While working with different business owners and entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed some common mistakes. I built my business on my own experiences and I’ve learned how to avoid these mistakes based off of my own experiences. Some of my most valuable experiences actually came from before I started out as an entrepreneur.
That being the very pivotal experience of practicing martial arts for almost 16 years. I actually started because my ex-husband told me I was boring (this was many years ago and that’s the reason he’s an ex). I didn’t start it to get the mind-body experience or to improve myself. I started martial arts based on someone else’s opinion of me. So, right off the bat I learned something that I talk to entrepreneurs a lot about – blocking out the people who don’t believe in you. Block out the negative opinions and focus on your purpose.
While talking to a friend recently about the problems she’s having in her business, I had this lightbulb moment about how the lessons I learned in mind-body practices connect to being a business owner. There are so many ups and downs we go through on our journey, many times I see small businesses who don’t get past the initial hurdle. Some of the mistakes I see come down to people rushing, thinking they just need to get a product out the door.
I hope the lessons I’ve learned will be helpful to you.
Lesson #1: Build a Strong Foundation
When starting Taekwondo, I learned to master the basics first. It’s easy to want to skip the basics and go straight to learning how to do all of the fancy stuff, but you have to start with the basics in order to build a strong foundation. When you have a strong foundation, you can build things off of that – you can build anything from there! When you fail, you can also return to your foundation and try again.
Lesson #2: Have an Indomitable Spirit
Taekwondo has five tenets, or core principles. One of them is indomitable spirit which means never, ever give up.
One of my weaknesses in Taekwondo was sparring. I was good with self-defense, weapons, and forms but I stunk at sparring. If I wasn’t mad at somebody, I was just like “Why do I have to hit them?”. Even though I struggled with sparring, I never gave up and I kept learning from it.
In business, when you have a strong foundation and an indomitable spirit, no matter what happens, you can keep going.
You are resilient so you will still be able to focus on what you’re good at and keep pushing through what you’re not good at, even trying to get better. Having an indomitable spirit in my business has taught me to pivot when needed, keep going when things don’t work and never give up.
Lesson #3: Shifting Your Perspective
In sparring and self-defense, you have to be able to think on your feet. As someone comes at you to attack you, you have a split-second to find those angles to defend yourself or score a point.
Learning how to strategize, come up with a plan towards your goal and shift your perspective when needed are all just as helpful in business. If you’re mid-strategy or mid-launch and find something isn’t working, you have to pivot while keeping your eye on what your goal is.
Lesson #4: Connect to Your Passion and Your Power
Connecting to your passion and your power is the whole purpose behind what’s called your kihap (the yell before a move in Taekwondo). Connecting and having all your energy centered around your kihap gives you the ability to pull from that core area to make the moves you need to make. Being able to connect to your passion will give you all the power you need to drive you forward in your business.
Lesson #5: Honor the Struggle
A key lesson for any entrepreneur is to learn how to honor the struggle and appreciate your journey.
Before even picking up a weapon in Taekwondo, you have to meditate, respect your opponent and honor the lessons you’ve learned. Putting your best spirit into whatever you do and having purpose behind what you’re doing in business is so important.
From the biggest failures can come the most amazing experiences and things you never would’ve thought of if you hadn’t struggled and had the experiences you’ve had.
If we don’t learn these key lessons, that’s when unfortunately businesses fail and entrepreneurs give up. So I’m going to give you a quick exercise to help you on your journey:
- Think about any areas of your business where you’re missing a strong foundation. Are you trying to do something fancy without having the basics down first?
- Think about a time when you’ve given up on an idea because it didn’t work out. Could you go back to that idea with a different perspective to make it more successful?
- Also, think about places where you have lost that connection to what you’re truly passionate about. Are you just approaching things randomly? Do you have a strong vision for your business? Some people think they just need to sell products and a vision or a purpose isn’t important. That’s not how it works.
Learning martial arts was the biggest gift I could’ve ever given myself and it all started from thinking that I was something less than what I was – all because of a comment from someone else. It turned out I wasn’t boring and I didn’t need to change at all. It just took tapping into what was inside of me all along in order to realize I was capable of amazing things.
I hope you can take these things and apply them in your business and your life.
Keep shining your light!