Everyone needs coaching. Professional athletes need coaches; business people need coaches; and coaches need coaches. So, I have been getting some coaching myself. As I have worked through the material, I have been jotting down notes and ideas. Here are my 3 Thoughts for today:

1. Business is a system. There is no mystery, no magic. In order to run a business, there are certain key functions. Looking at a business as a ship, I might categorize these components as Captain (Leadership Mindset), Destination and Why (Strategy), Those You Serve (Customers), What You Provide (Products/Services), Who Served Us (Vendors), Crew (Employees), and Money (still Money). If you break down the business into components like these, then determine how they fit together and work through a process, your voyage will most likely be a success. Franchisors have done this. Franchises are simply turn-key business systems, but running any organization can be systematized. Find, follow, and finish a system.

2. Get clear on your ideal client. Your ideal client will determine almost everything about your business. If you know whom you want to serve, that will determine the products/services you offer, the prices you set for those products/services, your marketing & messaging, and everything that follows. Most leaders are afraid to get specific on their ideal client; they think that “narrow” means they are missing opportunities. While it may be counterintuitive, the opposite is usually the truth. Unless you narrowly define your ideal client and target your messaging to that single person, you are shouting your message into the din of thousands of other companies’ shouted messages. Nobody will hear you. If you speak to an individual (and the small group of people who are like him or her), you will cut through the noise and these people will tune in to what you are saying. Not only will you capture more of your ideal clients, but you will be serving more of the people you really want to be serving. In the process, your message will be heard by some outside that group too. Some of those will choose not to do business with you, because they recognize they are not your ideal client. Isn’t that good thing? Others will do business with you anyway. All said and done, your marketing and messaging will be more effective quantitatively and qualitatively.

3. Life is decision. Going a little deep here. If you really look at life, it is series of decisions. We even decide what to believe. When we consider beliefs and where they come from, it becomes apparent that they are choices. Even if you feel like a belief is a product of how you were raised or how you were designed, you still get to choose whether or not to believe it. To prove this point, have you ever believed something wholeheartedly, but then found out you were wrong? Did you continue believing it? I remember a time when my family was playing a game, and I was absolutely certain that the lyrics in question were not in the song that others around the table believed to be the correct answer. They listened to me. We lost that round. I chose to change my belief when confronted with the truth. Did I have to do so? No, I could have simply avoided listening to that song ever again and chosen to believe the makers of the game were mistaken. I could have said it was the Mandala Effect, and in the dimension I came from, those lyrics were not in the song. We choose our beliefs, even the important ones.

We decide how to react to experiences. While we cannot control everything that happens to us, we can choose how we respond. Yes, there is an emotional component, but even that is a result of our beliefs about the situation. I, too, get frustrated when someone makes a poor decision driving that endangers my life. I still get to choose whether to scream at them through the open car window or take a deep breath and be thankful that nothing more serious happened. Even the anger I feel begs the question, “Why did their bad decision or mistake make me feel that way?” If I believe that they did it on purpose or were trying to kill me, then my anger is justified. However, is that belief true? More likely they simply made a mistake. Have I not made a similar mistake in my many years of driving? If they are human and flawed like me, then maybe I should not be angry.

Love is a decision, too. “Now, Eric, you’ve gone too far. The heart wants what the heart wants.” I understand that there is an emotional response that people feel, and they call it “being in love”. I feel it too. That feeling is often fleeting. It ebbs and flows. Emotions are fickle. One of my catchphrases is, “Emotions are excellent indicators, but they are terrible decision-making tools.” The caveat is that emotions can be used in conjunction with intellect to gauge the “rightness” of a course of action; this is commonly referred to as your “gut”. Untempered by intellect, however, emotions often steer us into dangerous waters. What does all of that have to do with love? Marriage is a decision, a commitment. It requires that your love be a commitment too. While the emotional, “in-love” feeling is a good indicator that your significant other is desirable, it’s still important to engage your intellect. If the relationship is new, think about common values, faith, and important topics. Have those conversations. If there is alignment, then decide to move forward. Otherwise, perhaps you should put your emotions in check. If you are already in a serious relationship (marriage), focus on the positives. Keeping your intellect engaged in the right direction and reminding yourself of your commitment will help ensure that love persists even when you don’t always feel “in love”. Love is much more about your words and actions toward another than your feelings about them in the moment.

We decide what to do. Every day, decision after decision, we move into our future. In a sense, we are creating our entire future, moment-by-moment, as simply a series of decisions. Do I turn left and drive the scenic route home today? Do I stop at the coffee shop on the way to work this morning? Do I begin the journey into my Calling by starting a company or a nonprofit? Little or big, our decisions determine our destiny.