Welcome to another addition of the CEO’s Corner, I hope you had an opportunity to read my second post “We are Family” which was written earlier this month. As you know these pieces are written in the early hours of the morning with a cup of Joe and not enough caffeine stimuli, therefore please be gentle when reading them.
I think every entrepreneur and/or person in the business world will appreciate how frequently we seem to experience a high and a low, the hero to zero effect, probably more so for entrepreneurs as it’s challenging to run your own business. However, it must be said that even though such moments are perceived to be a high and a low, we frequently forget that if you had to track your company via a graph, you will always have peaks and troughs. Over a longer period you will, more times than not, see a growth. It might be a slight/full-on growth, but the possibility for improvement is still there. Why? Because what entrepreneur does not want to improve his or her business day in day out.
I personally experience this, you put in the 90 hours a week, think that you have done everything right, and low and behold something or someone doesn’t do what they are suppose to do and suddenly you feel you are losing the plot and it’s all going to come crashing down. It’s real folks, hence I believe being an entrepreneur can sometimes be a very lonely place. You, the entrepreneur, chasing that dream, the hero, fighting that good fight and suddenly or unexpectedly “Joe” or “client X” does something which sets you back and you have that very low feeling. All that hard work (10 steps forward) and now it feels like you’ve gone 10 steps backwards.
But, and this is a big but, again if you take that graph over a longer period you will see that these “lows” are not actually that low, yes its a hiccup, yes it sucks! But it’s not the end, it’s not a deep and dark place. We all make mistakes, we all fumble and, well sometimes sh*t happens. We forget to celebrate the big wins and beat ourselves to a pulp on the losses, it’s human, we want to do better, we want to move forward and we tend to perceive those lows as deep, dark places. I know you will never admit it, admitting it sounds like you are depressed or not capable, but if you confront it, acknowledge it, learn from it, you tend to move on from those lows very quickly.
That is the secret, not some fancy formula or mumbo jumbo, it’s all about how quickly you recover from the lows and how much you persist. There will always be lows, if you have $1million business or a $1billion business, the reactions are the exact same, the scale is just different. Thus, do not beat yourself up too much when those lows come and celebrate those highs more!
If you find yourself in that “low”, start working harder, production is the basis of morale. If you feel down or low, do something productive, cut the grass, clean the house – just do something that is productive! I also believe in any business, as a business leader, we tend to try and do 100 different things at once, it works for some but not for most. Finding that focus, drive and pure determination to solve a problem and giving it everything you have to find the solution is what sets the ponies from the race horses. Business is not an exact science and business needs adaptability to survive but, as leaders, we need to identify the real problems, allocate our time and our focus to finding a solution to those problems as quickly as possible and ensure it never happens again. In this context a problem can be defined as anything that is hindering the growth and improvement of your business.
Since a young age I’ve always been fascinated to find solutions for complex problems, unfortunately I also realised that I’m no Warren Buffet or a Bill Gates and I need to punch in my weight class, or slightly above it 🙂 Irrespective, the people close to me will tell you that I can never sit still and to do something unproductive for me is a serious challenge. I always see the goal that I want to achieve and then work my way back through the mechanics of how to achieve that goal. When I make up my mind to go for that goal I do not let go and do whatever I need to do to achieve that goal. My personal process has a higher success rate than failure, but it does come with it’s challenges to which you tend to shift focus onto another division/department etc. and, while you are working on a specific goal, you tend to drop the ball somewhere else. I find that having a clear defined strategy and being a self proclaimed strategist, playing 60 games of chess in my head at any given time with everything and everyone I have my attention on, does minimize those “ball dropping” scenarios but it can be tiring as you never really switch off and disconnect.
GAST as a company is far from perfect, but we are trying to make a difference in our business worlds, sometimes we succeed and other times we fail dismally, however every time we fail or make a mistake we try and learn from it as quickly as possible. We celebrate the successes and we learn from our failures. Picking yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on the horse as quickly as possible, try and try, fail and fail, don’t beat yourself up about it. Yes we want to have more “wins” than “losses” but learn from those losses.
Something we all need to remember, myself included, that we need to dream, we need to dream big. If those dreams don’t scare you, you aren’t dreaming big enough. We all tend to get bogged down by the smaller things, the mechanics, the process or a preconceived perception of how things should work. As in life and business we need to have dreams that excite us, that make us want to get up in the morning, dreams that ignite the passion inside us and create fuel/energy to achieve that dream. Life is tough, business it tougher and the only way we can get out the 9-5 hustle is to dream bigger and bigger and then go out and try and make those dreams a success. If you find that dream, that passion, that “thing” that awakes something inside of you (you will know when you find it) you will never have stress or get tired following that dream.
In closing, celebrate those highs, learn from the lows and never give up. If you feel you are close to giving up, push harder as very little things on this earth can stop persistence. Remember production is the basis of morale, you feel that low, start getting productive and quickly. GAST is always looking for new people or companies to partner with, we are currently going through an evolutionary change into the 4th industrial revolution and looking for new partners globally. As a 60 year old company, we’ve had to learn from some hard lesson so you don’t have to.
CEO – GAST GROUP