I’m a first generation immigrant born in the U.K to Polish parents who, by various means and actions and tragic events, found themselves in a small town called Hucknall, just outside of Nottingham in 1943, repairing Spitfire engines for the British Royal Air Force.
They did their best to assimilate themselves into the culture of their new home, grateful for the opportunities they were afforded and the prospects of starting a new life with a new family in a new country. They learned how to speak English, made friends, found themselves work and became skilled at a trade. Sure they spoke with heavy sugary doughnut accents and amusing grammatical inconsistencies but they tried. They tried real hard. And no one knocked them down for trying.
Quite the opposite.
That rubbed off on me. I was taught that nothing’s for free and if you really want something, like really want something, you’ve got to work at it because nobody’s gonna feel sorry for the ‘poor me’ types and just hand out blank cheques because you’re holding your breath till they do.
You’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to work smart. Real hard. Real smart. Sure there’ll be mistakes along the way but if you have the right mindset you learn from those mistakes and they actually help you get better and grow.
I’ve been remembering the significance of this recently, especially because I’ve been reading a lot, especially on Linkedin, and especially from people I’m inspired by or connected with. I’m seeing connections between then and now. And now I’m passionate about the customer experience and how to connect with like-minded souls on a heartfelt, genuine and emotional level.
I understand this doesn’t sit well with everyone. For some this isn’t how they see a business being successful at all. For these folk it’s a simple formula: business = money and money = business
There’s no half-way house here. No room for negotiation brother.
Money is the culture. Money is everything. Time is money. Money makes the world go round. Money CAN buy you love (and anything else you heart desires.) The more money you make, the more successful you become. Simple. So make money! At whatever cost! Doesn’t matter if you can’t sleep well at night in full knowledge your product or service is flawed and someone else suffers for it. Get over it! It is what it is!
I’m not so naive to be living in a land of unicorn smiles and pot head pixies drinking from fountains of rainbow love. I know a business has to make money, of course I do, but I see making money as a result of having done the right thing. And in that sense it’s all about how you do your business. That’s the ethical business culture I want to grow.
It’s about the story you tell, the values you share, the integrity you display (yes, even when no one’s looking) and the people you can help. You do that right you’ll make money AND sleep well at night.
It’s not an easy journey but it’s not an idealistic utopian dream either. My Dad’s voice echoes through my head “Nothing’s for free son. You gotta work at it whatever it is. Work at it hard as you can and don’t make the excuses why things don’t be working out how you think they’re gonna be working out when they don’t be working out.” I smile because I know his grammar’s wrong but he’s right on point.
But how do you do that? How do you stay motivated when things don’t go how you planned? How do you stay on track with what you believe to be righteous and true?
There’s a lot of advice out there; 7 ways to stay motivated; 11 sure-fire steps to success; do these 8 things and stay in the game. Most of it I can relate to but some of it sounds like pixie shit to me, so I’ve narrowed it down to these points that resonate most with me:
- Don’t be distracted by things you can’t control. Focus on what you can.
- Be consistent and stay true to your beliefs.
- Make the effort to learn and learn from mistakes.
- Surround yourself with people who help you grow. They’ll help you stay creative. They’ll be the ones who inspire you.
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Always!
Maybe I’m right. Maybe I’m wrong. All I know is that I have to be true to my belief that business can (and should) be conducted ethically and if more people did the same then the world might just be a better place for our children to enjoy.
How do you stay motivated? I’d be interested to know.
The title of this blog “The time is always right to do what is right” is from a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Oberlin College in 1964. It’s such an inspirational sound bite that helps me remember it’s never too late to make a difference. We just need to remind ourselves we can.