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Jason, I applaud your entrepreneurial spirit, and your desire to have the flexibility to live the life you desire.  Entrepreneurship can be a very rewarding path.  It can create freedom for you, inspire a sense of accomplishment, engage your innate talents and passion, and most importantly, add value to your community of clients. 

It can also be a very long and lonely trek to the top.  For that reason, I want you to do two things:

  1. Seek out a mentor

  2. Seek out support

One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make is to try to go it alone.  No one who has accomplished anything great does it alone.  We all need support – especially when tackling something new. 

Your learning curve will be significantly shortened if you seek out the counsel of those who have gone before you.  A mentor will help you jumpstart your journey, ensure you sidestep traps, save you time and energy, and connect you with people you need to know.  They can become a great resource for you!

Find someone who has gone there before you.  Find someone you respect.  Ask them to mentor you.  Ask them to share their wisdom with you.  Come prepared for these mentoring conversations with questions.  They will not be able to help you if you don’t know what you need.  And don’t shy away from asking for help.  People love to help!

I would also recommend you seek the support of a business coach.  There are so many leaders who are more than willing to share their expertise, often for free.  Travis Greenlee comes to mind, as does John Assaraf from One Coach. You’ll find these people on Twitter and the internet.  In fact, pick up the book “The Answer” by John Assaraf if you want to put yourself in the right mental space for entrepreneurship. 

You will also need to surround yourself with like-minded people.  These don’t necessarily have to be people in your industry, they just need to be people who can propel you on your path.  This can include friends and family, people in your community, fellow entrepreneurs.   Entrepreneurship requires mental toughness, and you will need these people to lift you up on those days when you are doubting yourself.  And Jason, make no mistake about it, those days will come.

Now, on the practical business side, you will also need to:

  1. Educate Yourself

  2. Make a Plan

Jason, as an entrepreneur you will need to understand the mechanics of business ownership.  Things like how to register your business name, whether or not to incorporate, establishing a tax account (ie GST for Ontario),  getting a master licence so that you can open a business banking account.  Look for SBEC (Small Business Enterprise) in your local community.  They are a valuable resource! Sign up for local classes on relevant topics.  Also consider taking small business classes in your local community college if that was not included in your school program.  There is a lot to learn. 

Once you have the basics under your belt, you will need to make a plan.  One of my favourite resources is the best seller by Jim Horan “The One Page Business Plan“.  It streamlines a tiresome, complicated business planning chore into a easy-to use process.  It will help you capture your vision and translate it into concrete results.  In fact, order it today!   It will help you answer the What, Where, Who, When, Why, How questions of your business.

Clarity is key!

And one last piece of advice, don’t expect your efforts to pay off financially right away.  The biggest myth of entrepreneurship is this: “Build it and they will come.”  It’s not true Jason.  It takes incredible energy and focus and work work work to get this off the ground.  Be patient.  Early days will be a struggle.  The work you do now, may not pay off until months from now.  So in the interim you may need to find other employment to pay the bills.  Be smart.

My parting words of wisdom – Believe in yourself!  Be persistent! Keep the faith!

All the best to you Jason, keep checking in as your journey unfolds.  I am here for you….Deb

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Simply?  Because we get what we focus on.  Janet, change your focus and you will change the way you feel.   Change the way you feel and you will change your life.  Why?  Because what we focus on expands. 

Try this question exercise, and for this to work, actually think about the answers, don’t just read the questions:

  1. What is the biggest problem in your life right now?
  2. What areas of your life are not going well?
  3. What are you most unhappy about?

As you think about these questions, notice how you feel.  Chances are, you are feeling low, unhappy, frustrated.

Now try this (again I want you to answer them, not just read the questions):

  1. What’s going well for you right now?
  2. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  3. What are you grateful or happy for?

Notice how you feel now.  See the difference? 

Nothing changed in your circumstances between the first and second set of questions, and yet the second set of questions made you feel better.  The way you feel is largely determined by what you focus on.  You don’t need to “get a break” to start feeling better about your life, you just need to focus on the right things.

By asking yourself “Why can’t I ever get a break?”, the focus is on you as the victim in a completely hopeless situation.  This is a disempowering mindset.  You’ll never make progress as long as you keep thinking like this.

If you can control the questions you ask yourself, you can change your focus and control the way you feel regardless of your circumstances.  It doesn’t mean that your problems go away, and I’m not suggesting you ignore them.   Rather my goal for you is to put you in an empowered state, so that you can solve your problems more effectively, and confidently move forward. 

Here’s a more empowering question to ask yourself:

“What can I do right now to change this situation?”  OR

“What can I do to make the most of this situation?”

“What is the good in this situation?”

“What decision can I make right now that will propel me in a new direction?”

The list of empowering questions is endless.  The trick is to make it a habit.  Whenever you catch yourself asking a disempowering question, immediately stop yourself and switch to an empowering question.  In fact, say out loud to yourself “SWITCH”.  Do this over and over until you create a new habit.

The truth is Janet, the capacity for you to contribute is for all practical purposes, limitless.  Get creative!  Focus on making that your reality and watch your life soar!  To your success…Deb

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Carolyn so many people can relate to your experience – in fact, I’ve been there myself.  What you understand is that payment for the work we do comes in two forms: psychic rewards and physical rewards.  Psychic rewards are the “feel good” experiences which feed the mental / spiritual side of us.  It’s the reward that comes from contributing our efforts and knowing we’ve made a difference.  Physical rewards on the other hand are the tangibles we receive – money, perq’s, benefits, etc.  Both are essential.   

