It only seems like last month when i penned down thoughts and learnings on my turbulent 2018. In a blink of an eye, here i am sharing my lessons on 2019. Time and tide waits for no man. Time is the most valuable resource in the world, how are you spending it?
While 2018 was a turbulent year, 2019 brought about some major changes that not only taught me some new lessons but also showed me that i have amazing people around me. This year i embraced being uncomfortable (physically, psychologically & emotionally), grew up and learnt how to put aside ego and emotions and made great decisions throughout the year.
Here’s some notable things in 2019:
1. as a person who’s never even hiked Gasing Hill, i hiked to Everest Base Camp. (omg!)
2. finally exited the industry after years of talking about finding a way out.
3. entered corporate employment (special thanks to a good friend who sacrificed a fair bit financially to ensure this happened and thanks to the captain for giving me this opportunity and lifeline in a time of need.)
4. thanks to a lovely friend i came into possession of a sports car. (which i don’t drive often enough)
5. paid off some debts
6. spent more time with dad
7. … and then missed dad’s 70th birthday trip. (bummer)
8. went on some dates, met amazing people along the way and met someone special.
9. impacted hundreds of lives by conducting and speaking at multiple workshops and at entrepreneur groups and events. (Thank you!)
10. drove over 1000kms across England & Wales (again!)
11. made many new friends
12. rekindled old friendships
13. haven’t turned on the TV in about 6-months or so. (or watch tv on a laptop!)
14. Spent 5-days on Pulau Layang-Layang (an atoll 300km out from Sabah, you probably won’t go there)
15. Read 8 books
16. Became a John10:10 lifewheel coach
17. Emcee’d some events and coached a couple of SME business owners too.
What did i learn in 2019?
1. Gained a lot of wisdom from my Everest adventure
Read about it here.
2. Be Kind, Always.
One of the biggest outcomes of a turbulent 2018 that stretched all the way through 2019 was that it showed me the goodness of some of my friends and also highlighted those who shouldn’t matter. There were some amazing friends who stepped in without me having to stretch my hand out for help, friends who i never realised were paying attention and noticed changes, then willingly offered help in various ways. To those friends, i am forever grateful. I believe many good things will always befall these wonderful people. If you are always kind to others, you will always be blessed with an abundance of goodness. If things aren’t going well for you, ask yourself this, who can i help today?
3.Sustainability & Scalability
I finally understood and embraced this key learning in business. These are the two most important criteria for a successful business. A business must be sustainable from various aspects including the most fundamental of being able to foresee the next 6-months. If you can’t lay out a concrete plan with a solid pipeline and cashflow for half a year let alone 3-years, the business is unsustainable. Successful businesses are always looking beyond borders, constantly looking for opportunities to establish new markets. Is your business model scalable? Cost of life is increasing on a daily basis, if your business and profits are not keeping up, you’re dead you just don’t know it yet. Unless you’re happy with a diminishing income, a business must be continue to grow, and in current times grow extremely fast. Can your business scale? How concrete are your 1-year and 3-year projections?
I’ve always been a sentimental type of guy, holding on to things and valuing relationships. Nothing really ever happens within your comfort zone though, you’ll actually surprise yourself when you step out and realise that it actually isn’t as bad as you imagined it to be. And when you step out, your comfort zone grows. We’ll often discover that being able to step out and making tough and sometimes unpopular decisions is one of the best things you can do for yourself. One of my earlier successful businesses took a tumble, i tried in vain to keep the brand and stay in the industry, a costly mistake. My ex-partners turned this into an opportunity and switched industry completely to become successful in their own rights. Serving as my inspiration and as opportunities don’t come often, i seized the chance when it presented itself and made the best decision ever to step out of my comfort zone and go into a completely different line of work. Heck, i went way out of my comfort zone and went from self employed for over a decade to going back into employment! (thank you for the opportunity!) Do something that scares you in 2020, make that unpopular decision, walk away from things and people, do something completely different. Live life.
5.Beware The Ego Trap
Very prevalent in small business owners. We tend to be stuck in our business or struggle to grow our businesses because we ‘can’t let go’ of a lot of things. The biggest hindrance is the feeling that as the business owner we need to know everything, be the most experienced in the company, be the smartest in the room and make all the decisions. If we’re not hiring people who are brighter than us in their respective roles, the organisation can never grow. Success and failure leaves patterns, and you’ll notice that in small struggling businesses, the owner is concerned about his title/position, doesn’t have many who are smarter than the owner, and has problem accepting criticism. Ego gets in the way of us making logical decisions because ego makes us emotional. If we can’t keep that in-check, we’ll always be stuck at where we are at. And i was stuck for a very long time. Are you self aware of your responses and actions? Are you constantly defensive or deflective when someone criticises you or comments negatively about you? or do you instead apologise often, accept the criticism and reflect deeply on how you can improve?
6.You Can’t Do It Alone.
…and thats ok. Truth is if you could do it alone, you would have done it already. A mentor once told me, “if you have been doing 5 million in revenue for 3 years, you’re a 5 million business owner. To get to 10 million or even 8 million, you need to hire people who can and have worked in 10 million businesses… and sometimes they should be paid more than you.” He also went to on to add “every successful entrepreneur has a committed coach or mentor, because your business can only grow as much as you are growing.”
We spend a whole lot of our energy making up excuses for our lack of knowledge, laziness, and lack of intellectual capabilities. We put effort to blame the economy, blame the customers, blame the team, blame our peers, blame the lack of resources… and the list could go on. This point is closely linked to to #5, because our ego stops us from saying ‘i don’t know how to do it, i don’t know how to grow my business, please help me.’ and go forth to seek help. To be transparent with those who can help you, and ask for help. If you ask for help, people will help.
7.Tools & Systems
A new hire resigned after a month and in her exit said that she takes pity on one of our junior staff. That one day he will leave this organisation without having learnt any applicable tools and systems to bring to his new job, that he will suffer and struggle when he moves on to greater organisations. At that time i labelled her a ‘troublemaker’.
I am sorry, i disappointed you when you joined us, as i’ve come to realise that what she said was very true. As i am now to be in a very large and fast growing group of companies, i noticed that a proper organisation no matter the size is always powered by proper systems, guidelines and have multiple tools for the team. In this organisation, i am blessed to be able to not only work with some of the most capable individuals in the industry, i’ve also been able to hire talented individuals from my previous industry. The tools, guidelines/SOPs, and processes implemented immediately made the organisation more efficient, productive and provided accessible data. The implementation of these tools and systems not only aid in our management and decision making, they have delivered pretty impressive results. While i have had the benefit of being taught the various tools, i failed to adopt, implement and educate the team on these tools. Being equipped with such knowledge ensures you bring tangible value to an organisation. As a coach of mine always reminds me, everybody needs 3 sets, Skillset, Mindset, and Toolset.
As we welcome 2020, let us swallow our ego, continuously expand our knowledge, seek help when needed, always support those around you and remember, always be kind to everyone and always speak kindly of others. Have a healthy and happy 2020!
“I’m a constant learner. You need to be a constant student because things change and you have to change and grow. And I emphasise the word ‘grow.”