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How Does One Distill 13 Years of Business Lessons Into One Word?

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How does one distill 13 years of business lessons into one word? Here’s my attempt. I’m working with a new coaching client who has an ambitious goal: To start his own business this year. When he learned that my firm was about to celebrate 13 years, he asked me the secret to its success, but with a caveat: He wanted a one-word answer.

Uff-da.

A former over-thinker (I like to think I’ve moved past that phase…most days, anyway!), I shared the first word that came to mind. And upon further thought, I stand by this word:

Believe.

I could easily list 500 lessons I’ve learned over the years, most of which I wish I’d learned sooner. Things like knowing your target market, investing in resources (even before you feel you can afford them), choosing marketing strategies, hiring excellent support. While all beneficial, they aren’t going to do much if you don’t first believe.

Far be it from me to try and tell you what you should believe. But here I go anyway:  

Believe in your service. 

So many of my clients struggle with selling, or with charging what they’re worth. Whether you’re selling a product to a potential client or your skills to a potential employer, to fully step into your worth, you need to believe wholeheartedly in the service, product, or task you’re performing. If you knew the cure for a life-threatening disease and met someone with that disease, would you hold back because you didn’t want to seem pushy or sales-y? No, you would believe so much in your ability to enhance their lives that you would share far and wide. What aspect of your work do you need to believe in more?

Believe in your purpose. 

Often, we approach the topic of purpose as if it has a huge, overwhelming capital P. Your purpose can be found in your passions, in your dreams, in the exciting ideas that just won’t leave you alone no matter how hard you try to push them out of your mind. There’s no question you are living your purpose; the question is, are you doing it with intention? To what extent? How do you believe you’re bringing purpose to your work and life every day?

Believe in good. 

What you believe will essentially form your experience. If your belief is “Life is awful,” you will find plenty of evidence to support that; likewise, if you decide to believe that life is a beautiful gift, you will find the evidence to support that. You get to choose, folks! And trust me, one choice sparks a lot more joy than the other.

Most importantly, believe in you. 

I floundered here for ages and, to be honest, I still have my moments. It helps when you hear people say, “My work / life is better because of you.” But you know what? You have to believe in that whether or not you get the verbal or written affirmation. And that requires trust.

Let me give you an example.

This week in the ASPIRE Success Club, we talked about anonymous acts of kindness. You’re at the drive-through at Starbucks, for example, and you decide to pay for the person in line behind you. You drive off, never knowing what impact your purchase made.

But you trust that you just made that person’s day.

And, since they likely “paid it forward,” you also made some other people’s day.

And also consider the Starbucks employee, who is so moved by your generosity and the string of pay-it-forwarders that follow your lead. You’ve made his day.

And maybe he then treats the in-store customers a bit more beautifully. Your act has made their day, and then they go out and pay it forward…

The ripple effect is far-reaching and widely impactful. And here maybe you thought you were just treating someone to a free coffee!

Much of the past 13 years, for me and MAP Inc., has been an exercise in belief. When I am strong in my belief, I see the results. When I waver and waffle, I see those results too – and they’re not nearly as fun.

So my one-word tip? Believe.

Believe in what you’re doing, believe in your purpose, believe there is good in the world. And most importantly, believe in you. You are here to make a difference, and you have the opportunity to do that with every single action and interaction, every single day. Believe. Begin. Become!

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