing business without the unhappiness along the way.

The challenge for serial entrepreneurs is that their priorities change. When Harvey started his first company he had a girlfriend. He now had a wife and two young children. He wasn’t prepared to sacrifice them and he wanted to make sure this next phase was not about the company at all costs. Having made it once, he hoped to enter his next entrepreneurial journey in a calmer state of mind and not have the anxiety he’d felt when building the first business.

His 30s had been about establishing himself. His hope now was to reach 50 with his family not only intact, but also proud of him. Not achieving a win with his next company would be devastating, but it would be a tragedy to achieve business success without family success.

Harvey’s first business had taught him that the end – a business success – did not always justify the means – a dark and painful journey. He realized that the joy-fulfilment ratio didn’t stack up against the sacrifices and pain of the journey to get there.

What Harvey needs is a superpower to give himself the staying power and emotional strength to both reach for his goals of consequence and work like crazy to achieve those goals. This superpower will give him the resilience he needs: to stay off the rocks of despair and avoid physical or mental breakdown; and to ensure he arrives at his 50s with his family intact, proud of himself and in a state of optimized well-being.

Here’s the secret: Harvey needs the superpower of fusion: he must interfuse happiness and fulfilment; by integrating the two he will find joy in his purpose; he will find that by working on his soul purpose he can be happy during the journey to achieve this goal.

Harvey need only remind himself of the people he knows who appear successful, but who are deeply unhappy to know that fusion is the answer. These confused people have let factors external to their soul purpose determine their path and their egos have trapped them in a loop of unhappiness: they become so focused on holding onto the construct that is fulfilling their measure of success that they are willing to forego any actual, intrinsic fulfilment.

Harvey is grateful that he has had his eyes opened before he did too much harm to himself. Given how much he had focused on his company above all else, he could very well have ended up on the rocks of despair – his company could have failed, his family could have left him. Yet here he was, conscious of the superpower he needs and aware of the dangers of not achieving fusion.

Going forward, Harvey has much work to do to align himself.

Firstly, he will need to go through a process of self-inquiry to determine his goals of consequence.

Secondly, he will also need to set his internal altimeter so he can measure his soul integrity and ensure he stays true to this. Doing so will empower him to achieve personal fulfilment. It will also have the added benefit of creating a powerful magnetic attractor: other people will observe how aligned he is to his soul purpose and be attracted to work with him in achieving his goals of consequence.

You can read more about fusing happiness and fulfilment in my book Fierce Reinvention.

A Near Death Experience Changes Perspective on Success

Sometimes major life events, like near death experiences, can help entrepreneurs find some much-needed perspective about what success means to them.

Read and listen to me being interviewed by the high energy Ramon Ray.

Want to Know the Secret to Being an Extraordinarily Great Leader?

You want to step up, but something always seems to hold you back. Could it be the intensity you bring to achieving your goals? There are ways you can ratchet up your intensity level and achieve extraordinary greatness.

First off, the greater intensity that is required for extraordinary greatness is encapsulated in the mantra: “being fierce.”

In a nutshell, being fierce involves:

  1. coming from a place of truth,
  2. ultimate authenticity, and
  3. being totally present in all that we do and think.

Let’s not forget though that being fierce is not about smashing it, owning it or any other form of faux aggression.

It turns out that consciously seeking and saying the truth involves knowing and working on our weaknesses. Constantly improving and stretching ourselves and our teams is a key element of being fierce and making the shift to extraordinary greatness.

Here’s the secret: extraordinarily great leaders are fierce with the truth. They never let a good story get in the way of telling it as it is. For example, if their business, venture or project is slipping on a deadline they don’t cover this up to the board, investors, or stakeholders. They speak plainly and this empowers their people to do the same. The result is a much more aligned organization that can rally around the problem areas and collectively make that deadline.

