8 Key Business Insights from ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’

Business insights from How to Win Friends and Influence People

Is it possible for a business book first published in 1937 to still be relevant in 2021?

Well, in this video I answer this question and provide 8 business insights I took from reading the classic book written by Dale Carnegie:

‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’:

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How to Expand Your Leadership Conversations

How to expanding leadership conversations

Expanding Leadership Conversations

[Time to read: 6 minutes]

One of the most difficult and yet most inspiring leadership skills to develop is effective communication.

I think most people know when they have talked with a leader who communicates well: They feel inspired and perhaps more importantly – they feel listened to.

Most of my working life has been in the information technology sector where things tend move fast – including conversations!

Over many years I have witnessed conversations where leaders have demonstrated excellent communication skills and also conversations that made people cringe!

So, how do we become better communicators and improve the quality of our business conversations?

Well, I like to use strategies that are quick and easy to implement as life is complex enough already! So, in this article I’ll share three communication strategies that have been helpful for me and for my clients:

Get Curious

My partner knows when I’m not listening to her. She’ll be talking to me and occasionally in the middle of our conversation my mind may wander – she has become an expert at interrupting my wandering mind by saying “What?!” in the middle of the silence.

It gets me every-time and brings me back to the conversation!

Although she teases me about this, it raises an important point that when our mind wanders in the middle of a conversation and we stop listening to what the other person has to say – it says a LOT to them.

This behaviour communicates that what they have to say is not important to you and that you choose not to listen to them.

In coaching, the coach listens at different levels to hear what the client is saying but also (just as importantly) what they are NOT saying.

When we ‘tune out’ of a conversation we can miss important information.

Clearing your mind of those wandering thoughts through breathing can help you stayed tuned and focused on what is being said. However, one of the most effective ways to listen to other people is to be curious and remain curious about what they have to say.

When you have a curious mindset in a conversation you ask different questions, you listen more to their responses and in turn you both get more out of the conversation.

A great way to create curiosity is to say the word: “curious” in your mind as you start the conversation.

Don’t do all the thinking 

Back in my IT business I developed a habit of trying to solve problems for other people by doing the thinking for them, by telling them what to do next.

A member of staff would come to see me, describe their problem, and ask me what to do. Back then I thought that telling them what to do would provide the best solution to the problem.

However, soon after I started my coach training, I learnt that this was counter-productive for the member of staff that was asking for my advice.

Telling them what to do didn’t help them to develop their skills or problem-solving capabilities. So, once I learnt this, when a member of staff asked me what to do, I created the habit of asking: “What do you think we should do?”. Typically, the solution they came up with would have been the one I would have suggested. But many times, their solution was much better than mine!

Remember that the person in front of you is resourceful and creative – they may not demonstrate it at times, but your conversation is an excellent opportunity for them to practice that! They do have a solution to the problem, it’s just that you may need to tease it out of them!

Create and give time to others

I remember many years ago when I was an Electronic Engineer for a U.S IT company called Welch Allyn (Data Collection Division); I visited their head-office in up-state New York for annual product training. One day we had a tour of the Medical Division head-office a few miles away. It was a large state-of-the-art facility surrounded by beautiful gardens.

I was impressed.

However, I was even more impressed when the owner of the business – Bill Allyn took the time to show me and my fellow engineers around the facility.

Here was a multi-millionaire that employed 1000s of people showing a bunch of junior engineers around the factory.

That memory has remained with me for decades. It reminds me of the importance to create and make time for others in conversations, no matter what level they are in the business.

So, the next time you have a conversation with a member of your team – make time for them – don’t rush the conversation.

As a side note, I remember asking Bill: “How many people work here?”. He responded: “Hopefully all of them!”.

Conclusion

I believe the importance of effective communication in leadership cannot be understated. It can make the difference between a good leader and a great leader.

In this article we have learned three easy to use strategies that can help to bring more awareness to our business conversations. But of course, these strategies can be used in all types of conversations outside of the business as well:

  • Get curious – Bringing a curious mindset to conversations will help you to listen at a deeper level to the other person. So rather than thinking about what you want to say next, you’ll be focused on what the other person has to say. They’ll know that you’re listening to them – and they’ll remember that.
  • Don’t do all the thinking – Although you may know the solution to the problem that the person in front of you has just described, try to resist the temptation to tell them what to do. Remember, this is an opportunity for the other person to think, learn and grow. Try asking “What do you think we should do?”. Their solution may be something that you didn’t think of!
  • Create and give time to others – For me, this is one of the most inspiring traits of an excellent leader. Time is a gift that you can create and give to others. I know your schedule will be busy – the other person will know that as well. But if you schedule time for them to chat with you, you’ll be sending them an important message that they are important and that you value what they have to say.

