As entrepreneurs, we want to transform--ourselves, our companies and the key people around us--into greatness so we can provide tremendous value and lead great lives.
It's a tall order, isn't it? Especially when we're so busy working in our businesses that we can easily lose sight of the big picture vision of what it means to be valuable, successful and happy.
Kute Blackson may have the key to making it all happen. Blackson is a world-class "transformational expert" who helps companies, professionals and celebrities break through their barriers and reach previously untapped levels of personal and professional success. He's also the author of the book You.Are.The.One.
Blackson recently shared with me three ways business owners can maximize the value in their companies and their lives.
1. Stop giving others power over you--and start taking control of your life and work. It's all too easy to fall into a false mindset that life is something that happens to us. This is even the case among entrepreneurs, who are known for creating and getting things done. "It's very common to hear a business owner say something like 'I'm upset because my employee did XYZ', or 'the government did XYZ'. And as people, we get upset because of the weather or something our spouse said," notes Blackson.
When we do that, he says, we effectively hand over power and control to people and forces other than ourselves--and reduce our ability, both real and perceived, to affect change. We also spend our energy trying to change the problem we see--trying to make the other person or situation change so we can feel better. Instead, he says, focus on your own expectations and reactions and how you can change and adapt to get to your goal. "We always have control over, and choice over, how we respond to life and people and moments and situations," says Blackson.
One major area to take notice of, and responsibility for, is our thoughts. Blackson explains it this way:
"One of the key questions I've found that's really helped me stay focused and present in the midst of life and building a business is asking myself, 'where is my attention focused right now?'. Because many times our attention starts wandering into all sorts of stories and patterns and places--the past, the future. And we start thinking 'What I should have done? What could I have done? Why did I make that decision?' Before you know it, we spin ourselves into a negative future fantasy or we're stuck in a projection of the past and we're not fully present and productive in the moment."
2. Shift your definition of success. Blackson notes that many business owners, even hugely successful ones, don't feel successful and happy even though they've accomplished their biggest goals. Often this is because they're not actually living in ways that reflect who they really are or want to be. "To me real success is really about who you've become in the process of building. The question I like to ask people is: Who are you becoming, on a daily basis? Are you growing, are you evolving, are you constantly stretching yourself and becoming the most authentic version of yourself and learning lessons along the way?," says Blackson. "Because I believe then that no matter what, you are succeeding."
His advice: Take the time to define who you really are--not who you may have been told you should be. "If we don't define ourselves then there will be no shortage of people--society, media, culture, parents--that will define it for us. I think part of a successful life is really living life in your own way, for you."
3. Give away lots of value to others--for free. As business owners, we tend to believe that if a customer, client or prospects wants something from us, then they should pay us for it. But Blackson argues that we'll be happier and more financially successful if we give away some of our high-value offerings for free. In his case, that can mean offering free videos, webinars, ebooks and other content in which he offers detailed, step-by-step advice. This leads to some massive business benefits:
- It positions you as the go-to expert. Says Blackson: "If they get value from you for free, then when they want to go a step further and do more, who are they going to think of first? Who do they have a relationship with who's also been positioned in their mind as an expert that they trust? It's not the guy down the street."
- It makes you more innovative. If you give away some or all of your "best material," then you have to up your game even more to create the amazing products or services or experiences that you'll charge for. "It causes you as an entrepreneur to grow and evolve and innovate," says Blackson.
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