What I Learned From The Entrepreneurship Scrapheap

This time two years ago I was making my first entry into the world of entrepreneurship. I had been self employed before and understood that things wouldn’t be easy. However, actually looking at starting a business based on a ‘big idea’ I had meant that I was playing a whole new ball game. The stakes had been raised and so had the stress levels.

I spent far too much time doing menial tasks and tricking myself into thinking that I was being productive. I would write a weekly to do list of 20-30 things yet not one of them was anything to do with…..errrrrmm…..building a business. Sure I went to networking events but in all honesty I just stood out like a sore thumb.

Of course I would hype myself up, I would make out like I was some kind of big shot in the making and I would talk utter drivel pretty much all of the time. Truth be told I had no idea what I was doing and really underestimated what it took. To compound things I found that I kept chasing my losses by signing up to different courses, workshops and training programmes searching for answers. Now I had debt to contend with. The stress elevated to new heights.

My desperation grew and as a result I would be writing blogs daily in the hope that I would raise my profile and I would get noticed. That way I would have people come to me wanting to buy…..well…..nothing. I didn’t even know what I was selling! It’s fair to say that we can chalk my first attempt at entrepreneurship up as a failure. Lots of lessons taken on board there.

That is the first time I have admitted that and you know what? It feels so liberating. I’ve battled OCD for so long that I have always been so afraid to admit failure as it doesn’t fall in line with the delusional pursuit of perfection. Something I now know I cannot let control me anymore. The great thing is that looking at the grand scheme of things, it is merely feedback as I pick myself up, dust myself off and go again.

The biggest lesson in all of this has nothing to do with not knowing how to build a business. The biggest lesson was not knowing how to build me. I had no clarity on what I was trying to achieve because I had no clarity on what I wanted and even when I did come up with a vision I wasn’t able to convince myself that I could achieve it. So I gave up. Again and again and again. All the while telling the world how great life is and how well I’m doing. I was lying through my teeth. There is faking it until you make it and then there is just plain taking the piss.

Instead of going back to the drawing board in business terms I knew I had to look inside of me and figure out what on earth was going wrong. Why was I repeating the same behaviours, thought patterns and results over and over again? Only with an ever inflating ego making things worse.

Whilst looking within I made a discovery that has completely changed the way I approach and look at things. Something which is so basic and simple yet very difficult to grasp when all my ego kept wanting to do was bat this concept away. What I am referring to is service. Being of service to humanity.

I am not denying that I want the riches that comes with building a successful business. What I have come to realise is that it is no longer my driving force. When starting out it was all about being perceived as successful. I wanted to be respected and highly regarded. As I continue my studies and my own personal development I realise that until I found that in myself, until I respected and love myself then it’s foolish to think that I can expect it from anyone else. Like everything in life, it is an inside job.

I went back over how I spent my time, how I spent my money, what my dominating thoughts were. I knew that I had to move away from wanting to look good in the eyes of others. It is stressful and not to mention expensive. I placed a higher value on building wealth, I learned how to manage money better and starting developing a savings and investments programme. This helped to calm my emotions down in regards to money and enabled me to focus on what is more important. Service.

I started to understand the famous saying of helping enough people get what they want will help you get what you want. The more I can tame my ego and focus more on the needs of others, the more simple life becomes. It is also far more meaningful and far more rewarding.

I am a firm believer that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. Therefore in the grand scheme of things, what have I really got to fear? There will be ups and downs to anything that we pursue. That’s nature, that is how we grow to ever greater levels of success. It is about embracing the peaks and troughs and not letting emotions cloud our thinking.

A lot of soul searching has enabled me to gain so much more clarity in what I want to do with my life. It has sparked my enthusiasm and exponentially increased my energy. I know what my purpose is and what steps I need to take for the next phase of my journey. Look within and you will find anything that you need.

What Happens When You Don’t Value Yourself

A few months ago I was asked by one of my students if I smoked weed. He wasn’t trying to sell me any, he was just curious as to how I could be so chilled out. Once I finished laughing I told him that I wasn’t into that sort of thing and that I just don’t see the point in getting stressed out about things, is all. His response was simple; “Sounds like that’s coming from a man who was once very stressed out?” Yes, you are absolutely right!

