http://stevencox.com – There’s 168 hours in the week. Here’s how you you can set yourself up for a week filled with accomplishment and success – all in just 20-30 minutes.
I had a great time being interviewed by John Lee Dumas of Entrpreneur on Fire.
Listen in and hear about my worst entrepreneurial moment, my big ah-ha, and a few awesome resources for entrepreneurs.
To subscribe to Entrepreneur on Fire through iTunes, go here.
My good friend, Adam Hudson, just finished putting on an incredible event called Radius, for entrepreneurs. The whole concept is that by elevating your thinking, your radius widens and you can see things from a different point of view. Pretty cool, right?
I attended last year and he asked me to say a few words at the event this year for the group. So, I gave an update of what our business was able to accomplish, and shared how I feel I’ve just become a better human being – more grounded, and able to work through my own shit.
I also wrote a poem called Point of View for them to take away and think about. I presented it to them as a gift.
I’ll also present it to you as my gift. Hope you enjoy…
Success… we give our best.
Move to the right, then to the left,
Chasing, racing, facing our dest-iny.
We seek, to see our dreams, more clearly,
So ready, for what could be.
We want the dollar, the cash, the money.
We want to feel love from our family.
We want these blinded eyes to see,
And be, who we were meant to be.
To believe, for once, without internal doubt.
We vow, to live, to grow, and discover how.
But it’s not about, the doubt, that comes our way.
It’s not about, what we face each day,
But rather, if we make life fun, and play.
Is it a black night, or just a little gray?
It’s in what we do, and what we say, every day.
So, don’t dismay, because it’s up to you, to,
Turn the gray, into blue, to turn the old, into new,
To change your point of view.
You can change your point of view.
Success… No time to rest, we pound our chest.
We put our mind and body, to the test,
But if we’re real, we’d confess, sometimes
It feels like life is just a guess,
Of which way’s right, tonight, and which way’s wrong,
Which road do we walk, and which road’s already gone,
Which words fit into our song, of life.
It cuts like a knife. We try and try, to fly so high
Only to be shot out of the sky. Bye-bye.
And inside, it messes with our mind, we find
No release. Our doubting demons never cease.
We need, and need, before we let ourselves be at peace.
We tell ourselves, that when we reach that elusive place,
When we become more than just a face, in the crowd,
Somehow, when we feel we can keep up this frantic pace,
Then we’ll let ourselves be in a happy place.
Challenge that thought.
Make an about face.
Now is the time to be content, free from resentment.
Free to float more, and steer less. Free to love more and fear less.
Free to be the brightest star.
Free to love ourselves just as we are.
When we get real, and truth be told,
We don’t, have tomorrow, we don’t know, if we’ll grow old.
We’ve told, ourselves that we have to wait
Before we’re enough, before we let ourselves be great.
It’s today! Today is our date, there’s no debate.
Our truth is, we don’t have to wait.
That’s not how it has to be.
Right now, we can live simply, beautifully, perfectly.
You see, when we change how we decide to steer,
We can be fulfilled, right now, right here.
We can choose love instead of fear.
It’s always up to you, to,
Change the gray into blue.
To turn the old into new.
To Change… to change your point of view.
Success… we are blessed,
with the chance to give our best,
With our ability, to see, more than what is,
But what can be.
We have, within our power, in this hour
A new way to see.
From when we were born, until we turn back to dust
Til all our materialism turns back to rust,
When the rains of life fall, and the wind’s gust,
Trust, because you are on a cusp…
Of something new, of turning gray into blue; don’t dismay
You were made, made to lead, made to build, made for love,
Made to fill,
up your cup, and others, too,
So that they might see, from another point of view.
Made in you, it’s made in me,
and made in us.
We make the world a better place, when we raise,
When we elevate, our own, Radius.
* The line, “float more, and steer less. Free to love more and fear less.” was borrowed from my friend, John Styn. Thank you for the inspiration John!
Here are five things I’ve learned about life, love, and business. What’s great about these guidelines is that they can apply in every area of your life. They are timeless, and just as relevant for relationships as they are for startups.
- Take responsibility
- Know your outcome
- Give yourself time to become awesome
- Commit to constant and never ending improvement
Last week, one of my employees stopped by my desk and asked me if I had any recommendations on how she could better accomplish her goals during the upcoming month. She had been struggling figuring out what to work on and then taking action on the right things.
Since it was the beginning of the month, I wrote out a simple goal template for her to follow that would (a) get her working on the right things and (b) give her a higher probability of getting her goals accomplished. Below, I’ve shared it with you.
Check out the goal template on Google Docs that will allow you to follow along. NOTE: After pulling it up, go to File > Download As > Microsoft Word. This will allow you to save it to your computer where you can edit it to your heart’s content and use it month after month.
5 Categories: The 5 “F’s”
First, divide your life into five categories:
- Friends and Family
- Finance and Work
Notice how all of them start with “F”? That’s a little trick to help you remember the different life areas. I learned from Phil Richards, Founder of DreamFunda, a site designed to help athletes crowdsouce funds so they can follow their dreams.
Pick Meaningful Personal and Professional Goals
Second, pick one thing in each category that, if you accomplished it well, would make the most significant and positive impact on your life. Don’t pick two – just one. The goal should be something you really want – something that moves the needle and stretches you. Each one of these should be specific, measurable, and you should have the ability to accomplish it within 30 days.
