CEO Roundtable

Date: July 20th, 2012

Location: Kirkland Public Library 3308 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland WA

Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (Meets Monthly)

Registration: www.ideal-companies.com

This is a roundtable discussion of business issues faced by business owners, CEO’s and motivated entrepreneurs, including solo entrepreneurs and small business professionals. Each attendee will have the opportunity to highlight an issue they face in growing their business. Other attendees will offer their input based on their own knowledge and experience. This event is a very dynamic form of the mastermind. Please come and participate in this learn and share event.

CEO Roundtable March 16th

Date: March 16th, 2012

Location: Kirkland Public Library 3308 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland WA

Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (Meets Monthly)

Registration: www.ideal-companies.com

This is a roundtable discussion of business issues faced by business owners, CEO’s and motivated entrepreneurs, including solo entrepreneurs and small business professionals. Each attendee will have the opportunity to highlight an issue they face in growing their business. Other attendees will offer their input based on their own knowledge and experience. This event is a very dynamic form of the mastermind. Please come and participate in this learn and share event.

CEO Roundtable February 17th

This is a roundtable discussion of business issues faced by business owners, CEO’s and motivated entrepreneurs, including solo entrepreneurs and small business professionals. Each attendee will have the opportunity to highlight an issue they face in growing their business. Other attendees will offer their input based on their own knowledge and experience. This event is a very dynamic form of the mastermind. Please come and participate in this learn and share event.

This is a monthly event and generally meets on the third Friday of the month.  We meet at the Kirkland Library, 308 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland, WA.  Time is 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.  Register at www.ideal-companies.com.

The “Four Letter Word” That’s Okay To Use In Public

As I think about business owners and some of the things we do.  The one thing that stands between us and our goals is that “four letter word” that often stops us in our tracks and paralyzes us with the fear of success.  The thing is, we often think we are fine and that we haven’t a care in the world.  After all we started a business by ourselves.  It was our idea.  Our effort, and now here we are.  I mean how could this happen.  Where did it all go wrong?  Okay, maybe it’s not that bad.  But, if I could just figure this out.  This is when that “four letter word” starts to really shed some light on the solution.  So, after you stop cursing at the universe, your friends, family and the barista at Starbucks…because that’s not one of the four letter words that will help.  Although sometimes they might be a perfect fit for our frustration.  This is the abracadabra of “four letter words”.  The theme song of “four letter words”.  HELP!  That’s it!  As simple as this sounds, asking for help is the hardest thing to do for most of us.  We’ve been taught that it signified weakness, incompetence and all of those other descriptive words told to us by those probably weaker than ourselves.

My father had a saying.  “Son, pride will get you killed”.  I always thought I could do things myself and didn’t need any help.  I can do it, I would always say.  He would offer his assistance again and I’d insist “I can do it”.  He’d say, alright then.  Let me know if you need any help.  Then after I’d broken whatever it was I was trying to put together and stomped off in a huff.  He’d say, why didn’t you let me know you needed help (usually frustrated at his hard-headed first born male child).  That’s when he one day bestowed those famous words on my ears.  I still hear them every time I’m about to do something I know I shouldn’t.

I think as business  owners we sometimes can’t get out of our own way.  Constantly trying to perfect the mouse trap.  We are blind to our own limitations.  Then in an effort not to share the secret of our success we limit it by not asking for the very thing that will take us to higher heights.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.  It’s a symbol of strength.  Only those who recognize that they do not know everything can get the very thing they are lacking.  The missing element to our formula.  In business we’ve always been told to focus on our strengths and hire to our weaknesses.  We’ll this is all part of that.  This is what it looks like.  It’s called asking for “HELP” when you need it.  There is no way humanly possible to know how to do everything and there is someone out there who can do that very thing better than you.  There may also be some things that you may not want to do or have no business doing in the first place.  That’s why sometimes the things we need to do most never get done.  We are too afraid or too stubborn to ask for help.  So why not seek out those who can help you be better.  Hey, I’ve been there and I’ve known a few business owners who were on the same boat with me.  We’ve all run our ship aground at some time or another and needed to be rescued from ourselves.  Ask for help…that’s how you grow and learn more.  About yourself, about your business and others.  So tell me, what do you need help with?  Hey, I figure if I don’t know how to do it I’m sure there is someone out there who can.  Remember if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.  Until next, time be well.

