Many of us are familiar with the concept that in order to get the life you want; you have you build it intentionally. However, how can entrepreneurs navigate the pivot from the life they’re living into the life they want? Bri Seeley, founder of the Inspirational Woman Project, explains how she began to live an intentional life when she began to live by this guiding principle: “Life does not get better by chance. Life gets better when you take action towards creating your inspirational life.”
She has spent the last year inspiring women to do the same. After stepping in to help her (current) business partner with an event, Bri found herself hosting what would end up being dubbed The Amplify Collective. Gathering over dinner and wine, about twenty women discussed their passions and vulnerabilities for about 2-3 hours. Realizing that they had stumbled upon something special, Bri and her partner began to throw several more events over the next few months, all of which sold out nearly immediately. But Bri wasn’t always living such a purpose filled life.
Prior to adopting this as her guiding principle, Bri admits she was stumbling throughout life. She was running a fashion company alongside her day job. While it was once her passion, she felt like she was running in a hamster wheel, “I was amassing massive amounts of debt. It was time to begin taking action in a purposeful way.” In 2015, she closed down her fashion brand and began going through the redefinition process.
Redefining her purpose proved to be tough. Because many people only knew her as a fashion designer, she had difficulty getting people in line with her new vision. “It was like walking up to a blank canvas and saying I get to choose what I create. And it was terrifying.” When crafting her new vision, she began to evaluate what she had accomplished in the previous years. Bri realized that in her previous entrepreneurial venture, she enjoyed inspiring women to look and feel feminine. She decided to take everything she had been doing for the last several years and translate those experiences into an organization that focuses on women empowerment.
Upon this newfound realization, Bri discovered that there was a certain persistence that had to be had in order to maintain her new direction. “I record an audio that details all of the good I want in my life for that month. It allows me to bask in the actions that I’m taking and the purpose I’m living in. I listen to it every day,” she says. Sometimes she doesn’t reach all of her goals, but she takes the time to appreciate what she has accomplished, “The more you hear it, the more you align it.” Bri also follows a morning routine that has allowed for her to stay aligned with her purpose. From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., she takes “me time”- sometimes, this involves coloring for hours; other times, she’ll go to her rooftop for yoga. “I just listen to my body and do what it wants,” she says.
By maintaining a balance between living intentionally, practicing self-care and taking the time to recharge, Bri transformed her life and now empowers other women to do the same. What steps have you taken to live an intentional life as an entrepreneur? Tweet us with your answers at @WiseNapkin.
Data is the new black. Over 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past two years; and on average, people consume nearly 30 GB of data per day. From entrepreneurs to CMO’s of Fortune 500 companies, people simply can’t get enough of it. But often times, organizations hit a standstill because they don’t understand how to properly leverage the data to drive actionable results.
In some cases, it’s simply because they’re not looking at data through the right lens. John Johnson is a trained statistician, data consultant, expert witness and founder of Edgeworth Economics, based out of Washington, D.C. Author of the newly released book Every Data, he explains how some businesses neglect to properly harness this information and what they can do to begin collecting purpose driven data.
“Statistics and data can be powerful, but very misleading. As a statistician, I think about the world from a data driven perspective. But what I’ve noticed is that averages are just like a snapshot,” Johnson says, “It just explains one frame and sometimes neglects to tell the whole story. This can lead to terrible decision making.” A good example to illustrate this point is to compare the average salary of a mayor across America (around $60,000) with the salary of a deputy mayor (around $80,000).
At an initial glance, it may seem confusing that a deputy major earns less than an actual mayor. However, these data points fail to consider that only larger cities like New York and Philadelphia have deputy mayors, while every small town and metropolis have mayors. “What you’re averaging can dramatically skew the results. Thinking deeper about data will help [business owners] make more sense of it,” he says.
Speaking of “average”, John is the exact opposite. Back in 2010, he developed a company of “wiz kids”, which wasn’t necessarily the norm. “In a typical firm like ours, you see older people working with their much young apprentices,” he explains. By refusing to settle for the average, he has since expanded his firm to 80 employees in three offices.
For companies looking to improve their data collection or analyzation methods, John suggests the following:
1. Make sure the data you’re reviewing is correct: The first step in analyzing your data is to make sure it’s the correct data set. When the temperature control company NEST was bought by Google, the ticker jumped by 1900% in one day. Unfortunately, that ticker wasn’t for NEST – it was for a similarly named penny stock that had gone bankrupt. Slowing down and taking time to review which data you’re looking at is essential to the success of your data analyzation efforts.
2. Determine what question the data is trying to solve: While some people can be data hoarders, this leads to massive efforts for data mining that isn’t even useful or applicable. Take the time to sit down and decide which problem you’d like for your data to solve, prior to gathering several data points.
