Pivoting to Success!

Making the decision to pivot, to truly pivot is a proactive decision. However, it must have commitment, firm commitment to follow through without any wavering and certainly, without looking back.

As I had mentioned yesterday, today I look forward to sharing a true story of what I believe is one of the most successful pivots of our time, of these challenging times. I cannot think of a better word than ‘commitment’ to describe this story.

For some time now, I’ve been intrigued by a story of commitment that has stemmed from love of family. It’s a story of commitment to goals. It’s also a story of determination, dedication, and survival. The story I’m referring to is that of Fusun, Gonca and Arzu Esendemir. These remarkable sisters are the founders of Flatbread Grill and Thumb Bread.

Their journey as entrepreneurs began as a commitment to family. They have been faced with one seemingly insurmountable challenge after another. Yet, from the early days of difficulties with banks and landlords to the pandemic when they were preparing to open an additional location to the hard-pressed decision to pivot for survival, they have not only persevered, but they have also thrived.

I cannot do justice to their story so I will share parts of various interviews. I’m certain, you’ll agree with me that this is a heart-warming story, and one that should be shared over and over again.

It should be shared with families facing difficult times. It should be shared with all who are trying to make the American Dream of business ownership a reality for them and their families. It should be shared with all who believe they can’t depart from a life of poverty. It should be shared with all aspiring entrepreneurs who lack the confidence to move forward.

It should be shared with all current entrepreneurs who are hesitant to change direction or take their businesses to the next level. It should be shared with young women everywhere to reinforce the reality that they can do anything they put their minds to, believe in and that they’re committed to seeing all the way through to achieving their goals.

It should be shared in schools everywhere. It should be shared in a book. It should be shared in a movie. It should be shared because it’s inspiring. It should be shared because it’s real. And it should be shared because it’s needed by so many people facing challenges and not knowing how to overcome them.

The Story

For 13 Years, Nothing Has Stopped the Esendemir Sisters and Flatbread Grill was the title of an article in QSR Magazine back in December 2020. It’s when I first became aware of the Esendemir Sisters and their intriguing story. It was written by Gonca Esendemir so I knew this was a story from the heart.

Gonca wrote:

“In 2007, at the height of an imminent economic recession, my sisters and I decided to open a fast-casual restaurant concept called Flatbread Grill. The three of us teamed up after our father was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Our father needed affordable health insurance to have the surgery and afford the lifetime care that came with it. He was forced into early retirement as a result of his health problems.

I was a 24-year-old college student, struggling to earn my filmmaking arts degree when my restaurant journey began. At the same time, Arzu, my younger sister, who 23, had just graduated at the top of her college class with a double degree in business management and finance. Fusun, our older sister, had taken on the responsibilities of financially supporting both our parents. That is, until her corporate job laid her off. She decided to use her passion for food to open up a restaurant. Fusun asked Arzu for help, who then asked me if I wanted to join them. There was no fancy business plan, no meticulous strategy sessions, and no hiring of outside consultants. It was just the three of us with one goal: make enough money to save our father’s life and support ourselves.

The restaurant world was nothing new to us. We grew up inside our father’s two Turkish restaurants. Fusun helped run those restaurants when she was just 13. I spent my childhood playing with Barbie dolls while watching my mother perform prep work, wash dishes, and cook alongside my father and big sister. Both Arzu and I also worked multiple service jobs, including bartending and waitressing, at various foodservice establishments, to put ourselves through college.

Despite watching our father lose his restaurants growing up, we somehow believed this was a path we could navigate successfully. Our father mortgaged his home to finance Flatbread Grill, and my sisters used whatever savings they had. If we didn’t make this restaurant work, it meant homelessness for our family. Failure was not an option.”

Read the entire article HERE.

I read the article multiple times. I didn’t know them, but I was rooting for them. Although, I just knew in my heart they would succeed. A quote about courage came to mind…

Courage, I realized, was not the absence of fear; it was the absence of selfishness; putting someone else’s interest before one’s own. – Michelle Cohen Corasanti

I have never met any of the Esendemirs but I have connected with them on LinkedIn. Mostly, with Gonca. I love how she shares her thoughts and always responds to comments with thought. She doesn’t post just to express herself. Instead, I find that she’s sharing her story as it continues to evolve. She may not realize it, but she’s actually helping others that may be sitting on the sidelines, afraid to ask questions, to seek much needed assistance. You see, Gonca shares real-life experiences she and her sisters are living day in and day out.

The Pivot

Over the past two weeks or so, I’ve been sharing my thoughts on surviving the recession, whether looming on the horizon or actually here. Regardless, business owners must be prepared and take action without hesitation.

As I was gathering my thoughts for yesterday’s article, I saw that Gonca had shared a recent article about her and her sisters’ efforts as detailed in a local publication, “The Hoboken Girl”. The article, You Can Now Find Flatbread Grill’s Thumb Bread in Local Grocery Stores inspired me to write about pivoting as a proactive measure to survive challenging and uncertain times. After all, what Gonca, Arzu and Fusun had done was essentially the perfect pivot!

From the article:

“The pandemic pushed the Esendemir Sisters to shift their focus from the restaurant to their bread business. And since the trio opened their first restaurant during the recession, they knew what it was like to launch a new business in difficult times.

As Gonca said, “We go all-in on something,” and the sisters got to work securing baking equipment, a facility, and reworking the recipe to give the bread a longer shelf life. It wasn’t long before ShopRite reached out about selling Thumb Bread in its stores.

Thumb Bread is now available in select ShopRite stores across the East Coast. “Locally, you can find it in the Hoboken, Bayonne, Jersey City ShopRites. We also have other locations rolling out in the next couple of weeks,” Arzu said, including 8 NYC Gourmet Garage locations later this summer.”