As with all strategies it will take practice to master these skills. But the rewards for the other people that you will be talking to can be unlimited.

One day they could be in a leadership position just like you are. The chances are that they’ll remember their conversations with you and be inspired by you – just like I was from my meeting with Bill Allyn.

I hope you found this article helpful.

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Creating Courageous Leadership

How to create Courageous Leadership

Creating Courageous Leadership

[Time to read: 7 minutes]

The title: ‘Creating Courageous Leadership’ may suggest that this article is about how to be a strong and determined leader. Well in a way it is, but not in the traditional sense of strength and leadership.

There is a plethora of leadership books available that describe how to be a confident leader, how to inspire people and how to manage teams.

In this article I will introduce you to a way of ‘being’ as a leader: A way that can help you to see situations differently, think differently, run your business differently and engage your intelligence fully as a leader.

Having worked in the Technology market for over 30 years, I’ve experienced many situations where leaders have demonstrated courageous leadership and other situations where there was a clear lack of leadership.

Witnessing those situations made me curious to find out what mindset creates courageous leadership and what mindset causes the leadership to fall apart.

Neuroscience

Recent Neuroscience research has shown that humans have three centres of intelligence: the Head brain (‘Cephalic brain’), the Heart brain (‘Cardiac brain’) and the Gut brain (‘Enteric brain’).

Each of these centres of intelligence is a complex and sophisticated system of sensory neurons, motor neurons, neurotransmitters, and ganglia.

The head brain, heart and gut can process information, store it, and access it again when required.

Each can: sense, learn, remember, communicate, and change.

Here’s a quick overview of each:

Cephalic Brain (Head)

  • No. of Neurons: 86 billion
  • Functions: Language, thinking, cognition, consciousness, creativity
  • What we say when using this intelligence: “I think” “I get it” “I understand”

Cardiac Brain (Heart)

  • No. of Neurons: 40,000 (that can operate independently from the head brain)
  • Functions: Emotional processing, values, Passion, Compassion, Connection with others
  • What we say when using this intelligence: “I feel” “My heart says” “I have a heavy heart”, “I am light-hearted”

Enteric Brain (Gut)

  • No. of Neurons: 100 million
  • Functions: Sense of self, self-preservation, courage
  • What we say when using this intelligence: “This takes guts”, “My gut is telling me”

So, knowing, that we have more than just our head-brain intelligence, how do we engage our head, heart, and gut to create Courageous Leadership?

Well, read on and I’ll share an easy to use strategy:

Engaging our three intelligences

Clearing your head

When our head-brain is full of questions, judgements, fear and anger it clouds our perception. This ‘mind clutter’ biases what we think about the situations that are presented to us. The head brain also tends to look for evidence that the current situation is the same as a previous situation so we may jump to a conclusion that the outcome will be the same as before. None of this helps us to see things differently.

So, the first step is to make space for new thinking by freeing our mind.

Luckily, it’s not hard to do. It starts with our physiology – specifically deep breathing.

Close your eyes and breathe deeply – in through the nose and out slowly through the mouth. Continue breathing deeply for a minute or so. You should start to feel calmer and more ‘centred’.

Opening your heart 

The heart is the source of our passion. It’s also the source of our compassion. When our heart is closed, it’s difficult to be compassionate. Bringing compassion into our mindset dramatically changes the way that we see situations that we experience. Compassion helps us to see situations through the eyes of others which gives us a different perspective. We gather more data when using our compassion because we get to experience what other people could be feeling and experiencing. This new perspective can help us to make a decision that includes compassion.

To open your heart, continue the deep breathing with your eyes closed as in the previous step but now think about someone that you love or care for deeply. Try to visualize that person in front of you, smiling. Feel their love – their connection to you. Continue for a few moments – when you open your heart fully you should feel a sensation of love or warmth.

Engaging your gut 

The gut is a huge resource for us. It provides us with our ‘gut instinct’, and it is our source of courage. It’s also a place that creates the strength for us to be vulnerable. When we integrate the wisdom of a free mind and an open, compassionate heart with our courage we create true courageous leadership. A leadership that is mindful, compassionate, and strong.

