You’re Surrounded By Mentors. Why Not Ask, Learn, And Grow?

In the spirit of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we invited Strategic Coach clients to share their secrets to success. The third in the series is written by Gary Klaben, President of Coyle Financial Counsel, Inc. in Glenview, Illinois. Gary also coaches workshops for Strategic Coach in Chicago.
A lot of people hate asking for help. Yet I’m very aware that learning from others has been a huge factor in my success as an entrepreneur, and I believe you can benefit from the guidance of a mentor at any stage of your career.
Who knows everything?
Sure, asking for help takes humility and makes you feel vulnerable. But I look at it this way: Just because I’ve been on this earth for 56 years, that doesn’t mean I know everything.
Learning from someone who is more knowledgeable and experienced in an area than I am, and could be of great help, is such a tremendous opportunity that it overrides the feelings of humility and vulnerability pretty much every time.
A vital characteristic of a successful entrepreneur.
And, of course, I don’t know everything. I do know, though, that being open to change and new ideas is vitally important for any entrepreneur, and I’ve seen the results that it’s created in my own career.
I feel very strongly that anybody I meet can help me. It doesn’t matter their station in life, their age, education, or experience level.
Say we have a new hire joining us straight out of college. Inevitably someone will remark, “Well, we’ll have to teach her a lot.” And my response to that is, “Yeah, but what does she have to teach us?”
Everyone has stuff to offer—especially if we give them a chance and ask, “What do you think?”
4 steps to learning something new.
Anytime I’ve wanted to learn something, I’ve done four things: seek out a “best in class” expert who’s figured out the area I’m trying to master, ask them for help, listen, and then try out what they say to do—without question—and see how it works.
I’m not afraid to ask for help, fail, or have things blow up in my face. It’s all part of learning, and it hasn’t hurt me once in my life. All it’s done is give me a lot more skills and the ability to be a lot better at what I do.

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Fueled By Inspiration

In the spirit of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we invited Strategic Coach clients to share their secrets to success. The second in the series is written by Adrienne Duffy, founder of Big Futures Inc., which serves clients across North America, and one of our long-time coaches of The Strategic Coach Program. Adrienne is the author of a recently published book called Soul Sense.
There’s a point for most entrepreneurs where success is no longer driven just by money. There’s a point where the external goals are not enough; they have to come from a deeper part of who you are and why you do what you do.
The energy that comes from within is a key driver of success for an entrepreneur. And it’s certainly been true for me. It’s this energy and inspiration that keep my vision alive and help me create the strategy and accountability that are necessary to execute on and achieve that vision.
This is the model I work with: vision, strategy, and accountability—powered by inspiration.
If you lose sight of what really inspires you to do what you’re doing and reach a point where obstacles get in the way of achieving your goals, then, as an entrepreneur, you risk losing the energy that’s crucial to moving forward to the next level. You need to go back to why you’re doing what you’re doing and what really inspires you so you can rekindle the fire and the passion that motivated you in the first place.
You need to go back to your purpose.
In my case, a lot of why I do what I do is to unleash potential and inspire other people to grow and transform their circumstances to realize their bigger futures. That’s core to my purpose. I’m also fortunate to have significant alignment between what I do professionally and what’s most important to me and inspires me most.
This is another entrepreneurial secret—alignment. Your values have to be in alignment, and your purpose has to be in alignment. Then you can look at the outside world and try to find that market where what you bring to the table creates real value.
That’s the magic link—the connection between your purpose and how you can create value out in the world with it. That’s where you can connect with the inspiration that provides the sustainable energy to keep fueling you.
Driven by inspiration.
As a pioneer in moonshot strategy for over 20 years, we use the metaphor of shooting for the moon to help companies achieve great things—things that could not have happened if they weren’t driven by inspiration.
I learned through working with a great number of organizations, helping them to align their teams and their leadership with the vision and goals, that the one essential ingredient was the inner fuel of inspiration.
Without true inspiration as the driving force, it’s very difficult to sustain the energy through what it’s going to take to realize “your shot at the moon.”
I get to do what I love to do by helping other people become inspired to do what they do. Vision, strategy, and the accountability to execute are essential. But always at the center is inspiration!