Read the entire article HERE.

Gonca shared advice in the QSR article that should resonate loud and clear to business owners everywhere. It’s quite apparent that Gonca and her sisters continue to practice what they preach.

“I can offer no magic formula other than hard work, strategic thinking, and quick decision-making, even when all seems hopeless. My sisters and I didn’t focus on “trends”—we anticipated them before they happened. We focused on continually improving our operations, watching our food costs, focusing on quality and consistency, and paying attention to the customer experience. Smaller owner-operators are almost always cash strapped. They don’t have the luxury of taking risks or a/b testing to see what works. Things have to work when they are executed because mistakes can be costly. I learned this the hard way over the past 13 years. Even a small mistake can cost thousands.”

No alt text provided for this image

Learn more about Thumb Bread HERE.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!

During COVID, marketers veered away from inventing buzz words to bastardizing perfectly good everyday words and phrases. So, among the many challenges and uncertainties of the time, we heard these words and phrases again and again and again. They were being used to identify and stress what was being described within the New Normal. Truth be told, I did ride the bandwagon and actually wrote an article for the restaurant industry of the same title. If you’re interested, you can still find it HERE.

There were a number of these words and phrases on the list of the most hated buzz words and buzz phrases of the COVID era including the ‘new normal’ itself. The list included bandwidth, end-user, granular, hack, ‘I did a thing’, ‘it is what it is’, influencer, jab, ‘take it offline’, ‘thought leader’, ‘we remain cautious’, WFH, zooming, and pivot. Although, I believe ‘pivot’ may have been the most appropriate word for the time. Albeit it was overused and, in many cases, misunderstood.

Defining ‘Pivot’

Friends Term: Pivot! Definition: Something Ross screams when trying to move a couch up some stairs. Today’s Term: It’s the same, but it’s something you scream when trying to find the right angle with your selfie stick.

If you’re one of the few people alive that doesn’t know about the Friends scene referred to above, or like me, you want to view it again and again, take a minute to check it out on YouTube. Actually, it’s a great way to start the day with a laugh, especially as this video is one with bloopers.

But make no joke about it. We can laugh about the word being overused. We can fret about it being used incorrectly. We can even snicker about it being used within a string of similar words (change, shift, spin, re-direct, etc.) resulting in a long run-on sentence as if doing so makes more of an impact or appears to make the person saying it, a thought leader or influencer.

What does pivoting mean in business?

When a business pivots, it means that it’s changing some aspect of its core products or services. Businesses might pivot to better meet customer demand, to shift their target audience to boost sales or some combination of both. Businesses may also pivot if the business model is not adaptable for the current environment, ergo within a pandemic.

However, the ability to pivot does not necessarily mean a commitment to pivot. And that’s exactly what I’ve realized long after writing and speaking about The New Normal. I’ve witnessed a number of restaurants quickly adapt to several new ways of doing business only to revert back to the old at the first glimmer of things returning to the way they were before.

Instead of staying the course and remaining committed to the plan and despite having been successful during this new normal, they abruptly reversed course having never been committed to the changes.

Now, as we’re again in the midst of challenging times and again with a great deal of uncertainty, I’m seeing these business owners frantically attempting to force square pegs into round holes by still trying to keep things the way they had been instead of evolving, and yes, pivoting.

Over the past two days, I’ve written two articles, Take Action to Overcome Fear and Proactively Addressing Business Fears. The basis of both was about taking a proactive approach to surviving through challenging times. My focus, as always was on playing to win as opposed to playing not to lose.

Making the decision to pivot, to truly pivot is a proactive decision. However, it must have commitment, firm commitment to follow through without any wavering and certainly, without looking back.

Tomorrow, as I continue to present ways to fight recession as a business owner and entrepreneur, I look forward to sharing a true story of what I believe is one of the most successful pivots of our time, of these challenging times. I cannot think of a better word than ‘commitment’ to describe this story. Be sure to check in tomorrow.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Proactively Addressing Business Fears

Yesterday’s article, Take Action to Overcome Fear apparently hit home across various segments of entrepreneurs and business owners. From founders to restaurant operators, from solopreneurs to independent store owners I received quite a few requests for examples of the questions and possible scenarios they should be addressing as part of their development of an action plan. I’m very pleased to see that yesterday’s message opened a few eyes and minds.

So, what is it that you fear right now for your business as well as the challenges and issues that you may be anticipating in the near future? List them all.

Listing fears for your business, the various things that could possibly raise their ugly heads in challenging times, are all essential components to your action plan. In fact, they represent the reason for the plan and as such, make up the foundation from which your plan should be built.

Fears expressed by many to me in recent conversations are real (and challenging). Almost all have expressed fear of failure, fear of losing everything, and fear of losing the respect of others. I believe we can all agree similar fears have been on the minds of business owners and entrepreneurs at one time or another. Whether admitted or not, I believe that to be true.

Okay, so it’s a given – all are afraid for the future, the outcome, the aftermath when the dust settles. Key right now is to address the gap from today to those potential points. Some questions to ask now should be about potential scenarios in the business itself, the things that would adversely affect the customer experience, employee experience, company culture, and ultimately, revenue & profits and business stability:

  • What would you do if you lost a senior member or two of your team? What if it were immediate?
  • At what point would you address sharp increases for goods & products? And, how? What about for frequent increases of the same items?
  • How would you handle an influx of negative customer reviews? What would you do if the reviews pointed back to a key member of your team, knowing that staffing has been problematic?
  • What would you do if a key product or two to your business were immediately unavailable? How about if unavailable for the foreseeable future?
  • How would you handle unexpectedly losing a business partner for an extended period of time? What would need to be done if that partner were you?
  • What would you do if a major piece of equipment were to break down? How about if the equipment is unrepairable and requires replacement? What if the part or replacement item were unavailable?

