Why you should run your life like a start-up company
written by Kent Healy
⇒22 Nov 2010
Common: Feeling stuck or disadvantaged due to a supposed lack of resources.
Uncommon: Starting a successful company is a rush. But let’s first address a common myth about this frenzied process: Most thriving companies did not become successful as a result of ideal circumstances and abundant resources. Yet on some level, many of us believe they somehow had an upper-hand.
The reality is, very, very few businesses have everything they need from inception to build an admirable empire. What then, enables some businesses to prosper while others do not?
Answer: Resourcefulness. Successful start-up businesses run lean and make calculated decisions to maximize the return on their limited assets.
“But I don’t own a business and don’t plan to?” Fair enough. But don’t shut the door. Why? Founding a company in this instance is merely a parallel to something more important: your “personal business.” It is interesting to see how most people draw distinctively different lines between business and their private lifestyle. Personally, I see many striking similarities.
A quality business requires adaptability, thriftiness, discretion, management, a degree of speculation, and resourcefulness. Does a happy and successful life not require the same? Ironically, however, I see entrepreneurs more concerned about business decisions than the choices that immediately pertain to their personal lives. Yet imagine applying the same approach of starting a business to how you pursue your goals. Allow me to explain.
Personal “asset” management:
Like start-up companies, we may not have the most money, natural talent, formal education, physical resources, connections, etc., but as countless businesses have shown us over the course of history, those are not the defining factors of success. (And notice that age is not a factor either.)
Instead of fixating on what is lacking, take stock of your current assets and strategize your next move.
Our deficiencies are never more harmful than our existing strengths are beneficial (unless, of course, we remain obsessed with our weaknesses). What matters most then, is how we apply what we do have – how we employ our existing resources to create something greater.
After all, “entrepreneurship” is really about building/creating value and delivering it to the marketplace. And ultimately, it’s YOU at the source of the value being produced. As Jim Rohn once said, “If you work on a job, you’ll make a living. But if you work on yourself, you’ll make a fortune.”
Show me the capital:
As a CEO would asses all company resources, we – as individuals – must view our personal inventory as valued “capital” and then purposefully and carefully decide how to best apply it to create something of greater value.
The challenge is recognizing what we currently have to work with and then using this capital in ways never before considered. This is the crux of what it means to be resourceful: creating solutions and seizing opportunities with finite means. It is an artform; and it’s what defines successful entrepreneurs and individuals.
Unfortunately, we are often blind to most of our own capital. We have more options, assets, and opportunities than we are presently aware of. This may include time, contacts, skills, money, degrees, and all physical things that allow you implement ideas. (These are very broad categories with near infinite sub-groups and items. Think hard.)
Approach this with a consultant mentality and reexamine yourself and your “inventory” from a new perspective absent of previous assumptions and beliefs about what is and is not possible. Easier said than done, but critical to the creative process. Remember, the value is not found in each stand-alone asset, but rather how they are combined, rationed, and employed.
Essentially, you must call the shots in how your resources are to be applied, cultivated, or ignored. As CEO of your life, it’s time to start thinking like one (and no, demoting yourself is not option). Fortunately, a jaw-dropping repertoire of skills and assets unique from competitors is not necessary for personal success. You simply need to be creative, resourceful, and committed to honing your abilities within our most constraining construct of all assets: Time.
The right combination of creativity and discipline invested in your existing assets will pay their weight in gold. In this case, remarkably, you have control of both.
View yourself as a venture capitalist… your next great investment? You.
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