We are all on a journey. Sometimes our destination feels like somewhere positive and sometimes it doesn’t. There are even times when we feel more alien than human. In the hustle and bustle we become less of who we are and more of who we don’t want to be.
Along the route, there are many bumps in the road and those bumps can affect our drive. The bruises and scars caused by the bumps leave us looking battered, tired and exhausted.
Bumps can come at the hands of someone unexpected and I don’t always feel positive towards whoever bumped me. In fact, I want swift justice to come to them when I’m shocked and frustrated. I lose perspective and I don’t get through it by taking my story to other people. I have to get on my own examination table and operate on myself.
Maybe a project has been moved or a payment delayed which has had a negative affect down the line. You’ve had to juggle more and work harder. What should have been easy has become a lot harder, affecting everyone, and more importantly, it’s affecting you! Rather than carry hope in your heart, fear is crouching at the door, and you feel a little off. Now, if you have never felt this way, great, you can be there for someone who does! The truth is we have all been there at times and having seen my fair share of challenges over the years (recessions, hostile takeovers, misjudgements, mistakes), there is a way through it.
I am here to encourage and lift you. I want to tell you that while the vision may seem distant at times, it pays to keep going. If there is one person who reads this and decides not to quit on their dream then I believe I am doing what I’m supposed to do!
You see, you might have to quit some other things in order to sharpen your focus, but don’t quit on the very thing that got you started. It might take a different shape and people may change, or even the vehicle in which you navigate might have to change, but keep moving forward.
Over the last few years we have all been given reason to give up, with unprecedented challenges feeling like alien attack. As Winston Churchill was quoted, ‘When you are going through hell, keep going’. Difficultly is a season, it’s not permanent – so treat the circumstances as alien, rather than becoming one yourself.
Be generationally motivated:
Getting rich isn’t enough of a motivation. Every day you have is precious so what you choose to spend them on has to be meaningful. In tough times, money can give you more choice in the short term, but long term cost can be pricey. Tough times get us to look in the mirror and ask if we are willing to pay the price to continue. One thing that has helped us as a family is to see our life beyond one generation. If I see one generation, I accept a road travelled by many others and I’ll inherit the same results. If I see beyond my generation, then I’ll make bigger calls. That is why we chose to home educate our children. We chose to double down when everyone was walking from their hopes and dreams and then stay in the faith when others quit. Now, looking in the mirror each morning, I see a historic timeline of broken homes, messed up relationships, split churches, toxic businesses, premature deaths and lost causes. I can also see war heroes, risk takers, dream builders, happy families, successful business leaders, and I know that our family name can stand for something positive. It really does’t matter where you have come from, but you have a choice to redefine history by making sure your chapter and chapters subsequent shine out in stark relief against the dark ones that went before!
Be the best person you can be:
We can all do better. We have our bad days, and our good. The real sense of living well is having more better days than bad and being better than you were yesterday. We should be competing against ourselves, not each other. In business, we think that nice people never win, but winning by cheating isn’t winning, it’s sowing the seeds of a negative future outcome. Sowing good seeds means you’ll get the right kind of dividends. You will make mistakes, be misunderstood, told you can’t cut it, or you can’t do what you say you’re going to do because it’s impossible. The reality is that you’ll get the most opposition from people who have quit on their own dreams and become cynical. When you step into purpose they are convicted that they should never have given up. You know those people. I have them, you have them, but don’t be distracted, rather be attracted to the goal you set out to pursue. Never lose sense of the perspective you hold and be the better person.
Be a student, always:
You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. If you want to level up, you’ll have to transition to people that can help you stay on mission and deliver on the vision. They’ll share the same values, but outstrip you in every other area. I was recently invited into a business people’s WhatsApp group and as I sat on the once a month Zoom call, I felt small. However, as I know that being small and thinking small are two different things, I was happy to feel small. People in the group shared their wisdom without publicising their ‘telephone number’ sized bank balances and I listened, deciding not to feel intimidated. When you go into a room, you always have a chance to grow in the room, be consistent, and rise to the group level of wisdom so that you can go out and do the same. The motive of the group is to encourage everyone to rise up and do what they are supposed to do with their time, talent and treasure and leave a legacy when they are done. The discussion centred around 300 year vision plans and building generationally. I love this new group as it will help me ‘do’ by being the student, and I’ll be listening rather than leading.
Be ready to switch off:
I have to admit, I am terrible at this. Switching off and staying connected. I realised this weekend why I was so tired as the week drew on, I had taught 60 leaders the week before for the whole weekend, followed by a full day of podcasts and then ran hard at the week. 14 days straight, I realised, I needed to just do some simple things. Less glamorous things, like walking in the countryside, doing the shopping, and watching a box set, I needed to change down the gears. So I watched football (painful), caught up with the Apprentice (kids love it, but even now they are saying, where do they get these people?) I went to church and just talked (without having to rush off on the next assignment) and today, as I type, I feel rested. When we are tired our problems multiply in our mind and we lose perspective. When life comes at you fast, rather than being able to respond with a plan, you react to a problem. That isn’t a good place to be. So resting has its own reward. Now, switching off shouldn’t just be about picking up a device. Seeing family is a great antidote to scrolling, as long as you don’t all end up doing it in the same room together. As we get older, we realise that these times in the room, all together, will become rarer, so now is the time to invest deeper.
Be fun to be around:
We are humans first and foremost, after all. Our happiness is determined by the choices we make and when we start living according to the four principles above, we find ourselves becoming happier. Myself and Olly at the movement we run – www.hum4ns.co.uk – speak about this often. The things that entrepreneurs, business leaders and owners sacrifice most often are our happiness, our health, time to invest in becoming smarter and rather than becoming kinder we become harder!
The great thing about my partnership with Olly is that we spend a healthy amount of time asking each other how we are doing. Life can get frustrating but we can share. As a result, we have fun, real fun with ‘like hearted’ people. Our HUM4NS talks on the third Monday evening of every month at The Square Club continue to inspire and build on a community of great HUM4NS. It is a highlight of the month, and a great check point in the level of impact we are making. This week, we are pleased to announce that we are about to launch HUMANS CATALYST (www.hum4ns.co.uk/catalyst), our 12 week bootcamp, ensuring that people prioritise the right things to build strong generations. We don’t deny ‘stuff’ that happens, but we choose not to dwell on it. We are looking to tell a different kind of story from the usual narrative. That is fun!
So, don’t let those tough times defeat you. Don’t fall into the trap of comparison. Focus on why you started and change rooms if you have to in order to get to where you need to get to. Don’t give up or give in on the vision you carry in your heart. Entrepreneurship, owning and leading a business isn’t easy but remember that the moves you make today will have a lasting impact.
Tough times can steal our focus and perspective so I hope that you can apply these five principles to help you to become more resilient in the university of adversity.
You can choose to be extraordinary, even when you feel like an extra terrestrial!