We generally change our businesses for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation. And because of those two choices, we then either change ourselves, or we don't. The problem with not changing ourselves is that if we’ve changed the business, it’s pointless and you've wasted your time.
So why should small business owners change themselves, BEFORE they change their business?
Well, the late Jim Rohn aimed for inspiration, always emphasising the importance of taking responsibility for self-improvement and showing people how to reach for bigger, better lives. His many speeches, as can be seen on YouTube, delivered with humour, passion and a huge dose of common sense. I have pointed many small business owners in the direction of these speeches when people just 'don't get' why things need to chnage for the benefit of themselves or the business.
But who inspired him? Who inspired the self-development man?
His mentor, Earl Shoaff, who told him this:
“If you want to be wealthy and happy, learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job”.
And so began Jim Rohn's belief in the importance of self-improvement. In his book, 7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness, he wrote an essay entitled "The Miracle of Personal Development" in which he explains why working on yourself is a never-ending pursuit:
Ever since Mr. Shoaff woke me up with that statement, I worked hard on my own personal growth, and I must admit that this was the most challenging assignment of all. But understand, this business of personal development lasts a lifetime.
You see, what you become is far more important than what you get. The important question to ask on the job is not, “What am I getting?”. Instead, you should ask, “What am I becoming?”. Getting and becoming are so closely intertwined—what you become directly influences what you get. Think of it this way: Most of what you have today you have attracted by becoming the person you are right now.
I've also found that income rarely exceeds personal development. Sometimes income takes a lucky jump, but unless you learn to handle the responsibilities that come with it, it will usually shrink back to the amount you can handle. If someone hands you a million dollars, you'd better hurry up and become a millionaire. A very rich man once said, "If you took all the money in the world and divided it equally among everybody, it would soon be back in the same pockets it was before."
It is hard to keep that which has not been obtained through personal development. So here's the great axiom of life: To have more than you’ve got, become more than you are.
This is where you should focus most of your attention. Otherwise, you just might have to contend with the axiom of not changing, which is: Unless you change how you are, you’ll always get what you’ve got.
So do you see how the business owner must change before a business can change? Think of Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares’. Its a TV series based here and in the USA, where he goes into troubled restaraunts and ‘fixes’ them. Yes, obviously it’s made for TV, but the first theme that runs through the episodes is how reluctant the owners are to change anything. They don’t see that what they are doing is wrong. They get stuck in the “We’ve always done it that way...” mentality.
It does’nt matter wether you change the logo’s, the signs, the menu’s, the decor or even the prices. If you are not willing to accept that things run their course, evolve and get better, change or simply cease to be needed, your competitors that do invest in themselves will overtake you and become more successful.
They believe they have to change themselves before they can lead and change their business for success.
Here are are 13 ideas to help you make that change if you’re struggling to see why...
1.Face your fears.
This is not about throwing yourself out of an aeroplane, but it is how you conquer them. Don't dismiss them; face them. Say, “Here's what I'm afraid of.” I wonder what I could do to change that. Take 5 minutes and work out what is worrying you about being better than you are already are.
2. Exercise your willpower to change direction
You don't have to keep doing what you've been doing the last six years if it's not getting you the things you want. STOP. Pick a new vision, a new goal or a new destination and CHOOSE to go that way. Use your willpower to start the process. You don't have to repeat last year. Clean up the errors. Invest it now in the next year. Watch it make the difference. Otherwise you’ll still be twelve months away from where you wanted to be.
3. Admit your mistakes
Frank Sinatra sang, “Mistakes...I’ve had a few...” Sometimes you have to admit them to others. Here's one of the best phrases in the English language: "I'm sorry." Those words could start a whole new relationship. They could start two people going in a whole new direction. Admit your mistakes to yourself. You don't have to babble about them to everyone in the world by putting a ‘needy’ type of post on Facebook. But it doesn't hurt you to sit down and have a conversation with yourself and say, There's no use kidding myself. Here's where I really am. I've got pennies in my pocket and I've got nothing in the bank. I’ve had a conversation with myself and I said, I don't want this to happen anymore. It’s true...I really have.
4. Redefine your goals
Start the process. Set some real, honest, genuine goals. Reach for some higher purpose. Go for something beyond what you thought you could do. But at the same time be realistic. Reward yourself when you get there and look at number 3, if you don’t quite make it.
5. Believe in yourself
You've got to believe in the possibilities. You've got to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. There isn't a skill you can't learn; there isn't a discipline you can't try; there isn't a class you can't take; there isn't a book you couldn't read. So try something different and see what happens.
6. Invest your profits
Here's a philosophy that Jim Rohn’s mentor, Earl Shoaff, gave him: “Profits are better than wages. Wages make you a living, profits make you a fortune”. Could we start earning profits while we make a living? The answer is yes. So go on then...what are you waiting for?
7. Live with intensity
You might as well turn it up a notch or two. We’re only here once. Invest more of you in whatever you do. Be a little stronger; be a little wiser. Step up your vitality contribution. Put everything you've got into everything you do and then ask for more vitality, more strength and more vigour, more heart and more soul. Make the decision to “stand in front” of what you do. Be the focus, be the leader, be the inspiration.
8. Find your place.
If you just work at a job, find the best place you can serve well, and sure enough they'll ask you to occupy a better place. Keep doing a job well; do the very best you can. That's your best way out. If you run your own business, find the place for you, the business owner. Are you the ‘frontman’ or are you the ‘do-er”? Surround yourself with people that can inspire and influence you and help you get where you need to be. Your life will be stunningly different this time next year.
Until next time...