Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A Broken Heart and How to Fall in Love Again



Background and Context

September 2015 will always be a watershed mark in the history of Certus. The last month has been a whirlwind of activity and with the exception of losing one deal (and trying to overcome the disappointment of England losing to Wales in the Rugby World Cup – I still don’t know which one I get more upset about!) it’s been our most successful period in the company’s lifespan which has seen five major deals close; two new Oracle ERP & HCM Cloud implementation projects commence; an existing project at one of Britain’s largest brands reach a major delivery milestone and embark on an R10 upgrade; a go-live of the entire Taleo suite at one of the largest local government councils; and an invitation to join the EMEA Oracle Partner Advisory Board. Certus is now the largest it has ever been in terms of people and delivery capability, and we go into Q2 + 1 month already having doubled our contracted revenue for 2015-2016 over the previous year. Many challenges lie ahead and we have set the bar for future success even higher for ourselves.

My thanks goes out to our people who win, deliver and provide customer service excellence day-in-day-out, so what I am posting against this backdrop of success may seem negative, however I wanted to tell the other-side of the story of what happens when you lose the love of what you do and you have to pick yourself up, provide inspiration for yourself and other’s around you and then continue to move forward. Believe it or not during this period of incredible success this has happened to me personally, so I hope those who take the time to read this post will take something positive away against the context against it is set against.
 


A Broken Heart and How to Fall in Love Again

Running your own business is a very personal love affair that generates such a driving passion that it becomes all-consuming to the extent that even your family and closest friends struggle to understand. To be successful in anything you have to be 110% committed, if you’re not you won’t achieve your goal.


So let’s explore for a moment what happens when the passion suddenly leaves you? What do you do when negative events in your personal life rock your world and collide with your work life making you feel low? What do you do to recover when the dark clouds gather around you and you just don’t feel like giving your all? What happens when you suddenly feel like walking away and you discover you have fallen out of love with the very thing you have created and nurtured? And more importantly how do you rekindle the love affair and not end up with a broken heart and shattered dreams?


All of us who have ever run a business have experienced this at some point. There is always that moment when the challenge seems just too much; when it seems just too big; when things just stop happening and the market moves against you; and when despite all your drive and desire you just cannot make something happen.


A combination of passion, desire for success, utter total self-belief and a “can do” attitude usually carries us through these dark moments. However when your confidence takes a knockout punch and self-doubt creeps in, this isn’t always enough.


So just like when you fall out of love or suffer rejection and heartbreak, you have to overcome it, accept what has happened and decide if rekindling the love is what you want. I don’t have the answers (especially in regard to love and life!) all I can offer is what I do:

  • Stop any self-pity and remember that you create your own luck in life. Nobody owes you or will give you anything, you have to do it yourself
  • Remember why you are doing this? What were you setting out to achieve and make better? (and it should never be just be about the money!)
  • Make yourself feel good – look at your successes and what you have achieved to date
  • Reconnect with the sacrifices you have made to get you where you are
  • Put a smile on your face - if you can’t do this then don’t expect anyone else too and subsequently believe in what your trying to achieve
  • Think positively, take a step back, look at your options (there are always options!, there is always a way to succeed), and most importantly regain perspective
  • Finally “evaluate, focus, execute” - force yourself to take that next step and find the way forward

It’s not easy, in-fact it’s really really bloody hard!


To experience success, you often have to experience pain and everyone has a different pain threshold. To run a business I think it is a right of passage. I saw a post recently by Piers Linney that said “you can always see the pain in entrepreneurs eyes”. It’s true you can. It’s the pain of losing the passion when your business and the market moves against you, no matter how much you love what you do. To inspire others you have to inspire yourself first.


…and what happens if you really cannot get the passion back, then perhaps you have reached that point when you do need to re-evaluate what you are doing and more importantly ask the question why you are doing it?


Business, in my opinion, just like anything else in life is supposed to be fun and when it stops being fun it is time to stop and look somewhere else. Personally for me the fun part is that business is the ultimate competition where you find out what you as an individual and as a team player are truly capable of; being able to continually to develop, learn and advance not only oneself but the people around you; and finally being able to smile and laugh with one another is what makes it worth-while.


Remember you only get to live your life once and everyone deserves the chance to be happy both in work and hopefully in love – you just have to be brave and go find it.