I noticed a bit of a trend whereby people would remark on how relaxed I was and how relaxed they felt just being in my presence. I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing because I have spent most of my life living on the edge of my nerves. Everything seemed to wind me up and get to me. I would have huge emotional roller coasters and found myself constantly exhausted.

I’m not ashamed to admit that right now I’m struggling. I feel like I have slipped back to the anxious Paul of days gone by. I’m working all the hours under the sun, I’m stressed, I’m eating on the go and my sleeping has been all out of sync. I won’t lie, I’ve shed a tear or two in the last couple of weeks as a result of the overwhelm.

The question I continually ask myself is why do I always let it get to this stage? Why do I allow so many extreme peaks and troughs? Why can I not seem to get the balance right? Each day I learn more and more about myself because I am just fascinated with human behaviour. Why do we do what we do?

When I experience the times of being chilled out and relaxed I don’t let anything get to me. I am calm and collected in any situation. I find myself in a state of allowing and just let whatever will be, be. I come up with great ideas and I have a much clearer mind. I don’t need as much sleep as I always do and I am always energetic.

I noticed that the last time I felt like this I was receiving emails every day for fifteen days straight offering me work. I felt that I was tuned in to the flow of abundance to some degree. Once I started delivering that work, the calm and relaxed nature began to subside and that has led me up to how I am feeling right at this moment in time.

The reason being is that I wasn’t totally inspired by most of the work I was being offered but I took it on anyway because of the income. I said yes to it all and now I find myself shattered. Lesson learned! Part of the work that came my way was from new clients which I am inspired by because I can deliver my work how I want to deliver it. I feel that I was sent this lesson to learn how to say no to what doesn’t inspire me and hold out for what does.

What I find myself asking a lot of the time is what is it that tuned me into that abundant flow? What was it that made me relax and be so calm and content with everything? The answer is reading. Developing my mind and learning new things. It really is as simple as that. I am so inspired by learning and gaining knowledge. It relaxes me, it brings out great ideas in me and it develops my confidence and self worth.

Teaching through various training providers I am unable to really get across the things that I learn because I have a syllabus to stick to. However, when I do find those snippets of time to teach what I want to teach I come alive. I am inspired and I can feel the class becoming uplifted and awakened to the possibilities. It is when I am at my most energetic and I could do it all day.

Last week one student asked me what I studied at university. He was surprised when I told him that I didn’t go to uni. He was even more surprised when I told him that I didn’t do particularly well in school. I coasted through school never really putting any effort in. I managed to get away with the bare minimum and come out with acceptable grades.

The truth is that I was never inspired in school because I never felt smart enough. Therefore I just gave up before I started. I had to retake English GCSE twice in order to obtain a grade C because I thought I would need that grade to have better job prospects. I am now a published author. I laugh about that now!

Our highest values are as a result of our biggest perceived voids. For me, this is knowledge. Amazing things happen when I am obtaining and sharing knowledge. Opportunities present themselves and I tune into my inner being. I just now need to learn which opportunities to take and which ones to leave!

The dilemma we face in society is that of survival. We will stop following what our heart truly desires in order to get a pay cheque. I have experienced this on so many occasions and realise now that it has only ever driven me into the ground. It has left me exhausted and burnt out. Is this how we really want to live? I don’t think so.

I believe that everybody is here to fulfil a purpose that is unique to them based on their highest values. For me, I am on a mission to educate people on how to live inspired lives. Maybe you want to play violin? Or paint? I am convinced that you can build a business out of whatever is sitting deep within your heart.

The True Cost Of Trying To Impress People

Last year I bought a car from one of my clients. He wanted to treat himself to a new car as a reward for getting his new business off the ground and performing well. When asked if I wanted to buy his relatively new BMW from him I jumped at the chance.