Our Best Laid Plans…

When one actually thinks about planning their life.  I think their eyes role back in their head.  I know mine used to.  Then I started thinking about something.  We are so engrossed in everyone else’s lives except our own.  To truly embrace the art of working for yourself you have to have a plan for your life.  You must dream and I mean big.  It’s not something you can do half way.  Most of us have this vague idea of this things we want to do some day.  We things like “I can’t wait to retire”.  Well, what the heck are you going to do then?  Most of us just can’t wait to not have to go to the same place we’ve hated to show up and work at for the last 13 years.  We haven’t thought beyond our last day.  Well, as my grandmother used to say “if you plan something half way, you only get half”.  If you know there is something you want to do in your heart why not go for it.  I mean all of the way.  I think that’s why I love it when I hear people talking about going back to school to learn a new trade or get another degree, certificate or starting a business.  Usually, this is something they have thought about for a while, or that dream that wouldn’t let go of them.  The truth is, that it’s in the planning for what we want that our life comes alive. They’ve planned for this thing that they are doing to mean something in their life.  This is where I often see that light beginning to shine for some.  They are embracing the art of working for yourself.  Creating a path toward living life of their terms.  Not waiting for some else’s version of what they think they should do.

For as long as I can remember I was told to get a job.  That was my fate.  Grow up, go to school and get a job.  Be that good little worker bee, let alone working for myself or start my own business.  I think practically every day I heard this in some shape or form.  My grandfather would say, you know, one day when you get a job you’ll see what I mean.  Or my mother would look at my grades and say you’re going to have to do better if you want to get a “good” job when you graduate.  And let’s not forget all of the job fairs I attended my junior and senior year in college.  I believe the education system we have in this country is one of the best and yet the blind spot that we have for our lives is evident.  We have been taught to deny our every desire and to work until you can’t work anymore and retire.  Everybody I knew worked for someone else and for some other reason than their own.  My parents, aunts uncles and family friends.  That’s the hand most of were dealt.  There was no other option.  Besides if you did it right along the way you got promoted and left the shop floor to supervise the rest of us who were left behind.  That was the real prize.  To no longer do what they hired you to do.  Then if the company really liked you and you stayed long enough you got a gold watch.  Oh, and don’t forget your pension.  You’re now set for life.  It didn’t seem like I had any control over my destiny.  So for years I just worked and dreamed about doing something different.  I think in every job I had, I just did it.  I was just after the pay check.  And that is where this all began for me.  I had to figure out why we for some reason check out for most of our lives as we work.  We don’t necessarily hate what we do, but don’t love it either.  At least most of us don’t.  We just turn into these worker bees working and creating the nectar for the hive.

I think having a little order and a system can be a good thing.  I’m trying to make a point.  No wonder we ended up here.  We have been told that we will be taken care of by the companies we work for, by our government and unions we support.  Not to worry and that they have our best interest at heart.  But, were does responsibility for our own lives enter in the equation.  I think right here would be as good a place as any.  Here’s why.  Companies owe you nothing.  You owe it to yourself to live your best life and to get what you want. Once you do this you are starting to embrace the art of working for yourself.  You are opening your mind to the possibilities of making a definite plan for your life.

They’ve done studies on people who have written out a plan for their lives.  Some in great detail.  The most fascinating thing about this study is that most of the poeple who wrote something down accomplished just about everything wrote down and set out to do.  I believe there is magic in writing down what you want.  It is something that comes from you, created by your hands on to paper for you to see immediately.  Your energy, your words, your dreams, your life.  Alive and in living color or blue or black ink.  Depends on what you are writing with.

It’s time you begin to re-think your life and your work.   We have become too dependent on forces outside of our control hoping and praying for a better out come.  There are times when the effort and responsibility falls squarely in our own  hands and we must act.  I have watched people resist the change that is happening all around them and fight to keep things the same in an effort to not have to think or act for themselves.  When you think about it.  They have not ever  and probably fear the thought of taking stock of the resources around them and to plan for a new way of life now that things are different.

Sure change is scary, but so is not know what you are going to do next.  This is where embracing the art of working for yourself and creating a path for you to follow toward what you want to have and how you want to live can make change and the way you look at it understandable.  Thus tempering our fear of the unknown.  This is what having a plan and writing it down can do for you.  It give voice to your vision and purpose to your actions.  Give it a try.  Write down a few plans and see what happens.  You’ll be amazed at what comes next.  Until next time be well.