And get this: authenticity is Intertwined with fierce truth. We’ve all seen this situation play out: someone in a power role is disingenuous and manipulative with the truth. They may end up getting what they want in the short term, but along the way they lose followers. Inauthentic behaviour is deeply offensive and as humans we disassociate ourselves from it.

The fact is that when we are totally present we are more likely to both be more truthful and to appear more authentic. Again, we’ve all seen this situation play out: you are standing in your manager’s office at work and they aren’t listening to what you are saying. They could be thinking about something important to the business, like achieving the quarter’s looming targets, but you feel that you are being disrespected and made to feel insignificant. It is hard to remain engaged when your manager treats you this way.

But what if you flipped this situation around? Remember how you make your people feel by being fierce with yourself in their presence. Giving them your undivided attention, asking them how they are doing, and watching the beam on their face when they realise that you care about them, as people.

 

Discover more in my new book, Fierce Reinvention: A Guide to Harnessing Your Superpowers for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Success ($11.99 digital, 15.99 print (USD), October 2017) is available from Amazon.

 

 

How to Make the Shift to Extraordinary Greatness

This is Day Thirty in the 30 Days of Reinvention Video Series [#30DaysReinvention].

Form a pathway to journey on and do extraordinary things.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Hey, it’s Rand,

Over the last 30 days, I’ve provided you with the mindset and tools to kickstart your journey of reinventing yourself.

I encourage you to build on this knowledge base and create your own fierce practice.

Exactly how fierce you are, and how much of a reinvention you undertake depends entirely on you

Will you be fierce?

Will you be fiercer?

Will you be your fiercest self?

The intensity level you choose comes from a place deep inside you: it comes from a place of truth; a place of ultimate authenticity; and a place where you are totally present in all that you do and think.

Being fierce is not about smashing it, owning it or any other form of faux aggression.

There is no ferocity in being fierce only truth.

You should consciously seek and say the truth; you should work on and know your weaknesses; and you should constantly improve  and stretch yourself so that you can make the shift to extraordinary greatness.

You don’t need anyone’s permission  to make this shift,  but there are pathways that can ease your way think of these pathways as being signposted by breadcrumbs, or morsels of permission.

These are the small parts of possible that appear in different places; these are the small parts of possible which appear at different times; and they can be easily missed.

You need to be hyper-aware and mindful of them. You need to assemble them like a puzzle, so that, like magic, these seemingly disparate pieces form a pathway on which you can journey and do extraordinary things.

Making the shift to extraordinary involves granting ourselves and others the permission to shift from  doing things in a linear, constrained way.

It involves approaching apparent dead ends with this mentality and the results will be the opening up of new paths of possibility.

I wish you well on your journey of reinvention, and I extend to you an open invitation to engage with me. Keep me up to date on how your life changes and on the incredible things that happen to  you as your progress your practice of being fierce.

How to Meditate More Self-Awareness

This is Day Twenty Nine in the 30 Days of Reinvention Video Series [#30DaysReinvention].

Connect to a mindful awareness of your feelings at both a mental and physical level with this guided meditation.

Meditation Can Make You A Better Leader. Here’s How…

The good news is that meditation can benefit us in three ways:

  1. It can treat depression and reduce stress,
  2. It can raise our happiness set point, and
  3. It can help make us a better leader.

I touch on meditation, mindfulness and the power of living in the now in my new book Fierce Reinvention, which also includes a guided meditation exercise so that you can feel this power first hand.

Think of meditation as the process of substituting your discursive mind with another object of attention, such as your breath, a chant or a sound. It’s that simple.

But beware, meditation is not a form of self-help in who to become or how to be.

Here’s the kicker: meditation is a path of fierceness, reinvention, and wisdom; it is a path to help us discover who we truly are, not who we are expected to be because of some internal or external agenda.

What’s the magic formula?

Meditation requires us to be fierce, because it can be anything but peaceful. In meditation we don’t shut out anything that comes up no matter how uncomfortable we may feel with an emotion, memory, or thought that arrives while we are in this state.

