As a result of the recent pandemic experienced in 2020, many people had to relearn, readapt, and do something different in their business to survive. Change often necessitates adapting to a new set of principles. Seeking principles to base our focus for change helps motivate us to adapt and recommit.
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1. In our lives and business, we have opportunities to reset and recommit. As a result of the recent pandemic experienced in 2020, many people had to relearn, readapt, and do something different in their business to survive. Change often necessitates adapting to a new set of principles. Seeking principles to base our focus for change helps motivate us to adapt and recommit.
2. The principles that our country was founded on are the basic liberties and freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America. Much like those are the fundamental principles that govern the structure and the functioning of our government and our country, the principles we have govern how we operate our business and our lives. Recognizing these principles and seeking to improve in specific areas will transform what we’re committing to do into real change.
3. In order to recommit and take action on the promises we have made, we must look at what is working and what needs to be improved. Our focus needs to be on what gives us the most satisfaction, not because it’s easy, but because it brings an emotional reward that is motivating, life-changing, and enduring. This will enable the change that is necessary to allow us to experience a different pace of life and a different sense of satisfaction. The actions we take should be steps that advance and prove our commitment to the things that are basic and fundamental to our beliefs, the core of our business, and who we are. The point at which our personal beliefs and passions intersect with our business purpose and principles is the exact spot where we experience the greatest emotional satisfaction and reward.
From his first job flipping burgers at McDonald’s and delivering The Washington Post, Craig Willett counts only one and a half years of his adult life working for someone else. Welcome to The Biz Sherpa podcast with your host, Craig Willett. Founder of several multimillion-dollar businesses and trusted advisor to other business owners, he’s giving back to help business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs achieve fulfillment, enhance their lives, and create enduring wealth. The Biz Sherpa.
This is Craig Willett, The Biz Sherpa. As I think about the past year and lessons we could have learned, one of the things that really stands out in my mind is a lot of us hit the reset button. And I don’t want to confuse today’s episode about recommitting with resetting using the reset button. In our lives, we have opportunities to reset. It’s like playing football on a hundred yard plus football field and all of a sudden that field is shrunk to the size of an indoor football arena. Like the size of a basketball court. That may have happened to some of us where we had to relearn, readapt and do something different with our businesses to be able to survive the pandemic that we experienced in 2020. In 2021, I’m hoping each of us has an opportunity to recommit. Recommitment is based on principles. I hope that we can look to principles that are important to us to build and remind ourselves of what is really important.
You know, one of the things that really comes to mind in 2020 was one of our guests, Warren LeSueur, the “King of the Reset Button,” when he talked about the number of times in his life he had to change. And I think change is important, don’t get me wrong, but change usually by hitting a reset button is necessitated by an adaptation to a new set of principles. If you remember some of the stories that he told, he had to transition to different aspects of his life based on dramatic changes that he made, such as having to quit high school because he kind of got kicked out, to going to Hawaii and starting to work and live basically homeless for a while, until he figured out what he wanted to do. When he adopted a new set of principles, he was able to then start a business. And it was in starting that business that he didn’t have to really hit the reset button that many times, he was actually able to recommit to principles that he built that business based on.
You know, oftentimes the best growth that we can experience in our lives are from those reset moments. But I’m hoping that 2021 is a chance for us to focus on the playing field that we’re on and not having to change it. You know, for me, I hit a major reset in my life when I was doing real estate development and then there was a financial crisis. It went from playing football on a football field to playing it in a swimming pool. All of a sudden there was no ground to stand on. All the principles of economics on which our country was based all of a sudden changed and banks weren’t lending. There wasn’t the ability for buyers to get financing to buy the product that I was building, office buildings. And so it took treading water for quite a while—keeping my head above it—to try to figure out what I could do.
The principles of business—and the fundamentals of my business—changed dramatically overnight. Not only did I have to change what I was doing, I had to adapt in a way that let me set new principles for my life. That principle that I chose was to help the next generation of entrepreneurs. What I’ve done is helped several businesses get key financing and make major restructuring decisions to be able to be more successful and adapt. Another one was to help several startup companies, but one in particular that I was able to not only invest in, but contribute a lot of my time and experience to that became a public company and is doing very well today.
These types of underlying principles haven’t changed. Now, you may say, “Craig, but that was 10 years ago.” And you’re right, it was 10 years ago. It took me 10 years to get to this point. In fact, I was writing a book when the opportunity to do the company—the startup company that I helped, actually, someone who actually was the husband of a nanny that we had used for a number of years start a business. And really what it came down to for me was that I was writing a book and I was so interested in getting this book done and published to be able to help other entrepreneurs, I almost let this opportunity get away. I sat back one day in trying to get the book finished and I felt frustrated, which I think is one of the signs of recommitting to principles.
