Excerpted from the book on conscious business management, Business Black Belt
An achievement is much like a process,
but you can miss a much of the fun and learning along the way.
Building a business or enjoying a relationship is a process that provides the learning in life, which can often be more important than its value as an accomplishment.
To build a successful company, you need to approach it with enthusiasm for the process of building it, rather than just what you’re ultimately going to buy with the money you’ll make. Answering telephones, making sales calls, talking with lawyers and accountants, perfecting your designs—enjoying those tasks day in and day out is what actually makes you successful. The person you become as a result is what gives you satisfaction, along with money to spend.
In an earlier chapter, I recommended keeping your eye on your goal and worrying less about how you will achieve it just in case the opportunity to achieve it leaps out at you in an entirely different form than you may have planned or expected. The idea is to maintain your goal in sight, but don’t lock onto a particular method for achieving it—remain open to the process that unfolds along the way to achieving your goal. Appreciate the process for what it teaches you as well the satisfaction that achieving your goal will bring.
Goal-orientation versus process orientation
Why do we lose sight of the process being more important than the goal?
You figure out what you want, lock onto the method for how you’re going to get it, compute what it’s going to take, and then start to focus on all the necessary details. By this time, it can be easy to lose sight of what it is you want. All you know is that somehow the day-to-day activities will ultimately get you whatever it was you want. Doing them becomes a chore to be completed. You may not see their value as part of an important process.
Writing this book is a process for me. It brings out many stories and makes the difficulties of my business more interesting because I have a story to tell that might help someone else. So now the process of my business is more interesting. And processes can be improved. I’m not suggesting that you learn to enjoy breaking rocks all day. However, when you do appreciate the process you are going through, it’s almost miraculous how you can see ways for improving the process.
For example: In my TaeKwonDo training, it took me a long time to learn how to throw a “wheel-kick.” (Stand facing your opponent, left-foot forward…. Spin your head and body around to the right and kick him in the head with the heel of your right foot. Billy Jack, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Jet Li demonstrate this difficult kick.) I resisted the process of practicing. I felt awkward and I wanted to move on to something else. When I fully accepted that I would just do it (I mean feeling the “OK, I’ll do all of it”—in my mind, heart, body and soul—doing each component over and over as well as implementing the coaching), my practicing became interesting, even amusing, and I progressed so quickly that I got to the point where I started teaching others how to do a wheel kick.
In the dictionary, the word, “practice” means “applying your knowledge.” It doesn’t just mean doing something until you do it perfectly.
As we build JIAN, we take our business processes, painful as some of them are to deal with as well as automate, and build them into our products so other businesspeople like you can use them for yourself.
If you can go with the concept that we’re here on Earth in life to learn and develop, then everything we do from moment to moment can be an important and interesting part of living.
People are most happy when they are moving toward their goal,
not necessarily after they reach it.
~ Steven Snyder, Creative Accelerated Learning Methods
That’s not to say you don’t want to reach your goal. You do. I want to finish this book. But I’m very happy working on it because I know it’s progressing. When the book is done, I will indeed celebrate! Then I need to reload and have something else to do next. After writing the book, what I’ll look forward to is promoting it, having it out there, and hopefully, talking to audiences full of entrepreneurs about building their businesses.
I’d rather screw up than stand still!
We do need to get there from here… Did you know that a guided missile is off course most of the time? It hits its target because it is constantly correcting its course. When I say, “I’d rather screw up than stand still,” I think of taking small steps, seeing what works, putting in a course correction, and keeping going. I don’t learn much by not taking any steps in the direction I want to go. This is all part of the process.
Is more better?
We’re usually not taught process, we are often taught goals. We’re taught to achieve, to go get, get, get. How much is enough? You’ll have to answer that for yourself. I’m finding that my learning experience is compounding daily and it’s something no one can steal from me. If I remain constantly conscious throughout this process, my ability to generate revenue, ideas, and products, as well as attract quality people becomes more powerful every day. I go into situations, eyes open, looking to learn. Sometimes it’s expensive, usually it’s profitable—you don’t have to be right all the time, just most of the time to be successful.
When a person with experience meets a person with money,
the person with experience will get the money.
And the person with money will get the experience.
~ Leonard Lauder, chairman, Estee Lauder
In the book Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, one of the characters, Dr. Wiggs Dannyboy, explains that our hurry in life to do all the things we want to do is caused by the ever present, although not always conscious, knowledge that we will die. We must get everything in before we die. If we didn’t die, we’d have plenty of time to do everything we wanted to do and perhaps we could relax.
I’ve been in a hurry for a long time to do many things and buy many things. Only after accomplishing my major goals (start my own company, make several million, buy a house, get my black belt and, especially, own and fly an airplane) did I realize that I still had to make myself happy. Working at The Sharper Image gave me the first-hand experience of having lots of stuff and the addiction to buying more. I learned that the ‘stuff’ made me happy temporarily, but my ongoing process of life is what drives me, interests me, and motivates me now. And, I can feel a sense of satisfaction deep down inside as if it is a sensation of completion and balance as well as motivation to keep learning and sharing what I learn.
Business Black Belt Notes
- Keep you eye on your goal, but keep flexible as to the methods for achieving it.
- Appreciate the process of achieving your goals.
- You don’t have to be right all the time, just most of the time, to be successful.
- Practice means applying your knowledge.