Monthly archives: January, 2017

Past Failures

Learning From your Past Failures in Business or Your Personal Life

Learning From your Past Failures in Business or Your Personal Life

Everyone at some point in their life will experience failure. Your academic achievements will not protect you; neither your wealth nor your network. Failure is your companion from the time you wake up and make the first of many decisions for the day.

Every decision you make will take you to a crossroads where there will only be one of two possible outcomes: success or failure. It could be a series of decisions that will trigger the chain of events but ultimately there will only be one outcome.

The question for you is what would you do if the outcome of your decision ends in failure?

The Reality of Failure

We fail because we are not perfect; we are not infallible. Despite our ability to rationalize, we cannot possibly know what the right decision is all the time.

We fail because we are creatures of emotion. According to Nobel Prize winning Psychologist and author of “Thinking Fast and Slow” Daniel Kahneman, the mind works two systems: the intuitive and the rational.

The intuitive makes the primary decision which is based purely on emotion and human connectivity. Once the decision has been made will the rational mind take over and question the intuition behind it.

This is why even though we pride ourselves as having the ability to rationalize, we still choose the wrong decisions even though we are aware of the possible outcomes.

Put simply, we fail because we are flawed beings. Not only are we incapable of identifying the correct decision all the time, but we often give in to our emotions and weaknesses.

Failures in Business and in Personal Life

Statistically, only 50% of small businesses are still operational after 5 years. In 10 years time, only 10% to 20% of these businesses will remain. There are many reasons why businesses fail:

  • Lack of management skill
  • Absence of money management protocols
  • Overexpansion
  • Rigid, inflexible business policies
  • Unproductive work culture

The truth is, even the businesses that remained operational after 10 years experienced one or a few of these factors. But why did they thrive while others folded up?

The answer lies in how failure is perceived.

The businesses that succeeded learned from their mistakes. Failure showed them their weak points and the experience helped them find ways to become better.

Sir Richard Branson famously said he has failed more times than he succeeded. One of those failures came with the launch of the ill-fated Virgin Cola. It was a poorly thought-out, poorly executed attempt to slay the giant of the soft drink market, Coca Cola.

In the end, Branson realized you should never come in unprepared to fight a proven brand like Coca Cola. If you come into a gun fight with knives, you will be slaughtered.

The experience made Branson value the importance of strategy, purpose and target marketing.

But it did not discourage him from pursuing other endeavors such as Virgin Airlines and his newest and possibly most ambitious project yet, Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline!

In some cases, failure was just a difference in perspective.

  • Howard Schultz was declined by 247 banks before finally getting approved to launch “Starbucks”.
  • JK Rowling was turned down by several publishers before finding one that saw the potential for her “Harry Potter” series of books.
  • Roy Disney’s idea for Snow White was rejected even by those close to him; his wife and his brother. Yet he persisted and was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 1939.

The takeaway is that how you succeed from failure is also contingent on your willingness to accept full accountability.

The role of accountability is very evident in your personal life.

Marriage is one of life’s greatest milestones. The ceremony, the tears and the totality of the experience make us believe marriages last forever. But statistics prove otherwise.

There are couples that divorce faster than the length of the entire courtship. What seemed like a magical moment has become a time of regret and despair. Lives are destroyed, relationships are shattered and trust is gone forever.

Sometimes all it takes is one ill-advised decision.

A seemingly harmless night out on the town with friends; your better half is well aware. After all, you do this once a month.

Then a discovery.

A jar of genital wart cream – HPV treatment for men & women; discreetly hidden within the tight compartments of your drawer.

Then the flood of questions comes in: the lack of intimacy, detached behavior and long, uncomfortable moments of silence. It’s all becoming clearer. Soon a confrontation ensues. A union is on the balance. What do you do?

How long can you hide the truth? Why not weather the storm now and save face while you can? It will only get worse if the truth is uncovered.

In the end, if both believe marriage truly is “until death do us part” then maybe love will prevail.

Here is the undeniable truth about failure:

Failure is your greatest teacher. It reveals your faults and makes you accountable for every decision you make.

Those who shun or fear failure, will be doomed to suffer a worse fate. They will not do anything in their lives because they are afraid of being stigmatized as a failure. Thus, they will end up in the same place while the rest of the world moves forward without them.

