This year marks my twentieth year in Executive search and my thirteenth year as the President of ERG. As I relax having my morning coffee I am reflecting on the lessons learned and risks lost along the way. Here are a few of mine for you entrepreneurs out there. Maybe it will save you some pain or give you comfort you’re not alone.
1) You can’t steal third with your foot on second base.
Eventually you have to just go for it The best business people I know have failed more than they won. That’s how they learn.
2) It’s ok to be scared sometimes.
Risk taking is part of business. I get scared. Right now we are heavily investing in a new service offering that I believe is right for our clients and right for their employees. But it’s still a risk to even try and sometimes I just can’t sleep because I am scared.
3) If you would live to regret it, either get at it or don’t do it.
We all have those things in life we wish we would have done or wish we never would have done. Get over it! Either get off your high horse and take action or tell yourself to stop whining! Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that. No action on a regret can derail your path and you will remain stuck. Get your head around what needs to happen or what happened and move the needle!
4) Don’t forget to enjoy the journey, not just the victory.
If you’re like me, you get extremely focused and intense during the formation and execution of the plan. While I absolutely know nothing happens without hard work, stopping at certain milestones to “high five” is key to success. Life and business are both the same, it is a marathon, not a sprint.
5) You can’t motivate an unmotivated employee.
Motivation comes from within. While I agree that having people who cheer you on and support you is critical, in the end it’s really up to that person if they want it bad enough. Like pushing a chain straight, the point is a mute one. Hire people who are self motivated and praise them like crazy!
6) Be a meaningful specific, not a wandering generality.
This was one of my favorite Zig Ziglar quotes. May sound cliche, but what I’ve really become aware of is that business is changing at wharp speed. If I’m not constantly a student of my industry and business in general, it won’t be long and I am no longer relevant. You have to surround yourself with people who are smarter or seek them out. You can’t grow if you don’t stretch.
7) Don’t forget about you!
Business and life can be stressful. Like you, I’m not one to sit around and whine about it, I just compartmentalize it and deal with it. But eventually I will get run down and sometimes get sick. So…eat well, exercise and moments of joy keep my personal engine burning. I’m a single Mom and quite frankly that’s my favorite job, so making sure I have those quality moments everyday makes me a better and happier leader. I hate exercise, but it reduces stress and also helps keep my weight in check. So my advice here is just do it. Don’t tell me you don’t have time…get up one hour earlier and do it.
8) Find a confidant you can confide in.
I need advice. Making decisions in a silo makes me ten times more nervous then running it by a friend or colleague. This is not the person who will tell you what you want to hear or always agree with you, but that person who lovingly, candidly tells you you’re crazy. You need at least one person who will give it to you straight.
All work and no play makes Sharon a very dull girl! Two weeks ago my daughter and I went to Disney together and she challenged me to every water ride and roller coaster she could find. I admit, that took me a lot farther outside my nine dots than any new initiative we’re working on. I laughed and smiled for a whole week. I also learned a lot about my tolerance to try something new. And my body rejeuvinated for the work ahead.
10) Listen to God.
All of you may not agree, but for me the biggest change has been turning over my CEO role to God. He has done amazing things in my business and my life. It’s hard to listen and be patient, but the answers have all come and the change in our company’s comfort and success has really been staggering. My level of worry is almost gone (still working on that one) and I am learning to fully trust the plan ahead.
Business feels good again. Employers are hiring, profits are increasing and it’s getting better everyday. Now is the time to get started. Put into action that one thing you’ve had on the shelf and go for it.
Live your life with no regrets, much joy and love and constantly learn. God’s speed to you all.
Authored by Employment Resource Group CEO Sharon Hulce