You know that feeling you get where you feel as if you’re on the verge of a major break through? That feeling of having a wonderful idea just swimming in the midst of your brain and you’re simply trying to tap it to the forefront of your mind? That. That’s how I feel after reading the book Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie (2011).
This book was written for those who are ready to make a difference in the world; written for those who want to love their work, work for what they love, and have a positive impact on the world – all at the same time; written for those who are ready to start something that matters; written for, I had hopefully and correctly anticipated, precisely someone like me.
Blake Mycoskie (Chief Shoe Giver, TOMS) shares the lessons he learned and those that others have learned, with aims to inspire, entertain, and challenge the readers to start something that matters. Whether your idea is big or small, for a for-profit business or a non-profit organization, this book will leave you wanting to take immediate action.
Mycoskie outlined six traits/elements he believes everyone should follow to start and sustain something that matters, by looking their business/organization with a different perspective:
1. Find Your Story: stories resonate more than facts, they build supporters that resonate more of an effect than customers do. Supporters believe in your story the same as you do, they help spread your story. It’s important to take the time and find your passion. Because if you can organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger – something that matters.
2. Face Your Fears: Here I’m just going to spit you some cold hard facts: No matter what happens, win, lose, or draw, never forget that life goes on. Don’t fear the unknown, God’s got it. Everyone makes mistakes (cue Hannah Montana lyrics). Don’t worry about what others think, you’re not living your life to be a people pleaser. Don’t fall victim to the Best Idea Freeze (if you’ve got an idea, take action NOW! Don’t wait for a possible ‘better idea’ to maybe find it’s way into your mind.)
“But wait Danielle… How do I kill my fear if I already have it?”
Oh, but with some Fear Killers, of course:
– Live Your Story: affirm your authenticity by living your story. You are not a fraud when you are living what you believe.
– Surround Yourself With Interns: or rather, merely with people who are enthusiastic, confident and ready to roar
– Read Biographies: gain inspiration from people who have been through it and have done it already. Learn from the mistakes they’ve made.
– Think Small: Don’t become overwhelmed with what your task at hand might be. Take it one small step at a time. Small steps on a long journey to success. (read “Kaizen” for more insight from the Japanese influence)
3. Be Resourceful Without Resources: Many successful for-profit businesses, businesses in general, and organizations got their start from the “enchanted garage.” [Side-note: Imagination trumps money all the time.]
It’s important to make what you have count:
• develop a presence where it’s free (social media is key!)
• space matters: small is sometimes good, it’s helps you to be precise, organized and efficient
• forget titles: when you don’t have conventional titles, there is no pecking order. [Helpful Hint: If you’re the owner of your own business, make your business cards say “Assistant Director” or “VP” or something of sorts, that way it appears as if there is someone else higher up in your business that is backing up your decision making
• reward employees/staff: make working fun [plan annual camping trips for your employees or provide doughnuts every Friday to employees (the quickest way to a persons heart is through their stomach)
4. Keep It Simple: Unclutter your workspace and your life. Take a moment and ask yourself How much do you really need in life? Own as little as you can get away with, the less material possessions you have, the less you have tying you down. Try to keep everything scheduled, that way when you’re present you’re able to be completely present. Don’t let technology enslave you (it’s nice to have the world at your fingertips, but let it not be your top commitment/priority.)
5. Build Trust: It’s important to build trust internally as well as externally: Internal Trust between employees creates an environment among workers/staff that is enjoyable. Be a servant leader who creates a company that has a community, because it is the community that creates a movement. Let it be known to your team that making mistakes is okay, because it is human nature and the best way to learn, but that breaking trust is not okay. [give out a “Mistake of the Month” award, have the winner teach everyone else how to not make the same mistake they did; treat failures as learning opportunities.] Build Trust Externally (with customers) – trust guarantees investment in products.
Trust Building Tips for Within an Organization/Company:
– Talk Openly With Your Staff
– Give Away Autonomy
– Trust that your employees will grow into their roles
Tips to Gain Trust Outside Your Organization:
– Always follow the Golden Rule (of showing empathy)
Further Tips for Non-profits:
– be as open as possible. Be as transparent about where the money donations are actually going. [Donors are much more willing when they know where exactly it is their money is going / how it is being used/distributed.]
– Use your own products too. Know that they actually are/do whatever it is you say they are/do – it reassures your authenticity.
6. Giving is Good Business: Good^2: it helps people and it makes money
Ways to Incorporate giving from the core:
• give more than money – give time, supplies, love, etc.
• incorporate giving anywhere you can at work
• give early: they call it good karma for a reason, start early and you will reap the benefits early
• don’t get overwhelmed: one small step at a time, small steps on a long journey
• it’s better to give than to receive
• listen to those you give to (you could be generously giving pencils to students who are in need, but if what they truly need is paint brushes and paint, then you are completely missing your calling!)
I’m staying in tune with my mind and my surroundings to try and figure this out.
I don’t know what ideas I currently have in my brain,
but I know they are in there and they are going to be worth sharing with the world.
Currently racking my brain,
On the verge of a major breakthrough,
Stay tuned for my further findings,
〈〈 featured image taken while adventurously exploring around the Island of Mackinac 〉〉