To engage courage, continue with the deep breathing from the previous step with your eyes closed. Now think of a time when you were truly courageous. Perhaps a time when you demonstrated both compassion and courage despite the challenge that you faced. Try to visualize it. Continue to breathe deeply for a few moments. You may start to feel a sense of strength or energy. Now slowly open your eyes and breath normally.

Engaging the three intelligences can take practice before it becomes a habit. However, it’s possible that after practice just deep breathing will trigger this three-step pattern for you so that you don’t even need to close your eyes. This can be incredibly beneficial if you are in a meeting as you’ll be able to engage your three intelligences easily and quickly.

Conclusion

So, perhaps courageous leadership is not just about being strong, daring, and forthright?

Perhaps courageous leadership is deeper than that?

I prefer to believe that it’s not about how much we ‘roar’, it’s about having the courage to be more present; to be our true self; it’s about showing up fully and using all of our resources by engaging all three intelligences – a free mind, a compassionate heart, and a courageous gut.

From my experience a lack of leadership and poor decision making tends to occur when leaders rely only on their head brain, where they are disconnected from the intelligence of their heart and gut.

Engaging all three intelligences helps us to:

  • Create space – where we free our mind from judgement and create space for something more powerful to appear within us.
  • Receive more – we receive information not just through our eyes and ears but also through our heart.
  • See things differently – we get a new perspective on the situations we experience.
  • Do things differently – we respond to situations differently because we are more mindful.
  • Tap into our intuition – where our three intelligences are in alignment to provide us with intuition.
  • Have different conversations – we communicate differently when we are both compassionate and courageous.
  • Make better decisions – we evaluate and make more informed decisions because we have more data and a greater insight about what’s in front of us.
  • Create different outcomes – this creates new possibilities and of course new outcomes.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and hope that this has given you new insights into creating courageous leadership.

If you have a few minutes to respond – I’d be interested to know your experience of courageous leadership.

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Slowing Down to Grow Faster in Business

Slow down to go faster in business

Slowing Down to Grow Faster in Business

[Time to read: 6 minutes]

Do you feel like your weeks just fly by? Do you wish you just had more time? Do you ever feel overwhelmed in your business?

Well, in this article we’ll learn about that precious commodity – TIME. We’ll learn how slowing down can help you to relax more, focus more and be more effective in your Business and Life. We’ll also learn how (Ironically) slowing down can  help you to grow faster in Business.

Going Too Fast

I want to share an experience that I had last year when I realized that I was going too fast:

I’m passionate about coaching – I love helping Business Leaders discover and breakthrough what’s holding them back from making a greater impact in their business and life.

Last year, as I started to develop and grow my business. I was working on a lot of projects, posting on social media daily, meeting with my clients, studying, and regularly updating my website and blog. I had a to-do list as long as my arm!

I was excited to move forward and see my business grow. However, I started to notice a feeling, almost like a ‘rushing’ sensation, like I was on a ‘runaway train’ thinking about everything that I wanted to work on.

I could also start to see that I was ‘spreading myself too thin’!

I’ve always liked reading inspirational quotes, especially at the start of each working day. I find that they give me a mindset boost that lasts all day long.

I read the following quote about time that changed everything:

“Realise deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the now the primary focus of your life.”
Eckhart Tolle

In that moment I thought “I don’t want to rush through my life. I want to fully experience it and enjoy it. How can I do that if I’m constantly rushing?”.

So, I made a conscious decision to slow down.

Since making that decision my business has improved, I feel more relaxed and I appreciate life more.

So, how did I slow down?

Well, before I share how I did that, it’s important to know when you are going too fast. So, let’s answer the following question first:

How Do You Know If You’re Going Too Fast?

From working with my coaching clients, the tell-tale signs that you’re going too fast varies from person to person. Here are a few typical signs of going too fast:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or stressed
  • Having a to-do list that you never get through
  • Rushing conversations
  • Making simple mistakes again and again
  • Constantly working long hours

So, let’s move on and learn 5 ways to help us slow down.

Slowing Down to grow Faster in Business

Each of these activities don’t take long to do and on top of that they’re easy to implement!

Deep Breathing

We breathe 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but how many of us think about how we breathe?

When we rush around and feel overwhelm our breathing rate increases, as does our heart rate. Slowing down breathing by taking slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, regularly each day slows down the mind. It can help us to think more clearly. We are more likely to come up with more effective solutions when we are calm, rather than making a ‘snap’ decision when rushing around.

