Advice, particularly for business owners and entrepreneurs is everywhere . . . as I scroll through LinkedIn its coming from the influencers I follow and the colleagues I connect with, it graces the covers of books in the airport bookstore, and I even get a daily text messages and emails.
Advice is good. But sometimes I just don’t know or am too busy to figure out how to use it.
That’s how I’ve come to believe that advice and its action may be relatively near each other in the dictionary, but they are separated by interpretation (Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as ‘a particular adaption or version’).
What the advice doesn’t typically give me (or I don’t stop long enough to listen) is “the how” I can put the advise to use in what I’m doing (or not doing)? How do I adapt it to work for me? What’s my version?
For example, one piece of advice that shows up in nearly every piece of advice including those like-titled “7 things successful entrepreneurs do. . .” is a notion of quiet time or a “pause” if you will. Sometimes it’s referred to as meditation, but also can be called recovery, reflection, centering, getting present, or even mindfulness (a new buzz word).
But regardless of what it’s called, the advice is the same: entrepreneurs are supposed to take “time” to be successful because that’s when the great things can be allowed to manifest.
So I’m the first to admit I can be a skeptic of things like yoga, meditation, etc. And anytime I’m faced with the notion of a pause, all I can envision is meditation. And thinking of me somehow sitting crisscross applesauce on the floor of a quiet in a room by myself with no interruptions and distractions is frankly scary. Because I’ve got three active kids, a brutal travel schedule, an internal clock that no long has a time zone, few precious minutes of downtime and some body image issues.
Meditation has always seemed impossible for me and think about it being something I should be doing has given me a tinge of the fear of missing out (FOMO) that questions whether my reluctance/inability holds me back. And since I’m getting real honest here, I’m going to even admit that I bought a book about 10 years ago called “8 Minute Meditation” and I never gave it 3 minutes of my time.
So how am I still here? How has it that I’ve slowly built my business if I am not doing one of these “7 things all successful entrepreneurs do. . ?” I finally found the answer.
It’s because I already do it, but I didn’t know I was doing it. A complete, “Oh, That’s what this is?” moment.
Here’s how I figured it out. I was sitting on a plane the other day and it struck me that as I recently went through some struggles with growing the business and I had been fishing a lot with my youngest son (like every free night and weekend day) and we were staying far longer than normal (and not at his urging). It reminded my of when I decided to start my business in 3rd quarter 2007 – after a week on the river fishing for pink salmon. Or when my now wife gave me the ultimatum – commit or quit – which led to a couple weeks on the river from which I returned with a grand (and successful!) plan. You get the point.
I now realize that when I’m out there (lake, river, pond, ocean, etc.), it’s quiet. Not just quiet on the water, but quiet (relatively) in my head.
Fishing isn’t just some hobby I can list in my profile, nor is it just an activity I do with my kids because my dad did it with me.
Fishing is “that” time for me.
So the good news is I’ve been meditating, pausing, reflection, etc. all along. I just failed to interpret what I was doing as being my version of meditation.
Note: this blog is the second in a series of blogs I’m writing on various topics that aren’t related to our company’s core services, but definitely relate to how we cope with the same challenges that our clients and colleagues often face as small businesses and entrepreneurs.