network explosion

What is Mindfulness?

 

Don’t you think that a major part of being successful in business is being successful as a person? When we reach a place in our lives where we are more rounded and content with ourselves, we can spread that into every other are of our lives.

Recently, everywhere I turn I hear or read what seems to be the latest buzzword – “mindfulness”.  The definition of this adjective is to be conscious or aware of something, and synonyms include the following words: sensible, alive, alert, acquainted, heedful and wary.

I’ve discovered that there are whole websites dedicated to mindfulness and plenty of mindfulness apps available for our smartphones. Basically, mindfulness seems to be living a life that is more aware of the moment.  It’s a form of meditation.  A more esoteric definition would be an intentional acceptance and non-judgmental focus of attention on emotions, thoughts and sensations in the moment.

It’s quite an interesting concept and apparently has many benefits including a stronger immune system, decreasing stress and depression, improving focus, strengthening empathy, improving relationships and fighting obesity.

As wonderful as this all sounds, what on earth does it have to do with social media? Well, working in social media tends to make me the complete opposite of being mindful. At Network Explosion, we tend to be future oriented, always looking for new ideas and innovative ways to market our clients through social media platforms. The platforms themselves are changing by the moment and we are continually working at being in the forefront of what is happening. The social media space is very exciting, however it can be pretty hectic and even exhausting at times.

I was initially attracted to social media because of its supportive environment. Slowly I have seen it being consumed by all of humanity’s usual flaws, driven by greed and power. I have also noticed a recent trend where consumers have become disillusioned with corporate power and bullying and have returned to small business and local stores where transparency and relationship are important.  And this is where I see mindfulness playing a part. No matter the size of the business, being mindful, with all of its benefits, should surely improve business. As business owners are healthier, happier, more empathic, focused and less stressed, their businesses can only benefit, especially with improved relationships.

I’m going to give it a bash, I certainly can see no harm in it.

By Karen Lancaster

vision

Vision – Essential Element of Successful Entrepreneurship

vision

Walt Disney said that all of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. Last week we looked at courage in the life of an entrepreneur, but this week we are looking at another element of successful entrepreneurship – vision.

Without vision and goals:

  • we will have nowhere to go,
  • no-one or nowhere to lead,
  • nothing to focus on.

Dreams lead to vision. Vision leads to goals. Goals lead to action and results.

So the question is “What are you trying to achieve?”

Vision gives us consistency, however we don’t just need vision for that end result, we also need vision for the many steps that it will take to get us there. We need targets, monthly goals and so on.

I have heard the suggestion that when you know where you want to go you can work backwards to get the steps to get there.

We all have different ways of setting our vision and going for it, but it all starts with a dream. Here are some questions to help you work through vision.

  • What makes your heart beat a little faster?
  • What would you love to do all day every day?
  • What do you want to do with your success?
  • What do you want your venture to look like?
  • What kind of people do you want to hire?
  • What kind of company culture do you dream of?
  • How are you going to get there?

And most importantly, do you have a vision and what is it?

 

By Karen Lancaster

Courage – Essential Elements of Successful Entrepreneurship

Courage

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that courage is not the absence of fear, but going ahead anyway, despite the fear. Anyone who has ever had to face a fear head on, like bungy jumping with a terror of heights or caving with claustrophobia, knows the amazing sense of achievement that comes when the fear has been tackled and overcome.

A first time business start-up needs this same courage to break out of old ways and take the calculated risk of going for the dream. The rewards certainly make up for the risks, but it doesn’t make it easy in the early days when bills are piling up and making enough to pay them is a challenge. The most frightening part is probably the initial decision. However, with every big milestone in business, there will be new challenges and courage will have to be exercised again.

Here are a few moments of courage that will be needed as you start your new venture.

  • Courage to turn your back on the security of a job
  • Courage to walk a different path to start your own business
  • Courage to follow your own convictions
  • Courage to stand your ground against those who challenge you
  • Courage to step into unknown territory
  • Courage to follow your instincts

The problem is where do we find the courage for all of this? The following are some simple tips to help build courage.

  • Start with small steps
  • Acknowledge your fears
  • Be willing to fail
  • Don’t focus on anxiety
  • Don’t give up
  • Just do something every day
  • Revisit your vision frequently
  • Manage your stress through exercise, breathing techniques, meditation or whatever helps you best

Courage grows with use. The more we use courage, the easier it becomes. It is much like exercise – difficult initially, but it improves with practice. So, there is nothing else to do but to simply do whatever you keep putting off.

 

By Karen Lancaster

Drive and Determination – Essential Elements of Successful Entrepreneurship

drive and determination

I recently read the story of the son of a horse trainer who worked at stables and ranches. At school the boy was asked to write about what he wanted to be when he grew up. Without hesitation, he wrote a seven-page paper about his dream of owning a horse ranch, including many details, the location of buildings and stables and even a house plan.

He received his paper back with an “F” on the front. When he asked the teacher why, he was told that his dreams were unrealistic as he had no money or resources. The teacher offered him a rewrite with a more realistic goal.

The boy asked his father’s advice who encouraged him to think carefully and to make his own decision.

After a few days the boy gave the paper to his teacher with no amendments. He respectfully told the teacher to keep the “F” and he would keep his dream.

Years later as an adult, he now owns a huge house in the middle of 200-acre horse ranch. He still has the school paper, which is framed over the fireplace.

We can have all of the passion and self-belief in the world, but without drive and determination, we will not achieve our goals. Passion motivates us, self-belief gives us the courage, but drive and determination gets the job done.

Drive and determination, which are fundamental to success, start with desire. We need aspirations. We need to want to get somewhere. Sit down and think about the goals for our new businesses. What are our dreams for the future of the venture. Where do we want to go? How do we want our enterprise to operate? How much do we want to expand? What are our personal aspirations that the business can facilitate? What social causes do we want to empower?

Once, we have an idea of where we are headed, we need to go for it with single minded pursuit. We need to have the attitude of “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. No matter what confronts us, we need to push through and allow the drive to kick in, always remembering why we are doing this.

We will quickly discover that nothing goes according to plan and we need to overcome challenges and obstacles much of the time. Generally, there are more setbacks than successes and without determination, we will quickly flounder and give up. Drive and determination is what will get us through all of the hard times. Think of the many different movies, like “The Pursuit of Happiness”, that have illustrated this. It has been said that most successful businesses founders failed seven times before they found success. Disney, Einstein and many others were considered foolish before they found success.   

 So, examine your desires and fuel your drive. I’d love to hear some of your success stories.

 

By Karen Lancaster

Network Explosion

Network Explosion

Please excuse the interruption of our weekly look at Elements of Successful Entrepreneurship, however I have some exciting news to share regarding business matters.

As many of you know, I launched out in business in April last year after years of working for others and teamed up with Gill Bates to form Bates Lancaster Consulting. A few months later, Gill was headhunted and could not refuse the offer and I found myself continuing alone. It caused me to focus on the skills that I was offering and fine-tune the future of the business, however the name no longer made any sense. I narrowed down the offering to networking services, both online and face to face (F2F) and so the name Network Explosion was birthed.

The website should be live any day now and Network Explosion is already live on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Please feel free to interact on any or all of those platforms. With this in mind, I will be phasing out the Bates Lancaster Consulting blog over the next few months. However this blog, which is my personal blog, will continue as normal.

I am very excited about what 2014 has to offer and I look forward to meeting, working and collaborating with many of you.

Here’s to a marvellous year!

By Karen Lancaster

Digital Media Coach, Social Media Marketing

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