Slowing Down Conversations

When we rush conversations, we could miss an opportunity to make a stronger connection with the other person. We increase our chances of misunderstanding what is being said as well as missing potentially important information. Rushing can also have the effect of making the other person feel de-valued.

Try consciously slowing down conversations. Listen like you’ve never listened before. Most people don’t listen actively – they think of what to say next whilst the other person is talking.

Be genuinely interested in what the other person is saying.

Meditation

Many studies have shown that meditation can help to calm an over stimulated mind. In fact in the article “How Meditation Calms Your Mind and Makes You Feel More Alive” by Luke Glowaki, Luke explains how meditation can help you to create inner peace, improve your concentration and feel more alive amongst other benefits.

Setting aside a few minutes daily during your working day to meditate is a wonderful way to reduce stress, calm the mind and help to think more freely and effectively.

Take Breaks

I remember when I used to work in my IT business, I rarely took lunchbreaks. However, in my final year I started to take regular lunchtime walks with my Business Partner and it really helped me to clear my mind. It was good to get some fresh air and step back from the work I had been doing in the morning so that I was refreshed and re-focused for my work in the afternoon.

Try taking regular breaks during your workday and perhaps go for a lunchtime walk. You’ll be glad you did!

Open Your Eyes

I’m interested in Astronomy and most days I learn something new about our planet, solar system, Milky Way, or the universe. The more I learn the more I realise how lucky we are to be alive. Humanity exists through an incredibly ‘lucky’ series of events during the 4.5 Billion years since it was created. There were so many opportunities for life never to exist or our planet to be destroyed since its creation.  I recommend that you watch ‘The Planets’ by Professor Brian Cox if you’d like to learn more.

It’s an incredible ‘eye-opening’ documentary series that takes you though the history of the planets in our solar system. It provides a new perspective on life and how precious and special we all are!

Conclusion

So, in conclusion we’ve learnt that there are many ways that we can slow down, and I’ve shared five of them:

  • Deep Breathing
  • Slow Down Conversations
  • Meditate
  • Take Breaks
  • Open Your Eyes

Slowing down can help to speed up personal development and can help you to be more present and more effective in your business and life.

Slowing down can also help you to:

  • Have better conversations and create stronger relationships in your business and personal life
  • Relax more
  • Look at problems and challenges in a new light
  • Appreciate people and the world around you
  • Create a ‘growth’ mindset

Ultimately, it’s a personal choice on how you want to be in your life. In my experience I’ve come to appreciate life more and grow my business faster once I started to slow down.

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Why Coaching is Important for You and Your Business

Coaching is important for business leaders

Why Coaching is Important for You and Your Business

[Time to read: 8 minutes]

I sometimes get asked “Why is Coaching important for me and my Business?”

I coach Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs and for many of my clients ‘they’ are the business. Thus, the performance of their business is directly proportional to their personal performance.

It can often be the case that if the Business Leader is having a bad day – then so does the business.

So, you may ask yourself “Why do I need Business Coaching?”

In this blog I’ll introduce you to how coaching could help you to create more success for you and your business by helping you develop three key areas:

  • Confidence
  • Resourcefulness
  • Stress Management

So, let’s jump right in!

Feel free to watch the video or read below:

Confidence

It can be surprising to some that many Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs struggle with confidence. Well, not all leaders are extroverts, outgoing and confident.

In-fact in Bonnie Monych’s article on the Insperity website, she reveals “The Surprising Reasons Why Introverts Make Exceptional Leaders”

Being self-confident is trusting yourself and trusting in your abilities. Here are some examples of how coaching could help you to build your self-confidence:

1. Improving Presentation Skills

Most leaders are not trained speakers and are not used to speaking to a room full of people. For many, presenting to people can create anxiety and stress. Presenting whilst anxious can affect how well you communicate with the audience and can reduce the impact of your presentation. Your coach could help you to practice different presentation techniques and prepare for your up and coming presentation so that you become more confident at presenting.

2. Increasing Self-awareness

Having more clarity on how we see ourselves can help us to become more confident: Capturing our thoughts and questioning them can help reveal and change thought patterns that do not support us. Looking at ourselves from a different perspective can also help us to learn more about ourselves and apply that learning to improve how we communicate with other people. One of the aims of coaching is to help people create more awareness.

