Opportunity Knocks – Writing my Memoirs or previous skills?
Opportunities to promote yourself and your business can arise at any moment. If anyone tells me they are about to start “writing my memoirs” is a blatant chance. In that case, I know there is an opportunity for us to work together. If you can see that opportunity, grab it with both hands and don’t let go.
It may sound strange, but you could miss an opportunity if you don’t recognise it right away. Alternatively, if you don’t know about the possibility of the chance, then you will miss it. For example, I was at a networking meeting a few weeks ago when one delegate asked if anybody would like to become a trustee of a charity he ran. In the past, I have been a town councillor and deputy mayor and volunteered in my local community. I’m a firm believer that everybody should give something back to the community. I raised my hand and expressed an interest in more information.
As it transpires, I knew the person who set the charity up. I’d worked with him at a previous company. The charity helps people learn to swim, prevents drowning, and raises money for awareness. The first meeting was on 4 August, for all potential trustees to understand more about the charity. I stated that I’m still interested and am looking forward to finding out more about the organisation.
Back to my old job – Writing Minutes, not Writing my Memoirs
Five Five minutes into the meeting, the chair asked if I would mind taking the meeting minutes. I hadn’t been elected as a trustee yet, but I said yes as I knew the chair, and he knew my previous skills. I then introduce myself to the other trustees from all over the world. During my introduction, I explained what I did by helping people write memoirs and getting their stories into print. I expressed my passion for writing memoirs and listening to family history. In the meeting, there was someone from the British Space Agency and Canadian Charity Worker. If I hadn’t said yes to being interested in being a trustee, there is no way that I would have had the opportunity to meet these people.
I’m now looking forward to spending more time getting to know my fellow trustees. Finding out more about them and their business and hoping that they will promote me and my passion for publishing memoirs. Opportunity seems to knock in the strangest of places and at the strangest of times! We just need to make sure that our eyes are open, and our ears are listening. Then we can grab those opportunities with both hands. You never know what may happen or who you will meet.
The Charity – SwimTayka
SwimTayka, is a charity that promote water safety, swimming skills and clean water stewardship to children in developing nations.
What I learnt from this
Opportunities are out there. You need to recognise them when they arise and when they do grab it with both hands.
Any skills you had from a previous job will always come in useful.
Past contacts and work colleagues are a great referral and opportunity generator.
Writing My Memoirs – 31 Day Challenge – Video and Blog Posts
We all think we can listen; we believe we understand what the speaker in front of us, or on the telephone is asking us to do, but this is not always the case. How many times in your work have you heard the statement “Oh, sorry, I didn’t understand what you wanted me to do” or “you told me to do X”. It is more common than you would think. This is because we are not listening or understanding what the speaker is telling us. This could be because they are not describing it in a way that resonates with you. Maybe the terminology they are using is unfamiliar or that they are describing it in a way that is not congruent with your listening/learning modalities (Kinaesthetic, audio, or visual).
One of my clients called and asked if I would do a task for them. I told them I would in about 10 minutes, as I had to finish something else. They appeared happy with that outcome. 6 minutes later, they called back to see if I had done the task. I repeated back to them I had a task to finish and that their task would be next on my list. Again, they were happy with that outcome. On the third call I changed my tactic and told them it would be done by ‘close of play that day’. On this occasion they replied they were happy with that and apologised for calling me so many times. They were in the middle of cooking and their mind was elsewhere.
There are in fact three main types of listening skills we all use daily.
Passive Listening – half listening to a conversation and not understating what is being said and in what context
Reflective Listening – listening to the speaker and repeating back what you have heard in your own words to demonstrate you understand the speaker. (Fantastic for entrepreneurs when dealing with clients to ensure you get the right information to provide a quote and continued services)
Active Listening – When you are paying attention to the speaker and giving them your undivided attention.
Think about your role at work. How much of your day are you communicating (listening, speaking, reading, or writing)? Each job is different, and the time we spend communicating can also vary from day to day.
The content (the words spoken) is one thing, but how people feel gives full value to the message. Responding to the speaker’s feelings adds an extra dimension of listening. Are they disgusted and angry or in love and excited? Perhaps they are ambivalent! These are all feelings that you can reply to in your part of the conversation.
