Before I started Vanderbloemen Search Group , I was a pastor for many years. And during that time, I had the immense honor and weighty responsibility of officiating several funerals for people who served in our armed forces.
If you’ve ever been to a veteran’s funeral, you’ve probably seen the casket draped in the United States Flag. I remember presiding over both of my grandfathers’ funerals and watching the servicemen painstakingly remove, fold, and present the flags to my grandmothers during the services.
I used to wonder, “Why do we keep the flag? Why not let the fallen soldier take it with him to his grave?” Through the ages, people have sent mementos to accompany the departed. Whether it was enormous treasures for Pharaohs in Egypt, horses buried with departed generals, or even a stuffed animal with a deceased child, we have a long history of burying belongings with the dead. So why not the flag with the fallen soldier?
Then, a few years ago, a friend of mine explained it to me.
This is a significant lesson to keep in mind as we remember our fallen heroes this weekend. We recall their falling with grief, we honor their sacrifice with gratitude, and we celebrate the fact that, because of them, our flag still flies. And because of that, we walk on with hope and courage.
Entrepreneurs, can you see the parallels to the hope needed as you lead your business? For me, I feel called to stay in close touch with the cause behind my business. Without the cause, my spirit might falter every time we run into a challenge or experience a failure. And if I’m not running fast after our cause, how can I expect my team to run fast after it as well? Will you hold fast to the cause for which you are providing a solution or will you falter as problems arise?
The soldier may have fallen, but the flag still flies. We may suffer failures from new ideas, bad hires, or leadership mistakes. We may face setbacks from growing pains, economic frustrations, and difficult clients. But the flag of our mission, our “why” behind all we do, still flies.
When I focus on our larger cause, I’m reminded that those failures are only temporary setbacks, not the death of the cause. When I focus on our cause, I see a new problem as an opportunity to solve a new challenge for our clients. And likewise, when it’s the end of my time at my company and I pass the baton on to the next leader, the flag of the mission will still fly.
Our fallen soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice, and I’m not minimizing that. Nor do I want to over-dramatize our business lives. But today can serve as a timely reminder for entrepreneurs to ask themselves, “Does my business have a cause that can outlast major setbacks and outlast me?” If not, spend time reflecting on the reason you started your business and the cause that fueled your passion to start it.
Take time today to remember the fallen heroes of our armed forces. Thank God for those who have laid down their life to preserve our national freedom. And let that theme guide you to reflect on how you can focus your business around a cause more permanent than ever. It may make the difference between surviving your next bump in the road or not.
Originally posted on Forbes by William Vanderbloemen
There may be a hundred remarkable character traits that define you or your favorite successful small business owner. When you compare the entrepreneurs behind successful small businesses, however, a handful of traits rise to the top.
Here are some of the most common and powerful character traits that describe small business owners who have started successful businesses.
Most small business owners are driven to succeed; they want to see their businesses grow, from startup to established business. Drive is a very common characteristic among successful entrepreneurs because starting a business can be challenging, and some challenges call for a moderate amount of competitiveness, determination and motivation.
Drive can take a small business owner far, provided there is a target to be reached. Without SMART goals and the ability to focus on the actions required to reach those goals, success can be elusive. Most successful business owners take time to set goals so they have clarity about where they are going and how they intend to get there.
Confidence is a very powerful character trait that can instill trust, facilitate respect, and often lead to increased success. The most successful business owners have a steady, quiet confidence that doesn’t border on arrogance or egotism.
It can be very difficult to overcome the challenges of starting and running a successful business without a true passion for your work. Some of the most successful small business owners have either directly developed businesses based on their passions, or they are able to incorporate things they are passionate about into the day-to-day operation of their businesses.
Since a significant part of business success can be related to financial success, most successful small business owners become very savvy at creating budgets and sticking to them as they manage the operation of their businesses. This ability to know what funds you have available, where to reduce expenses, and how to make smart decisions when it comes to spending can often determine the success of a small business.
While building and managing a team may be an important part of some small businesses, many successful entrepreneurs also have a defined self-reliance. The ability to think and act independently, without the input of others, is a very common trait among successful small business owners.
