As an entrepreneur and business owner, you are faced with making decisions on a daily basis. Some are as small as how many paperclips to buy for the office but get as big as where to purchase an office, make a key hire, or roll out a new product or campaign.
When making decisions in business, here are a few important points to consider that I have found to be very valuable in my journey:
• Seek “wise” counsel. Remember, anybody can give advice, but “wise” counsel comes from those that have an impact on and are important to your business and life.
• Take the appropriate amount of time to make the decision as it is big. What I mean by that is buying paper clips takes two seconds to decide. Buying a building should take longer because there is more at stake.
• Analyze and seek out the potential outcomes both if a decision gets made and goes well and if the same decision is made and does not go well. Be ready and willing to accept both outcomes.
• There can be times when you decide not to decide. Accept that and always make a decision, even if that means not deciding right now. Set a time to come back and make the decision.
• There is a fine line between not making a decision due to over analyzing (paralysis by analysis) and making a hasty, too quick of a decision. Both can be bad for business, so find that happy medium.
• This last point was shared in my EO Forum a few months ago after one of our members heard a speaker present a message a while back, the speaker was a retired Marine. He shared the following about making a decision: “When making a decision, make sure you have all the information at hand from strong sources, and analyze and determine all the potential outcomes of making the decision. Once you have done so, decide and act. Do not look back, do not second guess yourself. Once you make the call and pull the trigger; GO! Know that you made the best decision for the team, the customer, the community or the cause that you could at that time with the information and intel that you had. Just move forward, and act.”
That last point really hit home for me as an entrepreneur. Sometimes we make a call and then second guess it endlessly. This second guessing creates a lack of clarity and certainty that we need to make future decisions. When a leader lacks certainty, the people this leader is responsible for leading will sense the lack of certainty and this can cause a lack of teamwork and moving forward together for whatever your cause or business is.
Thanks again for reading my blog this week. I hope this blog has inspired you, encouraged you and helped you to grow as an entrepreneur and leader.
Over the past two weeks I have been writing about and sharing my thoughts as well as my personal journey towards being impactful. For me, having a “so what” moment as it related to being successful really opened my eyes and allowed me to ask: “What am I leaving behind? Whose lives am I touching? What stories will be shared about me? Was I serving others or myself?” Focusing on being impactful has taught me many lessons and showed me the challenges that I shared with you last week.
As entrepreneurs, small business owners and leaders, we are given a great responsibility as well as a platform to influence others. What we do with this platform is what matters. One of the struggles that many entrepreneurs face is, “How the heck do you measure impact? How do you measure something that is not measurable by the standards and metrics businesses use?”
You can’t: It is 100% impossible to measure the impact and way that you, your leadership, your company and its actions touch people at the heart level.
Success is easy to measure. You set a goal to hit a specific sales, revenue, or profit number. You produce X number of widgets or land Y number of new accounts. In the process of doing those things, the actions, words, deeds and how you inspire the people around you is what is remembered long after the success fades. I always love sharing the following story as it shows how I was able to witness impact at a phenomenal level. Although immeasurable, it has stayed with me since the very first day I witnessed it.
I attended a study abroad exchange program through Colorado State University and lived in Alcala de Henares, Spain in 2002. My daily strolls down the Calle Mayor (the city’s main street) had me passing local shops, cafes and restaurants. I could smell the fresh baked pastries and hear the steam from the café con leches being made. My ears were on sensory overload as I took in all of the Castillian Spanish and its distinct accent as I passed by the hundreds of people chatting every day.
Another thing that I noticed was the number of homeless people living or sitting on the Calle Mayor. They had outstretched hands, cups, signs and stories begging for anyone’s attention. Some just sat and waited for money to be dropped into a cup and some were more vocal about their survival needs.
One of the men I could not get out of my mind was a man with no legs who was on the Calle Mayor everyday. He usually hung out on the corner of the Calle Mayor and the Plaza Cervantes (the city’s central plaza). When he wanted to move locations he would push himself up on his cracked and bloody fists to swing himself up and down the street. No matter what, one thing stayed the same: this man was always alone.
One day I was sitting at a café across the street from this man, except on this day he was not sitting alone, he was sitting next to a woman and her crying baby. This woman was also homeless and I had seen her sitting on the Calle Mayor asking people for money. For some reason, this day, her cup was empty. For some reason, this day, you could see the desperation, sadness, loneliness and uncertainty in her eyes more than usual. For some reason, this day, she was not just asking for money. She was crying, almost wailing, to the point to where she was calling a lot of attention to herself. As she continued to do so, people passed by, almost not noticing her. This man with no legs approached the woman and her baby and sat next to them. He had a small handful of coins in his cup, and he reached over and poured his cup into hers.
