Why the E-Myth is a must read for those interested in business.

I just finished reading an excellent book that has been around for years. It’s called the E-Myth and starts by painting a picture of working in business that intimidated and scared me into thinking that I couldn’t possibly do it. More than that, I would always ponder why someone would go through so many intense challenges just for the sake of their business. 

Gerber attributes the failure of many small businesses not to a lack of skill, but to lack of knowledge about what the priorities are. The image of the small business owner as the lone crusader in a fight to keep the business going is a reality for some people. Someone close to me was having many very similar challenges quite recently with their business. Gerber then proceeds to describe an alternative way to establish, run and grow a business so that it achieves predictable results of success. Now obviously, that isn’t a guarantee, but the main ideas that I took away from the book were:

* Your business should become your vehicle and help you to live the life you want to, not become a burden and source of misery.

* In the words of Stephen Covey, beginning with the end in mind will ensure that you have a broader vision of what you want your company to eventually blossom into.

* The best businesses have create a culture that compels everyone connected to it to produce good work. This is down to creating an environment of purpose where each person feels their work is valued and important.

* Well thought out systems of operation go a long way to making sure that people who enter the business understand exactly what is required of them meaning that business owners can focus on strategy rather than technical work.

* Well planned systems means that your business can operate without you even being there. Thus creating the freedom that all business owners went into enterprise for in the first place.

* The organisational hierarchy of the company should be created at it’s inception, not when the company grows as that might be too late.

*Discovering your primary aim (The reason why you want to start a business) will help you make decisions about the company that allow it suit your needs and wants. 

If any of these ideas or concepts interest you, I would strongly encourage you read the book. I gained a huge amount from it, and will no doubt be referring back to it over and again once I start creating my own business.

I wish you the best

Shaun

Self-acceptance is more important than self-improvement?

I have always been very passionate about the role of self-improvement in my life. The name of my blog shows that I believe in a holistic way of life. Self- improvement has served me well in that capacity because I believe I am more effective now than I was in the past.
However, there was always an idea that puzzled me. It was a paradox in my thinking.
If I’m always striving towards new goals, when will I get the feeling of being successful? When will I enjoy the fruits of all the work I’ve done on self-improvement?
The missing piece between success and self-improvement is self-acceptance. I now realise that without self-acceptance, there is the danger that you will never be happy with your success. Success isn’t a tangible thing. It’s a feeling, and that feeling is relative. If you took two people with the exact same circumstances in life, one could be the happiest person alive and the other person the most miserable. The way they perceive what they have and their level of identification with those things, will determine whether they feel successful.
When I have felt successful in life has been when I have cultivated that state internally. It is the journey towards the goals as well as the end point that can create a feeling of success.
I am working on self- acceptance because I realised I was playing a dangerous game where I was losing the ability to be happy in the present moment because I was forever chasing goals. The goals were not the problem, it was my identification with the result of attaining them. In short, because I was obsessing over achievement, I would have been dissatisfied with my level of income, health, relationships or career. I was making the false assumption that those things are who I am. I cannot wait for the ideal of everything before I become happy. That is not true living.
Self-acceptance is the subtle art of knowing yourself internally so that you don’t have to rely on the external things around you for identity. I understand why people chase success symbols like cars, huge houses and other similar things. It is almost a way of measuring your level of success in the world. However, this measurement system is fundamentally flawed because it does not go deeply enough. It also cannot measure the intangible elements that really make us who we are. Here are some of them.
Our core values
Our purpose
Being happy
Having the ability to immerse fully in the present moment
Love.
A connection to a force that is greater than our-selves.
These things are the timeless.
Let go of the idea that your external possessions are who you really are. Become in tune with the concept, that everything you need for life you already have inside of you. Look within. Here is a resource to help with this.
http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-Self-Acceptance-Can-Crack-Open-Your-Life This is a ten day programme of activities that are designed to help you start thinking about self acceptance. I have found some of them useful especially day one. It was really challenging to think that deeply about myself and it did give me some perspective on who I really am. I really liked this paragraph to explain what self-acceptance means:
Self-acceptance is the process of befriending the Unconditioned Self—the part of you that is more than just your name, your history, your story, your failures or your successes. You are more than just your experiences or how other people see you or the clothes you wear.
I wish you the best.

