You’re doing it wrong!


Living Life and Growing Your Business on Your Terms

Have you ever received unsolicited advice?

You know the kind I’m talking about. One of your “friends” takes it upon themselves to tell you how you’re screwing up your life. And if you would just make one or two “minor” changes you would be so much better off.

This advice is usually sincere. Your friends are probably genuinely worried about you. When they look at your life they likely see the struggles you go through, how hard you work for seemingly little return, the heartache, the sleepless nights, you name it. Your friends see all the stress and they are genuinely worried about you.

If you’d just give up on your dream and take a job with a steady paycheque. Or maybe just slow it down a bit and relegate your business aspirations to weekends and evenings, maybe you’d be better off. You’d have more money, less stress and live longer.

Or so they think.

But make no mistake it’s never really about you.

It’s about how they feel when they are around you. Maybe they feel sorry for you – but that’s not about you, it’s about them. Maybe they feel guilty for their own success in the face of your seeming failure – but that’s not about you either, it’s still all about them. And maybe they feel envy and jealousy because they see the huge potential for your success and wish they had what it takes to be an entrepreneur. But you guessed it, that’s not about you either.

The fact is, no one can give you advice on what you need to do to be successful. Sure there are some general principles but they are ultimately the same whether you work for a boss or not. At the end of the day nobody knows better than you what it will take for you to be successful. Nobody knows your business better than you. Nobody works harder than you. Nobody cares more than you.

So stop listening to everyone else. That’s what you’re doing wrong.

Entrepreneurship is lonely. And for the most part the pay sucks. Work your ass off for 5, maybe 10 years or even more and maybe, just maybe you’ll become so successful you’ll forget about the years of struggle that led up it.

Maybe not.

You have to be prepared to live like no one else, so that later you can live like no one else.

That’s my best unsolicited advice.  Take it or leave it.

Lauren C. Sheil is a serial entrepreneur who has been in business for over 25 years. His latest book “Meekoethics: What Happens When Life Gets Messy and the Rules Aren’t Enough” is available on Amazon.com.

He can be reached at themeekonomicsproject@gmail.com or by calling 613-295-4141.

Save

Save

Quick Tip #22 – Value of Advice


Children are expensive – a new bike, the latest gadgets, a backpacking vacation and their future education – it all adds up. One of the most important parts is planning ahead, and, that starts with the right professional advice. That’s why 24 per cent of households with people under the age of 45 with an advisor had RESPs, compared to just 14 per cent of households without an advisor. Now that’s smart advice. [Ipsos 2011, Department of Finance, Canada]

Quick Tip #16 – The Value of An Advisor


There are a variety of places to get advice. Working with a professional financial security advisor who takes a holistic approach to your finances can:

  • Help reduce anxiety on the road to meeting your future goals
  • Help give you the confidence to look at your financial and life situation
  • Let you focus on what really matters in life because you have a sound financial security plan in place

A Few Thoughts on Humility


I run an organization called The Meekonomics Project. If you’re reading this you probably already know that. What you might not know is how much I have struggled to live out the values that the name of the organization professes.

You see, I can be really arrogant at times and I hate that about myself.

arrogant

A friend of mine once told me it’s a bit of an occupational hazard. When you are in the advice business it’s hard not to come across as a bit arrogant. People come to you with questions, and  you’re supposed to have the answers. But what happens when people decide not to take your advice? It’s hard not to be a bit arrogant about it isn’t it? We tend to write people who disagree with us off as stupid and a waste of our time. But that’s just the height of arrogance.

As I have worked through my tendency to be arrogant here are a few things I’ve learned that help promote humility.

1 – Acknowledge the questions. Say something like “Hey that’s a really good question, thanks for asking.”

2 – Ask clarifying questions. “What do you mean by that, can you give an example?”

3 – Admit what you don’t know. The adage says “You don’t know what you don’t know”, so when faced with a question you’re not completely sure about acknowledge that, say something like, “You know I’m not 100% sure let me get back to you.” Then if you like you can move on to #4.

4 – Avoid absolutes. Phrases like, “What I and others have found”, “In my opinion”, “This has worked in the past”, take the emphasis off yourself and frame the response in a way that makes you look less like a dictator and more like a fellow traveller or learned source who’s just a little bit further down the same road.

humble

Remember, in this day and age information is exceedingly easy to get. When people have questions they can usually find the answers on their own with just a few clicks of a mouse. Any business that is based on advice and expert commentary needs to be aware of that. The value you add is more in how you deliver it than the content you provide. In my opinion a little humility goes a long way to building a lasting, trust based relationship with your clients while arrogance only serves to alienate people and give them reasons to discredit you, especially if your brand has the word meek in it…