My breath was taken away; I was shocked and I was speechless. The Calle Mayor was typically a competitive stomping ground for the homeless and destitute to go out and look out for themselves and only themselves. These people, each with their own story, struggled to live and eat everyday. They played for keeps in their soliciting for funds. They were doing nothing more than trying to live and survive. Success for them was having a full cup to get through to the next day. This man, also looking to survive and find his next meal, 100% made an impact on this woman and her baby that day.
As I finished my café con leche, got up from my chair and headed to my next class, I could not get that story out of my heart. It still touches me to this day and I love to share it as it relates to impact.
One question I always ask myself, and I encourage entrepreneurs to ask is: “Whose cup can I fill today?”
In last week’s blog, I shared a bit about my story of being successful and realizing that I was not being impactful. The word impact has become such a focus of mine moving into 2014. I am intently focused on impacting and inspiring others around me. I want to quickly share some of the thoughts and obstacles that have presented themselves so as you decide to become more impactful you can be ready.
Here are a few things that happened after I made the decision to be impactful:
• The first thing I realized is that being impactful does not mean to forget about success. It means to let impact be what constitutes success.
• Impact is not measurable like success is. I am a numbers guy and I measure and track everything, but impact cannot have a number put to it. Impact is the story you leave behind. It is the intangible and immeasurable parts of yourself that you give to somebody. Impact is permanent and does not fade away, unlike many of the measurable things that success leaves.
• Impact has everything to do with your purpose and being clearly defined as an entrepreneur and human. Impact means passionately putting those things into action.
• Success has been my own worst enemy. Success for me was all about what I could do, and my abilities. I know what I can do and what it takes to climb that next mountain. When it came to leading and inspiring others that is where my faith in powers greater than my own came into the picture.
• It would be easy to keep relying on myself and being more successful, but consciously choosing to take on the greater challenge of being impactful and leaving an intentional legacy is the challenge and the fight to show up to everyday.
When you decide to be more impactful there are forces, people and energy in the world that do not want that to happen. For me when I decided to “Do My Be”, and make this clear to the world and others around me, some interesting things started happening. Make sure to check out the video linked above to make sense of the “Do My Be” comment.
Here are some of the things that started happening:
• Many obstacles, challenges, doubts and roadblocks were placed right in front of me to prevent me from being impactful. This tested how serious and willing I was to do so. Some of these challenges presented themselves as people, situations, problems and attacks on me from many angles.
• Many people that believed in me and what I was doing started to let themselves be known. I love this energy and support and found out who was really in my corner.
• Other people that I thought would be in my corner decided not to be anymore. This is okay with me.
• I have been the most uncomfortable that I have ever been in my life and I know I am growing tremendously from this.
I hope this post was inspiring for you! I am excited to hear about your journey of impact and what that means to you. Please give me some feedback, comments and input about this.
The message I am about to share has been on my heart a lot recently I normally share tips and feedback on how to be successful in business, but this is something different. Don’t get me wrong, I want you all to be successful, but there is one big thing that is missing when we only focus on success, which is impact.
There is an important difference between success and impact. Over the years, I have been very successful. I share this not to brag or boast but rather to share that in my successes; I gave myself most of the credit. I worked for me, to support my family and to secure our future. I knew what it would take to be successful and worked long and hard to make sure this was accomplished. When I accomplished this success I was still left feeling unfulfilled. With all of this success, why was it lonely at the top of this mountain I just worked so hard to scale?
It was lonely at the top because I had not focused on elevating people with me. I didn’t bring anybody to the top with me to celebrate; I left them in the dust. Why I was successful but having trouble leading and getting others to follow? As I was focused solely on my personal success, I was not focused on the success of others at the same time. Impact, to me, is defined as having a significant imprint that you leave on another person’s life. Impact means that you touch somebody and serve them at the heart level. Impact means that you bypass your own needs and focus on the needs of others first. Impact is contagious and inspires others to follow you and aspire to be better. When others know that you 100% honestly and truly care about them, this creates magic in business and life.
As you go out into business today, think about the focus and intended outcome of all your actions. Are you acting out of the desire to be successful, or the desire to be impactful? It is easy to be successful; it is easy to focus on you and what you can do to make things happen. To put your own needs down and focus on those of others is difficult, but this is the only way to leave an intentional impact.
Next week I will share a little more about what happened to me when I decided to be impactful instead of successful.
