Having decided to become an Entrepreneur, everyone, including myself, is committed to an idea whole-heartedly for life. What carries you forward through this interesting journey to success is the determination and persistence to bring your idea to life.
A few weeks back, when I am still laying the foundation to be an entrepreneur, a boy, who should be in his teens, at my locality taught me an interesting lesson in entrepreneurship – “Don’t give up and keep going no matter what, you would be much closer to your goal very soon, despite the failures and hardships”
The Covid-19 Pandemic has locked down people all over the world. But, the spirit of life and its challenges have never changed since the pandemic hit us.
The boys were practicing badminton across a tiny lane during these lock-down days. My brother, being a good player, started to coach them. Quite sooner than expected, the boys entered the game mode and formed 2 teams, namely Ruby and Diamond, who were pitched against each other. Ruby Team was dominant over Diamond and kept on winning the game every day. The Diamond team was determined to win a game any day and refused to change pair, even when offered a chance.
One fine day, I pulled the Diamond team players for a conversation and asked them if they had a strategy to win the game over Team Ruby. I have seen them practicing a lot more than Ruby, deploying different tactics to win the game but in vain. They neither wanted to give up nor change the pair.
I was curious to know what kept the Diamond players going without tasting success for long and how it really feels to be on a long losing streak. That is when one of the boys opened up, saying – “We know Ruby is stronger than us, but that doesn’t make us weak. It is just that we haven’t mastered the play. If either of us changes the pair, that will end up demotivating the other partner. However, we are sure that we will taste success one day. All along, we have been maturing ourselves with such failures and we have been rectifying the mistakes. The moment we taste success would mean our game is flawless. We will fight hard until one day we win over Team Ruby”.
I was dumbstruck by the response and was in awe of the boy who gave me this reply. I couldn’t respond or react any more other than wishing them success and left the place without any doubt on their capabilities and determination to win the game one day.
Isn’t that too much of a matured thinking from a boy in his early teens, to have taught me such a hard lesson so easy? How I wish I had learned this lesson earlier at the beginning of my career! This episode created a great impact on me and has taught me one of the greatest lessons in entrepreneurship. For days together, I couldn’t get over this episode and my thoughts were completely wound around how to implement such a lesson in my career.
Perseverance and grit are key ingredients to success not only on the entrepreneurial journey. It is the key to achieving your goals in life. Most entrepreneurs would agree that there is no safety net during the initial days of business. Challenges are aplenty, but, these are tests to your commitment and success. The test of our commitment, risk-taking skills, ability to overcome difficulties and confidence, to stretch our comfort zones, and so on.
We all are capable of achieving success: it falls in place when you have the right commitment, your ability to overcome difficulties with zeal and confidence, the flexibility to expand your comfort zone, perseverance, grit, and determination.
Stories that have morals and messages behind them are always powerful. If that story was related to business, the impact it creates is long-lasting. It helps you connect with your audience quickly and you are one step closer to the business opportunity.
In a world where information is bountiful, it becomes essential to get the right message to the audience. Stories are a good way to keep your audience hooked onto your core message.
In my two decades of experience, I have seen how relevant stories have helped me to easily mentor aspiring students, young entrepreneurs, active job seekers, acquaintances, and much more.
Well, pat yourself on the back, if you guessed that I am going to tell a short story now. Read on.
Two Frogs in a bowl of milk
To convey the message of never give up and persevere, let me share the story of two frogs which fell in a bowl of milk.
Two frogs, let me name them Bru and Tru, accidentally fell into a bowl of milk. Having swum all around the bowl, Bru and Tru realized that the edge of the bowl was too high and steep for them to get out unaided. Bru realized that it was useless to waste his energy by continuing to jump and swim since that would not get him out of the bowl, he gave up swimming and drowned. Tru persevered, refused to give in, and gradually the milk turned into solid butter, by constant churning, until he was able to use it as a foothold to jump out of the bowl.
Does that pass on a message to you?
I strongly believe stories, such as these, motivate the reader and experience the message/information/data thus shared, as opposed to just consuming it.