Many entrepreneurs may be self-reliant, but the most successful are also able to ask for help when they need it, give credit where credit is due, admit when they are wrong, and accept constructive criticism. These small business owners have an ability to keep their feet on the ground during even the most satisfying accomplishment, and never forget where they started from.
Being a small business owner comes with its up and downs; there are victories, setbacks, chaos and calm waters. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who are resilient and able to bounce back after an unexpected challenge and get back up after facing a setback.
Many small business owners handle a vast array of responsibilities in their businesses, wearing many different hats during the course of the workday. The ability to block out distractions and focus on the immediate issue, task or goal as well as the bigger picture can be a key trait in a successful entrepreneur.
While focus is an important trait found in most successful small business owners, it’s also important to keep an open mind and consider different perspectives. Small business owners who are willing to consider alternative ideas and try new processes may be more likely to reach significant levels of success.
thanks to Alyssa Gregory from thebalance.com
Ask successful people how they achieved their success and you’ll hear words like “hard work,” “sacrifice,” and “persistence.”Dig a little deeper and you’ll find some other common attitudes and habits, like these:
1. They know their success was only inevitable in hindsight.
Read stories of successful entrepreneurs and it’s easy to think they have some intangible entrepreneurial something–ideas, talent, drive, skills, creativity, whatever–that you don’t have. Wrong. Success is inevitable only in hindsight. It’s easy to look back on an entrepreneurial path to greatness and assume that every vision was clear, every plan was perfect, every step was executed flawlessly, and tremendous success was a foregone conclusion. It wasn’t. Success is never assured. Only in hindsight does it appear that way. If you’re willing to work hard and persevere, who you are is more than enough. Don’t measure yourself against other people. Pick a goal and measure yourself against that goal–that is the only comparison that matters.
2. They decided to choose themselves.
Once you had to wait: to be accepted, to be promoted, to be selected–to somehow be “discovered.” Not anymore. Access is nearly unlimited; you can connect with almost anyone through social media. You can publish your own work, distribute your own music, create your own products, attract your own funding. You can do almost anything you want–and you don’t have to wait for someone else to discover your talents. The only thing holding you back is you–and your willingness to try.
3. They help others succeed, knowing that ensures they will succeed.
No one accomplishes anything worthwhile on his or her own. Great bosses focus on providing the tools and training to help their employees better do their jobs–and achieve their own goals. Great consultants put their clients’ needs first. Great businesses go out of their way to help and serve their customers. And as a result, they reap the rewards. If you’re in it only for yourself, then someday you will be by yourself. If you’re in it for others, you’ll not only achieve success. You’ll also have plenty of real friends.
4. They know that sometimes the best way to finish first is to be the last.
Success is often the result of perseverance. When others give up, leave, stop trying, or compromise their principles and values, the last person left is often the person who wins. Other people may be smarter, better connected, more talented, or better funded. But they can’t win if they aren’t around at the end. Sometimes it makes sense to give up on ideas, projects, and even businesses–but it never makes sense to give up on yourself. The one thing you can always be is the last person to give up on yourself.
5. They do what no one else is willing to do.
The extra mile is a lonely place, because almost no one goes there. Go there–as often as you can.
6. They don’t network. They truly connect.
Often the process of building a network takes on a life of its own and becomes a numbers game. You don’t need numbers. You need real connections: people you can help, people you can trust, people who care. So forget numbers. Reach out to the people whom you want to be part of your life–even if just your professional life–for a long time. When you do, forget about receiving and focus on providing; that’s the only way to establish a real connection and relationship. Make lasting connections and you create an extended professional family. You’ll be there when they need you, and they will be there when you need them.
7. They think, but more important, they do.
Strategy is not a product. Binders are filled with strategies that were never implemented. Develop an idea. Create a strategy. Set up a rudimentary system of operations. Then execute, adapt, execute some more, and build a solid operation based on what works. Success isn’t built on strategy. Success is built through execution. Incredibly successful people focus on executing incredibly well.