I’m sure these scenarios will spur additional ones in your mind. If you think the above are extreme scenarios that’ll just be addressed at the time of occurrence, think again. I’ve heard about these exact situations from business owners. Fortunately, no more than two situations were occurring at the same time but in all instances, they hadn’t really been considered before, at least to the extent of preparing for them. Most business owners expressed being caught off-guard and flat-footed.

Scenarios such as the ones listed above are further compounded (and complicated) by challenging times. As such, quick responses are not only necessary, but potentially vital to the future of the business. Thinking them through and defining potential action steps will help to act swiftly and decisively with much less interference with day-to-day business as might otherwise be the case. Certainly, it’ll help the business owner focus on the details necessary to survive challenging times.

One More Thing

Are you making decisions proactively based upon a plan, or reactively, which is often off the cuff or from the hip? Essentially, are you playing to win, or playing not lose?

After all, just playing defense (reactive) doesn’t win games as the best that can be hoped for is a tie-game. The worst-case scenario is a ball trickling through resulting in defeat. The only way to win is to play a solid game of both defense AND offense (proactive) according to a solid game plan, one that addresses all scenarios and possibilities!

No alt text provided for this image

Action Plan

Revisiting yesterday’s article, next steps should be addressed with the following points in mind:

Prioritize which scenarios you believe would be most urgent to address. Outline various action steps that could be taken to thwart the problem. Define various things that could be done to minimize each potential challenge or issue according to your list. Detail counts!

Be proactive in all areas of your business by asking yourself hard questions. Do so by thinking about ‘what if’ scenarios. Being proactive will make decision-making much easier and the right decisions more likely. Be sure to think of both simple and extreme situations as with a comprehensive proactive plan in place, the element of surprise will have been eliminated. This will make the transition from problem to solution much easier and less stressful than otherwise.

No alt text provided for this image

Assistance & Resources

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important. So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to me for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate. You can reach me via a LinkedIn message, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851. Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com.

If you’re interested in having the Preparing for War: You vs. Recession series presented to your organization, either as a webinar, workshop or conference break-out session, please click HERE for more information. The program can be tailored to your business model, product, service offering and industry segment. It has been resonating quite well with franchise and restaurant brands. The series also works well as the structure for one-on-one coaching for business owners, founders, senior executives, and entrepreneurs – all according to well-defined goals. Complimentary initial consultation!

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Take Action to Overcome Fear

According to Wikipedia, Fear is an intensely unpleasant emotion in response to perceiving or recognizing a danger or threat. Fear causes physiological changes that may produce behavioral reactions such as mounting an aggressive response or fleeing the threat. Fear in human beings may occur in response to a certain stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to oneself. The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis.

Further, fear is closely related to the emotion anxiety, which occurs as the result of threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable. The fear response serves survival by engendering appropriate behavioral responses, so it has been preserved throughout evolution. Sociological and organizational research also suggests that individuals’ fears are not solely dependent on their nature but are also shaped by their social relations and culture, which guide their understanding of when and how much fear to feel.

Note the highlighted and linked words above – mostly synonyms and other related emotions and emotional conditions. Do the definitions of Fear, along with the highlighted and linked words apply to your mindset as you faced challenges and uncertainty?

However, fear is sometimes incorrectly considered the opposite of courage. Because courage is a willingness to face adversity, fear is an example of a condition that makes the exercise of courage possible.

Yes, Recession. Yes, Fear!

Over the past two weeks we had addressed surviving a downturn in the economy, and yes, in a recession. Whether just on the horizon or already in it, the effects of a recession are quite real. Strategizing and implementing action plans are all fine and good and of course, absolutely necessary but can only be effectively accomplished by recognizing and addressing fears. Yes, fear as we are in scary times!

It’s tough enough working through a period of economic challenges than compounding the difficulties with fear. The after effect could be debilitating with potential catastrophic results. The fallout from the same would be widespread. As such, the likelihood of indecision, poor decisions, and procrastination is very high, significantly compounding problems even more.

“There’s nothing to fear but fear itself” is a very true statement. Unfortunately, that may be easy to comprehend but it’s certainly not easy to act upon. Fear often causes action to be taken reactively as opposed to acting in a proactive manner. Reacting based upon fear can start a domino-effect that is difficult to stop.

Negative momentum builds and can quickly spiral out of control. So, it’s imperative to realize fears, act decisively and move forward without allowing fear to cause paralysis in decision-making and in taking action. Play to win as opposed to playing not lose!

Action Plan

So, what is it that you fear right now for your business as well as the challenges and issues that you may be anticipating in the near future? List them all.

Prioritize which ones you believe would be most urgent to address. Outline various action steps that could be taken to thwart the problem. Define various things that could be done to minimize each potential challenge or issue according to your list. Detail counts!

Be proactive in all areas of your business by asking yourself hard questions. Do so by thinking about ‘what if’ scenarios. Being proactive will make decision-making much easier and the right decisions more likely. Be sure to think of both simple and extreme situations as with a comprehensive proactive plan in place, the element of surprise will have been eliminated. This will make the transition from problem to solution much easier and less stressful than otherwise.

Assistance & Resources

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important. So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to me for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate. You can reach me via a LinkedIn message, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851. Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com.

If you’re interested in having the Preparing for War: You vs. Recession series presented to your organization, either as a webinar, workshop or conference break-out session, please click HERE for more information. The program can be tailored to your business model, product, service offering and industry segment. It has been resonating quite well with franchise and restaurant brands. The series also works well as the structure for one-on-one coaching for business owners, founders, senior executives, and entrepreneurs – all according to well-defined goals. Complimentary initial consultation!