When we meditate we let go of the barriers and walls we have built around us; we stop grasping for things we want and guarding against things we don’t want.

Amazingly, when this happens we come to realize how vulnerable we are; we see vulnerability all around us. And this foundational insight increases our propensity for compassion. And it gets even better because compassion is a gateway to becoming a better leader.

Discover more about meditation, mindfulness and the power of living in the now in my new book, Fierce Reinvention: A Guide to Harnessing Your Superpowers for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Success ($11.99 digital, $15.99 print (USD), October 2017), which is available from Amazon.

How to Change Your Relationship To Negative Feelings

This is Day Twenty Eight in the 30 Days of Reinvention Video Series [#30DaysReinvention].

Empower yourself by creating a space between action and emotion.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Meditation is a powerful way of forming a different relationship to things you are feeling or experiencing.

At first this changed relationship will be true only during meditation, but over time you can extend and expand this relationship into your everyday life.

think of a recent feeling of irritation you had  for somebody or something.

What is your relationship to that feeling?

Are you stuck with that feeling?

Is it replaying over and over in your mind?

This constant replay is a form of reinforcement. Neuroplasticity works both ways: delivering either positive or negative change  to your brain’s neural structure and function.

Can you step back from that feeling?

Start by recognising it, and then deconstruct it into its various elements.

Can you now start to change your thinking about that feeling?

Hold back your initial troubled reaction to it and replace it with a sense of calm, replace it with a sense of spaciousness.

Does this create a space between the act of doing or not doing and your feeling toward it?

Does it help you separate out the action and the emotion it initially gave rise to?

Your aim is to reach a point where you no longer reinforce the negative and instead you link that difficult feeling with the deep well of open, untroubled awareness that exists within yourself,

This leads to a relaxation of the need to react to that negative feeling and immediately disempowers that feeling.

You will find yourself less controlled by such feelings. You’ll find yourself less in fear of being in situations that may give rise to them and therefore less likely to avoid such circumstances.

This is at the heart of being fierce.

When you are more relaxed overall you find yourself being less fatigued, you find yourself being more productive,  you find yourself being more emotionally intelligent and you find yourself making more strategic decisions.

This is at the heart of being a better leader.

Understanding that you can change your brain through your mind you are empowered to transform your life.

How to Amplify Your Impact

This is Day Twenty Seven in the 30 Days of Reinvention Video Series [#30DaysReinvention].

Harness the Power of Contagion.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Hey, it’s Rand,

You may be doing wonderful things in the world already, but if no one knows about them, if no one knows about you, it can be very difficult to attract the right resources around yourself to amplify your impact.

 You need to develop your personal brand and harness the power of contagion.

 There are six rules to creating contagion:

Firstly, embrace messy.

 The real world isn’t a clean, ordered place. Embrace the messy bits  and do things even if you’re not yet perfect at them.

Show up and push the edges.

 Secondly, release control.

Give up control over your brand to your followers and let them evangelise for you. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Thirdly, you need to back fires.

Pour small amounts of gasoline on the fires that you already have burning, rather than pumping gallons onto large logs that haven’t been tested.

 Fourthly, scare yourself.

Look for issues that take you out of your comfort zone  and tackle them.

If you go right to the edge and really scare yourself, it will then be easier to then deal with the smaller issues closer into your comfort zone.

 The fifth rule of contagion is to solve small.

Give your followers small problems to solve. This gets them used to working with you to build your brand and once you have established a pattern of problem-solving you can ratchet up the size of the problems you offer to your followers.

The sixth rule is to hook into virality.

You need to create a viral coefficient that is greater than one as this means that every person who hears about your personal brand in what you are doing immediately tells a minimum of two friends or colleagues who in turn going to tell two more, which eventually exponentialises into a huge following.

The trick to having a positive viral coefficient is to create a viral loop that has the minimum number of steps in it before that one person passes on the message of your great work to others.

How to Exponentialize Your Performance

This is Day Twenty Six in the 30 Days of Reinvention Video Series [#30DaysReinvention].

