Tag Archives: leadership

Handling Business

The term ‘handling business’ means different things to different people.  Business in general to some people means making money.  People that go into business with the goal and expectation of making money often end up working for someone else or fail repeatedly in their ventures.  People who go into business because of the love for what they are doing or to make a difference, often become very successful and very wealthy as a result.  But that doesn’t occur overnight.  It is a gradual process that comes about through learning and experience.  It also requires surrounding yourself with people who can assist, having perseverance and proper planning among other things.  Therefore, it can be said that whether or not a person is successful in business is greatly determined by the motivation to begin a business.  It is then heightened by their efforts to remain in business.  If you have an idea, it doesn’t mean it will be instantaneously profitable.  Many people get involved in or develop get rich quick schemes.  Some of them actually make money, but they don’t have any longevity.  Either because the scheme is illegal, immoral or it’s just not sustainable through economic changes.     

Handling business to some people also means taking care of their responsibilities.   Whether or not a person is capable of taking care of themselves is often a factor that determines if they will have success in business and in life.   If a person is heavily reliant on others for their survival or well being, we often will view that person as being immature and incapable of handling their business.  Responsibility is a huge weight for a human being to carry.  It is also a mark of a person’s character or lack thereof.  Often people prefer to make others responsible for their circumstances and failures.  They believe that this will exonerate them from any repercussions that may arise.  However, they are quick to take responsibility for success, if it comes.  Being responsible is more than about claiming the idea or the potential profits.  Being responsible requires taking that idea seriously and investing the time, energy and effort into nurturing the idea until it is successful.  That isn’t to say that a person who doesn’t take responsibility can’t learn to.  They actually can.  Unfortunately, they usually learn to be responsible through traumatic occurrences resulting from being irresponsible.

Over the last fifteen years of my life I have endured a great deal of responsibility, in business and personally.  I had my son when I was eighteen years old; I was a homeowner at nineteen and was working in Corporate America.  In business, I have co-owned a general contracting company, I’ve been a Realtor, and I’ve been a union steward.  Not only have I had to be responsible for myself at a young age, but I’ve had to be responsible for many other people as well.  It has taught me a great deal.  Every lesson wasn’t easy or enjoyable, but I’ve taken what I’ve learned and invested it into myself and my future success.  Many people assume that I’m egotistical so I just woke up one day and decided that I would become Super Woman.  The truth is that I was given the name because of what I’ve survived.  People have referred to me as “super” in one capacity or another for many years.  I didn’t decide to become Super Woman; I already was Super Woman, I just didn’t know it until two years ago.

To achieve success as an entrepreneur there are a few things a person needs to consider.  You need to have an idea, but you also need to have motivation that is beyond making money.  You need to handle your business personally because your personal life has a “trickle over” effect into your business life.  You need a team of people who will enhance what you lack, won’t just tell you what you want to hear, will tell you when you are wrong or foolish, and won’t take advantage of your dreams.  Super Woman is a company, a woman and a brand, but there’s a team of people that help to make it possible.  My team of people may be different from others, but they are people whom I know I can trust and I have built a relationship with them that goes beyond business.  I don’t take advantage of them and they don’t take advantage of me.  They know that my motivation to be successful goes beyond making money and they help to preserve that motivation.  They never force their desires on me and they are reliable and available when I need them to be.  They have individual abilities and viewpoints that enhance what I possess and make up for what I lack.  They are my Super Team and no matter how much money I make, their support is a lot more valuable to me. 

Once you can take responsibility for your own failures and success, you become an entrepreneur.  Once you become an entrepreneur, you become powerful.  Once you become powerful, you become humbled; because to whom much is given, much is required.  Entrepreneurship is a journey to humility.  Be thankful for the journey; it is a blessing.   Handle your business.

Preparedness

Everyday is preparation for something yet to come.  I come from a family that has several members who had illustrious military careers, including my grandfather, who was a decorated World War II Veteran and my uncle who is a decorated Tuskegee Airman.  I’ve been taught a great deal about being prepared.  When I was in high school ROTC, I learned that “pissed-poor preparedness, results in pissed-poor results”.  Preparedness in the military teaches you to be ready, specifically, for battle.  But that’s not the only thing it can prepare a person for.  Many people who have had military careers and experience also become valuable leaders.  Leaders are prepared.