An Entrepreneur’s Mindset is generally different to that of an employed person. Entrepreneurs usually have a distinct attitude and set of priorities compared to those people in paid jobs. (When I use the term entrepreneurs, I am talking about those people who set up a business from nothing). We look at things uniquely and wherever we are, every decision, social occasion we talk about, consider or plan something for our business. If we need a job done, it will never occur to us to ask ‘How do I this’. Our first concern is the outcome that I want to achieve. From there, we will then decide on how to get the task completed.
Our minds are all over the place. How do we earn more income, what products can we sell, who will buy this service? How can we leverage our current services? It is a different outlook, which is not right or wrong, it’s just different.
My personal hell would be a day of shopping for makeup and clothes. It just has no interest for me. I am not really interested in my socks are matching as long as my feet are warm or if my bag is a different colour to my shoes as long as it holds everything I need it to hold. It just isn’t one of my priorities. Now, if it is one of my author’s books, that is a very different story. The font has to be spot on, the formatting and front cover need to tell a story in its own right and the author has to be 100% happy with the outcome, I am slightly anal about that, because to me, it’s a product that I have produced and I want my clients to treasure that product.
Take, for example, walking home yesterday. Just as I was leaving the office, the skies opened with torrential rain. It just wouldn’t stop. I didn’t have a coat with me as the weather forecast said it would be sunshine all day. So, there I am standing the lobby looking at the rain falling and pondering, how am I going to get home. I could, for example:-
Walk and get soaked
Call a taxi
Get a lift from someone
Wait until the rain stops
Options are available if you think hard
There would be more options if I set my mind to it, Critical Thinking (a very good business term for evaluating all options). I think situations through and make my decisions quickly and run with the consequences. It has served me well and I learn quickly from mistakes, especially as I am a firm believer that mistakes are more valuable than getting things right all the time.
Back to my story. I wanted to walk home as the dog also needed a walk, and the rain would wash her coat, which is a bonus. So, how to get home without getting too wet. Now, I considered my solutions was rather ingenious considering my limited options. Get a plastic bag, cut a hole in the top and arms and like magic an instant raincoat. So, there I am with my pink plastic bin liner, cutting in a hole for the neck and arms to hear someone from behind me question what I was doing.
I explained what I was doing and why. She couldn’t understand why I didn’t just wait for the rain to stop, as she was doing. Her car was 10 feet from the front door. It never occurred to her to walk to her car in the rain and get wet and that a makeshift plastic bag could act as a temporary raincoat for a few minutes. What upset her more was the fact that the pink plastic bag was a Biffa bag, and a trade Biffa bag at that.
Appearances can matter
I have been a member of BNI (a networking group for small businesses and entrepreneurs) for many years. Every so often a member would be asked to give a 10-minute presentation on what their business is and what referrals they are looking for. On one occasion, I took several tools that I use in my business and carried them in an orange plastic bag. As I stood in front of the 35 other members explaining my business and what each tool represented, I felt the presentation went well. It was only after my presentation two women in the group came to me and said they loved the presentation but couldn’t get past the orange plastic bag. They suggested that next time I should use a company branded bag.
It concerned me for a while and what was interesting was that both ladies worked for an entrepreneur, which differs from being an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur’s mindset will equate every penny spent to hours worked or jobs completed. Why would they focus on something as immaterial as the orange plastic bag and not the contents of the bag and what I was saying? To them, the importance of someone’s outward appearance was just as important as what is being said or sold. I have taken this on board and retired my orange plastic bag. However, I am still in business and the two ladies are not working for other companies that provide branded products.
Learning Points about an Entrepreneur’s Mindset
There are many ways to get a task completed, focus on the outcome first and work backwards
Don’t be guided by someone who has never had the courage that you have shown by setting up your business
Thinking outside the box is a prerequisite for an entrepreneur, so stand up and yell, “I will do this, and I will do it my way with the results I want to achieve.”
Writing My Memoirs – 31 Day Challenge – Video and Blog Posts