What can Madonna’s fall at the Brits teach us about business?
Last night, Madonna performed at the Brits. Doubtless she would have spent many hours rehearsing. Refining and practicing her routine only for a totally unseen incident to completely derail her. During her performance she had to untie a long cape she was wearing and at an exact moment, a chap holding the other end who could not see what was happening due to being Madonna’s back being turned on him, had to whip the cape from her back.
What happened was that the cape was tied too tight and was not undone when it was whipped off her. This resulted in her being violently pulled backwards down a flight of steps, landing heavily on her back in front of hundreds in the audience and millions of television viewers.
What happened next was the crucial point for me. After a couple of what appeared to be awfully long seconds, Madonna pulled herself awkwardly to her feet but then carried on as though nothing had happened.
So how does Madonna’s fall relate to business?
Madonna proved herself to be a true professional. She had planned everything perfectly, had a huge support team around her to help her and then an unforeseen incident took her crashing to rock bottom (literally). She had two choices at this point.
- She could have felt sorry for herself, hugely embarrassed and whimpered off into the shadows to lick her wounds and the show would have been over for her. People may have felt sorry for her but they were likely to have talked about her downfall when her name was mentioned in the future as that was their lasting impression.
- She assessed the situation with lightening quick speed, picked herself up, dusted herself off and just simply got on with it. She held her head up high and proved herself to be the ultimate professional. People now when they talk her about her downfall are also likely to talk about how professional she is and what an inspiration she is. She will have gone up in the estimation of many.
And this is what happens so often in business.
Something comes and kicks us in the teeth and all the hard work and effort we have put in to building our business suddenly seems pointless. All our careful planning and preparation has been for nothing. We feel sorry for ourselves and feel we just can’t go on any more. We go hide in the shadows until the embarrassment of failure has died down a little and then gradually try to bring ourselves back out in to the open world.
What successful business owners do when faced with adversity is exactly the same as Madonna. They quickly assess the situation, identify what has happened and what they can do to salvage the situation. They pick themselves up instantly and just get on with it once again. No moaning, no whining, no feeling sorry for themselves.
And then they learn from their mistakes to ensure they don’t happen again. They don’t look upon any hiccup in business as a failure. They look at it as a learning curve. I am sure that if Madonna ever wears a cape on stage again she will either have checked it is more loosely tied or she will have a false tie with a Velcro fastening.
So what would you have done in a situation like Madonna’s? Have you hit a situation where you feel you have been treated unfairly and your business has failed? What choice did you, or will you make? Don’t be so quick to feel sorry for yourself and blame the situation for the failure or demise of your business. Use the opportunity to learn a lesson, pick yourself up and get on with it for another day. Act like a true professional. Act like Madonna!
Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people have on their deathbeds
Bronnie Ware worked in palliative care for many years. What she found was that many people when questioned had the same regrets about life. A real eye opening article and worth some contemplation and consideration by us all.
Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Are you employed? Are you truly happy in your job? Be honest now.
Over the last few weeks I have been amazed by how many women I have met who are desperately unhappy with the job they are in but are too restricted by having to pay the bills etc to be able to walk away. They have fabulous business ideas and the talent to make a business work but are just too afraid to take the ultimate step.
Are you like that? How many others out there are like that?
We can all read the self help books telling us to step out of our comfort zone and jump into the unknown where great riches await us. But how many of us really have the belief to take that jump?
There are so many people, both male and female, who feel trapped. They need the immediate ‘security’ blanket of a regular income no matter how unhappy it makes them and with the inherent risk in today’s world that they ‘security’ blanket may be whipped away at any moment and replaced with redundancy.
It takes a truly brave person to leave a 9 to 5 employed job to jump into the unknown, but at the same time, the people I know who have taken that jump are infinitely happier long term than those who have not.
So how about you? Are you brave enough to take the jump?
It is a scary decision. I know because I have been there and done it. I have had success and I have also had failures (or learning curves as I prefer to call them) which resulted in me having to re-enter the world of employment for a while.
If you are waiting for the right time to quit your job and start your own business, I doubt that time will ever come. If you really feel the risk is too big to take, how about testing out your new business in the evenings and at weekends whilst remaining in your employed role? This can be the lesser of two evils and can give you valuable research opportunities as to whether your business will work or not.
The worse thing you can do is to stay in a job you hate, with unfulfilled ambitions and dreams. Life really is too short.
If you would like a chat about your new business idea, get in touch now.