I decided to amp up my workout routine recently, in preparation for the Opera Ball that I’m attending on October 2nd and for a cruise I’m going on early next year.  My workout is HARD; however, I’ve already seen results. Mark England is designing my dress for the Opera Ball and has to alter its size by about four inches.  That’s a reduction in my dress size in only about four weeks.  In addition to my weight loss, I have to prepare for that upcoming black tie event in other ways.  I had to select my make up palette, shoes, handbag and jewelry to compliment the dress, even though I had yet to see the finished product.  This meant that shopping had to be done, appointments had to be made, and orders had to be placed.  I don’t have an assistant (yet) so those preparations had to be done by me.  For the cruise early next year, I’m already considering what other preparations I need to make so that I will have an enjoyable trip, outside of what clothes to pack and how many swimsuits I will need.  I need to purchase my airfare, reserve my hotel in South Beach, arrange for my car service to and from the airport both here and in Miami, decide how best to get to the Port-au-Miami from South Beach for the cruise itself, which night clubs I want to be guest-listed on, etc.  Those preparations are not ones I want to leave for the last minute because other situations could arise that would distract me.  When traveling I like to be able to relax once the date of departure arrives.  In order to maintain that Zen-like feeling I get when I travel, I will need to be prepared in advance.  I also need to consider the possibilities (such as airplane delays) and have mental plans of action at my disposal for those possibilities. 

That’s how life is.  Those who are prepared for the inevitable possibilities can relax and better handle what comes their way, whereas, people who procrastinate or fail to evaluate situations are often left unprepared, confused and miss out on opportunities.  We prepare our children for their future by providing them with educational opportunities when they are young.  We hope they pay attention to what they learn in school, so that they are prepared for what they may encounter during their college years.  We all prepare for work each day, either by checking our schedules and emails, meditating, exercising, reading business articles or whatever your daily routine is.  It’s how you prepare.  It determines the initial response you will have to whatever interactions you are involved in.  We plan and pray for the best, but prepare for the worst.  Murphy’s Law states, “That anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”.  However, if you prepare yourself, even the situations that are “wrong” can turn into something “right”. 

Having faced a layoff earlier this year, what I thought was terribly wrong in my life would have been a lot worse if I had not had a level of preparedness.  I keep my resume updated, I have marketable skills, I had rainy day money in my 401k and my faith is stronger than I am.  I had even decided what I’d do while I was laid off.  That wrong turned a promotion and a raise to replace the position I was being laid off from.  That wrong became a right, even though I wasn’t expecting it, I had preparations in place.  The end result was completely unforeseen. 

Being prepared doesn’t require that you know in advance what the end result will be.  It only requires that you do your best to develop a contingency plane for the events that may be out of your control, but controlled by you after they occur.  How you react to and evaluate a situation, and how much energy you exert, are all within your personal control, regardless of the situation.  It helps to have an awareness of a situation in advance, but that’s not possible the majority of the time.  The only thing you can do is be ready for the possibilities, the changes, and the choices.  This can not be accomplished by sitting in the background to see what others will do.  This can not be accomplished by crossing your fingers and hoping the issue will go away.  This can not be accomplished by “just praying about it”.  After all, faith without works is dead and we’re given free will to make decisions for a reason.  Therefore, you have to be prepared.  

Of course, no one can ever be prepared for every instance in life, but it serves each of us best to make an attempt to be prepared, more than it does not to.

Define Yourself

If you’re like me, you can recall many times that you were rejected in your lifetime.  We’ve all felt rejection.  The job you applied for but you were told that someone else received it because you lacked experience.  The promotion that you were working towards, that someone “less qualified” received.  The line of credit that you needed at the time, but your credit score was less than stellar.  The man or woman that told you that you didn’t make enough money, drive a nice enough car or physically appeal to them.  I’ve been there, too.  I was there myself yesterday…last month…last year.

