Oprah Winfrey. Arianna Huffington. Tory Burch.
When you hear these names, what do you think?
Extreme, unattainable success?
Once in a lifetime triumph?
But wait…we have seen all three rise during this one lifetime. That’s more like, thrice in a lifetime. Isn’t it? And, they are not the only women in this generation that I can name with extraordinary entrepreneurial success. 🤔
Their level of success may be ambitious but it is not unattainable.
When I examined the lives of multiple women icons, I began to see a pattern in the way they approached business and life. They credit their success to these patterns or habits. Many of which anyone can cultivate and experience remarkable success, as they define it.
A little of my backstory...I began my fetish for personal development in my 20s. I had been a somewhat reckless teen so by that time I was ready to become a better version of myself and to contribute something of value to the world. I devoured books like Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Hybels’ Who You Are When No One’s Looking and Maxwell’s Developing the Leader Within You. So, part of my “wisdom” in personal development (if you want to call it that) comes from years of study and practice…now, it’s become a habit.
I share that to encourage you to be patient with yourself if you choose to develop the following habits. Stick with them. Fortitude is a virtue. And remember: “Nothing worth having or worth doing comes easy,” paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
I begin with this because if you are not committed to self-care, nothing else on this list matters. To accomplish the great and wonderful things that are in your heart to pursue, you must have the mind and body to do it.
For my body, it’s regular exercise. Not because I hate my body (though I could do without the aging effect) but because I love myself. Also, I drink more water than I think I need and I get my sleep. Arianna Huffington injured her face in a freak accident in her office where she collapsed from exhaustion. That was her wake-up call. Huffington has since left The Huffington Post to start Thrive Global, a company committed to wellness education.
It is easy to get distracted by the sights and sounds of the world. Everything is clamoring for attention…NOW. Our collective attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. That’s less than a goldfish! So, for my soul, I rehearse my truth.
Our minds need space to be still. I use meditation and reflection to accomplish this. Most recently these have been associated with mindfulness and yoga practices. However, both are ancient practices used in cultures worldwide. Meditation is simply intentional thinking with focus. My practical application involves reading scripture and repeating it to myself. I incorporate deep breathing and journaling as part of my process, and I record the ideas that come to mind during that time.
Resilience is one of those buzz words that has been on the cover of many books for years. It is not an ignore-the-issue-and-push-through type of notion. It is about reframing challenging situations so that they can be processed in a healthy way.
Resilience involves self-awareness and a commitment to seeing the bright side of things. I’m not saying you choose to be “Pollyannaish” but you do choose to see problems as a normal part of life and that every problem has a solution and/or lesson to be learned.
When I was a classroom teacher, almost every educational journal had a monthly reference or article on the importance of being and training our students to become lifelong learners. Then, it was optional. A choice we were encouraged to make. However, today, it is critical.
The rate at which our world is changing has accelerated. It is now an economic imperative to commit to lifelong learning, according to economists.
The best way to do that…READ. You don’t have to do it the old-fashioned way like I prefer to. You can listen to books as you do other things. Bill Gates reads about one book each week. Of course, he has a different schedule than most people. My goal is one book per month.
Everything does not always go as planned. Murphy was on to something. The co-laborer with resilience is flexibility. Keep your mind flexible, looking at various angles and perspectives.
Just because you are “trapped” in a 9-to-5 situation right now, does not mean you must be for the next twenty years? In five years, when you have no more children at home, what would you love to be doing? (Besides laying on a beach in Turks & Caicos!)
Recognize that you cannot have it all at the same time, but you can still have it all eventually. Learn to cope with sacrifice now while nurturing a hope for your future. That nugget of wisdom is from Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.
Begin today by thinking of Possibility. Dream, a little. It will enhance your mental flexibility.
I ran two marathons in my late 20s. B.C. Before Children.
I didn’t begin with running 26.2 miles. In fact, I never set out for that to be a goal. It was NOT something on my bucket list. I was a runner, yes. Back in the day, I ran track and field…but that was high school!
I only began running races again to support my cousin, another "retired" runner, who wanted to do a 5K. Well, our 5Ks (plural) turned into 8Ks and 10Ks. Then, we joined the NYRR, New York Road Runners club. Back then, there were plenty of short races for us mid-packers. Over time, we set our sights on doing half-marathons…specifically, the five-borough series. (We ran a half-marathon in each of the five boroughs of New York City.)
About three years from our first 5K together, when we signed up for the marathon (pre-lottery time), we had the stamina for it.
Give yourself time to build the stamina for all that is required as a successful entrepreneur. Stamina develops as you push your limits in small increments over time. I didn’t go from my couch to a marathon. I increased my stamina mile by mile over the course of a couple of years.
SEEK THE SIMPLE
How many times have you examined a complex issue only to find the simple components at its root?
Every complexity has origins in simplicity. Sometimes we must search for it. Once we find the simple, it becomes difficult to be limited by the previously perceived complexity.
It’s like one of those ambiguous pictures that challenge the brain. You know, Rubin's vase or two faces? Once your brain unlocks the simple construction of the image, you can see both figures. The complexity falls away.
Routines keep you organized and cultivate consistency. They provide a framework for your day but also move you toward your goals. Have morning and evening routines to shape your day. A weekend routine can keep the whole family on track. It is also a great way to avoid the Sunday night refrain, “I need another day added to the weekend.”
When you set your intention for what you want to get out of your time by framing it in a routine, you are more likely to succeed.
Oh, and be sure to write it down…by hand…on paper. Not with a device. The brain has a way of making special connections when we put pen to paper. That does not happen when using an app.
Look…entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. A great idea and a business plan will not automatically result in a successful, iconic business. It requires hard work…the hardest of which will be required of you, the visionary. These habits are meant to equip you for your journey.
Now that you have some tools, back to work!
Until next time…