Om shanti, shanti, shanti-hi – The words that end Hindu teachings asking for peace of mind from disturbances that are due to acts of god, external factors and internal factors.
Why do you want to get started on a project – start a business, write a blog, create artwork – what is it that you’re trying to achieve?
Money is not the objective
When you look at people who have become rich through starting businesses it’s easy to assume that what they were trying to do was become rich by starting a business.
If you get started on your project because you want to become rich then it’s worth taking a step back and questioning whether you are sure you know what you really want.
The thing about money is that it’s usually a byproduct of doing something else or a necessity for doing something you want to do.
Some of those ways of getting money including stealing it, inheriting it and marrying into it.
We’re not really concerned with those approaches here.
You can also borrow money.
And it makes it easier to borrow money if you have an idea that creates value for other people – value that they are willing to pay for.
The amount of money you get from others will depend on kind of value you create and the amount you can borrow depends on how much you need to create enough value to satisfy demand.
Money in your life is like blood in your veins – you need it to flow through you, but it is not the reason why you exist.
What you really need to understand is what you want out of having money – what is it you’re going to do if you have it.
For example, if the reason you’re starting a business is to become rich so you have employees who do what you want and loads of free time to live a luxurious lifestyle – then you’re going to want to revisit that.
Anyone who manages someone else usually has to do three times the work to keep on top of everything.
Once you start a business you have much more to think about – from getting in sales to operations and hiring and firing people.
Most business people are stressed, work long hours and have far more to do than they have time.
And even when they’re on holiday they can’t turn off their phones or relax entirely – because they’re the ones that make the decisions.
And this can go on for five, ten years, as you carefully grow your business and eventually get in the resources and teams that mean you can step away and the business will run itself.
So why do people still start businesses and embark on something that’s going to dominate their lives for a decade or more?
It’s not for the money.
It’s because they’re driven to do it, it’s something they believe in and something they want to do.
Perhaps you really want to be in control of your own life, or you’ve spotted a niche that you think is under-served or you’ve come up with a service that you can’t do within your existing firm.
What you’re doing is trying to get started on the project – to see if this is the right fit for you and if it’s something you believe you can do successfully.
What does success look like for your project?
Success is something that emerges when you get things right, when you get all the parts of your business working well together.
You cannot really be successful if you focus on one aspect of the business alone.
For example, you may be great at operations and logistics, but if you can’t sell you haven’t got a business.
At the same time if you’re a master salesperson but haven’t got a great product or the ability to provide a quality service then you’re going to run into problems.
It all has to work – not just part of it – and the biggest challenge for most people is getting the various bits of their business to operate well together.
In a nutshell, you have to get yourself in a position where you do something that creates value for someone else in an efficient and effective way.
That simple statement is the capstone, the principle that holds together the various elements of this book project and the strategies that you can use.
You have to draw on your past, your capabilities, your learning to be able to do something better than most other people – and do it in a way that is effective and efficient.
That’s operations in a business – it’s what you do and how you do it.
It’s only worth doing, however, if there is a market for what you do – if you can apply it a way that creates value.
And value is not defined by what you think – you may believe that you have a great idea for something that will transform the world but you need others to agree with you and hand over money in exchange for the thing you’ve brought into existence.
Value is defined by other people – it’s what they believe they get from you.
You can have endless strategy meetings, interminable discussions with your team and suppliers and go round things again and again as you build your business, and it will often come down to these elements – what do you do, why is it good and who is going to buy it?
How will you know when you’ve got it right – when you’ve made a success of it?
Having peace of mind
It comes down to you – how you feel about what you’ve started or created.
Are you at peace with yourself?
This is a concept that’s rarely discussed in a Western context – but it’s central to eastern, especially Indian ways of thinking.
What you do should result in peace of mind – mental contentment – freedom from worry.
Think of an artist – someone who creates something – a painting, a book, a sculpture.
You could go on tinkering forever, adding a dash of paint here, editing there, chipping away at a rough edge.
But at some point you have to step back and say it’s finished.
And only you know when that’s done – you know the point at which you’re willing to stop doing any more.
Because you’re content with the result, you have peace of mind.
And the act of getting started on a business or any other project is no different when it comes to act of creation.
The strategies outlined in this Getting Started book project, from examining where you are at the start, looking back to understand where you came from and setting out in a direction that works for you are all designed to help you get alignment and purpose – to get you started on a path that is right for you.
And you’ll know it’s right because you’ll be content – because the work you do is work you’ll feel is the right work to do.
Unlike money, peace of mind is not a byproduct – it’s the end result.
And the hope I have for you, the wish that that I would make, is that what you choose to do brings you peace of mind.