I’ve learned that the other person’s opinion of your worth is just their opinion.  Every person has an idea in their mind before you walk through the door of what they want and expect.  They want you to live up to their idea and expectations, before they even see you.  Often their ideas and expectations can’t be altered because they are unwilling to compromise.  That is fine.  Everything ain’t for everybody.  There are those rare occasions when you will walk through the door and someone will think you are everything they want; you’re the ideal employee to fill that position, the right fit for that promotion, the type of person they want a relationship with.  Whether you meet a person’s expectations or not doesn’t define you or your worth.  Only you can do that.

You start defining yourself by knowing what your gifts are.  Everyone has skills and talents bestowed upon them.  Some of us have had them nurtured by our parents and teachers at a young age, so we are well aware of what those skills and talents are.  Some of us have been downtrodden by life and told that we are less than what God made us to be, therefore we’ve never examined our full potential.  Either way, it’s never too late to nurture what you have been given.  Allow your talents and skills to be honed and you begin redefining your life.  A couple of years ago, I attended an event where I heard Susan L. Taylor, Editor Emerita of Essence Magazine speak.  She said one thing that stuck with me to this day, “Everyone is here on purpose, with purpose”.

You also define yourself by what you do, even when no one is looking.  Your integrity is an essential part of who you are.  Crowd pleasers and “Yes Men” have to rely on the thoughts of others for their survival and success.  Are you a follower who does what others do, even when you know it’s wrong?  Do you have an opinion behind closed doors, but when you’re allowed the opportunity to speak up and make changes, you slink in the corner?  Or are you a leader, who sets an example of what should be done because it’s the right thing to do, who isn’t afraid to speak up for the greater good, even when others rise against you?  My grandfather, Leon L. Jones, raised me until he died when I was twelve.  One of the household principles he instilled in me was a twist on a well known phrase.  Back in the day, people who were trying to live above their means or pretended to have greater financial worth than they actually did in order to impress others were considered as “trying to keep up with the Joneses”.  My grandfather instilled in me that “We don’t have to keep up with the Joneses, because we are the Joneses.  Everybody else has to keep up with us”.  I live by that.  As a result I strive to set myself apart from others and be the best example I can be, even when no one else is looking.

Your definition includes your confidence.  Regardless of your size, shape or age, you should make being healthy and confident a goal in your life and sustain it.  It’s a recurring theme in the health industry; exercise improves the feeling of well being, improves stamina, mental clarity and lowers blood pressure.  People who exercise regularly, regardless of how stressful their environment is, have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower cortisol levels, are “happier” and more successful in their endeavors than people who do not.  Your health contributes to how your feel about yourself.  And how you feel about yourself determines how others react towards you.  If you are viewed as meek, afraid, and easily intimidated, often you will not be taken seriously, you will not be given opportunities by decision makers and you are more likely to be mistreated, or victimized.  Unless there is a million dollars paving the street in front of you, you shouldn’t walk around with your head down.  A person who walks with their head held up proudly, not only will see that million dollars on the ground, but they will see it sooner than you will because they are looking ahead, instead of down.

Who you surround yourself with also defines you.  Do you have friends whom, although they are different from you, they are encouraging and supportive of you?  Will they tell you when you are wrong and stand beside you when you are right?  Are they trustworthy?  Are they consistent?  It is said that “you are defined by the company that you keep”.  If you look at your inner circle of friends and you see yourself surrounded by people who are unsuccessful, lack ambition, complain about everything but never offer a solution, or possess other traits that are those of people who will cause you to be defined poorly, you first need to assess what type of person you are, the type of person you prefer to be, then you need to get new friends.  You won’t likely change the minds or lives of these types of people in your life with words; therefore, if you can’t change your friends, you need to change your friends.  Surround yourself with others who will “upgrade” your way of thinking, people you can learn from who are also encouraging of you and your success.  When you do this, you will see your definition improve.

These are just basic suggestions for initially defining yourself.  There are other aspects that contribute to who you are and who you want to be as a person, including financial, spiritual, and emotional.  Once you’ve started this process with the basics, the other elements will follow.  You are a multi-dimensional person and every aspect of you is equally important.  How you choose to define yourself overall, is important and reflective of the person you decide to be.