SUCCESSFUL Solo-Entrepreneurs approach life and business from a perspective that is new, fresh, and rather unorthodox. The differences are subtle, yet significant. These distinctions are more than just fads or interesting tips; they are direct, measurable SHIFTS in how you will approach your business, your personal life, your relationships, etc. - for the rest of your life! They are direct from the experience of hundreds of successful solo-entrepreneurs!
First, one pre-distinction. We are not talking about "habits" in this article. There's really nothing wrong with habits, except that you are still looking at habits. And, you probably already knew the habits before you even read about them?you just weren't getting them to stick.
The problem with habits is that it's easy to backslide because they aren't really YOURS. You haven't really owned them. Just when you are about to decide they are valuable and working, something comes up that throws a twist in the whole thing and there you are back again, living your same old habits.
A distinction, on the other hand, is not a habit or a secret, or even the latest tip of the day. A distinction is often a subtle difference in language, but it brings powerful new insight, meaning and perspective to the situation at hand. Once you grasp the distinction, and begin acting on it, you will notice distinct, measurable changes in the way you run yourself and your business, and in the successes you experience.
As you incorporate these 9 key distinctions into your life and business, you will create a key shift in how you think, how you evaluate, and how you approach any situation. You can never go back to the old way again - unlike the old paradigm of "habits".
What are the 9 Key Distinctions of Successful Solo- Entrepreneurs?
1. Force vs. Power
When you are forcing something, you are pushing and shoving to get things to work out the way you want. There is a great deal of effort involved, and usually struggle.
Power, on the other hand, implies a strength that goes beyond what you might be able to exert. You experience power when you align your inner energies, beliefs, and emotions with your outer actions. This will propel you forward toward your goals, with much less effort and fewer toes being stepped on.
Some people talk about this as flow, but it is really much more than that. It is a sense of energy and multiple dimensions working in tandem so that with each step you actually move ahead many paces.
For solo-entrepreneurs, who don't have a large corporate machine backing them, this distinction becomes even more important. Power, rather than force, becomes the name of the game.
Remember a time when you felt confident, in flow, and successes seemed to just come to you. What were you focused on? How were you being? What actions were you taking? Use these answers as a self-prescription for tapping into this power state so that you no longer have to rely on force.
2. Accomplish vs. Attain
Accomplishment has a sense of finality, an end point, and refers more to a task. Accomplishments often feel meaningless once you've accomplished them. Have you ever worked hard in order to get something, and then once you had it, it didn't seem so important or meaningful any more? There was a bit of a letdown.
Attainment, on the other hand, has no end. It is based in a spiritual or inspired knowing that what you are doing is meaningful at a level that goes far beyond just you or your company. A sense of attainment provides inspiration and comfort.
Successful Solo-Entrepreneurs indicate that when they were in "accomplish" mode, they got a lot done, but it didn't always move them closer to their grander vision or mission. When they made the shift to attainment, it expanded their capacity to create the life they wanted.
Do you focus more on accomplishing or attaining? When you finish or complete something, does it inspire your forward and connect you with your reason for doing what you do, or does it feel exciting briefly and then go flat?
3. Gaining Information vs. Using What You Learn
While it might seem obvious that to simply gain information is not sufficient for producing incredible, solo-e success, there are a lot of business people out there reading and acquiring information without really putting it into practice. Until you use what you learn, you haven't really learned it. You've just expanded your storehouse of information.
By putting it into practice, applying what you learn, you are able to distinguish useful information from irrelevant, and tweak approaches or systems so that they work for you.
What have you learned about today/this week that you can put into action now?
4. Segmented vs. Integrated
Successful Solo-Entrepreneurs say that before they became incredibly successful, they thought of their lives in compartmentalized segments. Even within their businesses they had a segmented approach to their services, products, and even their efforts.
The shift for them came when they created a synergy by integrating their work and their lives. When you have an integrated approach, activity in one area directly benefits goals in another area. This is part of how you can move three paces ahead with only one step.
Write out all the different projects or components of your business. Then identify the patterns or themes that emerge. Where can you leverage your efforts so that work in one part directly improves the work in another?
5. Working Hard vs. Working Joyfully
Working hard brings with it all the "must do's" and "to do's", plus all the heaviness that those lists entail. Working joyfully, on the other hand, brings with it ease, fun, inspiration, and a light, powerful sense. When you work joyfully, you are working in tandem with spirit, in tandem with your true desires, whereas when you work hard you are usually pushing against something. (See Force vs. Power.)