What can storytelling do?
Stories grab the attention of the audience quickly and maintain a connection; they help to understand the situation or topic of discussion better. Stories, quite often, may touch emotions and help connect with your audience at a personal level. In my opinion, stories turn you into an efficient presenter/communicator.
Let us talk business now. Why is storytelling important in business?
In a business setting, when you tell a story, you are personalizing the facts and putting a human face to the details presented. Suddenly, your data is applicable to people in the real world. Your audience gets a glimpse of how you overcame the challenges.
Do not underestimate the power of storytelling
If done well, the power of a great story can have a massive impact on the audience and define you as an influencer. They remember the story and the storyteller for life. It can inspire, enliven, and create instant rapport. It can move the audience to take a quick decision and it may even change lives, who knows. Never underestimate the power of storytelling. Isn’t it creative to identify the right story for every business opportunity?
Why don’t you share a story or two which, in your opinion, has influenced people/customers to take a business decision quickly? Let us keep the discussion active. Share your stories and help others to influence the decision-making process.
Everyone loves to be heard at home and in the office. While I don’t wish to discuss on the home front for obvious reasons, the one at Office needs attention. To grow, you need to take an effort to make your voice heard.
Throughout my career, I had to struggle to make my voice heard. Did that flash anything for you? I am sure an instance or two where you were unheard would have flashed for a moment. I can affirm that I was not alone.
So, what is this “To make your voice heard” all about?
It means you share meaningful ideas that help the team or the organization as a whole, solve a problem or propose new ideas, thereby promoting self-growth and organizational growth.
In my career spanning over two decades, I have seen many members of my team were hesitant to share ideas or thoughts or pass feedback, fearing backlash. They seem as though they don’t want to be heard. I wasn’t surprised though, as I had been through this during the initial days of my career.
Have you ever introspected your hesitation to speak out?
While I go downlisting my thoughts, I would advise you to take a look at yours as well.
The first thought that comes to my mind is the family upbringing, where I was not allowed to speak up when elders were around. I was trained to nod and agree with them whenever an event was planned, or a new solution was introduced to solve a family issue. I was always with a constant fear of being ridiculed and shamed by more experienced elders who took all the decisions.
Secondly, being an introvert during my teens and early adulthood could be a possible reason too. People who know me well now, wouldn’t agree If I called myself an introvert.
What did I do to overcome this struggle?
Here are a few tips to make your voice heard to grow from my experiences.
1. Don’t cringe, speak out, and come up with a solution.
When I came across a hurdle or inconvenience in the workplace, I never cringed away from complaining about any issue with my teammates or in a team meeting.
When I was with CSS(formerly Slashsupport), my PM Mr.Satish, educated me that employers prefer staff who had a strong acumen to solve problems. He trained me to communicate my ideas with a simple motto:
“Identify problems, but don’t stop there, propose an idea to solve the problem you have identified”.
Better, if you have an implementable practical new working model.
Trust me, your voice will be heard, and you will also build trust and credibility. I gained rewards early in my career, having shown such problem-solving traits.
2. Validate the solution
Don’t propose the solution based on your guts (it may or may not work). Any recommendations you share should be based on research, data analysis, focus group findings, and other reliable sources. Talk with managers across departments to identify how things get done in an organization. Work along with your peers and manager to validate the solution before it is presented to a larger audience. These efforts will help build your credibility.
3. Meetings are opportunities.
Inevitably, everyone has to attend meetings at work. What you may not realize is that meetings are a good place to build your credibility. Meetings are opportunities to ask questions. When you drive the conversation from the problem towards a solution, you will emerge as a leader. There will be always people who will be a heckler. Just ignore them and make sure your voice is heard
If you have ideas about improving efficiency at work, speak up during meetings. Organizations appreciate employee suggestions that improve productivity.
Proposed ideas may sound really uncomfortable for some people in the room or maybe even yourself. But, remember one thing -Your goal is to deliver results. So, get into the habit of finding opportunities to share your perspective. Making your voice heard is a skill. If you master it, you are ready to take leadership.