November is National Entrepreneurship Month, which in my world is the next best thing to a national holiday. Entrepreneurs are the backbone of American business. They take risks with their ideas, money and reputations, believing that their efforts will pay off, even when no one else has confidence in them.
This month honors those who support entrepreneurship, business, innovation and new jobs, as well as promoting entrepreneurship to America's youth. We need young entrepreneurs to replace older generations and continue to innovate.
I wanted to be an entrepreneur even before I could spell the word. I dreamed of owning my own factory, long before I knew what that factory would produce. I envisioned my success and looked forward to the day that I could share it with my employees. Through the ups and downs, I was determined. I made my share of mistakes, tried to learn from them and moved on.
My story is hardly unique. While there were few resources out there for dreamers like me at that time, the landscape has changed. Marvelous advice from very successful people is readily available.
One new book in particular caught my attention, and I am excited to share some of its wisdom. I am referring to Dean Graziosi's "Millionaire Success Habits" (www.MshSuccessbook.com), which hit the shelves last week. I would have given an arm and a leg to read it when I was starting out in business and life. Dean's premise is that you can make "barely noticeable, small shifts in your daily routines by nudging out those things that don't serve you and replacing them with habits that create a path to wealth and abundance."
It doesn't matter, Graziosi says, whether you are an entrepreneur, a business owner, an executive, an investor, an employee or a young person just starting out in your first job. His book focuses on financial success, but he also emphasizes fulfillment in other areas of life, including family, parenting, friendships, relationships, spirituality, health, physical fitness, love and passion.
First, you have to decide what you want out of life. Too often, we can define what we don't want, but can't really figure out where we want to go.
He says, "It doesn't matter how fast you can go, it doesn't matter how much passion you have, and it doesn't matter how much energy you put into something. If you don't have a vision and clarity about the destination you want to reach, you'll simply never get there."
His conclusion: "When you focus on the outcome rather than the obstacle, your life will never be the same." This is goal-setting on steroids! As a goals-oriented guy, I'm endorsing this advice wholeheartedly.
The next key component to turning your vision into reality is to identify your "why" -- why do you really want what you are looking for? Dean shares a "seven levels deep" exercise that gets at the heart of your "why" and which anyone can follow. He says it is the foundation to all success and possibly the most important millionaire success habit you can develop. And he advises that you should do the exercise four times a year, just to stay on track.
Another concept that Dean identifies as an important success habit is this: "When it comes to your clients, be in the relationship business, not the transaction business. People will refund a transaction, but not a relationship."
Regular readers of my column will recognize this idea, which I refer to as "humanize your selling strategy." You have to get to know your customers as people first, or you will never be able to relate to their needs any better than the next salesperson.
There is so much in this book, and all Dean's other best-sellers, that I have only scratched the surface. But there is one more chapter that deserves to be highlighted.
Dean calls it the power of happiness: "As your success, income and responsibility grow, you can't neglect your happiness. ... happiness leads to success rather than the opposite. ... no amount of money will make you happy unless you find internal satisfaction."
Truer words were never spoken.
Mackay's Moral: You can change your habits and change your life. Don't wait.