 

Do You Really Want What They Have?

When I think about the art of working for yourself, I can’t help but think about how we think about others, how they live and what they do for work an how much money they make.  We can’t help ourselves but to go there.  Most of the time we imagine that those who we think make lots of money and have infinite time on their hands are some sort of chupacabra and their life is somehow better than ours.  The funny thing is upon closer inspection most of our lives area just as chaotic as the person who sits next to us in our cubical or lives in our cul-de-sac.  No one man or woman having cart blanche on time, money or mental stability.

Why is this even relevant?  Why do you compare yourself to someone else?  Oh, final question, do you really want their life?  If so, why don’t you want to the one you have?  I know I went really Deepak Chopra on you, but let’s think about this.  Are you really in competition for the same dollars?  When you purchased your car did you get the exact same one?  Or something similar with the specification you wanted to have. The company you work for pays you and also pays the person next to you.  Maybe not the same salary, but close.  Okay, maybe more.  Just joking.  But you get my drift.  Why not take competition out of the equation and think about your work and how you live in a way that inspires you?  Think of it in this way.  Both you and your neighbor can have the same opportunity and both of you will look at taking advantage of this opportunity in your own way in your own time and possibly even using different resources.  The art of working for yourself begins to show itself in just this way.  By doing things in the way you want to do them.  This is probably one the hardest thing to do and re-learn.  Because, doing things you want to do and in the way you want to do them takes effort.  A lot of effort, until you get the hang of it.

Where we most of the time slip into competition with others is when we have settled for less at some time or another in our lives and feel we must take from others  or beat them to the prizein an effort to level the playing field.  Most of the time by force, mentally or physically.  Then there is usually some sort of satisfaction of false justice you feel believing in part that everything is right with the universe culminating in an end-zone dance.  Not even thinking for a minute that what you have is not really yours.  You didn’t create it, you probably didn’t even think about until you saw it in their hands and then thought about it.  No matter what you call it, I’m sure in some beliefs there are some commandments, covenants or laws of attraction that come into play here.  All of which aren’t good.  My father always told me to run my own race.

It’s not really your fault.  We learn to compete with each other from the time we are very young.  To want what isn’t rightfully ours through hard work towards something that we think we want nor haven’t dreamt about.  We have worked for someone else for so long we haven’t had an independent thought about what we want for our lives since we played with G.I. Joe or Barbie.  When we got our jobs and started working for the man (or woman).  Was it the job we always wanted or just a place holder until we found the job we really wanted only to wake up and realize that you have eaten lunch with the same people for the last 15 years?  Some of us even attended company picnics and workshops to improve your productivity and learn how to do more with less.  Let me re-translate this.  How they can get more from you.  There, that’s better.  Listen, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.  This is how business works.  If my business isn’t  efficient, I’m wasting money.  The same goes for the company you work for.  If you aren’t putting out, they are wasting money.  It’s getting so most companies are like a cross between the movies Office Space and Gatika.   We just get to wear khakis and sweat pants that’s all.

Some of us dream of lives that are truly incredible.  Actually, most of us do.  However we fail to make the connection that our actions must follow this inspired thought.  This is the rock on which most of our dreams get smashed.  We fail to put our dreams into action.  Sure we sometimes make a half hearted effort only to give up at the first sign of adversity or criticism.  To live the art of working for yourself is to take the vision of what you want and keep so firmly fixed in your mind that you not only believe that you have what you want.  But you will begin to design plans to make it so.  Your actions will become inspired and one with your thoughts.  Bringing you closer to the art of working for yourself.  This will not be easy.  Most of us find it hard because we have this weak and cloudy idea of what we want.  We haven’t taken the time to form a clear and precise thought of what it is we truly desire.  You can’t just have a desire to have lots of money, time on your hands and to be world traveler.  Isn’t that what we all want?