3. Creating Better Relationships

As the saying goes “People Buy from People”. Learning how to nurture customer relationships to build rapport and trust is key to ensuring long lasting, loyal customers. Coaching can help you to become more confident in creating better relationships with your customers, your staff, your suppliers, and your business partners.

4. Leveraging Your Existing Strengths

We all have strengths. Many people don’t know what their strengths are – in-fact it can be other people that notice their strengths first. Your coach can help you to identify your strengths and help you to learn how to utilize them more effectively so that you can make a bigger impact in your Business and Life.

Resourcefulness

The dictionary describes resourcefulness as “the ability to deal skillfully and promptly with new situations, difficulties, etc.”. Resourcefulness is a key differentiator between a good leader and a great leader. The ability to think clearly and act skillfully, can boost your personal performance as well as the performance of the business.

Being more resourceful can also help you to break through barriers that have been holding you back.

Here are ways that Coaching could help you to become more Resourceful:

1. Decision Making

Your coach can help you to break down the process of decision making and improve your evaluation of the options available. This can help improve decision making and can help build resourcefulness.

2. Creating Clarity with Goals and Actions

Your coach can help you to create more clarity with your goals, by helping you to define your goals with clear action steps. The practice of goal setting can also improve resourcefulness.

3. Developing a Clear Strategy

Every business needs a strategy. It’s difficult to get where you want to get to in Business without one. If your coach helps you to improve decision making and goal setting – then these two skills will help you to define a clear strategy.

4. Improving Productivity

Are you working too hard? Many Business Leaders do. Working too hard is counter-productive. It can create fatigue which in-turn and can affect decision making. Your coach will be able to help you identify the most important tasks that you should work on and brain-storm ways to help you to use your time more effectively. This can help you to be more resourceful.

Stress Management

High levels of stress can show up in different ways for different people. For example: Some people lose their temper, some withdraw themselves and some make bad decisions. One thing is for sure high stress can impact negatively on personal performance as well as the performance of the business.

The ability to manage stress will serve you well as most Business Leaders will experience highly stressful situations from time to time.

Coaching can help you manage stress more effectively in the following ways:

1. Identifying Stress ‘Triggers’

Coaching can help you to identify the ‘triggers’ that can cause you to feel high stress. Being more aware of your stress triggers is one of the first steps to help with stress management.

2. Step Back From The ‘Drama’

My clients comment that sometimes they arrive at a coaching session, stressed and overwhelmed about a ‘calamity’ that’s going on with their business or in their life – but they leave the session with energy – feeling refreshed. Coaching sessions give you an opportunity to step back from the ‘drama’ which means you’ll be able to look at it from a different perspective; feel less stress and leave the sessions feeling more resourceful.

3. Stress Management Techniques

Coaching can help you to explore stress management techniques and practice using them so that you’ll be better equipped to handle stressful situations in the future.

Feel free to download my FREE eBook “The Stress Management Guide for Business Leaders”. This guide will introduce you to….

‘The 7 Steps to a healthier, happier business-life’ which will help you boost your well-being.

You’ll learn strategies to help you to manage high stress so that you’ll feel more resourceful and confident to run your business and manage stressful situations in the future.

Conclusion

In this blog we’ve learned how Coaching can help Business Leaders to develop Self-Confidence, Resourcefulness and Manage Stress.

The combination of these three areas can help the Business Leader to improve their performance as well as the performance of their Business.

Being more self-confident, resourceful, and having the ability to manage stress can improve leadership in many ways, including:

  • Communicating more effectively
  • Creating better relationships
  • Leveraging your strengths
  • Becoming a better decision maker
  • Creating clarity in your Strategy, Goals, and Actions
  • Improving personal productivity
  • Being better equipped to handle difficult situations that may show up

I believe that mastering these three areas makes the difference between a good leader and a great leader.

Hopefully, you can see the importance of Coaching and how it could help you to create more success in your Business and Life.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you did, please comment and share.

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The 4 Mindset Secrets of a Successful Entrepreneur

The Mindset of a Business Leader and Entrepreneur

The 4 Mindset Secrets of a Successful Entrepreneur

[Time to read: 6 minutes]

I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately and a few weeks back I tried to look up details of the first company I worked for: U-Microcomputers Ltd, to see what I could find.

I was amazed to find that the founder and Managing Director of ‘U-Micro’ – Bill Unsworth had written an autobiography!

It took a bit of tracking down, but I managed to buy a copy: “My Life – Scientist & Entrepreneur”.

