“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” – Henry Ford
This week I spoke with Carla Fugit, a facilitator and coach for Salt Lake City-based Platinum Business Strategies. She provides productivity, performance and change management help for CEOs and executives. We had bonded immediately over the principles I’ve written about in my book The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning and in my columns here: Respect, Belief, Trust, Loyalty, Commitment, Courage and Gratitude. Then we had a deeper discussion on the principle of Belief, which I invited her to share her further thoughts on for our Entrepreneurs readers today.
Said Carla: “What do you currently believe about your abilities? The abilities of your organization? The abilities of your team members?”
Then she shared a personal experience. In September of 2005, Carla was working for a Fortune 500 company and had been asked to fly to Houston to attend a workshop on Instructional Systems Design (ISD). Hurricane Katrina had just struck New Orleans. Her mind was spinning with what she wanted for her future as she found herself next to so much tragedy in the midst of her trip.
Struck by the fragility of life and circumstance and true to her innate “squirrel” tendencies, her mind raced while she attended the workshop and she created a “mindmap” of what she wanted to manifest and create in her future life and career. She was detailed and specific. At the center of the mindmap she listed, “Carla’s world of empowerment.” Out of it, she created a number of “spokes” of her goals and desires, and created a tactical plan for how they would happen.
In essence, her mind map was a list of her own “non-negotiables,” as follows:
- To help others discover/see their possibility
- To be trusted and appreciated for who I am
- To have fun
- To use my creativity
- To make up my own rules
- To connect with other consultants
- To do good things for other people
- To work from home
- To have a portable business
- To generate multiple streams of income
- To have flexible hours and schedule
- To do coaching
- To do training
- To accomplish these goals by 8/19/2008 (her 40th birthday)
At the time, she had been with the same company for 8 years: 3 in Human Resources, and 5 as a regional Training Director supporting 14 companies in the Western U.S. Then she forgot about the mindmap, completed the ISD course and returned to SLC.
Five years later, in 2010, Carla had the opportunity to mentor two up-and-coming Training Directors and pulled out the Instructional Systems Design notebook again. Perhaps in a stroke of destiny, the notebook immediately opened to the mindmap she had created in 2005 and then promptly forgotten. She was excited, stupefied and then humbled with gratitude at the realization that everything she had believed and written had come to be.
As it turns out, in May of 2008, the team Carla belonged to received a phone call on a fateful Tuesday that its function had been eliminated. Having dreamed about having her own Organizational Development business, she was excited when the call came, but also worried. Immediately after the phone call, she hung up and called a colleague to ask if she could set up a contract for a year and work remotely. Upon receiving a positive answer, she “began breathing again.”
Carla started her own small OD/Training company in July and—without conscious realization—she had accomplished at least the beginnings of what she’d written down as her goals by her 40th birthday. She had secured a contract that allowed her to stay afloat for the first year of her independent business and notes that she will be eternally grateful to that former colleague and first client for the rest of her life.
“I make up my own rules (sort of),” she says, “Or at least no one is sitting in a corner office telling me what to do. I love what I get to do, and I am having fun. I am honored to see the good that I and others can do in my coaching practice,” she continues. “And I am frequently moved to tears as I see the triumphs of the human spirit as leaders develop."
Most importantly, Carla notes, she saw this future vividly, she thought it through in detail and then she made it happen. As we fast forward to December 2016, she offers other entrepreneurs the following Belief Lessons from a “Solopreneur”:
- Belief is the first step.
- What are your beliefs about yourself?
- Your abilities?
- Your customers?
- Your team?
- Your team members?
- “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t—you’re right.” – Henry Ford
- Resign your position of General Manager of the Universe.
- How well are you able to let go?
- What are your beliefs about abundance?
- How much do you need to be in control of?
- “Just go with the flow.”
- Connect, collaborate and choose to be a part of something greater than you are currently doing.
- What do I have to offer another group?
- How am I truly a thought leader?
- What would I like to gain from another group or thought leader?
- “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
And perhaps most importantly of all, look forward through the lens of what you have to offer, not what you hope and expect to receive.
Carla’s words and her experience are profound. As we near the end of another year of business and reflect on what we and our organizations have achieved, now would be the ideal time to create our own detailed mindmap of the goals you would like to achieve in the future. Do not be afraid to dream big—really big. But it is vital that you make your plan as detailed as possible. Like Carla, consider what the outcome will look like, and the process required for each step to become a reality. Include a timeframe and deadline. And consider the non-negotiable strengths that you can offer and that you can build further as you bring your own mindmap vision of your personal and business future to life. I thank Carla for her candor in sharing these experiences with other entrepreneurs. And I look forward to hearing about your results.