Remember, the film 'Dead Poets Society', where the teacher played by Robin Williams told the students to stand on their desks and ask them what they can see. This is where the famous line was quoted, Carpe Diem.
What do you see when things are upside down? Can you create something out of the vantage point?
I bet you can.
There is too much going on in pop culture, social media, and business schools that you can be like Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, Mark Cuban by knowing how they go about their days, eat the kind of food they eat, mediate the same way, read the same books they read – all for the sake to be like them- millionaires /billionaires. This is utter nonsense.
Copying other’s people success is the biggest billion-dollar scam to hit the millennium. You can never be like Elon (there was one interview where the lady interviewer asked Elon “how to be like him?” which was pretty dumb and patronizing) or Mark or Bill Gates for that matter. They are as unique as their genetic makeup, upbringing, social network, educational attainment or non-attainment, life paths, and their predilection for high risk, high ambition, and high rewards.
People who wanted to be a millionaire/billionaire or become wildly successful in business, career, or life has to ask two fundamental questions:
1) Do you have what it takes to succeed in your game? Do you have the innate confidence, talent, determination, and ruthlessness in your pursuit of excellence, health, business domination, and other lofty goals?
2) Do you have the energy, vitality, and open-mindedness to innovate, recharge, retool, and continuously learn and evolve in what you are doing all the time?
If you answered yes to the two questions, you are 20% above the rest of the world population in getting what you want in life and your pursuits. Mastery of yourself and mastery of your environment will take you to places you have never imagined because the first wall that limits you are the walls that you build in your mind.
You cannot copy somebody’s life or life choices. And even if you copy them, you will never be like the people that you want to copy. You can achieve the heights of their success only if you follow your song and dance to your beat and create opportunities for yourself and others in the process.
Success doesn’t come by chance but continuing the path where you can become great or do something great and create value for many people is the best bet of all.
Success doesn't come from some neat formula somewhere, people trying to get to third base when there capacity, attitude, and mental stamina remain in the first base. There are principles that are evergreen to guide one's path but it is up to the individual person to become that master of himself and his environment.
The cavemen did not know who were the people inside the caves that they see. Only when a sunlight penetrated the cave that they found out that it was their shadows playing tricks on them.
Time and time again, this one is very true.
Show up and deliver. Always be ready to take the opportunity that is presented regardless whether it is the right time, place, or scenario. An opportunity is some times disguised as something else.
Showing up means taking action, making commitments, and securing engagements with people that you think will help get you to the next level. It doesn't matter whether it results in a small incremental step. Those steps will add up and will lead to sizable progress cumulatively.
Showing up means taking the courage, while you don't see the big picture, the answer to the problem, or the complete information. It doesn't negate the fact that you showed up, made the effort, and seize the day.
Deliver, when nobody is reading, nobody is listening, nobody seems to care. Deliver consistently, with passion, with love and care as you put your products out, let the world know this is not about the popularity, the number of likes, the retweets, and the instant fame. It is about your message, your story, your contribution. It is about how you relate to your community, your family, and the world.
Showing up ever ready to take the challenges of the day will create the attitude and the frame of mind to move beyond obstacles, whether imagined or not, and will expand your reference of what you-can do!
My two-year daughter knows how to pull the right strings. When she wants to play with the dog, she would say, “Nemo” a hundred times until we give in to the demand. This incessant demand will drive us crazy and will not stop until she gets what she wants.
In life and in business, are you persistent (not overbearing and spammy) enough to endure the momentary hardships that accompany the task of getting your products out to the door, getting donors to support you, getting to the right audience for your content, or getting to the right customers that know and value what you are offering?
Are you persistent and ever-acknowledging that getting to the goal is incremental? It is not that one shot, one sale, one product. The basketball player has to get hundred (or thousands) of shots to perfect their shoot. The athlete has to prepare for the Olympics one to two years ahead of the game. The farmer has to persist with weather, prices, and regulations that made harvest a truly happy result. The juggler in the circus act has to perfect his stunt for two years before he can confidently perform on stage.
Have you asked enough to get what you want? A promotion, a raise, a referral, a testimonial, a developmental project, a speaking engagement? A product endorsement? A Board Trustee for your non-profit? A mentor? A sponsor? A friend of a friend of a friend that can get you to the right venture funder? Have you figured out in your head or have you really tried asking?
Ask more. Ask often. Ask until the door is opened for you. There is no reward for not asking. You get nothing.
