Real Spirit – Entrepreneurial Spirit

Decorating the Prison Cell – Golden Handcuffs

Many of us have found ourselves bound by Golden Handcuffs. The pay is so good we don’t want to lose it but the job or team is so crappy, we just can’t stand it. This, soul destroying, heart bending, relationship killing paradox runs the lives of 99.9% of corporate employees and in spite of billions of dollars of training investment, the illness rate, stress leave and addiction to medications for survival, continue to rise. The paradox is not being solved — and the reason for it, is very simple. Poor Leadership.

Leadership – It’s time for a change

Visit the life of any long term successful entrepreneur – a person who has not just succeeded once, but done it multiple times within multiple fields (many once off successful entrepreneurs claim mastery where Luck deserves credit) – the contradiction between what HR departments, company psychologists and jobs for life employees espouse as leadership models is radical, if not ridiculously different. Almost 100% diametrically opposite.

Simply put, leadership in organisations is based on self-survival – or, in ancient spiritual teachings of Khrisnamurti – decorating the prison cell. How to make good of a crappy situation. 50% of executive decisions made by middle managers are experimental, and the other 50% of their decisions are wrong. Leaders of middle managers are told to “give people licence to make their own decisions” and in doing so, introduce one of the biggest myths of corporate life. That unconscious people grow by being given responsibility.

Unconsciousness does not grow, wisdom does not flourish by making mistakes. In fact, in corporate paradigms the admission of a mistake is considered a mistake and with such a lack of space for humility – which is the source of growth in human consciousness – nothing changes unless a change consultant comes to shake the tree and restructure the company.

Internal restructures are, to this end, a joke. That’s the equivalent of tickling yourself. Internal restructures – means restructures undertaken by employees of employees, is about as ethical as Idi Amin (corrupt ex President of Uganda). Even internal interviews are shrouded with long memories in the HR department and the personal preferences of other leaders trying to decorate their own prison cell.

Entrepreneurial Spirit – An Attitude rather than A Job

In the real world there are some common traits of successful people and they differ vastly to the text book biographies of the great – gee I’m a nice popular person – books written about the likes of Richard Branson et al.

Lets’ try to summarise those real traits:

1. A passionate distaste – disdain for rhetoric

Every good entrepreneur got hurt a bunch of times on the way to being good. And the hurt was centered 99% around rhetoric: Ideas, opinions, feelings, fantasies, false hopes, other people’s emotional agendas – so, the great entrepreneurs might be keen to hear what you have to say, but have a BS radar finely tuned. You’ll have about 3 seconds before they decide – Rhetoric or not – and first impressions last forever. This also gives you some hints about how they treat themselves – their intensity of focus which is: if it leads to results do it – if not – then I’m too busy.

2. Simplicity

Entrepreneurs cause complexity but hate it in their own life. This is a massive paradox that the entreperneurial spirit seems to thrive on. Entrepreneurs generate, create, think up ideas, come up with suggestions – and 90% of the time, hand-pass these hot potatoes to others to sort out. Entrepreneurs cause complexity and yet thrive on simplicity. They’re always summarising, condensing, looking for two pointed models, quotes that encapsulate whole universes of stories. Artists tell stories – entrepreneurs summarise them into do or don’t.

3. Bad

Call it mojo, call it naughty, call it high risk DNA, call it adventurous, call it spirited, but never call it mundane… The entrepreneur who wins sports trophies, or becomes president of the United States, is, in contrast to their PR – a renegade. and they love it. Some do it under cover of darkness, some wear it on their shoulder but inside every successful entrepreneurs is a spirited, angry, determined, aggressive, ambitious, unstoppable appetite for adventure. Kill this and you kill the entrepreneur – and their spirit. Tie the entrepreneur to their public profile and that lusty animal – the beast turns into the werewolf…Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Learn Spiritual Awareness and it becomes the game of life – the source of joy.

4. Insecurity

I have met thousands of entrepreneurs, sports heros, actors, models, performers, artists, entrepreneurs and am one myself – we all share one frighteningly common human trait – insecurity. And it’s what we do to overcome this insecurity that drives a huge amount of our capacity to do what we do. We don’t want to lose because we just don’t think we could cope if we did. But this insecurity has a turning point because when there’s nothing to lose, it’s a brilliant asset, however, when success starts to appear, and there’s a lot to lose, like family, wealth, fame and position it can harden a man or woman into stone, turn their heart to that of an animal and cause untold grief. And at this point – enter the world of substitutes. Food and substance, Greed, Sex and Spirituality are the substitutes we addict to in order to protect ourselves from the insecurity of life and the more an entrepreneur has to lose, the more addicted they become. It is, in most cases, the beginning of a dark dirty and often mortal journey into the abyss of personal hell. Loneliness.

5. Too big to be Small – too small to be Big

For an entrepreneur momentum is everything. Cash builds cash, energy builds energy, success breeds success, love builds love. And in this rise to the Inspiraiton of Success – some falter…. the little train is the best metaphor – going up the hill fully loaded – it starts to run out of steam – “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, and slower and slower and slower until there’s a crawl, a walk, a moment where with a final squeeze the top is reached or, with just a wrong moment in time, the whole train, carriages and all, slide backward down the rails toward disaster. Every entrepreneurial spirit knows that momentum is key, and that over the top of that hill there’s a downhill just before the next uphill. They learn to go with the flow, not get attached to the last hilltop and be ready for the next uphill – it’s the journey not the destination they learn to master and thrive on.