Have you ever fallen victim to bad data practices? What did you do to fix it? Let us know by sending us a tweet at @WiseNapkin.
Are you a victim of squirrel syndrome? Based on some fairly unscientific research, about 2 in 3 entrepreneurs are burdened by this affliction. The biggest symptoms include being attracted by every “shiny” thing that comes along, coupled with the inability to say no. But is this hurting your business? Joe Calloway, author, consultant and Executive in Residence at Belmont University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, argues that it is. Having worked extensively with organizations of all sizes and growth cycles, Joe credits the success of many entrepreneurs to one simple adage: “Say no to almost everything.”
Inspired by Warren Buffet, this idea is what separates normal successful people from very successful people, Joe believes. At the beginning of his career, Joe struggled with saying “no” and suffered the consequences. After adopting this concept as his mantra, he began to say “no” more often and started to really hone in on the things he was saying “yes” to.
Another side effect of squirrel syndrome is becoming frozen due to a lack of tunnel vision on the ultimate purpose. Having worked with entrepreneurs for years, Joe has witnessed organizations struggle with this repeatedly. “More often than not, it’s better to make bad decisions than to be frozen. Entrepreneurs will always learn from their mistakes, but they will learn nothing from standing still. As opposed to being frozen, mistakes help you learn your strengths,” he adds. He also suggests that entrepreneurs measures what happens after these decisions.
In addition to learning how to say “no”, it’s important for entrepreneurs to leave room for the “yes”. Joe advises that entrepreneurs should learn how to prioritize their “yes” based on their brand values. “Entrepreneurs and companies should learn to do three or four things extremely well, and with great consistency. It’s all about balance,” he advises.
As leaders, entrepreneurs need to become skilled at saying “yes” to the right things at the right time. “Company owners must remain consistent about the things they say ‘yes’ to,” he says, “Consistency coupled with innovation is how leaders become great.” He also advises that company owners align their entire team on their “yes” – that is, a single vision which encompasses the one thing every team member will always say “yes” to.
Refusing to say “no” to things makes it impossible to simplify your purpose, cut out the noise and move forward. What are some of the things you will begin to say “no” to? Can you identify three things you’ll always say yes to? Let us know in the comments below.
Nothing quite compares to the beauty of a Rembrandt. While many of us have only gazed at the priceless artwork behind the glass, imagine having one of his paintings in your attic. Think for a minute about the wasted value of having such a beautiful piece covered up and hidden in your attic.
Long time Paper Napkin Wisdom fans may remember speaker and author Andrew Sherman’s Paper Napkin Wisdom when he appeared on the show back in 2014. Today, he’s back with another gem that he hopes will help organizations of all sizes to reduce their intellectual waste. Using agricultural metaphor, he says, “Be an intellectual capital agrarian. Harvest your intangible assets before they rot on the vine.” That’s a heavy statement, so let’s dissect it a bit.
“I hate waste. I hate it so much, I gave a TED Talk about it,” Andrew explains. He began to think about waste even more when he read the Kevin G. Rivette classic Rembrandts in the Attic, nearly 15 years ago. After ten years of living by this philosophy, he realized one critical flaw in the book – “Rembrandts retain their value but most intangible assets do not,” he says. The notion was straightforward - inside companies of all sizes, intellectual capital assets or Rembrandts are being wasted. To find them, business owners may have to look in places they normally wouldn’t.
These lessons ripple out over several industries. Several companies have gained popularity by noticing the potential wasted assets in other verticals. Take Hotwire, for example. Instead of letting rooms “rot”, they learned to harvest those assets and have turned them into something useful for consumers.
Entitling his book Harvesting Intangible Assets, Andrew explains, “I decided to look at innovation as if it was similar to the agrarian process for farmers. The book is meant to help small businesses notice the intellectual property within their company.” Some smaller businesses may argue that they don’t have as many intangible assets, but Andrew’s idea encompasses the notion that small businesses should also look for licensing opportunities or “Rembrandts in other attics”.
Much thought was put into the agrarian metaphor. By definition, an agrarian relates to the cultivation of land or a person who advocates a redistribution of landed property, especially as part of a social movement. Business owners who look to apply this method to their organizations need to follow the agrarian process closely. For instance, farmers plan out their crops months in advance of the planting and harvest seasons.
This is comparable to business owners making sure that there will be a need for the asset in the coming months and years, while waiting on the planting and harvest seasons to commence. When looking at this concept on a global scale, Andrew thinks that other international companies are “eating our lunch”. He believes that in order for North America to compete on a global scale, there needs to be a mass adoption of this concept.
While developing new ideas is never frowned upon, entrepreneurs should look to cultivate the talent and ideas in their backyard. What Rembrandts may be hiding in your attic? How do you plan on discovering and cultivating those assets?