P.S. Here is a link to a blog I wrote for Overdrive that shares more about my decision to be impactful and leave an intentional legacy. Read the post here: Leave Your Legacy
When business is going well, sales are happening and success is coming your way, it is easy to be energized and continue to use that momentum to keep winning. Think of it as the moment that the snowball crests over the top of the hill and starts rolling down. Once this momentum occurs, things keep happening and your entire team can pick up on this momentum and roll with you.
What about when this is not happening? What about the time when there is a firestorm of problems and craziness that happens in business? During times of struggle, insanity and crazy, it can be easy to hide, be scared and not face whatever it is that needs to be faced. I am not 100% sure where I saw this quote, but a few weeks ago an entrepreneur was talking about “running towards the crazy”. The idea is when things are so crazy, upside down, tangled up, etc. that you walk right into the storm. You dive in head first with your entire team, organization and circle of people who support you. When you face the crazy head on and come out of it, you, your team and your company will all see what you are made of.
Our office caught on fire in September of 2011 and this was by far one of the craziest times in my life. My wife woke me up at 4:00am after receiving a call from the fire department! I had a speaking engagement that morning which I went and completed, and then walked right into the insanity which was the aftermath of the fire. The office had flooded from the sprinklers going off, phone and internet was down, smoke and soot filled the office and we were officially not able to conduct any business. The entire team and I jumped right in and handled the situation, made sense of the chaos and got business back up and running over the coming days.
Business and entrepreneurship is a roller coaster of ups and downs, fast speeds, tight turns and crazy! I encourage all of you to run towards the crazy when it happens. You will be amazed and inspired when you come out on the other side.
In your daily life as an entrepreneur and business owner, you are bombarded with a lot of voices. Some are worth listening to and many are not. There are two different types of voices and two categories of each type of voice:
• Your inner voice of encouragement
• Your inner voice of destruction
• Outer voices of encouragement
• Outer voices of destruction
First is the category of your own voice and your self talk. Your mind is powerful and can create a story, and outcome in your head before it even happens. Your inner and self speaking voice is very powerful and can lead you to ultimate success and encouragement or destruction. How you decide to listen, or not listen, to your inner voice is very important. I only chose to listen to my inner voice of encouragement that builds me up, inspires me to grow and makes me desire to be and do better in my life and business. The more I chose to listen to my inner voice of encouragement, the less room my inner voice of destruction has.
At times the negative and destructive voice comes along. Even the most positive person on the planet will have a negative inner voice come along. When these voices start to creep in, it is crucial that you write down and review your positive affirmations out loud and with strength and power. These positive affirmations will also cancel out and strangle the negative inner voices. It shuts them up immediately when these affirmations are declared with power and certainty. Some examples of my affirmations are:
• I am strong spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, entrepreneurially and all around rock solid.
• I listen to the positive voices in my life. Those of my wife, my children, my crew and those who inspire and encourage me.
• I am woken up by my passion every day.
• I am the world’s most phenomenal father and my children adore me.
• I speak only words of encouragement, love and inspiration.
• I am the worlds most phenomenal husband adored by Emily.
The second category of voices is those of others. As you grow and become a successful and impactful entrepreneur, many will doubt you, hate on you and talk bad about you. Few to your face, many when you are not around. For every one of these naysayers are hundreds of positive, encouraging and uplifting voices and people who will shine a light of positivity and encouragement into your life and business.
Surround yourself with positive speaking people. All people who are extremely successful and impactful very rarely speak negatively about anything or anybody. Successful and impactful people also learn to tune out the noise, hate and negative speak of others. Because they do not let any of these voices in, they become almost incapable of speaking negatively about others or themselves, thus silencing any negative inner voices they may have even more so.
A quick warning here: Do not mistake a person in your life that you can truly trust and that cares about you, who gives you strong feedback as a negative voice. Remember to consider the source of any feedback or input. For example, if your best friend who you have known for 20 years and have been in business with for 15 years tells you that you are about to make a bad decision, you should listen. Remember that your close circle of people that care about you will have their voices come across with love, concern, and looking out for your best interest. Sometimes, these voices can be mistaken for a negative voice.
I am always conscience of my thoughts and voices. I quickly determine if they are voices of encouragement or voices of destruction. I focus on and hone in on my voices of encouragement and use positive affirmations to strengthen them. This helps to silence the inner voices of destruction. I am also sure to surround myself with positive people and to only listen to the feedback of the people who I feel are credible and caring enough to give me feedback. I take all feedback from the people I see value in seriously, and never confuse a crucial conversation with them as negative. Always remember that there are some people who just never have anything positive to say and never will, and to avoid that energy and those voices at all costs.
