Success, for many, doesn’t run deeper than the development of skills or talents. There are many forgettable people in the world who are skilled, talented and successful. Success is a great thing, but having an impact is another.
To be successful and feel the fulfillment of your success, strive to have an impact. Strive to make a real difference in lives of others. Live for those opportunities to help. Deep life satisfaction comes from being a really good human being.
Success without generosity is not success. You must be dedicated to your work and driven to meet goals but you must also be driven be a real superman or superwoman in your community.
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When you make a difference in the lives of others you also make a significant difference in your own everyday life.
1. Start with you
Before you can make a difference in the lives others, you must make changes within yourself first. Such an inward difference will undoubtedly show an outward ripple effect. To have an impact in the world you have to wake up and take a look at your “stuff.”
Do your own personal inventory and cleanse your personality of its toxic qualities as best as you can. When you wake up and become conscious, you become aware that life is not a drama of the Universe starring you. You are able to see outside of yourself to where and with whom you can make a difference.
2. Turn the negative into positive
Greed, impatience, anger, jealousy and stupidity are among the many emotional and mental poisons that exist in each and every human being. We all have threads of these emotions to varying degrees. Rather than deny they exist, find ways to turn them to positive.
Find ways to turn greed into generosity, impatience into patience and acceptance, jealousy into the celebration of others, and ignorance into education. You are a more powerful motivator of others when you are tuned into what is positive about life and people.
3. Make a habit of respect
Do your best to treat others with respect. Everyone has their own story. Whether you like someone or not, there is a decent way to treat everyone. It is important, classy and intelligent to be cordial. If you cannot be cordial, have the decency to be quiet.
It is possible to love a person but not like them. We are all human beings, and treating others disrespectfully doesn’t serve anyone, including you. When you are respectful to others, others look up to. We are influenced the most by those we admire.
4. Think of others
Resist getting so caught up in your own world and drama that you forget to consider the people you see each day. You cannot have an impact on others when you are wrapped up in yourself and your life.
It is the coworker or family member right next to you that you can reach out and touch. Be mindful of the people in your life. Look for how you can get outside of yourself long enough to really “see” them. Do what you can to be of service.
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5. Be kind
Kindness will get you further in life than any other human virtue. There is no quicker or faster way to have an impact on others than to simply be kind.
Having an impact isn’t limited to donating to charity, starting a philanthropy or creating a movement. Simple kindness is a movement all unto itself.
6. Look for the good
Acknowledge the good within others and within yourself. Yoga classes typically end with a prayer that says “the light within me sees the light within you, Namaste.”
Take that perception into the world, regardless of your experience or judgments of others, and find the good no matter how small. Accept that finding the good in certain people can be challenging but seldom impossible.
When you cannot find the good in another, strive to be the bigger person. Come from the good within yourself when dealing with difficult people in your life.
7. Take time
The most valuable thing you can give of yourself is your time. If you see that someone is stressed take a minute for them. You may make the difference in their day they needed in order to be able to turn it around.
Sometimes just allowing another person to vent opens them to the solutions they were seeking. When you take time for people you show them they matter and are of value. To make another feel they matter is a powerful way to have an impact, and all it takes is the giving of a little bit of your time and attention.
8. Show up
Put your heart into everything important to you. Be present to other people. Listen, don’t just talk. When you show up in life and are completely present, it will inspire you to commit and follow through.
When you commit and follow through you touch other people and help them see bigger things in themselves and for themselves.
Make a difference every day for the people you love, for those who work for you, in the lives of the people you meet and for yourself. When you show up you make others feel secure, valued, included and considered.
A smile lights up your whole personal aura. A smile, like a yawn, is contagious. Smile. There is so much to be grateful for and happy about. People will be drawn to you and your energy when you smile. Smiling, especially on your bad days, is important.
Life is challenging but suffering also has a positive purpose. It teaches you resilience. Your smile has the power to change your day and the day of others.
10. Be involved
You make very little impact only being an observer or spectator. To have an impact you must be actively involved in your life and in the lives of others. You will never know your power unless you have the courage to activate it.
Get dirty, dig in to life and do whatever you can to positively influence others with your passion, love and involvement. The more involved you are, the more others will want to be involved.
11. Be grateful
Emotions are transmissible, so you may as well adopt a grateful spirit. People are inspired by an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful, regardless of your burdens. Better yet, find a way to be grateful for how your burdens help you grow.
