I started reading “Like A Virgin – Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School” by entrepreneur giant Richard Branson.
I’m reading the chapter, “Business Philosophy – Five quick questions.” Here are my answers to those questions based on personal experience.
1. Name the best piece of advice you ever received?
During my teens, I must have been going through a difficult time when Mom turned to me and said “Steven, turn the page. Move on to the next chapter.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve either put her words into action or shared her wisdom with others.
The second piece of advice I read in Paul Johnson’s biography of Winston Churchill. A 17 year old Johnson got to meet Churchill in 1946 and asked him what he attributed to his success. He replied: “Conservation of energy. Never stand up when you can sit down. Never sit down when you can lie down.” The Prime Minister then hopped into his limo.
2. What’s the worst advice?
Someone convinced me to make my first investment in a stock. I was reasonably assured by the adviser this was a sure bet that had huge upside potential. “Almost as easy as shooting fish in a barrel” I recall him saying. I swallowed the stock tip hook, line, and sinker. The equity tanked.
I experienced the proverbial valuable lesson. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
3. What advice would you give someone starting a business?
You’ve got to love what you’re doing or don’t do it at all. If I have a choice of doing business with one person or another, I’ll choose the one that’s crazy about what they do. If you’re excited about your product or service, the customer will feel the same and become a raving fan. Exuberance is infectious.
You’re going to face tough times when the business is challenged by factors in and out of your control. The chances of weathering the storm and seeing things through are better if you love the business.
4. What have you learned from your failures?
Earlier in my career, I worried too much about perfection instead of picking a direction. I’d take too much time making a decision. My behavioral style was geared towards getting it right the first time.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve learned to go with my intuition and hope for the best. Those times when I didn’t make the right move, I learned from my mistake and moved on to the next chapter.
I ask clients to celebrate their wins along the way. The same goes for your mistakes.
5. What are your regrets?
My biggest regret was not getting into the “people business” over 30 years ago. I took a course in Industrial Psychology which lit me up. I absolutely loved the material and wanted to make it a career. I asked a management professor if he thought it was a good idea. He talked me out of it. (On second thought, this was the worst piece of advice I ever received.)
Pick one or two questions from the list and share your answers below.
Point 3 – Absolutely true, I really get along with those who are really crazy.
Point 4 – Failures teaches us, the elements of success.
Ha! When I see crazy, I say they’re for me!
Thanks for stopping by Sapna.
Best advice was from my Dad… not matter what you are doing, do it the very best you can.
If everyone thought that way, the world would be a better place. Perfect.
Merry Xmas Karin.
I’m taking all the questions, and going through them…
1. Name the best piece of advice you ever received
My Dad always told me (in french) : “No matter what you do, do it the best you can.” And I progressively understood that this was the key. As I grew up, I lived a kind of fight : it went against my will of perfection… and it helped me (and still helps me, actually) to focus on doing things right. Not always perfect, but always good.
And now, I keep simplifying my life by applying the Pareto ratio : you can still achieve 80% of the result by making only 20% of the effort… From a thinker, I’ve become more a doer !
2. What’s the worst advice ?
When I started as a coach in 2010, someone convinved me to join him in his business. I did appreciate him, I had a good feeling with him… I said : “But I thought I would need to make some proofs before joining you…” He replied : “Come on ! You are ready ! Come with me !” And he was so enthousiast that I teamed with him…
With the time, I discovered that we didn’t have the same values, the same approach of coaching, the same expectations in business, etc. And 2 years later, I decided to quit. I’m now running my own business, the way I want, with more freedom and more involved.
Next time, I will listen to me. I will take the time to gain a bit of experience and to know my potential partners a bit more, before talking about collaboration.
3. What advice would you give someone starting a business ?
In addition to what you wrote (love what you’re doing), I would add : trust your intuition ! Feel it, and act as you feel. Whatever it says, follow that little voice.
This way, you will always make the right choice. And if you think it was not the right choice, it’s still the right choice : by taking that decision, you had to live and to learn something, which has a great value for your future ! Trust me ! And running a business is about making a lot of decisions !
4. What have you learned from your failures ?
When I was younger, I took too much time to prepare : reading some books, follow some trainings, gather material, etc. I was thinking a lot, creating many plans in my head… but not doing that much.
I progressively discovered that I didn’t need to be 100% prepared to start something. And that I was evolving much more by doing, VS. thinking of every possibility in my mind, checking them again…
So I turned my failures in “not doing” into successes in “acting & learning from failures” !
Too many people (amongst my clients and also in real life) feel stuck because they just don’t dare ! “Just do it !” It works !!
5. What are your regrets ?
A bit like you, Steve, my main regret was not getting into the “people business” earlier. I started in the IT industry, and it took much time for me to be confident enough to make the move. On the other side, if it went that way, I’m sure it had to be done like this. Eventually, it’s not really a regret.
Last but not least, I wish you a Great New Year 2013, Steve ! May you realise a maximum of your projects & dreams, on both private and professional sides !
Well written response. Our thoughts are similar.
I especially like the part about intuition. It’s usually right.
Renaud, lets talk offline. It would be great to speak with you.