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Weekly Review July 17-23, 2022

Just like an experience at your local café, I’ve planned for Acceler8Success Cafe to be conveniently located when and where you desire or need to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and catch up on some time for you. My goal is for Acceler8Success Cafe to be your virtual café, a place where you may frequently visit to enjoy a few minutes of leisure time to read, think and reflect about ways to improve and succeed in today’s crazy business world.

I strive for your experience to be memorable by providing learning opportunities, by presenting different perspective & insight, by spurring thought & reflection, by encouraging interaction, and by spotlighting topics that, quite frankly, may not be as front and center as they should or need to be.

Acceler8Success Cafe is open for business seven days a week. For the benefit of current & aspiring entrepreneurs, this daily newsletter is delivered each morning. As a way to jumpstart the week ahead, a weekly review is delivered each Sunday morning listing and linking to the articles you might have missed during the previous week. My objective is to provide an opportunity for you to begin your day and the week ahead informed and with ideas that possibly could accelerate your success.

So, before we jump into this week’s review, how about starting today with a smile? A positive thought? Your happy place? A tug at the child in you? And what better way than doing so than with Snoopy as Joe Cool on these hot summer days. Of course, let’s not forget Woodstock as we could all use a close friend.

No alt text provided for this image

Recapping the Series: “Preparing for War: You vs. Recession”

We started the week with the next-to-last segment of the series, Preparing for War: You vs. Recession. Over the previous week and a half, we had worked through the various things that entrepreneurs and small business owners can and should do to combat economic uncertainty and ultimately, the war against recession. There is no doubt, recession is on its way, if not already here lurking around every corner and already affecting us all.

Read the article for Monday, July 18th HERE.

Recession Prep Question: How will your mental health hold up during challenging times?

Tuesday saw us discussing the final segment of the Preparing for War: You vs. Recession series. Our focus was on YOU. That means, YOU the entrepreneur, the founder, the business owner, the leader, the CEO or whomever is charged with business performance and ultimately, the business succeeding according to defined goals. Especially in challenging times, how do we ensure that YOU perform at the highest level possible without stressing out and /or burning out?

‘Why’ is a question that is always asked by those left behind or hurt by suicides – the answer or answers would never make sense to someone who loves life. As such, I look forward to thoughts on this with hope the discussion continues. Thank you!

If you feel you have no one to talk to, contact me. I’m happy to help. You can reach out to me on LinkedIn, by email to paul@acceler8success.com, or feel free to call or text me at (832) 797-9851. I will respond as quickly as humanly possible!

Read the article for Tuesday, July 19th HERE.

“That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”

Wednesday was the 53rd Anniversary of one of America’s greatest achievements. The photos shared were from the actual New York Daily News newspaper that I’ve kept secure since that majestic day. I love taking it out every year to read the articles, to look at all the unbelievable pictures, to remember the feeling of pride that was seemingly evident everywhere. And, without fail my own tears of pride run down my face – tears of American Pride!

Read the article for Wednesday, July 20th HERE.

Prayer to Combat Challenging Times: Let Us Pray!

On Thursday we discussed prayer as part of the strategy to face and survive challenging times. After all, prayer is an essential part of every world religion, including Christianity. Most people realize it has something to do with talking to God. Many hope that it might bring much needed assistance or comfort when facing difficult circumstances.

No alt text provided for this image

Prayer offers new meaning, purpose, hope, and a sense of guidance or control. These perceptions may help instill a fighting spirit, which has been reported to be an important factor in healing. Prayer can enrich the quality of one’s life and also bring a feeling of peace. It made sense to include prayer in our efforts.

Read the article for Thursday, July 21st HERE.

Technology in Business: Invest and implement. Rinse and repeat. Again, and again until…?

Reflecting upon the recently completed series, I realized that I hadn’t touched upon technology and how it must be included in our goals to ensure we achieve those goals. Meaning… understanding what will be involved, doing the necessary prep work, and learning about and investing in technology that will help us achieve those goals.

As the world accelerates at break-neck speed towards “everything digital” it is vitally important and absolutely essential we stay on top of technology. This cannot be stressed enough! It is reality and is paramount to any type of business success. The key is not to look at this from a negative perspective. Instead, embrace it for what it is, and for what it can do to help grow your business.

Read the article for Friday, July 22nd HERE.

Productive Saturday Mornings

We wrapped up the week appropriately discussing how to be productive on the weekend while maintaining work / life balance. As I do every Saturday morning, I review some 300+ digital publications, blogs, newsletters & videos to which I subscribe. Most have been received in my email throughout the prior week. Upon receipt, I quickly skim and bookmark articles and information I find to be of interest and thus, worth reading with the understanding of learning, as opposed to a quick glance.

I am very focused on maintaining work / life balance, but I firmly believe there are things that can/should be done during some down time that could prove beneficial as the daily grind continues. They key is to maintain balance. With that in mind, I have found my Saturday mornings to be quite productive and worth my attention. A grind of a different kind but with similar productivity goals around success.

Read the article for Saturday, July 23rd HERE.

No alt text provided for this image

Coming Soon

I’m excited to announce that the Preparing for War: You vs. Recession series will be released as a white paper. Stay tuned for more details.

Help is just a message, phone call, email or text away!

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important. So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to me for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate. You can reach me right here on LinkedIn, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851. Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com and also at Entrepreneurship411.com.