I have never really been all that into cars but I instantly saw the status attached to having a decent car for once in my life. I also thought that given the amount of driving and sitting in traffic that I do, I would rather it be as luxurious as possible.

If I am being completely honest with myself, the main reason why I bought it was more to do with how I would be perceived. It was the idea that people could view me as successful that really swung it for me.

In the last year I have taken myself through a values determination process on three separate occasions and the outcomes have been pretty much the same. The one that comes out on top each time is that of learning. I have always noticed that when I am immersed in my books I get such a flow of abundance come into my life. When I fall out of it, that flow stops.

What causes me to fall out of it is the fact that I just keep taking on more and more work. I have come to realise that greater success will come when I learn to say no a lot more often. What I have only just discovered, however, is the underlying reasons as to why I say yes to so much.

Validation. I seek approval from people. I take on as much of their responsibility as I can in order to impress them and have them like me. I realise just how controlling I am also because I am trying to make them depend on me so that they will always have a use for me.

As worthiness goes, mine has been pretty much rock bottom for the last twenty five years. I have spent all that time feeling as though I don’t know enough. In fact there was a very long period of time where I felt I didn’t know anything at all! And that is why I am so fixated on my studies. The more I read and learn, the more I get to share with others and that is what truly inspires me.

The most recent time I went through my values I decided to look at the underlying meaning of them all. To my shock, though in all honesty it was hardly a surprise, I discovered that 33 out of 39 were all centred around wanting to look good. Being perceived as successful. Having others be impressed by me. It is exhausting.

It made so much sense and the irony is that at that moment I discovered more about myself than I had ever previously, yet I felt as though I had completely lost my identity. It took me a few days to comes to terms with this heightened awareness and process it. I felt scared because I knew that I would have even more work to do on my out of control ego.

One component of the ego is that of our reputation. I am what others think of me. The truth is that people can perceive you in any way they wish. I have learned that I don’t need to be so controlling. I can’t decide what others think me. I know this now. I can only be responsible for my character. I can only be my true self.

My writing is where I feel safest to express who I am. I am developing more and more courage in opening up when I am with my clients and students but it is my writing where I can really be honest. I’m not scared to put my blogs and books out there because I don’t fear any potential criticism or ridicule like I once did.

Now back to the car. I discovered last week that I need a new clutch and possibly and new fly wheel if the clutch has completely had it. I also cracked the front bumper a couple of weeks ago and needs replacing. We are looking at around £4000 worth of repairs all in. Ordinarily I would be either freaking out or getting angry but in all honesty I got back in my car and I laughed.

I saw the lesson that the universe was sending me. It was telling me to be more honest. It was telling me to stop controlling people by trying to implant a reputation of myself into their minds. It was telling me to stop acting out of ego and be smarter with money. It was telling me that I don’t need to impress people to feel validated, I simply have to look within for validation and love myself unconditionally.

Another reason why I would take on so much work for others is that it is a guaranteed income. Oh how we are so controlled by money. I was killing two birds with one stone. I was getting paid to be liked. Score! What I failed to release was that the curse of the clutch would come and give me the kick up the arse I needed to value myself more, love myself more and follow my heart’s desires.

I made a decision last week to end an association with a company that I do a lot of freelance work for and instantly I felt a weight of my shoulders. I have my clearer mind back and have been hard at work refining my own vision and business goals.

The great thing about all of this is that I am more comfortable with being seen now. I feel that I didn’t have that before. I was too scared of what others would think of me. Now I know that what I have in my heart is real and authentic, I am now ready to share it with the world. Watch this space!

I Am Entitled To Whatever I Want!

I am a big fan of Wimbledon. Whilst growing up, it was those two weeks of the year whereby we had to be playing tennis non stop. Football was on the sidelines momentarily and out came the racquets. Of course, I didn’t have a great deal of interest in other major tennis events. I am a bit of a plastic fan when it comes to sports.

Back in June I turned 30 and a few of us organised to finally go to Wimbledon. I had only ever watched it on television so I was excited to go and watch it live. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get there early enough and queuing for ten hours was definitely out of the question. Undeterred by this, we decided to find a pop up screen in London to watch all the days matches. The sun was shining, the atmosphere was great and all in all was a great day.