6. Do one thing – well

Everyone can do everything, anything is possible – crap. Everyone can try everything, anything is possible if you include your fantasises and dreams as a form of reality, but to bring fantasy, dreams and reality together, not everything is possible – so, the entrepreneur – in sport or work or art – has a primary expertise that’s proven valuable, a God given gift and everything else is decoration on the cake…. The lucky ones work out the cake long before they start investing in the decorations. Of all the failed entrepreneurs – sports, business, art, music or life – the single most common reason I have found is diversification… being great at one thing – should never be a signal that you’re super bullet proof in others.

7. Sustainability

Making a million is easy, keeping it is the hard part. Becoming a champion can be hard work, but staying on top, that’s hardest. Falling in love, that’s easy – staying in love – that’s hardest. Making babies and becoming a parent – that’s really easy – staying a good parent and role model – that’s entrepreneurial spirit. Sustainability is radically different to an overnight moment of glory… and the reason is pride. When you rise in glory you need to sink in pride…. but many don’t and it’s the attachment to pride – especially the press and PR side – that makes the fall even more painful. I met a world class cyclist who fell in the last 20meters of a championship race, he was about to win, but in his head, 20 meters from the finish, he was already basking in the glory….. rise in glory sink in pride means hand the victory pride to someone who needs it. (deserves it).

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How to Retain the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Once you have obtained the entrepreneurial mindset, you want to ensure that you never lose it. After living with it for so long you always run the risk of taking it for granted. Never forget how important it is to maintain your success in the business world.

In order to secure the entrepreneurial mindset for the long-term, you need to occasionally re-examine your business. Pose a series of questions to yourself like, why did you get into your business? What did you hope to achieve in the first place? Are you still providing the services you hoped to offer when you initially started? What spurred your passion then and are you still passionate about your business today? Ask yourself these questions as a way of reminding yourself of your company’s chief purpose.

Even those who have achieved the entrepreneurial mindset can occasionally lose sight of their original goals. If you manage to stick to a strong business model however, over the course of time, your company will be viewed as the ultimate example of steady consistency and success.

You must try to remain positive as well in spite of whatever circumstances you may be experiencing. This cannot be stated enough times. All businesses suffer moments of great change or financial unrest. While you do not want to behave as though your problems are not happening, you must do everything in your power to prevent from entering a state of alarm. The only possible solution is to address these problems straight on. The alternative, to run and hide in sheer panic, can lead to the downfall of your business and the soiling of your reputation as a subscriber to the entrepreneurial mindset.

Situations like this also serve as a great opportunity to learn from your mistakes. A large percentage of business is trial and error so encountering the occasional blunder is not the end of the world. If nothing else it reminds you to be fearless and to try new innovations like marketing tools, sales pitches or advertising devices. Remember that the entrepreneurial mindset encourages us to test the boundaries of the business world.

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Are Women Entrepreneurial Groups Practicing Reverse Bigotry?

As a retired entrepreneur, a founder of a franchise company, I often assist individuals who are highly committed, and willing to persevere to succeed in their own entrepreneurial endeavor. And I say to them – “You are what makes America great!” Indeed I am thus, asked to speak at various groups which focus on business start-ups. What I’ve found is that many are close knit groups, and they are often not all that inclusive. Let me explain.

You see, I’ve spoken at Women Entrepreneurial Groups, and Hispanic Entrepreneur Clubs for instance. I will also listen to others speak, and I hear things like; “We need to stick together, do business with each other, and develop our networks – Hispanic Pride!” Okay, I get that, it makes sense, and until about 30-years ago, most community businessmen’s clubs were all men, mostly all “white men” and over the years folks noticed and said; “hey, wait one minute!”

Yes, you see here in America we stand for the best person gets the job, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, age, sex, etc, so, may I be so bold as to ask; “why is it okay now to have a reversal – that is to say, why is it okay to have an all-women’s entrepreneurial group, a black business club, or a Hispanic Business Pride group of focused small business people?” After all, each of these groups has formed to “keep it in the family” so to speak, at the exclusion of others, those who are different.

In my professional opinion, this speaks of the greatest hypocrisy of our time, this reverse discrimination is not the answer. You cannot on one hand complain about the past, and then seek revenge, and call two-wrongs now righteous. It isn’t and everyone ought to know this, but they are blind to this reality. Personally, I know I am the best in the World at what I do, seriously, I have the statistics and history to prove that statement, and I didn’t get there by joining any white-only, or male only business groups.

Another issue that totally bothers me is when Women Entrepreneurs use sex appeal, and often write “Ms.” before their name, even when they are married, and when I ask them why, they say; “because it helps in business!” Yes, probably, but it’s a lie. Whatever happened to false and misleading marketing? And if they do this, what are they selling – a false image? Further, many are quite frank about their use of sex appeal saying; “if you’ve got it, flaunt it, all is fair in business.”

Well, okay, but if so, there shouldn’t be any complaints when guys see women as women rather than business people. If these women want respect, and exclusivity in their own business groups, and on top of that the use of sex appeal, then there shouldn’t be any reason for anyone to ever again speak of glass-ceilings, racism, sexism, or anything else. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it. Flirting one’s way in the door, might be a very good sales tactic, but what I want is the best person, company, or team for the job.

The dress-for-success, flirting routines, and all the use of industry buzz-words, and talk of professionalism is enough to make me sick to my stomach. And after listening to many of the women in these groups after I give speeches, really makes me not want to volunteer my knowledge to Women Entrepreneurial groups any longer.

We need to stop this double standard, because it is unbecoming of the rhetoric and reasoning behind the need for equality. Please consider all this, and if you contact me please come up with some debate point I haven’t heard before – impress me!

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