Bring the series to your organization

If you’re interested in having this series presented to your organization, either as a webinar, workshop or conference break-out session, please click HERE for more information. The program can be tailored to your business model, product, service offering and industry segment. It has been resonating quite well with franchise and restaurant brands.

Motivational Video

“To anybody who’s reading this, I pray that whatever is hurting you or whatever you are constantly stressing about gets better. May the dark thoughts, the overthinking, and the doubt exit your mind right now. May clarity replace confusion. May peace and calmness fill your life.” – Diligent Motivation (on You Tube)

Have a great day (and week ahead). Make it happen. Make it count!

Productive Saturday Mornings

As I do every Saturday morning, I review some 300+ digital publications, blogs, newsletters & videos to which I subscribe. Most have been received in my email throughout the prior week. Upon receipt, I quickly skim and bookmark articles and information I find to be of interest and thus, worth reading with the understanding of learning, as opposed to a quick glance.

I am very focused on maintaining work/life balance, but I firmly believe there are things that can/should be done during some down time that could prove beneficial as the daily grind continues. They key is to maintain balance. With that in mind, I have found my Saturday mornings to be quite productive and worth my attention. A grind of a different kind but with similar productivity goals around success.

No alt text provided for this image

This morning I came across an article about goals that I found particularly interesting. Although, as I’m passionate about personal branding as well as self-promotion, I have a somewhat different perspective about this article. Here’s a snapshot of that article:

Why You Should Keep Your Big Career Goals a Secret from Your Friends

In any event, the article maintains that while it’s natural and oh so tempting to want to announce big goals, it’s smarter to keep them to yourself. In a 2009 experiment at New York University, 163 subjects were given a difficult work project and forty-five minutes to spend on it. Half the subjects were told to announce their goals, while half were told to keep quiet.

The subjects who announced their goals quit after only an average of thirty-three minutes, and reported feeling satisfied with their work. Those who kept their mouths shut, however, worked the entire forty-five minutes, and remained strongly motivated. (In fact, when the experiment ended, they wanted to keep working.)

Telling others about your big goals makes them less likely to happen, because it creates an unconscious payoff— tricking our brains into thinking we’ve already accomplished the goal. Keeping our big goals to ourselves is one of the smartest goals we can set.

Well, I’m not sure I completely agree as I’ve been taught to enlist the help of others, and especially those close to me to help move me toward achieving my goals. What also stands out in my mind is to make certain others have a stake in the goal. How does/can it benefit them if my goals are achieved? I also recall an emphasis being put on working toward common goals with others. After all, two heads are better than one, right?

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” – Zig Ziglar

Golden Rules of Goal Setting

Have you thought about what you want to be doing in five years’ time? Are you clear about what your main objective at work is at the moment? Do you know what you want to have achieved by the end of today?

If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. Think about it: having a million dollars in the bank is only proof of success if one of your goals is to amass riches. If your goal is to practice acts of charity, then keeping the money for yourself is suddenly contrary to how you would define success.

To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them. You can’t simply say, “I want” and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between, there are some very well-defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to formulate goals that you can accomplish.

Read more and watch the video at MindTools.com

7 Ways to Turn Your Dreams into Reality

Dreams without action is a world of make believe. Consider the following:

  • 96 percent of college professors believe they have above average teaching skills.
  • 50 percent of high school students believe they will attend law school, medical school or grad school.
  • Time magazine asked in a survey, “Are you in the top 1% of wage earners?” Nineteen percent said yes! And 36 percent expected to be.

Really?!!!

Personally, I believe the best way to turn dreams into reality is to keep front and center the reason(s) why I started in the first place.

No alt text provided for this image

Reading for Information AND for Motivation & Inspiration

For those close to me, it’s a given to know that I’m an avid reader as I’m a sponge for new ideas and motivation & inspiration to make those ideas (and dreams) come true.

So, I always have a book or two on my desk that I’m reading or about to read for the first time. I also keep several other books that I have already read but I may be referring to them as inspiration and/or reference to a project.

It is all a process. Develop whatever process that works best for you!

Currently on my desk…

No alt text provided for this image

One More Thing (or 12 more things!)

12 Ways to Be More Productive on the Weekends

  • Use different skills than you use during the week.
  • Don’t try to do it all.
  • Kick into gear first thing in the morning.
  • Give your mind a break.
  • Catch up on sleep.
  • Hone a skill for the job you want.
  • Write a guest post for a publication.
  • Pick at least one obligation-free day.
  • If you choose to work, set a time limit.
  • Declutter your living spaces.
  • Volunteer.
  • Do something fun on Sunday night.

Credit to: Lindsay Kolowich Cox 

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Technology in Business: Invest and implement. Rinse and repeat. Again, and again until…?

As we’re at the mid-year mark, it’s essential we look ahead forward and review our goals through the end of the year and into 2023 & 2024. But too often we don’t take into consideration how we’re going to ensure we achieve those goals. Meaning, understanding what will be involved, doing the necessary prep work, and learning about and investing in technology that will help us achieve those goals.

As the world accelerates at break-neck speed towards “everything digital” it is vitally important and absolutely essential we stay on top of technology. This cannot be stressed enough! It is reality and is paramount to any type of business success. The key is not to look at this from a negative perspective. Instead, embrace it for what it is, and for what it can do to help grow your business.

Technology is not the enemy. It truly is your friend and one that can help you in more ways than you could ever imagine.

I don’t want to scare anyone to death here, but everything digital is an easy concept to realize as compared to a growing trend toward the Meta sphere, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and who knows what else? Many organizations are already fast-tracking efforts into these relatively new technologies.

Let’s slide back a bit. Imagine doing business today without computers? Without the internet? Without a telephone? Correction – Without a smart phone?