The Andy Murray match was the late game which started late afternoon and went on for around two hours. Of course when he won, everyone cheered for a brief moment, then got up and left. The day was over. For the fans at least. Not for the people that worked there.

After the max exodus I looked around and saw he steps of the amphitheatre covered in rubbish. Discarded beer cups, plastics bags and food wrappers. Everywhere. I turned around to my friend to comment on just how lazy we have become these days. It is as if as soon as we get what we want we just up and leave and let someone else take over to clean up our mess. We seem to be losing basic manners.

When I returned home from a two year trip to Australia, the first thing I noticed was that there were shops on the high street that had been boarded up and the whole place looked really grotty and unappealing. Maybe I had gotten used to outdoor things being in good condition in Australia but I didn’t remember my home town looking that bad and run down.

It is as if we have lost pride in where we live. We find it so easy to look down on so many things in this country. It is as if nothing is good enough for us. Our expectations are becoming greater and greater but at the same time our desire to work for them is decreasing.

I have spent the last three years teaching the Personal Training qualification. One thing I encounter an awful lot of is lateness. There always seems to be some excuse. And that is exactly what they are, excuses. Even if some people had a legitimate answer I would still consider it as an excuse because virtually everything is avoidable. Of course I am deemed as quite harsh but with better planning, you can eliminate pretty much any potential obstacle that gets thrown in the way.

On my last day of school I had a limo come to the house as a reward for not missing a day for the previous two years. I was incredibly embarrassed and self conscious so I left the house really early and walked to school. My head teacher had issues with other pupils that had severe absence records and asked my mum for advice. My mum’s response was that I had developed my own work ethic myself. For reasons I will explain in other blogs and books.

Back when I was doing my driving lessons, I spent an entire weekend on the CD-ROM going over every single question that could come up on the exam. I wanted to pass so bad that I did whatever it would take. I walked into my exam and in under three minutes I was walking out again with full marks.

When I was doing my own Personal Training course I was at the venue and hour before everyone else and I would spend some time recapping on muscles and joints as examples. I missed one day out of fifty because all transport links were snowed off and I spent over four hours getting into London so I could stay at a friend’s house and not miss the next day. I also made sure I got caught up on what I missed. It was an attitude that contributed to my final marks of 100% on my last exam.

I say all this not to brag and toot my own trumpet. More to demonstrate a point. I wanted to learn so bad so that I could get my qualification and start a new career. I took full responsibility for passing my course and learning as much as I could.

In all honesty it was a different story when I actually started a Personal Training business. I lacked a lot of confidence in my ability to train people and found myself wanting to quit so many times in my first year. I didn’t have a fall back therefore had to make it work. I had to shake myself up and take full responsibility for building a business.

Prior to that I couldn’t help but point the finger at anywhere and anyone I could so that I could blame them for my struggles. When all along I should have been pointing to the person in the mirror. Not only that but I also should have embraced the struggles.

I saw a recent interview that the BBC did with Barrack Obama and he pointed out that one of his strengths was that he has a fairly even temperament. When things are great he doesn’t get too carried away. When things are bad, he doesn’t get too bogged down by it. This is an attitude that speaks volumes.

This is about managing our emotions and perceptions. In order to be successful, I believe we have to take the rough with the smooth. I found that the low times really got me down. What I realised recently is that these are the times when I do my most learning, most development and generate great ideas. I am now thankful for these times and just accept that they are part of the process.

What is so evident in our world now, and I am by no means excluded from this completely, is that when the going gets tough we tend to get disheartened and give up. Then blame someone else for the situation. Instead, let us embrace the good and bad times equally. They happen for a reason. Just expecting success to happen so easily is a fantasy. We can’t just expect to get whatever we want from life without experiencing the pain of separation from our currently disorientated mindset.