Some would argue that we are lazy.  I would say, not really.  We just haven’t flexed this muscle in a long time.  If I were to tell you to make a phone call to your favorite pizza restaurant you would pick up the phone and dial a particular number.  You’d probably know what you want to eat because you’ve memorized the menu after eating there every other week since the placed showed up in your neighborhood five years ago.  I bet you can even taste it as you are placing the order.  This is the type of clarity you embrace in the art of working for yourself.  Creating that focused thought that is undeniably yours and yours alone.  Calling you to live your best life and to never settle for less than you can attain.  The more we take successful action towards the life and work of our choosing, the more we are living the art of working for yourself.  When was the last time you allowed yourself to act on an inspired thought?  How did it turn out?  Until next time.  Be well.

What You Think About Matters

So if you can tell I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time.  It’s been pretty much off and on for most of my life.  My father’s words fading in and out in-between his many lectures on life.

As I look back on things I think I was sleep walking for a while.  Checked out on life, just taking what life handed me.  Not sure how this happened.  Sure I could blame my father and his father before him and maybe even my grandmother a little.  But that only keeps me from doing the hard work of thinking for myself.  Now, I’m sure there are some therapy questions involved and that’s not where I’m going with this.  I think the way we think about and approach life that has been handed down through the generations has a lot to do with it.  From how we learn in school, the friends we choose to the neighborhoods we live in.  It all matters.  The sad truth is most of us don’t really pay attention to what goes on around us.  Every dream we have, we shut down immediately not allowing ourselves the pleasure of having what we want let alone thinking about the possibility of attaining it.

And here is where I will begin this post.  You deserve to work for yourself.  To live the life you’ve always wanted and dreamed possible.  How is this possible you might ask, I work for someone else?   Re-thinking what you do and how you do it, is how you start down this path.  Pay attention to what’s going on around you.  Most of us however opt for the latter and live a drift wishing for more. The signs  are everywhere.  This is mind judo done to us by the mantra of the companies we work for, the television we watch and the company we keep.  Every day we are bombarded with the distraction of comparing ourselves to each other instead of our own path in life.  It’s not about them.  It’s about you.  You are the most important thing going.  Always has been and always will be.  You can think for yourself.  Now before you get over confident.  I see you smiling and sticking your chest out a little.  You are never to put anyone down and smash their dreams.  I practice this with every fiber of my being and I am asking you to begin this practice.   Asking questions is okay and giving constructive guidance is good.  But, be nice and fair.

To begin this process I will ask you to think back to when you where young and remember all of the things you always talked about doing.  I’ll bet you have never forgotten them, have you?  I know I haven’t.  I’m still trying to do most of them today.  This is where the art of working for yourself begins to come alive.  This is where that gem of light shines brightest.  Thought is the only power which can produce the energy that gets you what you want.  What you think about matters.  We have thoughts all of the time and yet we don’t always honor them.  Why not?  We become paralyzed by the fear of not conforming, to letting those voices of everyone we’ve ever known get in the way of what life is calling us to do.  From buying that dress, to painting the garage floor, we second guess our actions.  Most of us do.  I’ve did it for years.  I’ll start by giving you a new phrase.  We’ve all heard the acronym WWJD “What Would Jesus Do?”  How about changing one letter and start by saying WWID “What Would I Do?”  I am not trying to get really religious here, I’m just being creative.  Why is it our first intuition is to defer to someone else when thinking about what we want or what we want to do before using our minds to think first about the situation and creating a solution or outcome that you will be happy and satisfied with?  Why?  I’ll tell you why.  That passionate free thought muscle has been eroded over the years.  Chipped away by life’s setbacks, the messages we’ve received growing up and even blasted away by the school bully.  Take your pick.

Conscious deliberate thought gives you confidence.  It shapes your experiences and takes your mind to that creative space that believes anything is possible.  Creating a conscious strength from within is another step toward developing the art of working for yourself.  It keeps you from being satisfied with less than you want or could attain.  It is this type of consciousness that calls for increasing life in all you do.   I will leave you with this.  When you permit yourself to think about what is inferior in your life is to become inferior and you will surround yourself with inferior things.  The more we create an environment for good thoughts the more good things we will have in our lives.  In my next post I will more on thoughts, thinking and wanting what others have.  Until next time, be well and think good thoughts.