Many business owners in the late ’80’s were reluctant to embrace computers and many thought the internet was a fad and it would wither away. They couldn’t even begin to imagine a paperless business. Just 10 short years ago, many business owners had the same thoughts about social media and digital technology. Heck, a lot of them are still complaining about Web 2.0, when most of us know we’re well beyond 2.0.

But how far? Is there a stopping point? Yes, there is a stopping point as some technology that was extremely hot at one point have disappeared almost overnight. Blackberry and PalmPilot are two that immediately come to mind.

At a point not too long ago, seemingly everything that was changed or improved was labeled as 2.0. Then, we saw some 2.1’s and such to differentiate minor changes or improvements. A few weeks ago, I saw reference to 5.0. I know I’ve seen at least one 3.0, but what happened to 4.0? And is there really such a thing as anything more than 2.0.

Mind you, I’m not referring to update versions of software. I get that. I’m referring to the labeling of more intangible things (methods, processes, philosophies) like Management 2.0 or Marketing 3.0 or Whatever 4.0 but that may include a particular software or app making it completely or in-part technology-centered integrated at some point.

Is digital technology different than other technologies? I believe the best answer for small business owners is a resounding no. After all, it’s all integrated together beyond method to software as is the case in a typical small business or restaurant today.

I guess the most important thing to realize, and probably quite differently than looking back at technological advances in the ’80’s and ’90’s is the fact that today’s consumer has embraced “technology” and has incorporated it into their daily routine. Of course, let’s not lose sight of the younger generations that utilize technology because, quite frankly, they don’t really know any other way of doing things. It’s the norm to them. Actually, younger generations don’t even look at it as technology!

So, back to today’s consumer… As they have embraced technology at a quicker pace than in the past, they demand and expect brands to have embraced it as well. They also expect brands to be ahead of the curve, and at the very least, ahead of where they are as consumers using technology. I guess a key question to ask at this time is, “At what point does today’s and tomorrow’s consumer meld together and eliminate the transition stage?”

No alt text provided for this image

I ask that because the transition stage is today’s business owner’s comfort zone. It’s the comfort zone relied upon that minimizes the sense of urgency to embrace technology. It’s the comfort zone that has many business owners stating, “I have time. I’ll check it out next year.” or “Our customers are older. They don’t use this new stuff. I’ll worry about it when I have to.”

It’s important to understand, today’s consumer, regardless of age, has embraced, or at the very least, accepted technology. They are more sophisticated than ever before. They’re also more diligent. Their expectations are growing by the minute, and most have ventured far beyond their own comfort zones. If you don’t believe that to be true, just look in the hands of many seniors today and you’ll see a smart phone.

Add to this the influence of younger generations that in the past would have been considered to be bringing up the rear, that are now pushing forward, and pushing hard and without even realizing it because it’s also the norm for them. “Hey grandpa, let me show you how to book and manage your cruise on your iPhone.” is a scenario I’ve seen time and again in my own home.

Before you know it, the transition stage, the comfort zone, will be gone, and business owners that have not embraced, accepted AND committed to technology will not survive.

Investment in technology is a cost of business today no different that the telephone quickly came to be as business owners realized the benefit of what was initially considered a disruption or even a nuisance. Even the role of the telephone has significantly changed from what was the norm not that long ago.

How many other technological advances that have become mainstream in business today were initially thought to be a disruption and nuisance? Or the advances that in short order replaced what had been an advance in technology or the way business was conducted just a few years prior? Fax machines were all the rage and then before we knew it, they were obsolete.

How long will it be before humans will become obsolete in business as we know it? Far-fetched? Possibly, but to a degree, not too far-fetched when you consider the changes being implemented in the restaurant industry with kiosks to order food, robots preparing orders AND also delivering food to tables and even to homes, and taking it a step further, home-delivery via drones.

The question I’ll leave you to ponder is this… At what point does the local business owner become obsolete?

No alt text provided for this image

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Prayer to Combat Challenging Times: Let Us Pray!

During the past couple of weeks, we discussed various ways to navigate our businesses through challenging times. We focused on solid business principles and wrapped up with mental health awareness. In retrospect, I was thinking, why was prayer not included in the mix?

After all, prayer is an essential part of every world religion, including Christianity. Most people realize it has something to do with talking to God. Many hope that it might bring much needed assistance or comfort when facing difficult circumstances.

Prayer offers new meaning, purpose, hope, and a sense of guidance or control. These perceptions may help instill a fighting spirit, which has been reported to be an important factor in healing. Prayer can enrich the quality of one’s life and also bring a feeling of peace.

So, doesn’t it make sense to include prayer in our efforts? Maybe not to the extent of including it in an action plan as I believe prayer should occur in both good and difficult times. Growing up, I was taught that praying for something specific, like a new bike was selfish. However, I don’t believe it’s selfish to pray for the courage AND strength necessary to face challenging times and periods of adversity.

No alt text provided for this image

Certainly, praying for hope, and praying for the benefit of others, for each other, for our loved ones should not be considered selfish. In fact, I believe it’s a moral obligation to think of others, to help others, and to pray for others.

In these times of economic uncertainty, public unrest, and a list of challenges too long to list, I humbly request, God, please hear our prayers.

As I was researching prayer, I came across a prayer by Pastor Justin Barnett that I’d like to share with you today. Pastor Barnett wrote the following at NeuseNews.com:

I was asked recently to submit a prayer for businesses that would be a part of a National Day of Prayer series for Neuse News. I immediately thought of all the small businesses that are struggling and many that are closed right now. I am intimately acquainted with the struggles of small businesses and small business owners. My grandfather opened and ran a small family business.