Do what scares you.

 

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So last weekend my best friend got married in an amazing ceremony. I was so privileged to be there and felt honoured to be his best man also. If you recall in a past post, I mentioned that I would be singing the first dance song for my friend. I also told you that I was scared about doing this due to the feelings that I had attached to singing in public.

As the day drew closer, I felt like I wanted to back out and make excuses and I did have a real opportunity to do so. We couldn’t find an instrumental or backing track anywhere for the song that he wanted. I then had a decision to make. I could have decided to leave it at that and put it down to bad luck. However, when I confronted myself, I knew this was not the truth. I was going to use this as an excuse to not perform. I was trying to run away from it all in my head. I had to remember that what I was doing was in fact not for me but my friend. He had wanted this moment and expected it to happen and so I could not let him down.

I went on to you tube to look for options and stumbled across the website audacity that allows you to edit song tracks. I taught myself how to remove the vocals from a song and created my own instrumental to use. With that done, all excuses were out of the way.

The best lesson I learnt through this experience came two nights before the wedding itself. I practiced in front of my wife and she said that it was good. Ten minutes later whilst I was cooking in the kitchen, she came in and basically said that I could sing the song far better than I was.

“What’s wrong with what I’m doing?” I asked. I was hurt, but also curious.

“You’re not being yourself when you are singing it” she said. “You did it better the other day.”

“Alright then.” I responded defensively and I carried on with my cooking. I didn’t speak for the next ten minutes and was left to stew alone in the kitchen about what my wife had said. I appreciated her feedback because I knew she would tell me the truth. I was now also completely terrified. I felt like I wasn’t ready to do the song and that I would not be very good. All my old conditioning was kicking in. However, within these ten minutes, all the work that I have been putting in to becoming my best self kicked into play. I replayed what Annemarie had said and confronted the truth. She was right. I wasn’t performing the song to the best of my ability and I knew why. I was over-thinking the whole thing and did not allow myself to interpret the song authentically as myself. She had basically called me out for being cowardly when I was singing and this was true.

“I want to do it again for you after dinner” I said to Annemarie. I knew what to do this time. I had to be present when singing the song and stop having an inner monologue going on in my head. I had to connect with the emotion of the song and become vulnerable. I basically had to show myself.

When I performed the song this time, I forgot about where I was, the time and my fears and I threw myself completely into those 4 minutes as if they would be my last. After my last note, I looked to Annemarie and her reaction was written all over her face. She grabbed me in the tightest hug.

“That’s more like it!” she said. I had known in my heart that I had done it this time, because I felt in total alignment. All aspects of who I am came together and I committed my body, mind, heart and spirit to the song. It is this alignment that makes all the difference.

I knew I was prepared to perform at the wedding, and when the moment came, I produced one of the best vocal performances of my life.

My wife and younger brother were all moved to tears as were other members of the wedding party. I received tons of praise from people who wanted to show appreciation for what I had done and I was grateful to everyone for their kind words.

 I connected deeply with the song and was motivated by the opportunity I had to create a wonderful memory for my friend. He told me afterwards that it was one of the greatest moments of his life. Adding that kind of value to someone is one of life’s greatest gifts. I learnt so much from the experience, and it has accelerated my personal growth no end. I also felt the power of doing work that is completely congruent with your character. I could have sung all night and people did ask me to, but I had done what was necessary.  I will now ensure that I have music in my life daily to raise my spirits and revive that part of my personality that I let lie dormant for so long. I am a singer, and should always sing. It was a crime to not let my light shine. I won’t make that mistake in the future.

My fear of singing in public is now cleansed. I’ve realised that my perception of singing from when I was a teenager was a false paradigm that I had carried around until last week. Now I see singing as a way of expressing my true self. I also see it as fun and uplifting.

Do what scares you, and it will no longer have power over you. You can and will find a way to overcome. That was what I learnt.

Let your light shine.

I wish you the best

Shaun