A short talk on analyzing your passions and how to make them productive.
For the entrepreneur, business is more than just the promise of making money, it's the realization of one's goals. Most entrepreneurs I know, including myself, are goal driven - as opposed to money driven. Any entrepreneur worth his or her salt will tell you that their businesses are a reflection of their dreams. And...if they're lucky enough to make those dreams into reality, and that reality becomes a success (in whatever form that takes), then...the money follows.
As many of you know, I've had some wonderful experiences and successes in my business life. I've also had some endeavors that taught me what not to do. Yet...I still consider myself a serial entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. Some have a higher risk tolerance than others, however, as we've all recently learned - even working for someone else brings with it enormous risks.
When I look at my classrooms full of students, or sit on the stage at commencement, viewing hundreds of graduates as they get ready to go out into the business world, I wonder. Will they be able to find jobs? Will those jobs make them happy? Will their desires be fulfilled?
Today, more and more people have to think about going into business for themselves. Everyone I know...and that includes you, has brilliant ideas - things that could change the world in small or big ways. All it takes is direction, focus, knowing one's strengths and weaknesses, being able to realize when to partner with others and when it can be done alone, and having the tenacity to stick with an idea, set a plan, gather resources, and forge ahead.
I've coached and trained more entrepreneurs than I can count. I've helped them "get on their feet," given them advice, coached them through problems, and guided them so that they could avoid pitfalls and seize opportunities. It's part of what I love to do and is integral to my own entrepreneurial dream.
Sometimes, being business brave can be one of the most invigorating endeavors of a person's life. In today's environment it may be the best choice one can make. So...think about your desires, your plans, your wishes, what motivates you, what inspires you, what makes you (or would make you) want to "get up and go" each morning, and start conceptualizing your future endeavor(s). Life is finite...one's business journey should make a person happy and as contented as possible.
In the societies in which we live, economic survival is based (whether one agrees with it or not) on business and money - yes...they are both mental constructs, but - as with so many mental constructs, we make them real. Therefore, with that reality in mind - think, grow, innovate, and work on building your business dream. There is a sea of opportunities out there. And...you can acheive your business objectives while still being kind, compassionate, sustainable, and also by putting people before profits. Because when people come first...profits usually follow (especially if you understand what it takes to have the margins you need to be successful).
If you can handle the risk...it just might be worth it - in so many ways!
The world has been going through a perceived crises for some time now. Unemployment rates are high around the globe and here in the United States the economy and jobs have been a pressing issue for the last decade.
During last November's elections there was a cry, by some folks, to elect people who will help the "job creators" - whatever that means. Never overly specific as to how those jobs would be created, the proponents of the "job creators" always tend to believe that giving economic breaks to, and loosening government regulations on, businesses will ultimately create those elusive jobs. But, I have a better idea! I've mentioned this in class many times to my university business students.
Here it is: do away with ALL government regulations on businesses. They can pollute as much as they want, ruin our water, air, and ground, to whatever extent they choose. They can also pay whatever wages they want as well...minimum wage laws would be done away with, totally. Soon, people would be hired in droves.
Plus, because there would be so much pollution, new companies would be formed to clean up all the mess our now non-regulated businesses would create. Ah...entrepreneurial ingenuity! Employment would boom! There would probably be more jobs than people to fill them.
Of course, there are MAJOR drawbacks. No one would be able to breathe clean air and respiratory sicknesses would skyrocket even further than they are now (the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries would then...need more employees too), our water would be a mess and unhealthy to drink unless heavily filtered, the plants grown in our ground would be contaminated (as would be the ground itself), the animals that ate the plants would, most likely, become less healthy (including us), and our overall health rates would deteriorate quicker than they are today (the U.S. is ranked 51st among nations of the world in life expectancy).
It is very, very, unlikely that the cleaner-uppers would be able to make our environment clean enough to negate the constant pollution emitted by the messer-uppers. And - most of us, and our children, and their children, and their children, would have an extremely tough time existing in such an environment, let alone have the money to buy much more than basic necessities.
