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You can’t be a better leader until you think like one. Thinking like the entrepreneur 2.0 you wish to be won’t happen overnight. The only way a radical business revolution can take place is if you revolutionize your mind. This doesn’t mean throw out everything you knew…far from it. A lot of older values worked and are worth more today - like hard work that doesn’t look for immediate rewards, that understand that brilliance takes cultivation and effort.
We already know about effort. In fact, we’re probably overdoing the effort part. We already work way too many hours; even if you’re just working four hours a day, chances are you’re thinking about work for another four. So with the effort box comfortably checked off, let’s move on to cultivation. Cultivation is what you do between the actual work part, and it’s 100% DIY. This is serious business and it’s a game changing plan that some of the most successful PR firms I know incorporate into their business culture. Some others will do it in part without thinking about it - a sloppy approach that just gets you sloppy, inconsistent results.
Here’s what no one tells you, what most companies don’t even consider as part of “work,” and what requires total independent initiative and relentless persistence. Don’t think of this as what you need to do; think of this as what you need to do differently. The fact is you’re already doing all these things, but you’re doing them in an offbeat way.
Channelling Change Agents
Quickly answer the questions below. The questions are an everyday part of life, so they really don’t require much thought. Think of the first word or go with the first thought that comes to mind. If you go into too much detail or think too hard, you’re cheating. The first answers are always the honest ones.
Answer the following:
- Who do you socialize with?
- Who’s in your peer network?
- Where do you eat?
- What do you read?
- What do you watch?
- Who do you listen to?
If the totality of your life outside of business doesn’t do anything to evolve your business, you’re failing as an entrepreneur and a leader. Any successful entrepreneur lives and breathes their business. This doesn’t have to mean that you have a borderline rabid obsession with all things business to the point of alienating those around you. What it means is you’re taking independent initiative (i.e. DIY) to a collective business life.
After all, what is a “business life?” For most of us, aren’t business lines blurred between home, work and social environments? If these outside, traditionally non-business elements are doing nothing to challenge you or progress your business, you’re doing yourself and your business a great disservice.
Channelling the right change agents is what will get you the connections you need to increase sales, network with prosperous associates, gain mentorship and other opportunities. It’s what’s going to get you to be a better-rounded human being that attracts positive attention, to get people to flock to you, who seek you out above others. It’s what gets you social clout. It’s what opens you up to new and improved ideas, what sparks innovation and prevents stagnation.
So when you’re answering these six questions, consider…
1) Who You Socialize With
Is it the same weekend beer-drinking group or is it a mix of events that gets you out of your comfort zone and meeting more people? Does it lead to opportunities and does it excite you? Is it worth talking about or is it just an escape?
2) Do You Have a Peer Network for Your Industry?
A lot of networking groups focus on building connections between non-related industries in the hopes of lead generating. However, it’s important that you have some qualified peers in your own industry to lean upon, use as a sounding board and possibly even collaborate with. There are dozen more opportunities here.
3) You’ve Heard of “You Are What You Eat”
The same idea is true for “you are where you eat.” If you’re trying to network and project a strong business image for your own psyche and for others, then please ditch the drive thru menu for lunch. Bring it up a notch.
4-6) Who Do You Access?
Just as important as who you talk to is who/what you read or watch. Today you don’t have the excuse of not having access to the best minds. With multimedia, there’s no excuse aside from sheer laziness for why you’re not listening to what people smarter than you have to say.