A couple of years ago, the notion of building your own nonprofit /(also known as Non-government organization) NGO and chasing funders left and right to fund your projects would be faced with trepidation. Not now.
There were many new NGOs and INGOs that have mushroomed in the last five to ten years.
Yes, the facility, the technology, the networking, and the amount of information that we have about what works and what do not work have abounded in a gazillion times.
This is also the era of start-ups, innovation prizes, and private sector-led initiatives that call for market-oriented solutions.
Everyone can be a disruptor, innovator, accelerator, and other important adjectives or noun that you can name. I just googled the word ‘disruptor’ and guess what, it produced 10,600,000 results.
There were many instances and conversations with groups, individuals, and networks I found myself in small chit-chats that revolved around about building an NGO for this and that. It is a noble and endearing idea that some people will commit their life and time to help others and for social good.
But, I think that people have misunderstood the day-to-day work that it requires.
A lot of nonprofits fail because they do not have the business mindset and the financial management skills to keep it afloat.
Marketing is a number one preoccupation aside from getting those services out in the door to the target communities. If you do not have the plan to keep it sustainable, you will literally have to use your personal monies to keep it barely alive.
I have worked with founders and creators of various nonprofits and all their time is devoted to getting funds either by grants, donations, and other creative income-generation mechanisms.
Do not be surprised that by the first 5 years or more, this is what the CEO and Founder’s job would look like. Not very glamorous.
This search for funding has gotten a lot in trouble. From a nonprofit that works in, for example, the environment starts working on a different mandate totally unrelated to their core mission.
The chase for money can lead to further scope creep, venturing to unknown and inexperience lands just to get some dollars pumping into the organization before another staff gets to asked to resign. I have seen this practice a lot.
They tend to do many differentiated things but lose a lot of focus and expertise due to being a "Jack of All Trades."
They also court new donors with new monies on new ‘flavor of the month’ topics such as greening “everything” or using "technology" as a the solution to all social ills in the world without checking for what works with their client communities.
Building an NGO is a very demanding and challenging experience. Some people have built NGOs that have lasted for many decades and have succeeded a lot. Some built NGOs to be their own boss.
Giving back is the least reason why a new nonprofit has to be built. There are 1001 ways to give back without building one.
Start with the local community agencies in your area and build the required skills, perspectives, and experience you need to determine if this is the road you want to travel on.
Most companies, businesses, non-profit organizations see the competition- the organization across the street with the same offering and think that it’s their worst enemy.
It’s not. A coffee house mushroomed in one street is a reflection of actual buyer/consumer interests. That means that there is a demand and continuing demand that needed to be satisfied. Take the cue from the competition that is very successful.
The competition will show you what is selling or not, what the market wants versus what you are offering. The competition will tell you that your services, products, or values are not well-articulated. It will tell you why you need to expand or contract or seek new markets. The competition that is doing well will tell you what practices work and what practices to abandon. What areas are not being serviced, what gaps in customer needs are not being met and what positioning can be done?
A good competition is a good source of information about what is coming around the bend, anticipating that changes can disrupt your business in many ways and that being a bystander of these changes will do you no good. You might be disrupted even before you know it.
Take the case of Uber that has disrupted the taxi cab businesses that have been there for generations. It has created a whole new sharing economy around the needs and interests of consumers who are also users and producers of these services. Do not be the taxicab operator that just woke up one day with a business valuation of less than $200,000.00!
Big box businesses have folded/ are folding up such as Sears, ToysRUs, Greyhound is discontinuing its operations except for Ontario and Quebec, and recently Macy’s might be next in line. These businesses have weathered many storms and remained very strong contenders in the retail market and transport market for years and years. Sears started with a catalog market and became one of the best-preferred retailers for middle-class buyers. Not anymore.
While the middle-class-targeted retailers are folding up, lower buyer segment markets are generating newer and more stores such as Red Apple and Giant Tiger are taking up empty retail space that has been vacated. There is always an opportunity if you can look closer at the changes that are taking place.
Innovation is the stuff that we strut about but rarely understand. It is not a magical moment where executives of Apple just figured it out today. It is a methodical, integrated, and disciplined approach to finding opportunities, studying opportunities for its potentials and risks, and pursuing opportunities to take the business to the next level of competitiveness and profitability.
Is your business merely surviving, beating up the competition, or dominating the space? Do not sacrifice the future of your company in the altar of today’s successes. Learn from the competition and innovate continuously.