The more social media progresses, the more complicated it seems to get. Every week, I hear about a new social media platform out there that a business or individual can use to “get the word out”, “bring value”, “share”, “pin”, “post”, “comment”, “view”, “tag”, “blog”, “tweet”, “share”, “link”, and so on and so forth. Social media has become more and more of a buzz word that businesses use and that entrepreneurs feel they need for their daily lives. There are also plenty of “gurus” and “experts” that sell you on the fact that they can train you on social media and how to leverage it for business. I am no social media expert or guru. I probably have violated some of the social media etiquette rules as well. I want to share my thoughts on social media and then you can take it for whatever its worth.
I recently listened to two of Gary Vaynerchuck’s books “Thank You Economy” and “Crush It”. I 100% say, Gary is the most relevant expert and guru on the scene when it comes to social media. He mentioned a few things to consider in these books: First, social media is here, and is not going away. Money and business will follow where the eyes go. If you look around, everybody’s eyes are hooked into their mobile devices. People are on social media and platforms and the number of people doing so is increasing at a fast rate. Second, Gary talks about bringing value and delivering high quality content that people want to read. Keep the good stuff rolling.
Here are my thoughts on social media. Imagine you are sitting in a busy and crowded coffee shop. Bob walks in, you know and are friends with Bob. Bob “posts” a status update by yelling out to the coffee shop: “I am so excited to go snowboarding this weekend!” You approach Bob and say, “Great to hear Bob, where are you headed?” Bob replies, “Copper Mountain”. Then Rick who is a friend of yours, but not Bob’s, saw this exchange and then jumps into your conversation and starts discussing snowboarding and Copper Mountain. Since Rick lived in Copper Mountain he can bring great value to Bob about some great local spots to eat up there. You, Bob and Rick continue your conversation since you are the mutual connection to get Bob and Rick speaking. For a split second, Bob may have not been 100% okay with Rick entering the conversation, but since Rick brought relevant information, showed a connection to Copper Mountain and snowboarding, and knows you, Bob is now okay with having Rick in the conversation.
All of a sudden, Josh approaches the three of you. None of you know Josh, but Josh says, “I love snowboarding, can I be your realtor, here’s my card, go to my website, download my newsletter”. The three of you look at each other and wonder, “Who is this guy Josh and where did he come from? Why was he even listening to our conversation and why is he interrupting us and pitching us?” Then, Jim walks up, chimes in and says, “Hey Josh, that is a bit tacky don’t you think?” Then Chris, who is friends with Josh, says to Jim who just chimed in “Hey Jim, you are an idiot, I just heard you talking to Ann over coffee and you are trying to sell her insurance for her company, you are doing the same thing!” Although Ann and Jim have worked together and each invited one another to the coffee shop to talk business, Chris thinks this is the same kind of conversation that Josh just initiated with you, Rick, and Bob. Imagine this actually happening in the middle of a local coffee shop. Truth is, it probably never would.
I see this happen all the time on social media. The barriers to enter a conversation are taken down more so than if this was a true human to human interaction. Here are a few questions to follow and think about.
• Would I actually say what I am about to say to this person I am posting to or about?
• Do I have permission to talk to this person I am about to talk to?
• Do I have permission to enter a conversation between two others? If not, how should I ask for it?
• Am I bringing value to the conversation?
• If I continue to speak and post this way, will people want to keep hearing from me?
• Am I pitching, selling, or trying to push something? Is this ever okay, and if so when?
• Do I understand the relationship, history, and background about a conversation already in progress I am about to enter?
• Am I making noise, being a distraction, or bringing true value?
Some of the rules I follow are to always bring value, draw people towards you, and make them excited to follow and see what you have to share next. Have you ever blocked, hid or deleted somebody from access to you on social media? If so, why? If you know why, don’t be that guy or gal. Genuinely interact with people, share things that may interest and inspire them. If you are going to share, sell, or pitch something, do it respectfully, and only after you have earned the right to do so. Make sure you are seen as somebody that your audience and circle would actually buy from. Don’t be a Josh.
Hope this helps, go have fun on social media!
Thank you very much for viewing my new website. Since 2008 I have had two different website designs and this release will be my third. There were quite a few reasons why I wanted to update my site and one of the biggest reasons was the design. My prior website wasn’t mobile friendly and being as thought 40% of my website’s traffic was coming from mobile devices, it was imperative to make sure that all of my visitors could easily view my new site. Also, I wanted my new site to be specific to the direction that I wanted to go with the future branding of Matt Shoup. My prior site was pretty jumbled with everything that I had my hands in and it didn’t have a singular focus.