The purpose of failure is to make you a better person. Therefore, you should not fear it.

Instead you should embrace it.

Managing a Busy Work Life and Personal Life Together

Managing a Busy Work Life and Personal Life Together

Managing a Busy Work Life and Personal Life Together

Is it really possible to have everything in life? Or are we just being greedy? There are only 24 hours in a day. Depending on your nocturnal habits, you could be awake for 16 to 18 of them. Once the alarm rings, you’ll be off to the races. The clock starts ticking; seconds fall off as you prepare yourself to face the challenges of the day.

Life should never be about work. You should work to live and not live to work. There are important aspects; family, friends and the self that are merely relegated and lumped sum as “others”. They’ve been swept aside because we’ve become consumed by the need to earn a paycheck.

But is it possible to achieve balance in life and work? Can you manage a busy work life and personal life together?

Time Management

When you have to divide your hours between work, family, friends and yourself, time management becomes a valuable skill. How you manage your hours in a day will determine whether you can achieve life-work balance.

Here are some effective time management tips to consider:

  • Plan out your schedule 1 week in advance; note down all events and activities for work, family and friends on a calendar.
  • Mark these events according to priority.
  • Confirm the event 1-2 days before the scheduled date.
  • Do not cram as many activities as you possibly can; allow room for adjustments.

Prioritizing activities could present challenges in itself. But the good thing is having everything posted on a calendar will guide you in case something unexpected comes up.

For example, you have committed to attend your son’s basketball game on Wednesday at 3:00pm. But an important client calls on Tuesday and requests for a meeting on the same day and time as your son’s game.

By knowing your commitments in advance, it will be easier to re-schedule appointments or meetings. You would not want to be in a position to choose between family and work. The choice may not always as clear-cut as it seems.

Setting Goals

One reason why so many people get caught up in work is because they do not know how to set goals.

Goal setting is a great way to stay focused. You have a target in sight and you can re-align your resources to help you accomplish that goal.

However, sometimes people tend to set too many goals in one day. He or she may accomplish one goal but as time runs down the mind starts flying toward the other goals that need to get done.

Here are important tips on setting goals:

  • Identify your main goal.
  • Break this down into 3 smaller goals that are easier to achieve and attain within a shorter time frame.
  • Use focus blocks; allocate 90 minutes per day per goal.

It’s very important that your goals are realistic and can be accomplished within reason. If your goals are not doable, you could be setting yourself up for failure.

By setting goals properly, you will be more productive at work. More work can be done in possibly less time and afford you extra hours for family, friends and yourself.

Getting Help

You should also acknowledge that you cannot do everything on your own. Entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature. They want to be in control of every facet of work. Eventually, they are tied down by their own business and leave the important tasks unattended to.

A better option would be to hire a Virtual Assistant and delegate the non- essential tasks so you could dedicate more time on matters that demand your attention.

A VA could also afford you the time to attend more family reunions, take vacations and get-togethers with friends.

Paint the Town Red

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally cutting loose and enjoying down time with friends. Kicking back with a few cocktails and letting your hair down once in a while is a great way to unwind and de-stress.

Maintaining strong ties with friends is also important for a balanced life. These are people who see you in a different light from your family. They have been with you through thick and thin and have never left your side during the most difficult times.

When you find great friends, you should treat them like precious gem stones. In life, you will discover there are only a few that you can truly trust.

Set aside at least one day a month for a special night on the town with friends. Or better yet, have someone organize a special dinner at home or at a restaurant.

Lastly, let’s not forget you. Oftentimes, you become the biggest casualty of trying to have it all. You dedicate your life to work and family but have nothing left in the tank for you.

When you give a piece of yourself to everyone, what else will be left for you to cherish?

Sometimes you need to learn to love yourself and appreciate what you have done in your life. There’s nothing wrong with being selfish once in awhile and spend time with yourself.

Little things such as a private walk in the park, a cup of coffee in solitude or a quick nap can do wonders for the mind, body and soul.

Managing a busy work life and your personal life is a matter of understanding the concept of balance. It’s never about one thing but a culmination of everything that is important to you. Otherwise you will only exist and not live life to its fullest.