Successful Solo-Entrepreneurs often learned this the hard way. They spent years working hard, only to see their goals slipping away - along with their health and their energy. Often they "hit bottom" before they decided to try it a different way. When they did make the shift to working joyfully, they found themselves thinking, "Is it really this easy?" or "Wow, this is great! I can have fun, make money, and make a difference!"
What is it that you absolutely love doing in your business? When was the last time that time seemed to just disappear (in a good way)? How could you create more of that in your business?
6. Structure vs. Environments
Structure is a good thing. You need some structure in order to get things done - even if your structure looks vastly different from someone else's. Structure is focused on tasks and specific outcomes.
Environments, on the other hand, go beyond structure to setting up entire systems of support that enable you to continue making progress without even "working" at it.
The distinction is that an environment works for you, while a structure requires you to do the work. An environment makes the structure YOURS.
Successful Solo-Entrepreneurs say this is one of the most important distinctions. When they could transform their structures - or lack of structure - into environmental supports, they were able to consistently move ahead with far less effort.
Where are your environment(s) currently supporting you to be your best, do your best, and experience your best? Where are the drains or stumbling blocks that slow you down? What can you change so that you automatically do the right thing without having to overcome inertia?
7. Behavior Change vs. Shift
A behavior change is just what it sounds like. You either stop doing or start doing something. It can be simple, and may or may not be lasting.
A shift, on the other hand, is powerful. It usually comes as the result of an experience of some sort (perhaps from the behavior change), and results in a deep, cellular change in how you approach things. It is often accompanied by an identify shift as well.
Think of those "aha!" moments and epiphanies you have had - the times when you all of a sudden "got it". That is a shift. You can try to go back to the old way of doing things, but there is a part of you that always knows you're not participating at your full potential.
For example, once you realize that what you think about and focus on affects your results, you cannot pretend it isn't so. You might temporarily think less than helpful thoughts, but your internal set point has changed and you will be inspired back to what you know to be the truth.
In order to get to this shift point however, you might have to practice it as behavior change until you get the evidence of how it works.
Successful Solo-Entrepreneurs make key, internal shifts, not just behavior changes. They are constantly looking for what shifts are needed in order to make their businesses - and their lives - even more successful.
If you were already as successful as you want to be, what shifts would you have made? Now that you know what they are, what can you do to begin making these today?
8. Pessimism vs. Optimism
This distinction probably seems obvious. What's not always so obvious to people is WHEN they are being pessimistic. People who are struggling with their businesses often describe themselves as being "realistic", seeing what's really going on. The truth is, they are only looking at a portion of what's going on, and chances are they are making that worse than it really is.
Optimism is not just a state of mind or an approach. It is a commitment to looking for what's working, looking for the good in a situation, and building on that. It is based on spiritual and scientific principles that when we focus on what's working and looking with vision and passion toward what we want, that we are actually more resourceful and creative.
Successful Solo-Entrepreneurs have MASTERED this distinction!
When you evaluate your business, your decisions, or even yourself as your own solo-CEO, what do you focus on more - what's working, or how much is going wrong? What would happen if you committed to looking for what's working for the next 72 hours? Just three days. Try it!
9. Focusing on the Gap vs. Honoring Where You Are
While wanting more is not a bad thing, when most people talk about what they want, what they are really doing is focusing on the gap between what they want and what they have. By doing this, they actually activate the "not having" more than the "having", so it sets up a bit of a catch-22.
Honoring where you are is being fully present, loving each moment, knowing that each moment is already full and perfect, regardless of whether you have accomplished or attained. It is tapping in to the power of NOW.
Honoring where you are doesn't discount that you might have dreams and desires, but in really honoring, you activate trust, celebration, and good feelings that allows in more of what you are wanting.
As you've noticed, these key distinctions of Successful Solo-Entrepreneurs are grounded in inner and outer attitudes, beliefs, and actions. They require an inner mindset shift, as well as an external, or action, shift.
What shifts or distinctions are you noticing in yourself already?
What will be your next actions toward becoming a Successful Solo-Entrepreneurs?
Copyright 2003,2004,2005,2006 Nina East, The Follow-Through Coach
Nina East is the Follow-Through Coach, corporate consultant, former teleclass leader and content developer at CoachVille, LLC, founding member of the IAC and Solo-E.com (http://www.Solo-E.com) and a published author (http://www.ninaeast.com).
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