8. They know “leader” is a title that is earned, not given.
“Leaders” aren’t just the guys who double the stock price in six months, or the gals who coerce local officials into approving too-generous tax breaks and incentives, or the guys who are brave enough to boldly go where no man has gone before. (If you don’t get that last reference, you’re too young. Or I’m too old. Probably both.) Those are examples of leadership–but typically the kind of leadership that is situational and short-lived. Real leaders consistently inspire, motivate, and make you feel better about yourself than you might even think you have a right to feel. They’re the kind of people you’ll follow not because you have to but because you want to. You’ll follow them anywhere–and you’ll follow them forever, because they have a knack for making you feel like you aren’t actually following. Wherever you’re headed, you always feel like you’re going there together. Creating that bond takes time.
9. They see success as an outcome, not a driver.
Ever heard someone say, “If I got promoted, then I would work harder”? Or, “If the customer paid more, then I would do more”? Or, “If I thought there would be a bigger payoff, I would be willing to sacrifice more”? Successful people earn promotions by first working harder. Successful businesses earn higher revenue by first delivering greater value. Successful entrepreneurs earn bigger payoffs by first working hard, well before any potential return is in sight. Most people expect to be compensated more before they will even consider working harder. Incredibly successful people see compensation as the reward for exceptional effort, not the driver–whether that reward is financial or personal or simply the satisfaction that comes from achieving what you worked incredibly hard to achieve.
10. They wish you knew there really are no dirty little secrets.
Except this one: There are no magic bullets. There are no shortcuts. There are no hacks. Success–in whatever you choose to pursue–is always achieved through hard work and persistence. It’s easier to assume that other people succeed because they have something you don’t have. But in reality, the primary difference is that they are willing to do something you won’t do. So go do it.
1. Learn to think big
In The Magic of Thinking Big, author David Schwartz gives suggestions to help you develop creative power through belief. He writes, “Eliminate the word impossible from your thinking and speaking vocabularies. Impossible is a failure word. The thought ‘It’s impossible’ sets off a chain reaction of other thoughts to prove you’re right.” He then advises us to think of something we’ve been wanting to do but felt we couldn’t, and make a list of the reasons why we can do it. When we start thinking big and believing things can be done, our minds start working for us to find solutions to our problems.
It’s possible for you to do work you love, be very successful, find your passion, and build a life you love, and it starts with being able to think big.
2. Make decisions from the viewpoint of “future you”
Think about future you. Future you is the best possible version of you. Future you is the person you most want to be. It’s the “you” that lives your priorities and reaches big goals. What does future you want you to do today?
Does future you want you to go running tomorrow morning, or hit the snooze button a few times? Does future you want you to stay another year at the job you don’t like, or be brave enough to find your dream job? Does future you want you to take action toward a meaningful goal tonight, or mindlessly scroll through your social media newsfeeds?
Let the viewpoint of future you guide you as you make decisions in your daily life.
3. Rephrase your self-talk
Start paying attention to how you talk to your friends versus how you talk to yourself. If a friend says, “I want to lose 30 pounds,” you’d say, “Oh, that’s awesome! If anyone can do it, you can! I’m here to cheer you on; you’re going to do great! You’ve got this! Now go crush your goal!”
Compare that to how we often talk to ourselves. If we tell ourselves, “I want to lose 30 pounds,” we look in the mirror and say, “Ya, right. You’ve tried before and failed. There’s no way you can do it. You’re too far gone now, why even try? You’ll never keep up an exercise habit. Healthy eating? Hahahaaaa. Nope.”
I want you to start treating yourself with the utmost respect. Start talking to yourself in a kind, encouraging, supportive way, as you would your best friend. One way you can work on your self-talk is by rephrasing your sentences. Instead of saying, “I can’t,” rephrase it to, “I don’t know how — yet — but I can learn.”
4. Take action even when you’re scared
One of the best ways to build your confidence is by taking steps out of your comfort zone. When you learn to act even when you’re scared, your confidence and momentum build. You don’t have to start by taking massive leaps out of your comfort zone. Just start taking one baby step each day. Strike up a conversation with a stranger, try a different spice in a recipe, or ask that person on a date.