Criticising Others Will Cripple Your Business

Last week I wrote a blog, like I do most weeks. Only this time something very interesting happened. It was viewed 1000% more than my other blogs. It had more likes than views of my other blogs. It was the only blog I had ever written that had more than a handful of comments. It even got tagged into the Entrepreneurship section of LinkedIn Pulse.

I have come to realise that it is most likely because it was a very provocative title. Hence why I am trying to do the same with this one! However, I absolutely stand by what I said in that title and the entire content. I also stand by this title too. I believe that criticising people will be to the detriment of the criticiser. Not only that, but I also believe that it can be of huge benefit to the criticised.

Up until very recently I was petrified of criticism. If I wasn’t being approved of in some way I would immediately jump on the defensive and fight back. I would seek to justify my stance because I would take things so personally and to heart. In all honesty I still do to some degree now from time to time but I have experienced a radical shift.

What made me realise this shift had actually happened was by reading the comments to my last blog and noticing that around half disagreed with me in one way or another. Instead of opting for my usual behaviour of jumping on the defensive and protecting myself, I found myself smiling and sending love back in the other direction.

I am a big fan of Instagram and I follow TV Presenter Laura Whitmore (for obvious reasons!) and one thing that I noticed is that she never responds to comments. Ever. And for the first time in my life I noticed that I didn’t need to justify myself and try to defend my views with debate. This is a feeling that I have been seeking for so long. I took all the comments on board, positive and negative, and I gave thanks in my mind for their input and sent them my love.

What I have come to learn from my coach, Tony, for the last couple of years is that if I want to step up and achieve all these great things that I have in mind then I have to be ok with people that agree with me and people that disagree. People that love me and people that hate me. And I am. Finally! I actually enjoyed receiving some negative feedback.

I absolutely love learning. I read every day and love to expand my brain power. One key learning I have made recently is that there is a lesson in the bad just as much as the good, if not more. It is about embracing the so called bad and understanding that it actually serves as good. For example it inspired me to write this blog.

My coaching has seen me go on a journey deep within myself in order to find love. Self love, that is. We all emanate from this divine source but for various reasons, the link to mine was very corroded. This is what brought about my self sabotage in the way of binge eating and conflict in relationships. All because I never felt worthy of love.

It is impossible to ever be perfect. Perfect is an illusion. Yet due to my obsessive compulsive behaviour I always had to have things perfect. I also needed people to view me as perfect. Therefore anything other than perfect made me feel bad and act in a defensive manor. I was very fragile for so many years. Granted, I still have tender spots now, I am by no means the finished article.

We possess just as many negative character traits as we do positive ones. Therefore if we are to love ourselves fully then we need to love and accept the negatives ones just as much. We need to love ourselves because of them, not in spite of them. This is about being balanced. When we achieve this, we are able to grow.

Now I feel that anyone can call me any name under the sun and I can just smile and say that yes I am, and I love myself for it. Simply because I have been taught to take ownership of all my traits. My old way of responding would be to fight back. All because I hadn’t owned it. This deducts the ability to love oneself fully.

What I have come to learn is that we are all connected. If I hurl an insult or negative comment at someone then all I am doing is projecting my own insecurities into a mirror. All because this is an insecurity I have not yet loved myself for. Like I said, I am not the finished article and I still have my judgements from time to time. Only now I am much more aware of them and can talk myself out of them immediately.

I believe that the future of business will be based on love. Love will eventually show through as we become more transparent and more open to who we are as we begin to learn what our true talents are. We are already beginning to see through those out there who are just in business to make a profit. I’m not judging, it’s just merely and observation. Honest! ;-).

In order to build these businesses out of love then we need to submerge ourselves in our own love. Surrender to who you are. Accept, respect and love yourself fully, no matter what. You will never be perfect. You will never rid yourself of negative character traits. They are there to serve you.

In the meantime, I will keep experimenting with ego driven blog titles as I find it very fun and interesting. My friend told me that I should have mentioned my book in my last one so I will do it here instead. Hopefully this blog will get some popularity too!

