Empowering yourself requires a relentless pursuit of new information and adapting to the changes in life. To be a successful entrepreneur demands paying attention to the way the wind is blowing, what new technology is on the horizon that can make you more successful, or will destroy your business. The empowered entrepreneur is someone who is always reaching for more knowledge, whether about their business, life, or market trends.
I’m a big reader, I always have at least one book that I’m working on. Usually my reading is done in the morning over coffee, after the dog has been fed and had his first walk of the day. I pour myself a cup of strong coffee, put on some light classical music and tuck into a good book. I rotate my reading through spirituality, business practices and leadership/motivation. This way I have a well-rounded approach that doesn’t become bogged down too much in any one area of knowledge.
Last month I was reading a book by Florence Scovel Shinn called The Game of Life, which is focused on speaking your way to success. From a spiritual perspective, her writings are about being focused on what you say, and how you frame your words, which become your thoughts; and thoughts have a way of becoming reality. Which on the one hand is pretty basic, if you think you can do something you will work towards it, and if you think you cannot accomplish something, even if you work towards it, you’ll likely self-sabotage it.
The point is that the things we focus on become our reality more often than not, yet we do not take that experience and apply it in the positive. When we go with the herd mentality of our thoughts, those negative sayings, we are playing into a false narrative and if we could stick our head up and see what was really going on, we may have a better outlook.
This month I am reading Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD. Halfway through and I am amazed at how much I have learned from this man. One of the examples that he uses in this book is the method of the Native Americans who would hunt herd of buffalo. In order to do a mass slaughter the Native Americans would drive the herd towards a cliff. The buffalo, as a large beast, has eyes on either side of its head which allows it to see to the side, but not forward very well. As a consequence it is very susceptible to just following along with the herd, which is following the leaders. But as Cialdini cites, the Cree, Snake, Blackfeet and Crow tribes would simply drive the herd towards a cliff, and the herd would push the leaders over the edge, to all of their certain deaths.
What this means for us as Empowered Entrepreneurs is that we need to poke our heads up regularly. It’s not a good idea for us to simply follow what the herd is doing in our industries and trades. We have to be on the lookout for emerging trends in sales, technology and to see what the disruptors are doing. Being part of the herd is comforting, in that we’re just doing what everyone else is doing, but it can lead us right over the cliff into a certain death. Just think about the jobs and industries that have been replaced by technology; whether it is secretaries to take dictation and type letters, or typewriters for that matter. Times change, and just because you’re following the leaders, doesn’t mean they know where they are going. They could just be responding to the pressure of the people who are following them.
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