Bill was a pioneer of the introduction of Microcomputers (1978) and the Internet (1994) into the UK.

For those of you that remember the early 80’s this was an exciting time for Microcomputer development in the UK – you may remember the Sinclair Spectrum, BBC Micro or the Acorn Computer?

I worked for Bill from 1987-1989 as a technician.

U-Micro designed and manufactured computer systems such as the ‘U-Man Series 1000’ used in University Chemistry laboratories. They also manufactured interface cards for the Apple I and II and were an IBM reseller.

Mindset Secrets

I looked forward to reading Bill’s book. I’ve read lots of books about entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Richard Branson. I thought it would be fascinating to read about an entrepreneur ‘closer to home’ and compare their stories.

When I read books about entrepreneurs, I’m always keen to understand the challenges that they faced, their successes, their failures and most importantly to me – their mindset.

I’ve found it helpful in my businesses to see how successful business owners deal with failure and create success. 

Bill’s book did not disappoint! Without going into the details of Bill’s story, I want to share four of the ‘secrets’ that I discovered in Bill’s book that he shares with the more famous entrepreneurs that I just mentioned.

Successful Entrepreneurs

Secret #1: Learning from Mistakes

The first secret I discovered is that it is critical to learn from your mistakes. I liked the way that Bill noted ‘Life Lessons’ and ‘Business Lessons’ as he travelled through his life. When he described a mistake in his book, he referred to it as “another lesson learned”. It seems many entrepreneurs note down or make a point of remembering mistakes and failures that they’ve experienced. The key is to learn from these mistakes and not repeat them!

One way to do this is either to develop a particularly good memory, or to write it down!

If it’s a mistake you’ve made in life, then keeping a journal and writing about your mistake will help you to commit that experience to memory. This will help you avoid repeating the mistake in the future.

If the mistake is in your business, for example – a mistake in a process, then this is where SOPs – (Standard Operating Procedures) could help. The process is documented in a step by step approach. Should you encounter mistakes in the process, you can amend the steps. This will also ensure that should other people in your business use the same process – they won’t repeat the mistakes that you experienced.

You will probably make a lot of mistakes in Business and Life. It’s just part of your journey. But the journey is smoother when you learn from your mistakes! As the saying goes: “You must live and learn!”.

Secret #2: Pick Yourself Up When You Fall

The Entrepreneurs that I’ve read about have all experienced business failures – some of them huge failures such as the business collapsing. It was clear that Bill experienced setbacks and disappointments in his personal life and business life. His ability to pick himself up after experiencing a these ‘failures’ was another thing Bill has in common with other entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs like Bill self-motivate themselves to see past the failures. They ‘dust themselves off’ and carry on!

Talking from experience, this is easier said than done!

However, I share four strategies on how to do this in my recent blog: How to Deal With Failure and Disappointment in Business. 

Secret #3: Never Give Up

I didn’t know Bill’s story before reading the book. However, after reading it I was amazed how many setbacks and disappointments Bill had! I think many people would have given up. However, he describes a quiet determination to succeed. It was clear Bill’s drive to succeed was strong!

Developing determination can be difficult for some. I read an article recently, written by Lilia Manibo from AnthroDesk which provides 10 ways to help develop determination.

One of my favourites from Lilia’s article is: “Decide to be Determined”:

“A decision to be determined is where you should start. That decision gives you a direction. It leads you to where you should be moving even if there are challenges along the way. When you make a decision, this should be done with conviction, both in smooth and hard times.”

CLICK HERE to read Lilia’s full article.

Secret #4: It May Be a Long and Winding Road to Success

The final secret for me that I took away from the book was that the path to success may be a long and winding road. It was clear that Bill certainly achieved a LOT of success – but his journey was not straight forward!

On your own journey to success, you may need to take breaks along the way. You may need to change direction and your journey may take longer than you first thought!

If you can apply the knowledge of this secret and of course the previous three, this will go a long way to move you towards success in whatever endeavors you are working towards!

Reading about Entrepreneurs is a great way to experience the long and winding road to their successes. I’ve yet to read a book about an entrepreneur who was an overnight success. Sometimes it may seem that way but their ‘back story’ usually provides a long list of mistakes, failures, delays, and changes of direction well BEFORE they achieve success.

Conclusion

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at U-Micro. I learnt a lot and had fun! Reading that part of the book brought back some good memories for me.

The biggest takeaway from Bill’s book for me was that we are all on our own journey in life and business. You don’t have to be a famous entrepreneur to experience ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ in life and business.