This is a book that I spent a year procrastinating on because I was afraid to put myself out there and open myself up to potential criticism. Bulletproof Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship Will End The Class System

A couple of weeks ago I went to a networking event that I absolutely loved. I had been to so many networking events prior to this one that I actually stopped bothering with them because they seemed to carry a certain agenda. However this one was different.

It was a breakfast event of eight entrepreneurs including the organiser and the emphasis was on giving. Something typically missing at most networking events. Although I am not one to talk as I used to go in a bid to find clients.

There were some very established entrepreneurs there. Far more established than I am right now. In fact I knew that I would be the least experienced in the room and in all honesty I found myself to be quite nervous about it as I was walking in.

I have spent most of my life fearing the judgement of others. I have always been so self conscious and always concerned myself with what others thought of me. I feared being ridiculed and looking stupid. Looking back, I realise that we all make mistakes in life and will inevitably have embarrassing moments. They turn out to be funny stories in the end!

Within a few minutes the nerves went and I felt at ease. This is because I realised that no one was there to mock the attempts of a fellow entrepreneur. No one was there to look down on someone else because of where they are at in their entrepreneurial journey. They were there to share their ideas and engage with like-minded people.

I believe that entrepreneurship is the turning point for society. If you look at the corporate world there is hierarchy. If you look at any organisation there is hierarchy. Entrepreneurs typically lead from the front. Their business is their baby and they work together with staff to achieve what they set out to.

Though I am a preacher of love I do feel that I still have my cynicisms from time to time and in my humble opinion, I believe division in this world has nothing to do with race, religion, age or gender. I believe division is a result of the class system. This is a hierarchy in society that entrepreneurship will gradually phase out, I believe.

We are conditioned to believe that there are people superior to us and people inferior to us. However, what with the awakening that we are going through now, we are beginning to learn that we are all in fact connected. We are all one. When we harbour this belief we are more inclined to help others, we have more compassion and we want to see people do well.

In my own journey, I certainly felt that I held myself back so many times because I feared being mocked in some way. Afraid to ask questions, get opinions or advice for fear of being laughed at for having a ‘stupid’ idea. These are just illusions. They are also unfounded.

Not everyone you meet will help you or even want to engage with you. You have to be ok with that. I would take it personally and then beat myself up for not being good enough. I allowed it to be fuel for my self depreciation. What took me a while to discover though was that the more I put myself out there, yes I got a few knock backs and disparaging comments but I mostly got support.

People would offer to talk with me over the phone, meet for a coffee and pretty much move heaven and earth to help me succeed in what I was trying to do. I am more than happy to pick up flack from 10% of the people I interact with in order to get that level of support from the other ninety.

Entrepreneurs have started from scratch somewhere. They understand what it takes and know full well that it takes an awful lot of courage. There is a saying somewhere that entrepreneurs will spend a few years doing what others won’t so that they can spend the rest of their lives doing what others can’t.

Now I do not believe that that is in reference to hard work. I believe that that is in reference to be willing to do what it takes. I was willing to be skint. I was willing to go through a mindset transformation. It is hard. But it gets easier. And each day I get greater and greater clarity on my vision. I get excited when I think about it. I have an urgency about me that was once apathy.

I bring you back to love. In fact I always will bring you back to love. Because that is where this all comes from. I am not writing this for the sake of writing. It is not an attempt to raise my profile. It is an attempt to help provoke thought, even in just one person, that there might just be a lifestyle that only dreams are made of waiting for them somewhere.

I believe that the support and encouragement that entrepreneurs offer is because of a deeper love of themselves than what others in society have. Believing that there is a class system means that we feel unworthy with those ‘above’ us and that we can treat the ones ‘below’ us with some kind of disdain.

Entrepreneurs, no matter where in their journey, have all gone through the same things. The struggles, the breakthroughs, the tears, the euphoria. But they all did it for a reason, they did it because they believed in something. They believed in their purpose and they went out to pursue it. They love what they do and love themselves for chasing after it.

If you are an entrepreneur then thank you for being you. If you are not, thank you also, you have many gifts to share with the world, just make that leap. It’s so much fun!