And I thought, well, my principle is to get this book out, but it wasn’t. That was a goal. And that was a task. The objective and underlying principle was to help the next generation. What better way than to give one-on-one help, not only of my money, but of my time to a good cause. And I think this is what I hope to get across today. You know, a lot of people make New Year’s resolutions. And at the time we make New Year’s resolutions, we set a lot of goals and objectives, and we have a tendency to overdo our goals and objectives in numbers that they overwhelm us. And we end up not trying to achieve any of them after a while. We forget what they are or we give up because we may have made them too hard. I think the best kind of goals are those that are based on an objective that is based on a principle.
I recommend that you look at and write down your five most important principles that you have that govern your life. And then look at three of them where you feel you can improve. And then based on those three principles, set no more than five goals to improve in those areas. You know, there’s a lot of talk when there’s a change of political party in power in our country about resetting the agenda. But I think it really is not about resetting or hitting the reset button, I think it’s about recommitting to the underlying principles. The principles that our country was founded on are the basic liberties and freedoms that are contained in the Bill of Rights and also in the Constitution of the United States of America. Much like those are the fundamental principles that govern the structure and the functioning of our government and our country, so too do we need to have principles that we base how we operate our business or how we operate our lives.
I’d like you to think about that as you set those. And if you’ve already set some, go back and look and see what it is. Abraham Lincoln said, “Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.” And so really what I’m talking about today is recommitment, not resetting. As we make a promise and then take action that transforms what we’re committing to into reality, this is the type of objective that I would like you to consider. Now, you may find that the Biz Sherpa Scorecard can help you with that. And I hope it does. For you and your business, you might find that your commitment to time is not what it should be, or you’re committed to money or that you might need to enhance your customer service, or it might be sales. You know, sometimes we can’t just look at everything we might say, we need to improve sales. Some people then hire more salespeople.
But if the product and the service aren’t meeting the needs of the customers, then what good does it do to hire more salespeople? You probably aren’t going to generate many more sales, or it may be just that your product isn’t very well known and that the salespeople aren’t the only ones to get that message out. You may have to restructure your marketing. So I would say, take a look at the core principles. Don’t just throw the baby out with the bath water, look at what’s working, and then look at what needs to be improved. And not just put it on a top line, “I want to grow my sales,” but look at how you’re going to grow them. What’s the most important segment of your market and then how are you going to meet and exceed the needs of your customers? Again, remember that it is in the power that you have to change lives by your product or service and look at what problem that solves. That is one of the key fundamental principles of business.
Now, this is a new year. We all want to set those goals and objectives. I want to remember a time when I wanted to turn over a new leaf. Sometimes we’re just sick and tired of what we’re doing, right? I remember a time having—as my wife said—gotten bad news every day. She said I got to the point where I silenced my phone and, not that I didn’t want to answer it, but I didn’t want to be interrupted all the time in other things that I was doing only to pick it up and get another dose of bad news. I can remember a year in my life where it was constantly that, and I was going on an outing with a friend and he said to me, “My parents are taking a sabbatical.” And I’d always heard that term, but believe it or not, I didn’t know what it meant.
So I looked it up. Sabbatical meant to take a period of time off. I can’t remember what it is. I think it has to do with a Jewish term. But the concept is to take a period of time off and do something else to focus on and not work at your normal job day to day for those hours. And that sounded really good to me having to have to deal with a lot of problems and issues that weren’t pleasant. It wasn’t the time for me to take a sabbatical, but it was a time for me to refocus my life. And so we can each turn over a new leaf by looking at the principles we operate on. If we can find a new principle that will motivate us, not a new job or a new career, or even starting a new business, but find the business principle that we want to become good at. This is a great thing to do, and it will be as refreshing as taking time off for sabbatical.
I chose to write a book. It took me 10 years to get to the point of doing a podcast, who wants to read a book anyway? As a friend of mine said the other day when I was talking to him about how school was online he said, “You know, we get no live interaction online and we get no recorded interaction either. We’re to have a book, and then we take tests and we turn in assignments.” And I thought, who likes to read a book nowadays? I do for fun, but I think some of the best experiences we have are being able to hear a conversation with someone else, be able to interact with someone and gain some practical experience. Anyway, it led me 10 years later to doing this podcast and I hope that the principles we focus on are those that help you.
You know, I would say focus on what gives you the most satisfaction. Not because it’s easy, but because you get a reward. That reward may not be a bunch of money. It may be some extra time though, if something’s done well in your business that it doesn’t have to pull you aside that you do the right training in an area to help your employees. It may be that you figure out how to better make your customers happy. And once you figure that out, it gives you more time to relax mentally, sleep better, and also be able to focus your time and effort on other things in your life outside of business.