However, I believe that you do have to decide how you’re going to react and respond to the ‘failures’ that you may experience, if you want to move forward to success – just like Bill.

The perceived ‘failures’ you see can actually be ‘steppingstones’ to your success, as long as you apply the four secrets Bill and the other entrepreneurs demonstrated:

  • Secret #1: Learning from Mistakes
  • Secret #2: Pick Yourself Up When You Fall
  • Secret #3: Never Give Up
  • Secret #4: It May Be a Long and Winding Road to Success

Bill bounced back many times from ‘failures’. I believe it was his mindset that ensured his success – just like the other entrepreneurs.

I think we can all learn a lot from Bill’s story!

Thanks for sharing it Bill!…Oh and thank you for giving me my first job!

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How to Keep Customers When Things go Wrong

How to Keep Customers When Things go Wrong

Customer loyalty is critical when running a business…

[Time to read: 3 minutes]

As the saying goes it costs more to find new customers than it does to look after your existing customers.

Your existing customers have invested in you and your business because they BELIEVE that you can offer them the right solution.

Being rewarded with their belief is a wonderful thing. They could have easily ordered from one of your competitors. This belief is the first step in the customer trusting you.

However, this is just the first step…

It’s so important to build more trust with your customer in order to have loyal customers.

Keeping in regular contact with your customer is an obvious step.

However, this step is sometimes overlooked – especially when things go wrong.

How to Keep Customers When Things go Wrong

If you’re supplying complex products or solutions to your customers, at some stage things may go wrong, such as:

  • Product quality issues
  • Service delivery issues
  • System failure
  • Late delivery
  • Administration errors

However, it’s at this time that you MUST look after your customer.

You must do all you can to resolve the problem.

In the past I had to deal with product supply issues to my customers where the supply chain was complex. There were occasions when I could not fix the problem immediately.

I had done all I could to investigate the problem and find ‘workarounds’ and alternative solutions. But the customer was not happy. What should I do?

In my experience updating the customer regularly and being honest is one of the best ways forward.

Phoning the customer regularly (and sometimes EVERY DAY), to update them is key – even if there is no immediate solution in sight – the fact that they KNOW you are working on the problem is important.

The customer may still be upset, and they may say something to you that hurts, but if you ‘step up’ and take control of the situation by searching for solutions; update the customer regularly and be honest – this will go a long way to build customer trust in the future.

I’ve been on the brink of losing a customer in the past – but these actions saved me. It’s not pleasant to see your customer upset, but this is your time to prove that they were right in believing you when they placed their first order.

Conclusion

Customers do remember when things go wrong – but they also remember when you turnaround these problems and look after them.

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How to deal with failure and disappointment in business

failure and disappointment

How to Deal with Failure and Disappointment in Business

[Time to read: 6 minutes]

Why do I always screw-up? Why does it never go right for me? I’m never going to succeed!

That’s a depressing start to a blog! But I remember having these thoughts many years ago.

At times I struggled with how to deal with failure and disappointment in business.

Failure – even the mention of this word back then used to bring a ‘sinking’ feeling in my stomach as I used to remind myself of previous times I screwed-up. For many in business, experiencing failure creates negative emotions.

In this blog we’re going to explore failure and disappointment in business; what happens when we experience disappointment and what we can do to avoid the negative feelings associated with failure and disappointment that many in business struggle with.

What is failure?

Well, I think we all know failure, but when researching for this blog, I looked it up on Wikipedia to see what it said:

“Failure is the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective and may be viewed as the opposite of success.”

So pretty obvious, but it focuses on the original intention to succeed – and an expectation for a specific result, that doesn’t happen. 

What is disappointment?

Wikipedia states: “Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest. Similar to regret, it differs in that a person who feels regret focuses primarily on the personal choices that contributed to a poor outcome, while a person feeling disappointment focuses on the outcome itself. It is a source of psychological stress.”

It refers to a ‘feeling’ that follows the failure of expectations and it touches on disappointment being one of many causes of stress.

To make matters worse during the ‘failure’ you may have heard words about you that hurt.

What happens when we get disappointed?

Disappointment is a powerful emotion, in-fact it’s one of the tougher emotions we experience. Disappointment hurts!

People react to the emotion of disappointment in different ways – some get angry; some get sad; some beat themselves up and some blame other people.

