I have written many times about the need to get your mind-set right if you’re going to succeed, but as the world emerges from the stagnation of the last few years and competition increases once again, it will be an essential ingredient if you want to stay ahead of the game. It might not first appear relevant to those seeking worldwide market domination or even those with less ambitious goals, but exercise and staying fit has a major bearing on whether you are able to maintain your focus and resolve. Developing some sort of exercise regime, however small, is worth considering as it will give you time for yourself and clear your head ready for the battle.
Use it or Lose It!
An old saying often used when talking about the brain, but it applies in at least equal measure to the body too.
Moscow to Los Angeles
I find that a gentle workout or walk gives me the time to prepare and think things through. I avoid the phone or texting whilst walking because it interferes with my thought process. It isn’t necessary to walk for miles, so a stroll around the block is fine. I often do this first thing in the morning when staying in hotels. I have walked the streets of Moscow, Los Angeles, Toronto and most other large cities at some point in my life. Just wandering, looking in shops and people-watching from cafés fills my mind with new business opportunities. Try it for yourself because it works. Preparing the mind is essential if one is to make good balanced decisions, rather than the rushed feeling experienced by many. An organised mind leaves time for entrepreneurial thought to develop.
Sit For Ideas
I have a method I use to ‘sit for ideas’. I have a large green leather chair in my study which I have owned for thirty years – it reclines and is particularly comfortable, but any relaxing chair or sofa would do. In fact the procedure I use is repeated, even when I’m staying in hotels, so the actual chair is unimportant – it’s the environment you create that is essential. My advice is to make everyone in your household or office aware that you are ‘sitting for ideas’ and must not be disturbed unless the building is on fire! You need this time alone so must be ruthless in exercising that right, or it won’t work for you. I usually do this after I have returned from one of my walks and use it as an extension of the process.
Either sit or lay down, whichever is your preference, and start to clear your mind. Avoid thinking about the past or the future and concentrate on the now, then let your mind drift for a few minutes. Bring your day into focus and start to consider what you should do, who you need to ring or email and, should you have enjoyed one, what you have just seen on your walk. Did anything you see give particular inspiration? If it was cold, is there anything you can think of that might assist people in staying or getting warm, or if it was it hot was there anything you can think of that would help people cool off?
Not long ago I was in Siberia, where temperatures were minus 47 degrees. I saw a particular boot being worn by many people walking the streets. Whilst sitting for ideas in my hotel following my walk, I decided to investigate whether I might be able to market that boot as ski-wear, or perhaps a fashion boot? In fact we are in the process of bringing that boot to market, so watch this space. Ideas are the foundation of entrepreneurial activity, but are no good unless action is taken upon them. Being fit enough to work the long hours needed to actually deliver the idea to market is important, so it is essential that you are fit in mind and body. Many people believe that success is all down to luck, but if this were the case some people must have a lot, as often the same people come up with idea after idea. Success is easier to achieve if you’re well prepared.
Drug of Choice
To be truly entrepreneurial, one needs to prepare. Try being enthusiastic and energetic when your head is splitting from too much booze, or even worse, drugs! An entrepreneur must think freely, which means no intoxicating substances and toxic or negative people. That isn’t to say don’t have a glass of wine or two as I do most nights, but I know that business and helping other people succeed are my drugs of choice. As they make my life so fulfilling, I find this very pleasing.
Developing some sort of exercise regime, however small, is worth considering as it will give you time for yourself and clear your head ready for the battle.
Original article for the Urban Times October 2013.