As an example, for my Fitness category, I want to lose weight. But instead of listing my goal as “I want to lose weight”, my goal is listed as, “By August 31, I weigh 186 lbs., which is a 5 lb. drop.” The key is that I’ve written this goal “as if” I’ve already accomplished it. Instead of saying, “I want to”, I state that I already am that which I want. This is a big key to start training your mind to act as if you’re already there. It’s subtle, but important.
Also, the best goals are very specific and measurable. Notice how I gave a specific amount that I wanted to weigh, and by what date. The goal is measurable, meaning I’ll know on August 31 whether I accomplished this goal or whether I didn’t.
Feel the Future
Third, after you’ve picked a goal in each category that really moves you, write down how you’ll feel at the end of the month when you accomplish it. Close your eyes and envision what it will feel like. Really put yourself there! Here’s an example: “I weigh 185 and I feel incredible! I have more energy, people are noticing, and my favorite jeans fit me again!”
Post It Up
Fourth, print multiple copies of the sheet. Put one on your fridge, one in the car, one in your briefcase or purse, one on the bathroom mirror. Give yourself the luxury of reminding yourself daily what you’ve set out to do and how you’re going to feel afterwards.
Track Your Goal Progress
Fifth, each week, keep track of where you are vs. where you need to be in order to accomplish the goal. I do mine on Sundays, but you can do it another day that best suits you. For instance, since I know my goal is to lose 5 lbs. this month, I need to be at about 1.5 lbs. lost per week. This habit of keeping tabs on yourself help you see where you are during the month relative to where you should be. Then you know when to turn on the gas in case you fall behind.
Finally, at the end of the month, celebrate! Give yourself high-fives and kudos for first, setting goals and, second, accomplishing them. After you’re done partying, go back and do the process over for the next month.
Follow these steps and you’ll find yourself further along than you can imagine.
In the Internet space, it’s so easy to get caught up in the big success story that comes piped in from Pando or TechCrunch that shows how a company went from zero to hero in an obscenely short amount of time. While it’s true that, on occasion, the ‘up and to the right’ explosive growth happens for some companies, it’s not the norm and most companies – even the success stories – struggle to find a model and fit that their customers will pay for.
Case in point, AirBnB, the house renting site for regular people. I’ve heard so many times about how they ‘came from nowhere overnight’ to take on the likes of Hilton and Hyatt. I’ve heard them being used as the prime example of why we’re in another 1999-2000 Internet bubble. But the truth of the matter is that their road to building a billion dollar company (or $10B in their case) was fraught with struggles, mistakes, starts and stops, frustrations, and a few wins sprinkled between the failures.
Here’s an infographic, courtesy of Funders and Founders (they do great work!) on the 7 year, overnight success (haha) of AirBnB:
The Entrepreneur Lesson
One thing Joe and Brian continued to do well is iterate and believe. The takeaway lesson for entrepreneurs is that there is a good chance that the original idea being worked on will need to be modified as you get more information from the customer and as you see how the world changes around you. Stay nimble, don’t believe your own hype, continue to iterate, stay true to your values, but question everything else.
Sometimes, the race is won by those who decide to just keep running.
Doubt is one of those feeling that can be debilitating or serve a purpose when used correctly. Here’s an article on the subject I wrote for Fast Company.
** This article written by me was originally published in Fast Company magazine in April 2014 **
Doubt–at one point or another, every entrepreneur has experienced the sinking feeling that his or her best work is just not good enough.
No matter how successful you feel you are, doubt has a way of seeping its way into your head. As your company matures, difficulties will change in shape and scope, but they will never stop coming. The key distinction between entrepreneurs who do succeed and those who don’t is their ability to train their minds to overcome the doubt that accompanies these challenges.
The first step is understanding the distinction between two types of doubt: Healthy doubt is constructive and destructive doubt is inhibitive. Entrepreneurs should always strive to cultivate and embrace healthy doubt, while minimizing the negative effects of destructive doubt.
Most entrepreneurs have a strategic yearly or quarterly plan that provides direction regarding the strategies, tactics, and goals of their companies. Healthy doubt allows them to look at their plan through the lens of reality and acknowledge the high probability that their strategy may not materialize as planned, in spite of their best efforts. Healthy doubt offers a realistic perspective of the plan’s ability–or inability–to predict a company’s future.
You are experiencing healthy doubt if you:
- Challenge your assumptions
- Are feeling driven
- Are aware of the changing marketplace
- Ask, “What’s our backup plan if we’re wrong?”
- Accept the reality that sometimes you’ll miss the mark
- Know that each stumble is just part of climbing the mountain
Destructive doubt takes hold when entrepreneurs allow their mindset and confidence to be shaken by the changes that are bound to happen. Destructive doubt overcomes the entrepreneur when they allow the ups and downs of the startup merry-go-round to negatively affect their commitment and confidence.
You are experiencing destructive doubt if you:
- Question your abilities
- Are feeling paralyzed
- Are blind to opportunities
- Say, “I’ll never try that again”
- Look at failure as a negative feature of your personal self-worth
- Think a stumble is the end of the world
Cultivating healthy doubt is an art form that is developed over time, and it requires mental discipline. By accepting your imperfections, being comfortable with failing fast, and by persevering when you stumble, entrepreneurs can build the mental fortitude that prevents destructive doubt from taking hold, and enables healthy doubt to flourish.
The more practice you get, the better you will be at harnessing the positive power of healthy doubt, which reinforces the reality that you can indeed build the company and lifestyle of your dreams.
The next time you face a challenge and hear your inner voice siding with destructive doubt, take a moment to stop, acknowledge what you’re feeling, and choose to view it through a different lens. A simple decision to modify your perspective can change destructive doubt into healthy doubt, turning a roadblock into a surge ahead.