Let’s face it – in business there are many opportunities to fail and thus many opportunities to experience disappointment. From my personal experience in business and that of my coaching clients we all have experience of failure and disappointment. 

Here are some examples of typical business ‘failures’ can create disappointment:

    • Not winning a business opportunity
    • Losing a customer
    • Losing a valued member of staff
    • Messing up a presentation or a sales pitch
    • Making a mistake…just screwing up!

In this blog we’re going to discover how to respond to the feeling of disappointment in different ways – more empowering ways.

What can we do to overcome disappointment in business?

Better Out Than In!

As we discovered earlier there could be many reasons in business why we could be feeling disappointed. If for example you’ve made a mistake – be honest and apologise for it. You’ll gain more respect with honesty than anything else.

Perhaps you’re disappointed about something that someone else screwed up, don’t hide it – talk about it – be curious to find out what happened. How could you help that person improve in the future?

If there’s no-one you can talk with, then write about your disappointment. Perhaps you need to vent about it to get it out?! If you do then write down your frustrations – by writing this on paper, you can ‘say’ everything you want to – once you’ve done that – destroy it.

Each of these are great ways to ‘extract’ the disappointment.

As the saying goes “Better out than in!”.

What Can You Learn?

So, in the previous section we discovered that talking about the failure and disappointment can help to extract the negative emotion. Be mindful of how long you focus on the ‘problem’ though. When we focus our time on a problem, it tends to get bigger in our minds.

Focusing more time and energy on what you can learn about the perceived failure will help point you in the right direction so you can move on.

As Henry Ford once said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

With every mistake I’ve made in business (and I’ve made a few!) I’ve learned something. I moved forward trying to not repeat those mistakes. I tend to make new ones now!

…But seriously, I think Business and Life is about making mistakes, learning from them, not repeating them and to keep moving forward.

So, next time you experience a failure, try asking yourself these questions:

    • What can I learn from this situation to help me?
    • What could I do differently next time?
    • How will this situation serve me?
    • How could I use this situation to help others?

Learn from People That Fail the Most

I love reading biographies and auto-biographies about successful business leaders. Every holiday, I take a book with me to read. Last time was a book about Elon Musk.

One thing I’ve learned from reading these books is that the people that succeed in business the most, tend to have had huge failures – and lots of them.

These books are full of insights and learning opportunities for us. You get to learn about their experiences; their ‘failures’ and their successes. But I think perhaps most importantly you get you learn about their mindset – how they keep going forward despite the mistakes and failures.

My favourite reads so far have been about Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. But there are so many leaders to read about.

So, why not search for a book about a business leader who inspires you?

Create New Insights

Learning from other business leaders by reading books about them is a great way to create new insights. Another way is to read quotes. I’ve got to admit I’m a big fan of quotes – I try to read one each day. I find they create so much inspiration for me.

Here are some of my favourite quotes about failure:

"I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."

Thomas Edison

"You can't control the events of your life, but you can control what they mean to you."

Anthony Robbins

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."

Theodore Roosevelt

Conclusion

So, what have we learned?

We’ve learnt more about what failure and disappointment is and how disappointment can be a source of stress.

We’ve learnt that people can react to failure and disappointment in dis-empowering ways including anger, sadness and beating themselves up.

I shared four ways to help transform the way we deal with failure and overcome disappointment:

  • Getting rid of the disappointment as quickly as possible. We discovered ways of how to do just that.
  • Learning from failure is the key to not really failing at all.
  • Learn from business leaders that succeed the most as they tend to fail the most.
  • Creating new insights for yourself by reading quotes that other people have written about failure can help to shift how you perceive failure.

In summary, realising that failure is part of business and life has been key for me. Understanding that sometimes things just don’t go our way helps.

Appreciating that you may not be able to control the events (‘failures’) that you experience, but you do have control of how you think about them; what you do about them and what they ultimately mean to you, will help you move forward.

And finally, discovering that if you look close enough at the perceived ‘failures’ you see, you’ll find the seeds of success and that is the sure way to move towards that.

So, let me ask you a question:

What’s been your biggest ‘failure’ in business?

Oh, and one more:

What can you learn from it?

So, don’t let the perceived ‘failures’ you see be your downfall.

Business ‘Failures’ are sometimes a topic for discussion during coaching sessions with my clients. If you would like to learn how coaching can help  – CLICK HERE – to read my blog article where I share the Top 9 ways Coaching helps Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you did, please comment and share.

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  • EXPLORE the biggest challenge that you are facing right now

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