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Five minutes of fundamentals …

It struck me the other day when sitting on the patio of a favourite meeting place, how many insights I have gathered through working in my own business, as well as coaching others in theirs over the past 20 years.

Given that the person I was meeting had not arrived as this thought emerged, I took out the ‘little planning book’ that comes everywhere with me and started to scribble. Experiences, observations and learnings poured out on to the page within a matter of minutes.

Although the list is ‘incomplete’ – and each point is probably a full topic on its own – here are some of the five minute fundamentals I have collected along the way:

  1. Be clear on where you are heading and carefully choose the road you take. A road without a planned destination could lead anywhere; an unlikely desired outcome.
  1. Have clarity on who you are and what you’re all about. Ensure that those around you are aware of this too.  A deep dive into one’s own value system, beliefs and sense of purpose is vital.  So is sharing it.
  1. Know everything about your business, from the ground up. Administration systems; processes; logistics; taxation; cash flow through to board expectations (and more) … inform yourself of how it all hangs together.
  1. Be aware of your personal strengths and weakness. Centre your attention on the former and create support structures around the latter. Nobody can be good at everything.
  1. Engage others whose strengths complement yours. Avoid viewing payment for skills as an expense; this is a necessity.  The longer term cost benefit analysis will speak for itself.
  1. Focus on the return-on-investment in all areas, especially the investment of your personal energy. It truly is impossible to pour from an empty cup; this is not simply a catchy phrase seen on Facebook.
  1. Learn to delegate. Sustainability and mindful delegation are joined at the hip.
  1. Put boundaries in place – professional and personal. The extra mile must end in a period of recovery before commencing the next one.
  1. Question diversification. If it does not align with the core business it is merely a distraction.
  1. Scale sensibly. There is a time to start; a time to settle; a time to grow; a time to consolidate and also a time to downscale.  Understand these differences.
  1. Consider the value of passive income. There are only 24 hours in a day and none of us are getting any younger.
  2. Read widely in your field of business; be curious about how others do it and beyond. Wisdom is available all around if we tap into it.
  1. Never fall behind on administration. Not ever.  A colleague offered me this nugget when commencing my consulting business two decades ago and it has proven its weight in gold – repeatedly.
  1. Fix problems immediately. There is always time another day to bask in the glow of positive feedback and compliments.
  1. Never stop learning.

It has been – and remains – the most enormous privilege to work with a wide variety of clients in different ways.

The path of continuous progress is a mixture of moments that are exciting, inspiring, frustrating, exhausting, uplifting and humbling – yet always enriching.  This richness is immeasurably multiplied when shared with others.

I love the way in which the Dalai Lama views sharing what one has learned during one’s journey:

“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”

Dalai Lama

May we all strive for immortality in this manner.


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