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Hey Entrepreneur – You Need More Heads, Not More Hats

Hey Entrepreneur – You Need More Heads, Not More Hats

Entrepreneurship - I really am obsessed, entranced, and totally immersed in all its charms. It’s the only kind of roller-coaster ride I truly enjoy. I love the fire and drive of a real entrepreneur, that person who “has an undertaking” and is determined to see it through. I love playing a part in innovation, in bringing value into the world in as many unique ways as there are unique people. But what I do NOT love is watching an entrepreneur go through the pain of trying to fit just ONE MORE hat onto a head that’s already overloaded. So here’s a love tap for all you “I can do it ALL” entrepreneurs. Yes, you can. You’re smart, you’re passionate, you’re committed, and you’re willing to learn anything and do anything necessary to make your business a success. Your motto is “Whatever it takes” and you take that seriously. But it doesn’t matter how hard you’re willing to work, or even how good you get at wearing all of the hats. You won’t ever be the only person you need in your business. Here’s why: You know that pretty much every trait has a continuum from one extreme to another, right? Yin to yang. Introvert to extrovert. Perfect pitch to tone deaf. Most people, for any of those characteristics, fall somewhere along the continuum. Not all the way to one extreme or to the other. So let’s take a VERY simplified look at two characteristics that are VITAL for a successful business — Innovation, and Replication. Without innovation there is no new value being introduced. No competitive edge, no way...
What Do You Stand For – and Do You Have the Right to Defend It?

What Do You Stand For – and Do You Have the Right to Defend It?

Freedom. It’s a basic tenant of “the American Dream” and a universal need in the human psyche. We crave the freedom to express our personal style in the way we dress, to express our spirituality in where and how we worship. We expect to have the freedom to choose our country’s laws and leaders through democratic process and the freedom to move across the nation without impediment. But perhaps the freedom we guard most passionately is the freedom to stand up for what we believe is right. But let’s say you are a business person, or maybe you’re a decision maker for a mega-brand, does the individual’s freedom of expression trump your right to take a stand? And how much influence does or should public opinion have in the determination of “right.” There have been some interesting examples to learn from. Phil Robertson caused an outcry from A&E, the network that carried his family’s reality show, Duck Dynasty, when he made statements that the network found unacceptable. But following the network’s announcement that they planned to suspend the outspoken Mr. Robertson came an outcry from viewers. A&E, they said, was violating Mr. Robertson’s freedom of speech by penalizing him for stating his beliefs in public. Mr. Robertson was reinstated. Cracker Barrel found themselves in a bit of a predicament over that incident as well. The company first said that it was concerned about offending guests by carrying products with the Duck Dynasty brand, and then reversed that decision in the hue and cry that followed. End result; all was restored. Mr. Robertson went back to his show and Cracker...
Can Your Inner Artist Save Your Life (or at least your bacon?)

Can Your Inner Artist Save Your Life (or at least your bacon?)

I’ve had a lot of days this last year when I felt a lot like this old typewriter. Worthless, rusty, archaic and unable to create anything at all. When you’re a writer, that sucks. Because writers are, by preference if not definition, artists. And artists are, supposedly anyway, creative by nature. So when my creative nature starts feeling like an old friend whose address I’ve gone and lost, I experience an identity crisis. I begin to question what I’m going to do, if I cannot create. Because every aspect of what I do - writing blogs and books, holding conversations with audiences,  group or individual coaching - requires that I be able to create. So I begin to question how I’m going to pay the bills, if I cannot create. I begin to question what I’m worth, if I cannot create. And in asking that question I begin to realize that we all pay our bills by creating. We create solutions, we create distractions, we create incentives, we create a new way of doing something or we create a system for doing something the old way the same way every time. We are all artists! The love of my life is a personal trainer, massage therapist, and genius at making movement make sense. And he says to me often, “Everyone is an athlete. We would all rather dance through life than crawl through it and that means training the body to dance.” Of course you’ve heard me say I’m a firm believer that we are all entrepreneurs because we all have an undertaking - whether it’s our business, our...
Why I Always Work on My Birthday

Why I Always Work on My Birthday

Twenty-nine years ago today I inched my way down a steep and overgrown trail, over the guard rail and under low hanging branches, to reach a little bit of secluded shore line on Clinton Lake just outside of Lawrence, Kansas. Not that Clinton Lake doesn’t boast any number of public swimming beaches, it was just that I wanted to be alone.  I had with me a small bag of edible goodies, a thermos of water (bottled water being unheard of back then,) a notebook and pen and an over-sized towel. The most important items on that list were the notebook and pen. I spent the morning swimming and writing, dozing in the sunshine and writing, walking up and down my little stretch of muddy beach and writing, and thinking.  I did a lot of thinking. I had a lot to think about. Earlier that year I had been with my father’s mother when she said goodbye to this earth. I’d sung In The Garden at her funeral service and heaped lilacs on her grave. I’d opted not to travel to Colorado for the funeral for my mother’s mother, only months later, because I’d already taken so much time away from work to care for my other grandmother. But my dreams were filled with vignettes of her and her little house with a garden wall I could walk on and a clock that chimed sweetly every half an hour. And I was just coming to grips with the knowing that my father’s cancer had returned. In the bone. It was my 21st birthday. And I felt closer to death than I...

Whose Fault is it Anyway?

  (A little context for those of you in sunny climes or reading this post in some time so far in the future that the weather today is irrelevant. Today is March 24th, and Spring has sprung a winter storm system on the Midwestern states that is predicted to leave us with seven inches or more of snow. ) In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; one of my favorite resources for the wise and the witty, Douglas Adams tells us how to make a problem disappear completely. You simply turn it into an SEP. Because, you see, SEP stands for “Somebody Else’s Problem.” And when you can make that problem somebody ELSE’S problem it disappears. For you. That isn’t working for me on this fifth day of spring, watching snowflakes accumulate on the balcony outside my window. But it works for a lot of problems. Blame it on someone else and, if it doesn’t disappear, at least you’ll get so much sympathy that you can stand to look at it. Blame it on someone else and, even if you still have to deal with it, it’s not YOUR problem, you’re now the poor martyr who is slogging away under the weight of an SEP. How important is it for you to “own” your problems? Let’s just say unless you own your problems you cannot own your life.  My friend Joe Tye, author of The Florence Prescription, Never Fear Never Quit, and other great books, likens the value of ownership in a company with our mindset about renting a car. We don’t treat a rental car the way we would one that...

I Ain’t Skeered Of Nothin’

If that’s true, you don’t need to read this. But let’s get real. You’ve been afraid, haven’t you? It’s okay, you can admit it. Contrary to what sports enthusiasts and drill sergeants would have you believe, fear is nothing to be ashamed of. But you don’t have to let it limit your life. In fact, moving through fear to make the choices that best serve your life is a prerequisite for living an unlimited life. “Whatever you believe you fear owns your life.” That’s from one of my journals, and anytime I believe I am afraid of something, I make it a point to take my life back by challenging that belief. But there is one fear, or belief in fear, that’s been kicking me in the teeth – or more accurately in the mind - for most of my life. Last weekend, I got out my toolbox and did some major demolition. Because that belief in fear was in the way of something I wanted to do. My toolbox is full of fear-blasting techniques and processes. But my demolition project last weekend took all of them; I even ended up creating some new ones. Taking you through all of it would require more space than I’m going to give it here. But I’ll walk you through the first three steps. Step One – Balance fear against desire Most people are afraid of lions, tigers, and bears. At least they would be if they encountered them in the wild. We accept this fear as reasonable since lions, tigers and bears all have a track record of doing significant damage...