At one of my son’s footy games, I got chatting to a bloke at the side of the pitch I hadn’t seen before.
I’d not been to as many games as normal and there were several new faces on the side. Anyway, as we were both encouraging the players from the sidelines it was clear our respective “nippers” were playing for the same side so, early in the second half, I walked the distance between us and introduced myself.
We talked football for a good twenty minutes before, inevitably, it got around to our respective professions. Darren ran a small IT company in the Black Country but it was evident, within a couple of minutes, he didn’t think like most business owners.
You see, normally, if the person I’m speaking with owns a business, the conversation doesn’t get around to me. I like it that way. I’m far too curious about what’s going on in the other person’s world and, well, I already know what’s going on in mine, so there’s more learning to be had from listening to others.
If I’m speaking with an employed person, I just explain I’m in the personal growth or coaching industry. Amusingly, that tends to either be a conversation stopper or, because they have no idea what I’m on about, or think I’m weird (which isn’t entirely off base) they make a joke of it.
“Oh, so you can read minds can you?!”
I smile. Yep. You’ve got me. Just an every day mind reader.
If I’m talking to a business owner, as I was on Sunday, I’ll go into a little more detail. Even so, when I explain my business helps small business owners leverage their business to bring financial certainty and freedom into their lives, the conversation soon tails off or turns to other matters. People don’t like be exposed and even though that’s not my intention, it’s their own shortcomings that do the work.
I’ve no issue with it. I’ve been doing this for so long now you get used to it.
Darren was different though. “Really?” he said, the question dripping with genuine curiosity. We spoke about it a while, the flow often interrupted with events going on on the pitch, “do you mind me asking how you do it?”
I gave him a brief, top of the waves overview and recommend he grab himself a copy of “The 4 Pillars of Mastery”. Kudos to the man, he wasn’t paying lip service, he downloaded the application there and then.
“Downloading is one level Darren”, I said, “watching the content is the next but the most important level of all is the coaching questions in the resources that come with the teachings. They’re the key to your success. They’ll dramatically improve your quality of thinking over and over again”.
After the game, my son and I were walking back to the car park when Darren ran up behind us with his son to congratulate Jacob on his usual excellent performance between the sticks.
“Thanks” Jacob replied with a smile. Such a polite boy. Takes after his mother.
“Can I ask you one last thing Christian before you go?” Darren asked.
“Sure,” I replied.
“I know I’ve got your videos now and I promise I’ll watch ’em”, he said holding up his phone. Funny how people think I’m attached to if they’ll use these resources or not. There was a time I was, however, life’s taught me that expectations of others is futile, especially when it comes to doing what they need to do to get what they tell themselves they want. I appreciated the man’s sentiments all the same.
“What advice would you give me aside from watching the videos and answering the questions?”
I stopped. As did my son.
“Firstly, never stop investing in improving yourself. Never see self-education as a cost, always see it from a return on investment perspective. Don’t invest in the business at the expense of yourself. Invest in improving what goes on between your ears. Your business can’t outgrow the quality of thinking you bring to it. Believe me, if you do this and nothing else, your business will grow with you”.
“Secondly, don’t try and do it alone. A lot of business owners do and it’s a sure-fire way to limitation and struggle. I did – and it cost me my business when it went under in 2009. You need people around you who understand your challenges as a business owner and can stretch your thinking”.
“Thirdly, understand environment shapes you. Avoid places like BNI, Chamber of Commerce or Institute of Directors like the plague. Birds of a feather flock together and you’ll find average thinkers and underachievers hang out in great numbers at traditional networking events like that. If you don’t want to catch fleas Darren, don’t sleep with the dog”.
By now I was on a roll..
“Fourthly,” I added, “become a strict guardian of your time, it’s your most precious asset, far more valuable than money. Money comes and goes and if you get it right it’ll come more than go, but time only goes. Don’t give it away cheaply to anyone, even family and friends. Which leads to my final recommendation that you choose your inner circle very carefully. Most people don’t do that and it shows in their results. Make no mistake my friend, the quality of your inner circle will make or break you. Be extremely diligent about the quality of people you interact with on a regular basis. Make sure they’re forward thinking, success-orientated, supportive people with big dreams – people who support you and believe in your ability to make your own dream a reality. Join a mastermind group with other entrepreneurs. I can help you with that later on and I can assure you, it’ll change your life for the better forever. Do these things my friend and success will come knocking. I hope this has helped you”.
“Blimey!” said Darren “I got my money’s worth this morning!” he laughed looking at Jacob. “Thank you Christian” he said, genuinely appreciative as he shook my hand, somewhat excitedly.
“My pleasure,” I said with a smile, “I’m only forwarding it on Darren. Someone had to share it with me at some point. Good to meet and speak with you today”.
And it was, not because the guy was curious and hungry to learn (attributes you don’t find in many people), although I must confess to liking people of that ilk, no, I say it was pleasure because, long before he asked the question, he was good company regardless.
So what’s all this got to do with you?
Well, a lot, IF you let it.
The most profitable fifteen minutes of your time today will be in reflecting on the “pitch side wisdom” I shared with Darren. How do you stack up in those equations? After all, one of the biggest threats to our success is we’re all creatures of habit, far more invested in maintaining the comforts of status quo rather than embracing the discomfort of taking our business and quality of life up a notch or two.
The only way you’ll ever see an improvement in your results is when you see the need for improvement in yourself.
Christian Simpson is the UK’s leading coach and mentor to business owners and entrepreneurs. For COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS to tried, tested and proven entrepreneurial success strategies, click here