Later, my dad ran this same small family business. Throughout my childhood, my father was up early to work and home late from work, trying to keep the family business going. I saw the stress in his face, the same stress that drove him to chain smoke cigarettes all day long for many years. I remember the tension that troubles with the business placed upon my family. My heart and my prayers go out to those businesses that are struggling right now.

With this in mind, I offer this prayer. I invite you to pray with me, as you read it.

Lord, thank you for the small businesses in our communities, for the hard work, the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into them. For many, their businesses are not just stores or companies, they are the fabric of their lives and the lives of their loved ones. We pray God that You will guide these small business owners and provide for their families during this difficult and uncertain time.

We pray that every small business owner along with their family, will not be overcome by fear and worry, but that each and every one will trust in You and find wisdom and guidance in You. We pray that as they do this, that they will make wise decisions, the decisions that are best for their families, and that they will make these decisions at precisely the right moments.

n the Bible, Solomon wrote, “Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed (Proverbs 16:3, (NLT).” We pray that small business owners will follow this Scripture, and that they will commit everything to You, and that You will bless them with success. We pray that the public will see that the small businesses that operate with honesty and integrity, and that seek to treat people, be it staff, vendors, or customers, with kindness, compassion, and respect, are something that we desperately need in our communities. We pray that people will see the great need and the special benefits of supporting local mom and pop businesses and will buy locally.

God, be with our small business owners and their families. Bless them and keep them. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

God Bless Us All. Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count.

No alt text provided for this image

“That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”

Today is the 53rd Anniversary of one of America’s greatest achievements. The photos below are from the actual New York Daily News newspaper that I’ve kept secure since that majestic day. I love taking it out every year to read the articles, to look at all the unbelievable pictures, to remember the feeling of pride that was seemingly evident everywhere. And, without fail my own tears of pride run down my face – tears of American Pride!

No alt text provided for this image
No alt text provided for this image

At the bottom of the political cartoon of the day was a classic quote from the Bible. I don’t recall anyone being offended by it. To my knowledge, there weren’t demonstrations about it. And I don’t believe it was meant to shove religious beliefs down our throats.

I saw it more a whisper to us… thank God the astronauts landed safely and ultimately, thank God, they made it home.

To me there’s not much stronger than our wishes, hopes and dreams and when they’re seemingly similar across a group of people, a nation, they could either lift us up or drop us like a ton of bricks, shattering our beliefs and along with it our wishes, hopes and dreams.

So, when we’re lifted beyond our wildest imagination our feeling of exhilaration, although a mere whisper is really us screaming from the rooftops and from the highest mountains… Thank God!

No alt text provided for this image

On this, the 53rd Anniversary of Apollo 11 Lunar Landing I proudly share the following…

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

No alt text provided for this image

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Recession Prep Question: How will your mental health hold up during challenging times?

In this the final segment of the Preparing for War: You vs. Recession series, I’d like to focus on YOU. That means, YOU the entrepreneur, the founder, the business owner, the leader, the CEO or whomever is charged with business performance and ultimately, the business succeeding according to defined goals. Especially in challenging times, how do we ensure that you perform at the highest level possible without stressing out and /or burning out?

At Acceler8Success Cafe, we’ve spent a great deal of time discussing mental health awareness and especially as it relates to entrepreneurship, business ownership, and leadership. Articles I’ve previously shared here about Mental Health are appropriate to share for this final segment of the series.

In late-May as Mental Health Awareness Month was coming to an end; I shared the following:

Certainly, the past couple of year has had us facing many uncertainties which, quite frankly took us on an emotional roller coaster. Mostly, the driving force has been fear. I’ve realized my own fear once I was able to admit being scared. Hey, at my age and the fact I’m not in good shape, I must be realistic. So, I’ve worked through my fear and in doing so, maybe I can overcome it. As fear is such a strong emotion that easily grips the soul, it will take time and patience to overcome such a grip.

Little by little I look forward to continuing to pry it away as fear is replaced by courage gained from confidence that fear is just a challenge to be conquered. The great thing is that some of the challenges don’t have to be tackled alone. Instead, collaborative efforts aligned with common goals truly exemplify the phrase, ‘strength in numbers’ and it’s that strength that ultimately conquers fear. Easier said than done? Possibly, but the alternative is being overwhelmed by fear and that, I’ve recognized is not living.

Loneliness, Depression, Fear: All Contribute to Mental Health Issues

Some, but not nearly enough has been written about entrepreneurs & celebrities and their battles with mental health. Loneliness and depression continue to occur within the ranks of both groups at an increasing rate and although failure (or fear of failure or a drop from superstar ranks) may be a driving force, it’s often not the sole deciding factor.

Is it the quest for perfection? Is it a blinding passion that nothing else is visible? Or a control issue where no one can do it better, so it’s dealt with alone?

Michael Dermer has written a great book, The Lonely Entrepreneur and has developed a membership site of the same name that is a great resource for entrepreneurs. Strategic Coach has developed a great program for entrepreneurs. There are others, as well.

But are current efforts enough to slow down the alarming rate of suicide among entrepreneurs – and often more in the spotlight than entrepreneurs, celebrities? As successful as they were, what were the deciding factors leading to the suicides of chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade?

The deaths of Bourdain and Spade by suicide have thrown the spotlight on celebrities and depression. Instead of bringing them happiness and freedom, for many, being sought-after, rich and at the top of their game leads to an identity crisis and ruminations on their self-worth.

And now, Naomi Judd, one-half of the iconic country music duo The Judds, reportedly died by suicide after years of struggling with mental illness.

This is a topic that must be brought front and center as we continue to grow as an entrepreneurial society with approximately 60% of the labor force in some type of self-sustaining endeavor whether it’d be as freelancers, sole practitioners, professional service providers, contractors, solopreneurs, and increasingly, musicians, artists, and authors.