One of the biggest differences between those achieving business success and those who fade into the shadows is long term commitment. All too often we set off with rose tinted glasses in a euphoria of excitement that our business is going to be the best and we are going to join those glamorous people in the Facebook ads sat on a beach working just a few hours a day from their laptop.
But reality tends to be rather different. When the money hasn’t started rolling in within the first 6 months, doubt starts to creep in. When the first tax return is prepared and you haven’t been able to draw the equivalent of the minimum wage as yet, you start to feel under pressure to return to the world of employment.
It is those who plan, those who are prepared for it to take time and those who refuse to give up that succeed. They are committed to their plans for the long term, not just on the hope of a get rich quick scheme.
As Steve Jobs said, “Half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance”. Too many people want instant gratification these days. That’s not going to cut it.
As a general rule of thumb, and from my experience working with small businesses over the years, I tell clients to expect to make a loss in year one, break even in year two and start to make a profit in year three. By year five you should be making a decent enough income.
If these timescales scare you, then think carefully before going out on your next venture. You may well be lucky and achieve financial success far quicker than this, but being prepared for your true business success to take five years will put you in a better position for reality.
To be successful you will have to be consistent and persistent in your efforts. Going guns a blazing with your marketing for 3 months and then losing your mojo as the results are not what you expect and so then doing nothing for the next month is not going to get you anywhere. When you start up your marketing efforts again, you may as well be starting from scratch. Doing one small thing every day will get you greater rewards long term than intermittent blasts of activity.
Liken it to training for a marathon. If you train hard and get to running 16 miles but then take a break for a couple of months, you are not going to be able to get up and go out the door and pick up where you left off. You will have to take quite a few steps backward to get back on track again.
It is tough being a small business owner. You will need to remain focused and determined at times when others around you try to instil you with their doubts. You will need to retain your self-belief when the naysayers come calling. But if you are prepared and committed for the long term, the rewards will most certainly be worth it.
Remember the adage, all good things come to those who wait. Do you have the commitment necessary for business success?
The question for today is what have you always wanted to do but keep putting off? What journey to success would you like to take but haven’t started yet?
The 30 day challenge
How about you just go start on that journey today. A while ago I joined a 30 day challenge with John Williams of Screw Work, Let’s play fame to help me take my life forward. Although the course had it flaws, it ultimately turned out to just what I needed as it focused on doing something fun for 20 minutes per day that lets your mind turn to what you really enjoy. This then opens up all sorts of thoughts about where you want to be in your life. (This really is an incredibly simplistic view of the challenge I took but you get the idea).
When I was doing my 30 day challenge and completing doing something fund that I loved for 20 minutes each day, I discovered that everything always turned out to be based around coaching women and helping them fulfil their dreams – hence the The Small Business Kit being created.
What do you love doing?
I had always loved coaching and mentoring and had always wanted to work with women who needed help and support in starting up their own business. I wanted to run my own business providing this support in a way that was open and flexible to the needs of whomever I was working with but the timing had never been right. But then when would it have been? If I had waited for the perfect time, I would never have taken those first few steps into the unknown and never started up my own business. If I hadn’t done something about it back then, in 12 months’ time I would have still been sat there wishing I had done it years ago. I really needed to stop procrastinating.
I have recently revisited this challenge and today I have pledged (yes that was another part of the challenge – you had to promise to do something and publicly prove to the other ‘challengees’ that you had done it) that I am going to complete a life coaching course that I had investigated a long time ago.
I have decided I am going to stop procrastinating again. I am actually going to do it rather than just dream about it. So often my business advice leads me to meet other women who have something going on in their personal life that is blocking them from fulfilling their business dreams. I have always thought about incorporating life coaching into my business coaching so I really could achieve my dream of helping other women in all aspects of their life.
Keep a journal
So what have you always wanted to do? Start to keep a journal for 30 days and write down the things that you enjoy. Spend 20 minutes a day just focusing on doing something that you love. What pattern starts to emerge? What is it that you ultimately want to do with your life so that you achieve that unfulfilled ambition?
You may find that that you enjoy writing and decide you want to start to write a book. You may enjoy making something and decide to turn your hobby into a business selling your handicrafts or art. Perhaps you enjoy baking and find you want to start up a cake stand at your local market or to create and write a recipe book. Do you enjoy talking to people helping them with their problems and find you want to train as a counsellor?
Think what it is and then set yourself a deadline for putting a plan into action to achieve your ambition. Remember, every journey starts with the first step. But what an exciting journey it could turn out to be.
And let me know what you come up with. I may just check at your deadline date that you have done it……
I look forward to hearing from you.