“The Wall” is a metaphor for our own limiting beliefs, the mindset that feels insurmountable when it holds us back from achieving our goals and dreams. It’s the “thing” that holds you back from having the confidence to take the next step; the fear of dreaming big and the fear of failure.
The inspiration for this book came to me while writing the eulogy for my brother’s funeral. I was reflecting on the differences between our life journeys and each word that I wrote seemed to reflect that his 58 years had been hard work. If there were four ways to do an obstacle course and logic said that under, over or around the obstacles was the easy way, Marty would find a way to bulldoze through it.
For many years now, I’ve worked as a Business Coach supporting entrepreneurs of all ages, skills and experience, in many different industries. I often see a common belief shared by business owners that “the only recipe to success is hard work.” As with my brother, the willingness to work long hours, sacrifice family, and forgo leisure or recreation time, in the belief that this is the ‘right’ thing to do to provide a secure future, is commonplace.
Many of the challenges that I see them grapple with, I have experienced first-hand including hitting “The Wall”. Maybe in the early days of business, I too believed in bulldozing my way to success in the same way that my brother did. This is no surprise, as we are so much a product of the major influencers and role models that nurtured us through our childhood and early teenage years. Marty, my sister Olwen and I were influenced by our parents and their strict beliefs. A religious upbringing was essential. In addition, they believed that “education is power” and that if you wanted anything (even pocket money) you had to work hard for it. Their belief got them University Degrees and the ability to emigrate from England, get jobs in Australia and settle down in the nation’s capital.
I can’t say that I had a close relationship with my Dad. He progressed through a number of roles before becoming a senior executive with IBM. He left for work at 6.30am in the morning and at times he’d be home late in the evening. Even when he got home early, he often went into the study to catch up on work or his amateur filmmaking, which was his only real hobby. Did he hit “The Wall”? He always found time for church on Sunday and annoyingly, enough time to ensure that our homework was getting done! This is how my Dad set up my belief system, although I wasn’t conscious of it back in my early years. The message being drummed in was “work really hard and you’ll get to give your kids the gift of a great education!” I got the message loud and clear….
I can claim to have learnt from the “school of hard knocks” through opening, operating and building 22 businesses. I’ve learnt that while a good work ethic is desirable and a great education extremely helpful, it’s better to work smarter, rather than work harder! Who says that you can’t have a great business and a great life, sharing the time with loved ones and doing the things that you’d love to do?
The motivation behind “The Wall” is to offer you some tools that will make you more aware of alternative ways to think and behave, which in turn will produce different results. If this inspires you to build a business full of fun, freedom, profit and fulfilment, then I’ll take it as a win.
Please be open-minded when reading this book. It has little value for you if you’re not prepared to be versatile in your thinking and open to solutions that may be different from what you’re used to. It’s often only when we challenge our own point of view that we can see alternative methods to produce better results. For example, I once learnt from a successful business owner who was passionately lazy! His mindset was the opposite of mine in so many ways but his ability to delegate and his team’s ability to deliver was exceptional.
Some of the following stories are from my own business experiences, while others are from my experiences with clients, franchisees, store managers, business buyers and business sellers. All are real businesses, real owners and real mindset changes that have produced real results.
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