A colleague of mine has a client named Mike Seddon. He was diagnosed with inoperable cancer earlier this year. Mike recently hosted ‘The Last Webinar’ in July 2015 and I want to share some of his thoughts because I think he provides a very powerful legacy lesson for all of us regardless of our profession or title.
We build a business to build a lifeWe start a business because we want a specific kind of life. Then we get caught up in the daily activities, and we forget why we started the business in the first place! Mike recommends building in a monthly or quarterly ritual of stepping back, getting out of the office and reflecting about the business life we originally wanted to build.
The Five Big Questions
1. What’s my Why and am I living it?
Why are you running your own business, or why are you employed and working for the company you do? If you haven’t figured out your ‘Why’ then you might be floundering.
Many people think they are building a business because of their family. While this might be part of the story, it’s not the only reason you do what you do. There is usually something deeper. If not you will just slide into another trap; starting your business because you are running away from something else. For example, leaving your corporate job because you are unhappy or running away from something not to something.
When you get your ‘Why’ right you work with a purpose, not just to make money.
2. What does success look like?
Ask yourself what does a successful business look like? Is it a strong balance sheet or happy employees? If you layer your ‘Why’ on top of this question you will have a clearer picture of what success looks like for you. You’ll see the money is only part of the success equation.
Don’t create someone else’s version of success. Parents, your friends, some other business guru or your family all have an idea of what success should look like but is it your idea? Make your own version of success. Sometimes these well intentioned people can be very subtle in making us think we are pursuing what WE want instead of the vision THEY think is right for us. Be an original version of you, everyone else is already taken.
Give yourself permission
Mike wishes he had given himself permission to be himself far earlier in life. Be yourself.
Give yourself permission to be scared witless and still go for it: Mike had the opportunity to teach a seminar with some big name people in his business, but he got scared and he didn’t go. Mike now has a bit of regret for not “just doing it.”
3. Am I enjoying the journey?
If you are doing the things that feed the Why then you’ll enjoy the journey. Try to enjoy the moment – enjoy the journey – don’t put all the value on the end goal or destination. You can experience total focus by 1) setting the goal 2) doing the next baby step you can take right now and 3) deciding how you want to be as a person. How do you want to handle success as well as setbacks?We all have the same ‘final’ destination but some will get there sooner than others
Once you decide on your journey stick with it. Don’t get off the path – it only causes confusion, and you become distracted. Use your ‘Why’ as a filter when others want to put their ideas on you and then get angry when you don’t take their advice. You’ll be fine. You will have peace knowing exactly why you are doing what you are doing.
4. Am I hanging out with the Right People?
When you decide to be a business owner or start something new, you need to accept that some of your friends and family may be quite irritated about your decision. Some may be jealous and try to knock you down or be downright toxic. Remember to surround yourself with the right people that understand the vision and journey you are on. Stick with the people who have been with you through thick and thin.
5. What would happen to my loved ones if I was no longer around?
Buy life insurance – if you have people dependent on you – you need life insurance. Dave [VZL2]Ramsey also recommends having a Legacy Box that holds a copy of your Will, a list of assets and passwords to your computer so your loved ones won’t be in double distress while trying to figure out where all these items are. Build a business that can run without you if you become ill and have to be away from the business for a period of time; create passive income streams where you can.
Now what about you?
Schedule your own (Mike) Seddon Day – right now on your calendar. Take this list of questions with you. Get out of the office and reflect on each one. Share with your spouse, family, business partners or other executives in your organization if you want to. The most important thing is to answer the questions honestly for yourself. Then move forward and remember to take this time to check in to see if you are on track and still enjoying the journey. Mike would be happy to know that you are honoring your life this way.
Mike said he and his family have benefited greatly from The Shakespeare Hospice. Mike was at home surrounded by his wife, family, the gardens he has developed and loved and friends coming to reminisce and say goodbye. (Mike passed away in late September 2015) If you would like to help raise funds for The Shakespeare hospice please go to: www.justgiving.com/MikeSeddon