You can let fear guide your life, or you can learn to act even when you’re afraid. Working toward big goals and building the life of your dreams will require you to move outside of your comfort zone, and although it’s scary, it’s incredibly rewarding.
5. Set goals that align with your priorities
No matter how ambitious you are, and how successful you are according to society, it’s tough to feel truly fulfilled in your life if you’re not living your life according to your priorities. Define what a successful life means to you. Does it mean reaching a certain income level and building a strong financial legacy? Does it mean having a great work-life balance? Does it mean building your own business? Does it mean raising kids who are kind, helpful people? It’s important to think about what it means to you to be successful, and set goals that align with your priorities, so you can work toward your version of success in a way that feels authentic and fulfilling.
Developing a mindset for success is not an overnight process, but it can be done. Continue to work on your mindset and your life will change in amazing ways!
orginally posted by KERRY PETSINGER on Lifehack
Being productive is all about preparation. If you know what you need to do ahead of time, you will know exactly where to dive in as soon as you get started. On the flip-side, if you do not take the time to prepare, you will find yourself flustered and uncertain because you now have to think through whatever it is you need to do. Having a great week does not start on Monday. It starts Sunday night. It begins with what you set in your mind you are going to do, before you actually set out to do it. Here are a few ways to “get your mind right” for the week ahead:
1. Reflect on what you’ve already finished.
Your to-do list is, and will always be, fluid. It moves as you move, and it stays put as you stay put. If you don’t get things done, they remain on the list. And if you are always getting things done, then your list will be a growing and expanding reflection of that process (which is the goal). However, in order to know what is “next,” you need to take a moment to reflect on the status of where things currently are. Look through your to-do list from the week prior and see what you got done or didn’t get done–and then ask yourself why certain things got accomplished and others didn’t. If something remains on your to-do list for weeks on end, you need to make a decision: Either remove it entirely (clearly it’s not getting done) or push it all the way to the top and make it a priority to do that item before anything else. Take the time to reflect, though. It is immensely valuable over the long term.
2. Organize your to-do items based on category.
This is a tactic I’ve learned from Tony Robbins (although I’m sure many others use it as well). Go through your to-do list and organize things by category or project, even separating between “Random Life Things” and “Work Things.”The reason why it’s helpful to organize by category is two-fold:First, it is far less overwhelming to look at a to-do list that is organized by category. Looking at a long and random list of everything mixed together, you can feel how exhausting it would be to bounce between so many different types of tasks. That’s what you want to avoid. Instead, organize by category so that you can get in one frame of mind and work through everything in that specific category. You are far more efficient when you can remain in one frame of mind for a long period of time rather than bouncing between different types of tasks. Organize, and you’ll be more efficient.
3. Do what you can ahead of time.
The best example I have of this is meal preparation. If you bring your lunch to work, or you pack your bag in the morning, why not do those things the night before? Anything you can do ahead of time gives you more freedom the next day, and is one less thing you have to think about. The reason why this is so valuable is that you have more head space to think about what is coming up next, instead of trying to remember all the things you have to do. Mondays are always jam packed. Anything you can get done now, you might as well.
4. Prioritize input, not output.
Sundays should be input days–not output days. The start of every week is always output focused. You show up to the office, or to school, or even to your own desk to crank through work, and you are expected to be in output mode. Knowing that’s around the bend, it is advantageous of you to spend as much of Sunday as possible in input mode. You want to be feeding your creativity and your soul so that come Monday morning you are ready to go. Think of a windup car. You pull it back, you pull it back, and then you let it rip. That’s input. And more input leads to better output.
5. Take time to yourself.
And finally, the most important part of Sunday night should be the time you take solely for yourself. Going back to this idea of input versus output, you need to quiet down and relax in order to sustain yourself throughout the week. One way to do this is to meditate. Another way is to read (a book, not social media), or even to just sit quietly with a cup of tea. Silence does wonders, and in our overly busy society it is a valuable asset we all too often forget. Take time to yourself and sit in silence. If you can sit in silence even for just fifteen minutes, you will be amazed at how refreshed you feel. No distractions. No interruptions. And then go to sleep feeling ready for the week ahead.