But...people would have their precious "jobs."
It is interesting to me that people put jobs on a higher pedestal than quality of life. To paraphrase a Native-American Chief who was addressing the "White Man" about work and jobs - his words are so very prophetic: "What is this thing you call work? Everything you need is right here."
So, be careful what you wish for, strive for, and desire. Unless you fully think it through and attempt to make sure that it enhances the quality of life for everyone (including, of course, yourself), and everything, on this Earth...it can wind up being the cause of your own demise.
It's been about a month since my last blog post. That's very unlike me. But...connectivity problems and computer glitches have created a situation that made it difficult to write on this site. Hopefully, that's over for now. However, I wonder how much of those troubles were related to Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath?
Which brings me to the topic of this post. Over the past six weeks I've had some automotive problems as well. While my car was in the shop, I rented cars. When I checked my bills I noticed that there was a stark pricing difference during one particular week. My charges were about 60% higher than during any other week. Upon inquiring I was told that it was because of Hurricane Sandy. I was startled...to say the least. Then I questioned the saleperson, "Shouldn't prices be lower when people are in need? Isn't it the compassionate thing to do in order to help people out during tough times?"
Of course, in our system of free enterprise, these price hikes are not unusal. When I posted my situation on a facebook page, someone else mentioned that the roofers were (rightly, in his opinion) charging higher prices to those folks who were affected by the storm as well. I find the whole thing distasteful.
We live in a paradox. Our value system instructs us to help the needy, while our economic system leads us to take advantage of them. I did some further investigation and found that the Governor of New Jersey had to render an edict against price gouging. That's says a lot about our morals - when the government has to stop businesspeople from taking customers "for a ride."
What has happened to treating people fairly and with compassion? If you study our financial system you'll also see that credit card companies charge people who have bad or questionable credit higher rates than those who have good or excellent credit. It creates a "catch 22." How can a person improve his or her credit when he or she is being "legally price gouged" with exorbitant interest rates and fees? When I was a kid they used to call those types of interest rates "loan sharking."
Can our economic system ever be fair? I doubt it, but...it's possible. What we all need to do, as consumers,
businesspeople, and leaders, is to teach fairness, compassion, and kindness. Of course, businesses must make a profit. But they can do so without taking advantage of their customers and employees. For that to happen, I believe that we need to adjust our societal moral compass. It only takes the realization that when a business treats people right, they create good will, positive "word of month" advertising, a lot more customers, and...loyalty. It works every time!
Life is a series of movements. We have no choice but to continue forward. Even if we would rather live in the past, we can't. One can mentally exist in a constant state of longing for the past. But, our lives are always in the now.
Yes...we all know that there are daily challenges. Nothing seems to take us directly to our goals. We have to, at least a good portion of the time, navigate the waters of being. There are always mountains to climb and valleys to cross. However...the path itself is straight. It may appear to be winding, but...in the end, you will realize that it was perfectly straight.
Along our passage through life we encounter those who we deem less fortunate, whether: physically, emotionally, economically, intellectually, or in any other fashion. Or we may be in the presence of those who inspire us to do great things. Perhaps...some may view us as the ones less fortunate or their inspiration.
However we appear, and whatever our mission as a person, deep inside we all should realize that we do not exist in a vacuum. Others help us as we travel through life. They give, or have given, of themselves so that we may grow. There will also come a time when each of us must return the favor. We should give back to those who have helped us, taught us, need our assistance, and our love and gratitude. Chances are we may not know the individuals we help, the animals we give care to, or the environment we embrace. But - when we give of ourselves, we complete (in a manner of speaking) the positive deeds done for us. This receiving and giving cycle remains with us for our entire lives (if we're fortunate enough to partake in it).
Give and receive, receive and give. As we keep the cycle going we fill our lives with an energy that helps us create contentment for ourselves and others.