You know, there’s principles of exchange in life and I’d like to just talk a little bit about those. I really don’t want to set your goals and objectives for this year, but a product well-delivered and well-received is a great fundamental of exchange. It has to do with value. It doesn’t have to do with price. It has to do with how happy are the people who receive your product or service and does it make a difference in their life? If it makes a difference in their life, they’ll tell a lot of people about you. It’ll take care of a lot of your marketing issues. But more importantly, it will bring an emotional satisfaction to you that will be motivational. That will be life-changing. That will be enduring for you. And it will give you the change you need to put a lift in your step and have you experience a different pace of life and a different set of satisfaction than you’ve heretofore received.
You know, once you’ve picked those objectives that are most important, then, put them in an outline. Use the scorecard if you’d like. It’s free. It’s on the website at www.BizSherpa.co. I think it’s a great resource to have you focus on just a few fundamentals each week that will help you achieve your goals and objectives. When you take time to focus and then refocus each week, that’s commitment and recommitment. I’m not looking for major changes in 2021, I’m looking to commit to the things that we’re already committed to. The fundamental principles of business. The fundamentals of exchange in which you make a difference in someone else’s life.
Vince Lombardi once said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field or endeavor.” This is the excellence I’m talking about. I’m not talking about beating yourself up because you’re not as good as you would like to be. I’m talking about being excellent each day in one fundamental principle. And as you do that, I promise you that the quality of your life will improve. I’ve shared with you stories in the past about that quality of life. And in spite of other dramatic negative things going on around me, I was able to take home that reward of someone saying that their business had improved because they located in one of my buildings that we had developed for them. This makes a huge difference. Not only did their sales go up, their image of themselves went up and they felt better about themselves. Their customers perceived them in a different way, and that made all the difference to them.
Again, value. You want to create value and you want to receive that value in return. And the only time that comes, sometimes is in the form of money, but I would say if you’re focused on that, there’s always more and somebody will always have more, but the happiness you carry in your heart and the satisfaction for a job well done is something very personal. No one can define it. In fact, there’s no scale you can measure that on. We don’t have a financial statement. We don’t have an exchange system in our country where you can denote what your level of happiness is. I know we put smiley faces on texts. We put smiley faces and “Likes” on Facebook and on Twitter. We “Like” things and you can put a heart on them that we love them. But only you can take that satisfaction of a job well done to bed each night. And I think that’s what we’re looking for in the principle of exchange.
You know, Jean-Paul Sartre once said that, “Commitment is an act and not a word.” And so 2021 should be a year of actions in which those steps that we take are steps that advance and prove our commitment to the things that are basic and fundamental to our beliefs, to the core of our business, and to who we are. When your beliefs line up with the fundamentals of your business, there is a great level of satisfaction that comes from that. It doesn’t work the other way around.
You know, I think of a time when I was playing football in high school, that I thought I was a pretty good running back. I had just come back from a football camp where I had received the “Most Improved Player” award, and I was playing in the backfield in a scrimmage game. And I was on the junior varsity team playing, scrimmaging the varsity team before the season started. And I was given a hand off and my dad played running back and I wanted to be like him. They handed me the ball and I ran through the line and he taught me to tuck in low and tight and just to run through and keep your legs pumping. And I did, and I got bumped around a lot but I was still standing.
I felt I had made it through not only the line of scrimmage where the defensive line was, but I felt I’d been hit a number of times where I had passed even the linebackers. And I stood up probably a few steps too soon. There was still a linebacker there. And I still remember he stared right at my number because I stood up high enough that his face mask went right into my rib cage. I ended up on the ground, I dropped the ball and I lost my breath. In fact, I lost consciousness for a minute. Not only did I get hit in the ribs, but it snapped the rib and it punctured my lung. I ended up in the hospital for a few days recuperating.
I learned a lot from that. I learned that sometimes we want to stand up and receive recognition when we haven’t worked hard enough yet. I didn’t stay committed to what I knew best and that was to stay tucked until I was sure I was in the open field or even in the end zone, because I guess that’s the time you can stand up. If you get hit then, at least you’ve accomplished your goal or objective.
I hope that during this year, we’ll all remember that it’s not about just hitting the reset button because we already did that in 2020. In 2021 it’s about recommitment. Remember, commitment is an act and not a word. And that our life, the quality of our life, is in direct proportion to our commitment to excellence, as Vince Lombardi told us. I hope that 2021 is a great year for you. I hope this resource that I create in The Biz Sherpa podcast will serve you well. Not only the resources online, but our videos.
And I know I did a three-part series in 2020 that was about starting a business in 2021. I’m going to base my monthly podcast on some of those principles and go into further explanation and give examples. As one of the members of our audience recently told me that the second set was so packed full of information that he’d have to listen to it at least four or five more times to get it all. I’m going to break that down this year. I’m going to take those principles that I was teaching or those points and give more in-depth focus on that. I want The Biz Sherpa podcast to be the gold standard for learning how to start a business or to refocus the fundamentals of your business so that you can improve. I hope that 2021 brings you the best that you can offer yourself as you commit to the fundamental principles that you choose to live your life based on and run your business. This is Craig Willett, The Biz Sherpa. Thanks for joining me.
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