Impact others by turning your pain to positive. Use the knowledge you gained through your struggles to help others see the light at the end of their own tunnel. Speaking the language of gratitude shows others there are blessings in the bummers.
Success is one thing, but having an impact is another. Live to have an impact. Too many so-called successful people are unremarkable, self-centered and greedy. True success comes in creating a shift, no matter how big or small, in the lives of others.
When you strive to make a difference in the lives of others and in your own life, you only increase your capacity for giving, for leading others and for running a business and life that has an authentic influence in the world for the better. You will always be cherished, revered and influential when you live to create a positive difference.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
What A Grade 1 Sticker Business Taught Me About Business
It’s the very fundamentals that are frequently overlooked amid ambition and “blue sky thinking” – yet, these remain the most crucial element of any business.
When I was a kid, my father believed that instead of getting pocket money, my brothers and I should learn how to make money. Stickers were the school craze when I was in Grade 1, and we wanted a collection for ourselves, so Dad said if we wanted to buy the stickers, we needed to make the money. So, logically, we started a sticker trading business. Dad gave us the start-up money and took us through the basics of business.
We had a cash float for purchases, and learnt about cost price, mark-up and selling price – very basic accounting. We kept recycling that money, making extra and using it to buy more stickers. Then we worked out that if we increased the mark-up, we’d make a bigger profit – so why not make the mark-up as big as possible? The obvious happened. Our prices were too high, and we lost customers.
Valuable business lesson learnt, we came back down to a mark-up that other kids were willing to pay for.
More lessons to learn
Then people came to us and asked if they could take a sticker today and pay us tomorrow. We saw no reason not to trust them. Guess what? They didn’t pay us back. We had bad debt on our hands. When we sold out of stickers, we had cash-flow issues and couldn’t buy more stock. Dad was there to help us out, though, so we received another capital injection to get back off the ground. And this time, if we did extend credit, we loaded it for the privilege of “buy now, pay later” – another lesson learnt.
We ran a proper ledger for the business, tracking our inventory, sales and profit. Even if our “bank” account was a piggy bank, we had a clear record of what was going on. When I look back on it, none of what I learnt was irrelevant.
Today, I run a leading financial services company with billions of rand running through our bank accounts. Even though the finances of the business are run on a much larger scale, the principles of business – those basic principles that we learnt trading stickers – still power our company. And when I see entrepreneurial ventures failing, or when friends come to me for advice because their business is struggling, it’s almost always because they haven’t got these basics right.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt is that if you don’t fully understand how the money is being made, walk away. Whether you are dealing with stickers or financial services, the business principles should be straightforward: money coming in, money going out, and profitability.
Every day, I look at an Excel statement of my company’s forty bank accounts. Every day, I look at the cashflow, and unusual big-ticket items get a note so I know what’s going on. It’s just like that Grade 1 business, only on a bigger scale.
Once the other kids saw the success of our sticker business, they started to want to get in on the action, so they came to market with their own competing products. At first, we were able to innovate as the competition squeezed our margins and started to impact on our profits. Eventually, the whole situation got completely out of hand and the school banned sticker trading for profit.
While I didn’t become a sticker magnate, the lessons I learnt in Grade 1 remain central to every business I am involved with – get the basics right.
How To Handle A Director Who Always Says No
Diverse opinions on a board is a good thing — but is it boosting your business, or hindering growth and decisions?
Do you have that director on your board who always says ‘no’? Regardless of what the issue is, regardless of the context, who raises it or whether or not it is indeed a good idea, their response is either a simple ‘no’ or an elongated perspective on why they disagree? It can even feel at times that they are actively working against the company and against the board. Although they obviously do not see it that way.
Experienced directors will have multiple war stories related to this subject. Aspiring directors should be aware of how to approach these situations when they arise and how to avoid becoming the subject of such stories.
Develop a culture of trust, candour and professionalism
A board’s conduct must be characterised by trust, respect, candour, professionalism, accountability, diligence and commitment. It is the board’s collective responsibility to build this culture and to engage with one another in a productive and effective way.
Dissent should be welcomed when it is constructive and engaging. The idea of being the ‘devil’s advocate’ for the sake of it however, is not the best way to approach this. Dissent should be based on a real belief that the issue has not been fully debated or creates a real challenge for the company going forward.