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Vision And Purpose Combined To Deliver Global Transformational Impact

In the spirit of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we invited Strategic Coach clients to share their secrets to success. The first in the series is written by Stefan Wissenbach, Founder and Chief Engagement Officer of Engagement Multiplier, based in London and Chicago.
As an entrepreneur, I realized early on that when you have a clear vision of your future, magic starts to happen.
Having a clear vision builds momentum and helps you make really smart decisions and take the right actions to get where you want to be. Indeed, I believe that thinking about and envisioning your future is the way to unleash and achieve your greatest potential.
For me, having a vision means creating a reference for what something looks like when it’s done, and then putting a clear purpose behind it that’s so much deeper than just profit numbers.
I recognized, too, that for any entrepreneur to be successful, they need to have a big vision they can be really excited about—one that makes them leap out of bed like a salmon in the morning! All the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met have a really big vision. And they’re able to flip from big-vision thinking into meaningful action.
Now, once you’ve got this big vision, how do you stay connected to it?
For me, personally, it was about creating a vision that really inspired me, and then distilling that down into a meaningful purpose. This became my company, Engagement Multiplier.
My vision is to help 100 million people become measurably more engaged.
That’s a big number—and, no, I’m not sitting on a cloud getting a wet bottom! I wholeheartedly believe it’s achievable. What’s more, I get really excited by it. I say it, I think it, I’m connected to it, and that makes it much easier to stay inspired when the going gets tough—which, at times, it does.
In any entrepreneurial journey, there are going to be highs and lows. But when you’ve got clarity on the vision you’re aspiring to, the lows are easier to handle. That big vision keeps you focused, motivated, and determined to overcome the inevitable barriers that we all encounter as we break new ground. When you’re really connected to your vision, you don’t see barriers as problems; they just become challenges that help you raise your game and be stronger when you’re on the other side.
No really successful entrepreneurial journey can ever be completed single-handedly. And even if it were possible, it would be a lonely one. I, like every other successful entrepreneur I’ve met, need a team around me to help turn my vision into a reality. In my case, that’s a team of people who are just as passionate about the transformational impact of improved engagement on individuals and organizations as I am.
So, once you’ve found a way to stay connected to your vision, the question then becomes, how do you connect your team to your vision?
People want to work in an organization where there’s leadership that has a really big vision, is clear on that vision, has a plan that supports it, and is going to take the organization from where it is now to a much higher level. As the leader, you’ve got to keep your own mojo up and keep your passion going, and you have to make this visible to your team. My grandfather once said to me, “Stefan, the fish rots from the head.” If you as the entrepreneur are not showing your ongoing passion for what you’re seeking to achieve, then you can’t expect your team to either.
Being able to articulate your organization’s vision clearly is what motivates and aligns team performance. This connection with your team is created through an Engaged Purpose.
An Engaged Purpose is a written statement that clearly communicates to your team what your company does and why. It details the transformation you’re trying to create and provides a structure that will inspire your team to align their daily activities with your company’s larger aspirations. When you create a big enough “why” for people, they will become emotionally involved in finding a “how.”
Keeping your passion, enthusiasm, belief, and Engaged Purpose front of mind is the way to get your team on board, connected, and supporting you every day to achieve your vision.
And then you’ve got to find out who’s on the bus and who’s not.
I’ve been very fortunate over the years. I’ve been able to build and sell a number of companies. I consult now with successful entrepreneurs in the UK and, through our online platform Engagement Multiplier, I help businesses all over the world become measurably more engaged.
I still have a ways to go to before I can say I’ve helped 100 million people become measurably more Engaged—either through Engagement Multiplier, my speaking engagements, my books, or my day-to-day interactions with the people I meet (every single one counts toward my goal!). But I will get there.
And it all started with a vision supported by a purpose.

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