Two years ago I left my corporate job to start my own practice as a coach, speaker and workshop facilitator. I had a vague vision of the life I wanted to create and two years later I feel like I’m much closer to feeling like an established solo-preneur .
Which is why I fell in love with this video and the delightful Golden Retriever which seemed to embody this 24 month journey I have been on.
You know those German Shepherds. Those folks with the laser like focus, the undaunted determination resulting in the ease of success.
Then there are the Golden retrievers. The happy-go-lucky, easily distracted, doesn’t seem to get anywhere kinda types.
Watching this video, and particularly the Golden Retrievers attempt at the course, I came up with my own lessons of being an entrepreneur:
Keep Your Eyes on The Prize (but have a little fun along the way)
You start off with your eyes on the goal but quickly you get waylaid by the myriad of distractions along your path.
I wish all the distractions I have experienced were as fun and satisfying as this dogs journey but some moments felt more like rolling over and playing dead. Any entrepreneur will tell you that life is filled with ups and downs and the key is not to get sucked in by the downs.
The sneakier distractions however, can be the highs. The shiny objects that capture your attention and make you think you should start heading in their direction.
This showed up for me in trying to nail down my target market. Knowing who you serve is an effective tool in focusing your marketing. I wrestled with a couple different possibilities, to the exhaustion of my business coach. As soon as I settled on one, I’d get a client who was the complete opposite. Well, under the unspoken rule of “sometimes your niche chooses you” I decided to started rethinking my business to suit the few clients that I had. Soon, however, I found myself inspired by a different shiny object that, once again, sent me back to the drawing board.
The result? Many months of just making no progress at all. Like the Golden Retriever, I’d get half way down the course only to head back to the beginning for more kibble.
The lesson I have learned, however is, know what you want and go for it. You can always adjust but you’ve got to start down the path you’re on to know if it’s the best one.
It’s okay to check out a couple nibbles but you don’t have to finish every plate!
Pay No Mind to The Peanut Gallery
What I love about this blissful pooch is his total ignorance of everything going on around him, including the clock. That precious timekeeper, trying to keep a straight face as he pretends this happy fur ball has a chance does not faze our contender with his skeptical glance.
Worrying about what others are thinking is the nail in the coffin to our own courageous pursuits. With every article we attempt to write, or project we dare to launch or call we need to make, our anonymous peanut gallery pops into our brain. Maybe the faces you see are familiar – the disapproving parent, the former colleague, the ex-boyfriend. And, a lot of times, it is just the nameless “they”. You know, when you find yourself asking, “What will THEY think?!?”.
Trust me, the longer you listen to “they” the longer it will take for you to get on with what you’re doing. And unless “they” are courageously sticking their neck too, their opinions don’t matter a hill of plushy pet toys.
Don’t Ignore Your Cheerleaders
I can only imagine what the poor girl waiting at the finish line is thinking. Wanting desperately for her best friend to heed her voice and get his furry butt through the course.
Hopefully you have those people in your life who are rooting for you. I know I do. Friends who know my potential, sometimes more than I do. Those friends who get frustrated when they hear the defeating self-talk that sometimes comes out of my mouth. We all have those moments which is why it is so important to have that crucial friend who will always listen and call you back to your own magnificent self.
If you have these people in your life, thank them, appreciate them and let them know what they mean to you. These are the people you will be thanking in your acceptance speech.
It’s Okay to Get Help
Sometimes there may come those moments when someone just needs to grab us by the collar and drag us in the direction we need to go. And this is okay! In fact, it’s awesome to have help!
We can easily get tricked into thinking that the successful “they” did it all on their own with determination and will power and shame ourselves for not being able to figure it out by ourselves. No one does it alone; we all need help at some point. Whether it’s getting help on something we don’t know how to do or just getting someone to help us with the heavy lifting, lean in to the people in your life.
I think of those last straw moments when I finally reached out to my network for help. Practically every time, that conversation gave me the kick I needed to get back on track.
The biggest thing is knowing that you’re not a failure if you need help. You’re HUMAN!
It’s About The Journey, Not the Destination
At the end of the day, whether you finish first or finish last, it’s how you run the race and who you are in the process. Can you look in the mirror and be proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Can you find the compassion within yourself and for yourself knowing that, regardless of where you finish, it is exactly where you are meant to be?
What I most love about this video is just how damn happy that Golden Retriever is. He’s operating under his own agenda and has his own outcomes in mind. It may not be what everyone else wants but, in that moment, he is completely satisfied with his doggy self.
Maybe it’s okay to not finish on top. Maybe it’s okay to run your own race and enjoy yourself along the way. Guess what, we all cross the finish line eventually. The trick is not counting yourself out of the game just because you’re not a top contender and berating yourself because you didn’t finish in the top three.
What did the journey mean to you and who have you become because of it? That’s all that really matters.
Stop Making Up Crap
It’s easy to watch the first few dogs and conclude that, in this type of contest, I better stay away from Golden Retrievers! That clearly the other two breeds are far more suited for such a challenging course.
It’s easy to do this in life in those moments we are struggling. We look around at the “successful” people in our field and assume that the universe must have placed the kiss of success upon their brow which endowed them with the right blend of determination, innovation, ingenuity and, naturally, luck.
This kind of thinking, naturally, negates the hours these people have spent, the battles they have endured, the self-doubt and disappointments that they have had to wade through. No, those special Gods and Goddesses Entrepreneurism simply found themselves at the pinnacle of their careers simply to torture the rest of us sweating it out every day.
Frankly, that kind of thinking needs one giant pooper scooper! Nothing comes without hard work and if you want to live a big life, you’re gonna have to do some big work. But don’t forget to grab one or two chew toys along the way.
KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THERE TO DO
Perhaps one of the most obvious elements of success is know where it is you are supposed to go.
Maybe this furry guy thought he was actually there to be fed and play with as many toys as possible while a room full of people watched.
If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there but once you have committed to that one thing the universe conspires to make it happen. You've no doubt heard the red car analogy? As soon as you decide that you want to buy a red car, or perhaps you did buy a red car, you begin to see red cars everywhere! This is actually how our brains work, it's not some cosmic mystery.
Knowing your purpose and committing to its outcome is what further increases the likelihood of success.
There really is just one type of entrepreneur out there; those who get to where they’re going in whatever way they get there in whatever time they arrive.
It could be easy for me to regret the past two years but, in doing that, I completely disregard all the lessons and experiences I’ve had along the way. It also negates the fact that where I am today is where I need to be. And it’s not so bad here and I continue to learn new ways of running the race a little better.
So I will give myself a reassuring pat on the proverbial back because I’m still here and every morning I get out of bed is another act of courage.
This beautiful pup may not have finished first but he has a belly full of treats, got to play with a couple toys, and earned over 16 million views on Youtube.
Choose your finish line (knowing it can change) and run your own race!