Find your sparks

“The engine in a rocket ship does not fire without a small spark first. We all need small sparks, small accomplishments in our lives to fuel the big ones.” from Chapter 6 of David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me.

First of all, it is a fantastic read. The human struggle outlined in his book hits you right in the gut! This morning, while reading chapter 6, I came across the quote above and it reminded me of a recent conversation.

We hardly see the small victories being shared and/or celebrated! IG and the other social networks glorify the ‘go big or go home’ attitude .. this is equally true of our Linkedin world. We celebrate the UNICORNS and the companies raising millions of dollars and leave out the founder who just closed an angel round for 50k or the startup finally making money or the CEO who decided to quit for the right reasons. (YES, it’s OK to quit! .. another post on this)

The wins in these small companies should also get celebrated. It is the SPARK within our startup community. It is the real inspiration that gives others the daily motivation to go out and hustle, make those sales calls, take on more than you can handle and figure it out as you go .. let’s share our smaller wins to inspire the bigger wins.

Look down!

It’s Black History Month and I was thinking about the impact of historical decisions that impact my life today. Every single thing we do, use and or experience is the result of someone else who did it first. Someone who took the risk or had the dream and in pursuit of their dream, created a new reality for the rest of us.

Think about the greats we know .. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and all the other amazing leaders who paved the way for my generation.

Its also important to note that before there was Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin. It was March 2, 1955, when the fifteen-year-old schoolgirl refused to move to the back of the bus, nine months before Rosa Parks’ stand that launched the Montgomery bus boycott.

I was thinking about the life I enjoy today and how the collection of decisions that created these opportunities for me, like my parents moving to Canada, my teachers helping to guide me, my mentors who taught me, the clients who gave me a chance when I had no references and the employees who choose to work for me for 20+ years! .. they all help me get to where I am today.

I guess my point with this post is that, in addition to looking back in your own history and being grateful, also look down and notice the path that has been paved for you.

What is your Product Market Fit? (PMF)

If you are in the tech space, listen up for a minute. I might be saving you millions of dollars!

Just because it is easier to build technology today doesn’t mean you should build something and hope customers like it. There is no need for another UBER, another FB, another Tinder, another Linkedin or any other solutions you are trying to be the ‘better’ version of. Focus on the real problem and create a better solution .. not a new version of what’s already in the market.

When meeting a new client, I always start with the same basic question “what customer problem are you trying to solve?” It’s surprising to see how many companies can’t give a simple and focused answer. They haven’t figured out WHY they exist.

Marc Andreessen defined the term as follows: “Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” Understanding PMF (Product Market Fit) is so important and I feel that step is seldom taken seriously. Stop thinking about your problems .. i.e not enough customers, not enough sales, not enough traction .. and focus on what is the problem you are trying to solve. If your solution actually helps customers and fits the market need, scaling your sales strategy is much easier.

While sales is never an easy process, having a product that fits the market is a great start and should be a key focus for any CEO or product manager.

Need some help in figuring it out your PFM? Let’s talk.

How full is your bank account?

Sorry about the clickbate .. I am talking about your emotional bank. I think of the moments when I was full of confidence, that feeling of being unstoppable and the world is right there for the taking. 

Tony Robbins said to ‘anchor’ those moments and hold on to them for the days when you don’t feel the same confidence. The funny thing is that its easier to bank the bad days. The days where you doubt yourself.

I was thinking about WHY it’s more natural to be attached to the ‘negative’ emotions versus the ‘positive’ emotions. Thinking back to the younger days.. how often did we get to celebrate the A’s in class with ice cream? How often do we celebrate the amazing relationship we have or our significant others. 

I bet its far and few .. and we tend to focus a lot more on the things we are not too good at or happy with. The bank is FULL of useless emotions. 

I think we are passing this on to the next generation. They learn by observing and reacting how we as grown-ups talk to ourselves and how we treat each other. 

To truly celebrate the wins in your life … small or big.. I mean, isn’t that the purpose for the struggle? To get to the other side? Why we do celebrate so little? 

Imagine if we did the opposite and celebrated EVERY SINGLE win .. no judgements .. Will our brain even keep track of the moments that don’t matter anymore? Here’s the experiment that I am on .. I want to bank SO MUCH amazing wins that when I am doing something new and FEAR creeps ups, instead of my brain pulling up memories of other failed moments and scaring me .. it will be forced to bring up moments where I conquered and won! .. just due to the ratio of good memories vs. BAD. 

Build your bank. I believe you have the power to program YOUR brain to be your ally .. Any brain hacks you have in place? 

Is scaling your business a good idea?

Not every business can be scaled.

Some businesses are organically built to be a small business and there is not much you can do. The CEO’s are owners and employees of their own company and they generate the majority of the revenue but need most of it to sustain their lifestyle.

I learned in my time as a mentor/investor, for these business to scale, the owners need to completely transform their purpose in the business. They have to be willing to take on bigger personal and financial risks. They also need to ‘let go’ and align themselves with other partners (or investors) who can help to break the model and look for ways to scale the business.

They have to want to do this.

There is also something nice about having a small, lifestyle business that meets your needs, allows you to live your purpose, work directly with clients you like and still enjoy the entrepreneur lifestyle.

I guess what I am sharing today is that .. the other side is not always ‘greener’ and picking the right side is key. While the growth looks and sounds sexy .. make sure you know what you are walking away from …

– With love

#BellLetsTalk

It’s only in the last 3 years that I have paid attention to ‘mental health’ .. I didn’t really understand it and I was quick to say .. ‘NOT ME!” .. “I am not impacted” .. well, my entrepreneur friends, it is something that you are dealing with and you just have different names and descriptions for it ..

(Sound familiar)

“Nobody get me.. “
“It’s always lonely at the top”
“I’ll grind it out”
“I don’t need any help”

If you have said any of the above .. you know the feeling. Mental health issues are VERY serious and they compound over time. Please.. reach out and connect and let’s talk.

Let’s share and let’s heal together.

– With Love hashtagBellLetsTalk