Discovering The Art Of Working For Yourself

I have decided to write this post after watching and listening to so many of myfriends and colleagues talk about this economy we live in and how tough it is. I think in these times we find ourselves in this mindset and thought process is needed more than ever. According to the news and internet they say more people have decided to start their own businesses these days than at any other time since the “Great Depression”. I believe it. I’m watching them. People are also saying “no thank you” to major companies and going it alone after being shown the front door from another company. They are burning their resumes and creating websites. There are still a few souls out there that are still waiting for Superman to save the day. You know them well. They come home every night thanking the universe that they still have a job or their business is still a float. All of this chaos and change has taken me back to a fishing trip with my dad in Ohio. It was a hot august afternoon and we were talking about me and my summer job at “Burger King”. This was the first time I had ever worked for someone. You see I had a paper route for several years and when I was tired of that I took the customers I had and turn it in to a lawn cutting business. So I was used to doing pretty much what I wanted in the work arena. So as I was complaining about all of the things that my manager was asking me to do and the crazy hours I was to work to make the same amount of money. My father looked at me and said the words that have stuck with me my whole life. “No matter who you work for always work for yourself. Don’t think for a minute that the company you work for will ever have your best interest at heart more than you do or should”. My first reaction was “what?” How can I work for myself when I am clearly under the employ of “Burger King”? Needless to say I only worked there until the end of that summer. As much as I loved whoppers, it was tough working for someone else. It always has been for me. This brings me to my point. Is there an “Art to working for yourself?” I didn’t know it at the time but there truly is.

It is as much a mindset as it is a way of life. I’ll explain. Most of us think that the only people who work for themselves are entrepreneurs who start their own business in their basement and take it to Fortune 500 status, then sell it and go live on the beach in Maui. Well, there is a little truth to this, but we’ve also worked with who I call the bullet proof employee. We all have. They might be the slacker in the desk next to you who comes in just a little late but not so late that they fired for it, or the worker who has the cleanest desk on earth and has this insane ability to be able to do all of his or her work and probably yours too if you asked them. I’ve often wondered how they do this. They have discovered the art of working for themselves. It’s the ability to take what you do and do it in such a way that it is done the way you want to do it and in your style and on your terms within the space of the environment you are in. I know this sounds like smoke and mirrors but it’s the truth. It’s almost as if they are shaping the rules of the game to their style. So while most of us are complaining about how our job sucks. They have figured out a way to focus on a much bigger goal. Their life and how they want to live it. To do things in a way you want to do them you must first begin to think the way you want to think. This is the first step in understanding the art of working for yourself. If I could see your face right you probably have your head tilted to the side and ready to give me your “What you talkin’ bout Willis”- Gary Coleman impression.

You see for most of us our opinions and attitudes and how we live our lives have been shaped by society, TV, crazy parents and our closest friends. We have had the individuality stomped out of us from the time we were very young. And most of us still claim we think for ourselves. Okay I may be going a bit far but you get my point. We live our lives according to what we’ve been told we should do in order to not create the biggest waves. We’ve been talked out of our fondest hopes and dreams by well meaning friends and family who laughed in our faces and made jokes about our dreams at our expense just to get a laugh from the crowd. So we tuck it away in the corner of our hearts and pile all of life’s other dreams differed in front of and on top of them and mindlessly checkout and take the first option that comes along that makes us look good in everyone’s eyes. We work our jobs every day waiting for our retirement date to come and celebrate that fact we can now do what we want to do, like we’ve escaped from a maximum security prison. This is not working for yourself. And for my business owners who are a slave to the rhythm of the chaos that is your business. Those of you who treat it like you still working a nine-to-five job. You know who you are. You dread your business as much as you did going to work for the man or woman. I know what this looks like; I was there for a while myself. It’s time you learned the art of working for yourself. Owning a business doesn’t always mean you are working for yourself. Although you think you are. Okay, in theory you are. But there’s more. I’ll explain more about this in a later post.

So how does this all work? In my next post I will talk about this and how it has helped me and how to develop this mindset. There are only a few steps needed to set upon this journey, and once you start it will change your life forever. You will be able to truly say, no matter who you work for you can only work for yourself. Until next time I’m Gerald Grinter, live well, love well and be well.

The Impossible

Why are we as business owners so familiar with the word “IMPOSSIBLE”. We spend half of our time believing things can’t and shouldn’t be done and then surround ourselves with others who help reinforce our disbelief.

After looking this word up, I came across one of my favorite quotes. ”The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it. But that it is too low and we reach it. – Michelangelo.

Believe in yourself and your business. It’s okay to dream BIG!