Here are some options for you to consider:

  1. Find a way to boost your psychic income.  Volunteer.  Sponsor a cause. Start a positive movement. Do this in your spare time. What spare time? Cut out or cut down time spent watching TV, surfing the net, reading trash – you get the picture.  Eliminating just one hour per day, “finds” you the equivalent of nine 40 hr work weeks (Amazing isn’t it!). Hey, there’s a positive movement idea for you : )
  2. Reframe the way you think about your work, your job, your employer, your industry.  Find the good in it.  Stop telling yourself that you hate what you do.  Start telling yourself that what you do creates value for other people. Remember, what you focus on expands. 
  3. Do your job from your life purpose.  Huh? For example, if you know your purpose is to serve, then think about how what you do serves others.  Dig deep.  You’ll find it if you’re looking for it. Without question, someone is benefiting from what you do. Tap into that partnership feeling and feed it.
  4. Ask yourself if you are bored? Boredom is often the sign that you are ready to be promoted…or ready for a new challenge.  Ask to lead a new project. Do your research first, and present a well thought out idea. Where is there a service gap in your company or industry? How can you fill it?
  5. Think about what you would do if you could do, then take the first step towards that.  For example, if owning your own business is your dream, then draw it up.  What would it look like?  Who would you serve? What would you offer? How would you make money? Concretize it before you leap.
  6. Think about going back to school.  Start by investigating your options.  Where do you want to grow your knowledge? How could you make it work? Is part time continuing education an option?
  7. Think about reducing your work week or changing your work hours to give you more time/flexibility to pursue other options.  Many companies offer flex week programs.  Talk to your HR dept.
  8. Start a blog. Write about what you’re passionate about.  Contribute to the discussion. Create a following, and provide value. 
  9. Pursue your hobbies.. passionately. What interest could you expand into a passion?  Find classes and interest groups to support your growth.
  10. Be grateful for the success you have.  This is a biggie.  I’m not talking about cursory gratitude here, but the type of gratitude that feeds your soul.  Think about how brilliant it is that you are where you are…that you have achieved what you have achieved…and that somebody thinks you are valuable enough to pay you well.  That is a blessing!  Start and end everyday expressing gratitude for what you have. And then pat yourself on the back for creating these positive results for yourself!

Carolyn, I hope I’ve given you much to think about.  Thank you so much for asking!  To your continued success…Deb

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John this is a gem of a question, and truthfully it’s deserving of a more in depth answer than a blog response.  So in the interest of time, I’m going to make some assumptions that you know exactly what it is that you want , have clarified your definition of success and expressed it in positive terms, you believe that it is possible, and you are locked on with positive visualizations and affirmations.  So let me give you this to chew on…

While success is your birthright John, it does not mean that reaching your goals will be easy.  Otherwise, everyone would be thriving, and sadly we know that isn’t the case.  The truth is, in order to reach new heights in our personal life, in our career, in our business, we need to step forward into growth.  And growing is uncomfortable… for everyone

Growth means stumbling, and second guessing, and making mistakes, and feeling awkward, and taking risks.  It means we must step out in faith.  This puts us way outside of our comfort zones – and people love their comfort zones!  Comfort zones are very cozy places.  And the moment we abandon them for the pursuit of something better, they call out for us to retreat back to their safety.  Sadly, most dreams die in the embrace of the familiar.

There is an old adage: “You can’t get there from here.”   John, you cannot reach next level success without making a profound shift.  Regardless of what your current level of “success” is, the next level will elude you until you change.  Truthfully, you will feel “stuck” at every plateau you reach.  It’s the cycle of achievement.  

In order to grow, you will be required to shift values, beliefs, attitudes, or habits.  Because who we are today is only able to manifest what we have already manifested.  In other words, if we think and behave the same way today as we did last week, last month, last year, we will continue to produce last week’s, last month’s, last year’s results.  Doesn’t that make sense?

Goal setting is never about reaching the goal…it’s about who you become along the way.  Figuring out who you need to become is the hardest part, and truthfully most of us need a coach to help us see what we can’t see.

So here’s my advice for you: the next time you think to yourself “this is hard“, I want you to get excited.  That’s right..excited!  Because what you are noticing is your own growth.  Get excited about that!  You are releasing an old comfort zone in pursuit of something bigger.  And that’s a wonderful thing. 

To your success John.

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Tammy, it does not, but optimists are more successful.  Let me explain. 

Positive thinking is a function of the conscious mind.  Along with reasoning, imagination, memory,  perception, and willpower.   Here’s the problem:  We think the wonderful faculties of our conscious mind control what we do.  But they do not. 

For all its brilliance, the conscious mind has limited power, and in fact influences less than 5% of our behaviour.  And it has a very short attention span –  which is why willpower rarely works.  You can think successful thoughts, and even believe that you have unlimited creative capacity, but this is not sufficient to create the successful conditions you desire.

That’s because the remaining 95-98% of our behaviour is controlled by our unconscious mind.  This is where our beliefs and our habits reside.  It is these dominant unconscious programs which direct our behaviours.  The limited power of the conscious mind (even the most inspired positive thought) will never override the dominant programming buried in our unconscious mind. 

If you want success, then you’ll need to rebuild your success beliefs, and create habits of success.  Positive thinking plays an important role, but as a stand alone strategy, failure is a certainty.

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