For almost 200 years we were in the Industrial Age, followed by four “Ages” in less than 40 years: The Post-Industrial/Service Age. The Technology Age, the very short 5-10 year Information Age, and what some including me are now calling the Participation Age.
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February 7-20 I will accompany The 1010 Project to Kenya to explore ways to break the cycle of poverty by developing sustainable business models. Brian Rants, the Director of The 1010 Project asked me to work with them to think big and go beyond the typical craft-making and handwork solutions. We’ll be looking for ways to fund real businesses that work for the local economy – it’s an exciting and daunting opportunity.
Very few business owners expect their business to support them right out of the gate. More often than not, the expectation to receive income from outside the business gives the owner a false sense of security and a lack of real intentionality to build a business. We assume it’s supposed to be this way, and if we look around at other business startups and some of the really awful advice we get, we’re told it could be 18-24 months before the business even breaks even. So we take that 18-24 month window and use every bit of it, burning through outside money like there’s no tomorrow, and feeling just fine about it because it’s supposed to be this way.
He who makes the rules wins. The problem is your business is probably making all the rules for you and beating you up at every turn.
The most important marketing tactic ever devised is also the simplest. And it wasn’t invented by marketing people, but by business owners and sales people looking to grow their business the best, fastest, least expensive way possible.
To build a business that provides you the lifestyle you want, you need a vision that motivates you. And guess what? Making money is not an empowering vision. I know plenty of people who’ve tried it including me.
Within a few weeks of the birth of our first child, Diane and I were already imagining and anticipating how it would be when he was all grown up, had graduated from college and was out on his own. We had these same conversations after the birth of all three kids.
We love to know exactly what the near-term process is we’re supposed to be doing, we’re almost obsessed with it, to the point that at least in business, we’re too often okay with knowing exactly which direction we’re going without any idea where it’s leading us. It’s a little Yogi Berra-like “I don’t know where I’m going but I’m having a great time getting there.” Or in many cases, we have an insatiable need to know the process in all its detail before we will make a single move. Either way we find the process to be more important than the goal.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~Albert Einstein
The only motivation book I will recommend to others is Self-made in America, by John McCormack. John introduced me to an obscure English word that I now use as a cornerstone of my daily activity – conation.