If you have a director who genuinely believes a different path is right for the company, hear them out and engage in the discussion. In my experience, this often opens up an issue or changes a detail that when taken as part of the whole, improves the decision-making outcome for the board and the company.
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Remove the politics from the boardroom
At the heart of this issue is often politics. Politics between directors, who are also shareholders or executives. Politics between the ‘new guard’ and the ‘old.’ Regardless of the genesis, politics really do not have a place in the boardroom and directors who engage in it should be called out by the chairman or another senior director.
In local government I have heard stories of councillors who always vote ‘no,’ so that whenever something goes wrong, they can say “I told you so,” and show the public why they should be re-elected. But that is indeed politics. The boardroom is a very different space. It is private and discussions should be confidential.
Board rotation, a simple solution
While the removal of an errant director should never just be left to resolve itself, there is a simple solution that can support the easy removal of the most difficult directors. The challenge is that it requires forward planning prior to the appointment of any new director.
Directors should only ever be appointed for a predefined term, with automatic rotation at the end of that term. This does not stop you from reappointing a director for a further period. It is, however, always easier to ask someone to consider a further term than it is to tell them that their time has come and they should resign from the board.
Having a predefined term for a director essentially ensures an automatic resignation period. A simple rotation policy for directors is not just good governance, it is a practical step you can take to provide a way out of a sticky relationship.
Ultimately the board as a whole must address issues that detract from the board fulfilling its function as and when they arise. A rotation policy might provide an effective backstop. A high-performance board is one that will tackle the issue head-on.
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The Power Pose: Using Body Language To Lead
Use the way you move and stand and interact with others to become a better entrepreneur and leader.
In 2012, the power pose became a global sensation. A Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy hit a staggering 46 million views and became the second most popular Ted Talk in history. The premise was simple – hold a powerful pose and it will not only affect the way you behave but it will even change your body chemistry. Since the talk, the power pose has met with heavy criticism and been labelled as nothing more than pseudoscience. Fortunately for believers, they were proven right. Amy Cuddy released further research this year and it fundamentally proves that this bold stance works exactly how she said it did back in 2012.
The power pose isn’t something that you’d adopt in a meeting or around the office but the science behind it shows how important it is to pay attention to your body language as it can fundamentally change how you are perceived.
Notice how you are noticed
People spend a lot of time reading one another’s body language and the way a person stands or holds their hands or moves can influence how others see them. It’s very natural to judge someone else’s posture, but what about the way they are judging yours? Few people look at how their body language is affecting the way people engage with them.
So, what are you supposed to do?
Fake it until you make it
Want to know how can you adapt to become a better leader? You can fake it.
The power pose isn’t the only way to change your mood. Research has shown that whether you laugh naturally or put on a smile and make yourself laugh, your body still releases the same levels of serotonin.
Whether you are really laughing or just pretending to laugh doesn’t matter – they both have the same impact on your demeanour.
Change how others see you
Think about the pose that every athlete adopts when they win a race or achieve something that’s been physically taxing. They hold their hands outstretched in the air. Even blind athletes hold the same pose. It’s big, it’s bold and it’s a physical manifestation of success.
Now consider the defensive pose. The tight hunched shoulders or inward curve of the spine. These poses immediately make a person look nervous, afraid and lacking in confidence. Like the porcupine curling in on itself for protection.
The same ideas apply to daily business life. While the power pose and the athlete pose are not necessarily a team activity, ensuring that you hold your body upright and with confidence means that you’re conveying an attitude of strength. You come across as confident and capable and positive. You are ready to take on anything and overcome the odds.
By contrast, if you are hunched and withdrawn, you come across as nervous and lacking in confidence and these are not the qualities you want associated with you as an entrepreneur and a leader.
Body language for entrepreneurs
- Shake hands like a hero. The way you shake hands with someone is very significant in terms of establishing equality. Be even, be firm but don’t pull people towards you or turn their hands under your own. This makes them feel like you are trying to establish dominance.
- Create an atmosphere of openness. Maintain eye contact, say hello to people with warmth while holding a strong posture. A warm and open greeting is essential to establishing trust.
- Do the power pose for two minutes before any meeting or interview. This will get those chemicals stirring and make you feel confident and in charge.
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