This brings us to where we are today. This new MattShoup.com site is specifically geared towards my speaking and coaching services and I wanted it to be extremely streamlined in its presentation. I ended up having my website designed by Infule. Infule did a great job of talking me through the entire process of how everything should come together and interact with one another. I think that this website’s design perfectly matches my style of presentation and it looks incredible on all mobile devices.
Like my old website, this new design is built on the WordPress content management system. One of the things that I really like about WordPress is how user intuitive it is. It has a login area where I can go in and easily add content without having to know a programming language. Since my old website was using WordPress, I asked Infule if they could build my new website using it so that I didn’t have to learn something new. They were able to take my previous content and images and integrate it within this new site.
All in all, I think that the website turned out really well. As this is just the starting block for building my consulting business, please be sure to check back for what are planning to roll out next.
What do you think of our new design? Write your comments below.
Have you ever received service from a company or person where they set an expectation for you too high and then didn’t deliver? They did not live up to their word and did not bring you the value they promised. Example: Your plumber says he can fix your leaky kitchen sink in 2 hours, and then spends the next three days coming and going from your home, leaving you hanging and without a functioning kitchen sink. Then he charges you full company rate for this poor service. How did that make you feel? How happy were you to give them your money? Would you refer them? Would you use them again? The obvious answer in most cases here is no.
How about this scenario: The company that serves you sets an expectation and meets and delivers on everything they promise. They did what they said they would do 100%. Example: You take your car in to get an oil change, they tell you 30 minutes. In 30 minutes your oil is changed you are on your way. How does this make you feel? Would you use them again? Refer them? Were you excited to give them your money? The first answer here seems obvious and seems like it would be “yes”. If you compare this scenario to the first, most of the time the answer here would be “yes”.
Here is the bigger question: Does meeting an expectation create long term loyalty? When your company sets an expectation and then meets it, that is good business. You have just created a nice transaction where your customer is happy and they give you their money. You did the job you said you would do for them. Now, look at this third scenario.
Have you ever received service where an expectation is set and then you are so blown away because not only are your expectations met, but then exceeded? You receive everything you were promised, plus an extra surprise? Example, your painter comes out to paint your child’s bedroom walls, tells you it will take one day. He comes out, paint the walls and it takes a day. While the painter is there, he notices that the lines you cut in the bathroom you painted were a little crooked. He grabs the touch up paint from the closet, touches up those lines free of charge and leaves the bathroom looking better than it did when he got there. WOW! Not only did he set and meet your expectations but he also over delivered. How did that make you feel? Would you use the painter again? Would you refer them? Were you happy to give them your money?
In business setting and not meeting expectations is obviously bad business. Setting and meeting expectations is good business. If you want to be remembered, create raving fans, have a strong loyal crowd refer you, talk about you and market for you, you must focus on the third scenario. You must not only set and meet, but exceed expectations.
What you do doesn’t matter. My painting company just happens to paint. Painting is not the main focus of why we do what we do. M & E Painting is a leadership company with a passion to inspire and encourage entrepreneurship as well as shine a light of leadership and positivity to our community. We are here to lead others to discover and leave an intentional impact on others around them. While doing this, we will happen to paint a bunch of homes and serve our hearts out to our customers. Now of course we need to do a phenomenal paint job. Our customers will not hire us, love us, or refer us if we do not do an excellent job at the service. We want to be remembered for something more than just our paint job. We want to be remembered by the impact we left on our customers, team and community. We want to be remembered for the experience we gave another person.
Too many companies and entrepreneurs focus on what they do. They are very concerned about selling, promoting and working on the Xs and Os of the business. They are constantly working on systems, processes and implementing them with their people. Although this is very important, this cannot be done with out focusing on the bigger picture. I have become very good at the Xs and Os over the years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started thinking about the purpose of our company, our vision, our credo and how we really defined ourselves. What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want your company to be remembered for? Is your language, copy, energy and action in your business focused on what you do and how you do it? OR is it focused on WHY you do it? Check out this video of Simon Sinek delivering his internationally viral talk “Start With Why”.
So, I ask again, what do you want to be remembered for? What does your company want to be remembered for? What kind of impact do you want to make through what you do? The only way to do this is to know WHY you are doing it. One step further than knowing your why is to define yourself. What do you 100% believe to be absolutely certain about who you are? What naturally flows out of your DNA? What can you confidently stand up and declare to the world about who you are by saying, “I AM ___________”? Your business is just an extension of you. If you know who you are and what you stand for, then you will know the same about your business. Here is a short video of a concept I created called the Circle of Impact. It explains more about this concept. Watch the Circle of Impact video!