I've lived an interesting life. Like many entrepreneurs I have gone from having an idea to seeing it through, having another idea and seeing it fall in a heap and then the momentum of building a business to heights that you actually have never imagined.
I'm not motivated by money. In fact, I find people that have a scorecard that relates to their financial success to be 'sad' and 'tacky'. They are simply insecure people who haven't realized their own worth yet.
When I started out, it was by accident I became an entrepreneur. I wasn't looking to run my own show and I didn't really have any specific plans or goals in which I needed to achieve. I'm the first to admit that in the first 5 years of business, I had no idea. I was quite often in the right place at the right time, and I just enjoyed the ride. I didn't think too much about where it was taking me. Others around me tried to force me to have a goal or a plan in place, and for all intents and purposes, I did. The difference is having a plan and living the plan is a very different thing. I write strategies for a living, so writing a business plan is easy. Looking at it every week and making sure I am doing what the plan says, isn't so easy. It takes time and you have to want to give up that time.
In my thirties, I started to think about the future a little more. I realized that my benchmark was low and that was why I was so happy all the time. When your benchmark is low, you are always succeeding because any win, is more than you expect.
When I put the pressure on myself to achieve a higher goal in business, I became afraid. What if I couldn't reach that goal? What if I fail? What if everyone sees me fail? So while I made the step to achieve something that was much bigger than just owning an agency where I made a good living, I spent a lot of time being scared of failure. So much so, that it hindered my ability to be more successful. I realized something really important about myself and that is 'fear is my enemy' and when I fear something, I always fail. It's as if I write my own plan to fail and live it out step by step in slow motion.
I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I worked hard, but nothing seemed to work. Challenges came my way, and I was always leaning on someone else to fix my problems, and you know what, a women in distress is always helped out. I wonder if my male counterparts would have been so lucky.
Over the years I have been given enormous opportunities to take on multimillion dollar marketing accounts. Signed deals, all I had to say is yes. Instead, I wouldn't follow up. Why? What if they changed their mind? Which brings me to the fear of rejection. This can singularly be your biggest obstacle to overcome... and at times, it has ensured that my business didn't take the big leap that it could have taken earlier.
My late thirties was my game changer. Something inside me wanted to be more independent. I wanted to stand on my own two feet without others always protecting me. I started to think about what I wanted in life and what was my purpose. Why was I put on this earth.
This uncovered a new direction and sense of self. I became the person I always hoped to be. All of a sudden I was passionate, purposeful and deliberate. I made choices differently. Things changed around me. The circus I was living became insignificant and I realized that it was ok to be me. It's ok to be shy and prefer the company of one rather than many. It's ok to not go to a party, function or someone's wedding.
Life can be short. We have to make decisions based on our own sense of judgement, and live a remarkable life by our own standards. Mostly, I have found out, that if you live life being kind, and not thinking the worse of someone and accepting that people sometimes make bad decisions or act out because of a myriad of reasons, often unbeknown to you, and you give them the benefit of the doubt - life starts getting good. I mean real good.
This journey that I've been on has seen me change. Little rattles me other than too much on my plate. I know that by finishing everything I start, I have a sense of satisfaction, so that means finishing my business plans to a 't' .
I can't live life afraid of what might happen. Instead, I have to live it one day at a time and with kindness and purpose. Funnily enough, that seems to work. My businesses are more successful now than ever before. I have grown an international company, as a sole-woman owner. I live life without financial worry and give away whatever I can. Sometimes that is 100% of the profits - and that is more than ok. There is satisfaction in doing that. I don't have to be the richest, but I do have to add value to the lives around me.
It's ok not to necessarily want to be rich, but to realize that
Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.
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