Why is suicide more common among entrepreneurs, celebrities and creatives?

Noted Bollywood actor and television star Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide a couple of years ago. His demise came as a shock to many as it was the fourth death of a famous personality from the Hindi film industry to pass away within months of each other.

Suicide is not a new issue, especially not in celebrity circles. These tragic deaths are also not limited by lines of work, ranging from boxers, designers, politicians and writers to actors, musicians and yes, entrepreneurs. What about influencers that have achieved celebrity status along with becoming rising stars in this relatively new class of entrepreneurs?

There was a string of influencer suicides in 2021. All unfortunate and tragic occurrences that took young lives, they left entire fan communities in mourning for their favorite stars who had secured places as standing icons of inspiration across fields, from beauty to travel to farming to sports. But what often goes ignored when reviewing these moments of tragedy is the kind of impact the internet is having on our mental health, every single day.

It isn’t just online celebrities or creators partaking in influencer cultures who are burdened with the impossible expectations and virtual validation that the internet has become the one-stop destination for. Sadly, it can happen, and is happening, to many of us plugged into social media.

There is no conclusive line on whether all these influencer suicides came about as a result of social media impinging on mental health. But there is no doubt about the fact that a direct or indirect correlation between our use (or abuse) of the internet and offline consequences.

So, why do wealthy people kill themselves? Don’t they have it all?

The reality we often forget, however, is that celebrities are human beings, just like us. “We only see one version – one of glamour, fame and fortune,” explains Nance Roy, Ed.D, Chief Clinical Officer at The Jed Foundation. They may struggle with relationships, finances and illness. Adds Dr. Roy: “Celebrities may feel more pressure to perform, to be perfect and to keep up their image for fans, often making it more difficult for them to reach out for help.” Another critical point: a person rarely takes his or her own life because of just one reason. “Suicide is complex, and we often don’t know all the factors involved.”

Bullying, even of celebrities and other notable individuals is certainly a contributing factor as it is for our younger generations. In fact, the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and 2nd among people aged 10 to 34 (a person dies every 11 minutes), suicide was identified by the National Institute of Mental Health as a major public health concern. Suicide rates increased 35% from 1999 to 2018, briefly declining in 2019. However, reports of depression and anxiety – risk factors for suicide – had increased during the pandemic.

Talking About Mental Health

We need to reduce the stigma faced by people experiencing a mental illness. How? As Martin mentioned, we need to talk about it. Stigma remains a major barrier to treatment and care. Dr. Fink agrees: “How do we grieve and process except by speaking and sharing with others?” When people die of cancer, their illness is almost always part the public conversation. From his Haitian roots, Dr. Arty provides a global perspective: “As a world community, we need to be bold and unashamed in discussing this sensitive and painful topic. The discussion itself may save a life.”

Dispelling myths is also key. A common myth? “Asking someone if they are suicidal will not increase the risk that they will die by suicide,” clarifies Dr. Roy. Inquiring about potential self-harm in a compassionate way may instead provide an opportunity for the person to express their feelings and reach out for help.

Proclamation from The White House on National Mental Health Awareness Month

Each May we raise awareness about the importance of mental health and its impact on the well-being of all Americans, including children, adults, families, and communities across our Nation. We also give thanks to the dedicated mental health providers whose service and support improve the lives of so many Americans. We stand in solidarity with those who are experiencing mental health conditions, renewing our commitment to providing them with the support they need and deserve. 

Even before the pandemic, millions of Americans were experiencing stress, trauma, anxiety, and heightened levels of depression. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated those conditions, creating an unprecedented mental health crisis across our country. Communities of color, frontline workers, health care workers, and individuals with eating disorders have been disproportionately impacted, and the rate of depression across the country has more than tripled compared to rates in 2019.

Read the full proclamation on the White House website.

‘Why’ is a question that is always asked by those left behind or hurt by these suicides – the answer or answers would never make sense to someone who loves life. As such, I look forward to thoughts on this with hope the discussion continues. Thank you!

If you feel you have no one to talk to, contact me. I’m happy to help. You can reach out to me on LinkedIn, by email to paul@acceler8success.com, or feel free to call or text me at (832) 797-9851. I will respond as quickly as humanly possible!

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273- TALK (8255). It’s free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When entrepreneurs are facing failure, what happens next?

Sometimes no matter how well we plan and how much effort we dedicate to something, we fall short of our goal and the end-result causes a variety of challenges and problems. Ultimately, it can adversely affect financial position, reputation, relationships, team spirit and much more. It can also start to spiral into personal life and affect family, health and overall well-being.

Unfortunately, such situations are often perpetuated by denial by placing one own’s head in the sand.

Well, when our head is in the sand, our most vulnerable ass-et is sticking out in plain view. Some will laugh. Others will point and snicker, definitely telling others. And a few will take advantage of the situation and current position of vulnerability. Sadly, we put ourselves in that position. Not because we swung and missed. Not because we didn’t see the forest for the trees. And not because we just flat-out saw something that wasn’t there. Instead, it’s because we didn’t keep our head high, accept the situation, learn from it and move on, and with laser-focus. That is exactly what entrepreneurs do when faced with failure.

Assistance for Your Organization

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important. So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to me for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate. You can reach me right here on LinkedIn, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851. Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com and also at Entrepreneurship411.com.

Bring the Series to Your Organization

If you’re interested in having this series presented to your organization, either as a webinar, workshop or conference break-out session, please click HERE for more information. The program can be tailored to your business model, product, service offering and industry segment. It has been resonating quite well with franchise and restaurant brands.