Set a guiding principle, lift your game and your focus.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Hey, it’s Rand,

What’s your transformational question?

For the Greek mythological hero, Odysseus, the question was,“Where is true home?”

This became his guiding principle as he laboured, day in day out, on his epic quest.

To exponentialize your performance you need to set that guiding principle and take one small step forward, and then another, and before you know it, you will have established something unique that the world has never seen.

Your transformational question will kickstart your passion and provide the impetus  to take that first step.

Odysseus didn’t answer his transformational question overnight and neither will you. It will take hard work, long hours and persistence.

To remain in pursuit of your goal set smaller milestones that you can achieve each year, as making progress in 2 to 3 things at a time will prevent you from feeling stuck.

What is your first milestone?

You also need to make a psychological shift and step up into the ranks of elite performer,

which requires being very deliberate  with the things you’re saying and doing. It also requires you to not have to prove yourself or come across as trying too hard, and you need to feel like you belong, you need to feel that you are entitled to be where you are.

Can you find your authentic and unique voice?

Think of yourself as a force. Can you visualise this force?

How strong is it?

As you settled in for the long haul?

That’s good, but don’t settle in too much or you will create ruts. If you don’t push yourself hard enough you will become too comfortable and dig a deeper and deeper rut that will be very hard to escape from.

Don’t expect to feel 100% secure. if you’re not somewhat scared you will become complacent and your inspiration will wane.

Is the fear always there?

How strong is it?

Exponentializing requires you to lift your game and focus. Reduce the things that you don’t need, create a solid core of who you are, both as a person and as an elite performer, and become aware of any compulsions or rabbit holes.

By focusing on what you fundamentally believe to be important you can avoid being sucked into one of these rabbit holes.

What are you doing to ensure you actively engage in your journey?

Are you sure you aren’t leaving anything to chance?

Listen to your self talk. Is it your worst critic? Do you constantly engage in negative thought patterns? Visualise yourself on a higher level and  create the right thinking patterns to get you there.

Lastly, remember that what you put in, is what you get out and ensure you optimise your inputs. get the right level of nutrients from your diet, breathe deeply to optimise your oxygen intake.

The more physically active you are, the more focus you will have. And sleep more so you can build both body and mind muscle.

How to Use the Power of Visualization

This is Day Twenty Five in the 30 Days of Reinvention Video Series [#30DaysReinvention].

Achieve more by visualizing success in advance.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Hey, it’s Rand,

Years ago I became national champion in a very athletic sporting event that also included a fair amount of strategy.

In addition to rigorous physical training I maintained a daily positive visualisation practice.

Picturing myself winning, was as powerful as actually practicing.

The more you visualise a goal or outcome in advance, the more ability you have of achieving it.

 But bear in mind that your mind’s DNA, the way that it thinks, can either express itself negatively or positively.

If you visualise a disaster, guess what, you will most likely end up with a disaster.

But if you can visualise how a situation will play out as a success then you’re putting a positive spin on it and shifting your inner voice to a positive feel about that event this will cause every single fibre of your being to shift positively as well.

If you don’t make positive visualisation a daily practice, then your default negative voice will kick in and override any visualisation work you may have done previously.

Don’t think that once you are successful this all goes away. Even the most successful people in the world grapple with this on a daily basis. The table stakes simply get higher. If you fail after a big success, you fall harder.

Consider your goals of consequence and visualize being successful with them first. From there, cascade down into your daily activities and  visualise success with them.

You want to have a positive frame of mind all the way from your high-level goals down to your daily activities.

 if you have a positive view on a meeting, but a negative view over all, that will negatively impact the meeting. It may not totally cancel out the positive thoughts you have conjured up, but at the very least it will become a source of confusion for other participants who will pick up on your mixed messages. Aim to have that positive expression cascading all the way by visualising  how the meeting will turn out and thinking positively on a constant basis at different times during the day.