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The Three ‘I’s Of Leadership: Idea, Incorporate, Identity

A leader must ‘practice what they preach’ and lead by example. Ensuring you are always performing to the best of your ability will excel the leader in you, and enhance your identity.


Leadership is a matter of how you are. We all need leaders who have a strong sense of purpose and are true to their code of values. Corporates choose bonafide leaders for their persona, for their abilities and values to inspire and encourage employees towards their goal.

  • Idea

Leaders add value to business by bringing in new ideas. It takes a lot of ideas to come up with a few executable ones that would suit the different aspects of a business and gradually bring success.

As a leader, it is important that you initiate the ideation process in an organization, and managing different ideas effectively would contribute to the overall innovation. Successful businesses have leaders who have the ability to reflect on their ideas.

An effective leader will be able to work with fresh ideas – theirs, as well as those presented by other employees or peers and also identify, pursue and support good ideas. Being an idea hunter and an idea worker will help you move up the leadership ladder and also help your organization grow smarter.

  • Incorporate

Incorporation, in business terms focuses on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the different process that together run a business. As a leader, you must be able to improve the quality of information and also provide information whenever required.

Leaders who formulate a right plan of action prove to be the driving force behind incorporation, and businesses that focus on such strategies have earned a higher level of agility. Business incorporation strategies enable the company to work in a smarter way.

A leader should be able to define and implement an incorporation strategy that works best for a particular business unit. By empowering your team members to develop skills and make decisions, you will see the results that a successful leader will see.

  • Identity

An authentic leader, as defined in Greek mythology, ‘knows thyself’ – accepting, being and remaining true to oneself. A leader is selected or accepted amongst a group, depending on how representative she is to people within that group.

A genuine leader acts in accord with her code of values, needs and preferences and in the process, freely expresses her core feelings and motivations.

The importance of social identify in leadership can be explained with the example of a sports team selecting its captain. The captain is the leader of the team but when the players start the game on the field, the coach is the person that they look up to for motivation and direction.

The leader holds the responsibility of leading the team and ensures that the players play to the best of their abilities. The leader also organizes the team using effective methods and maximizes their coherency as a team.

To emerge successful in today’s competitive market, woman leaders must have a broad idea of the different functions in business and the way they work together. The three I’s of leadership will boost your growth up the leadership pipe.


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Modern Indian Woman

Women In Modern India: The Forty-Something Diva

By Lachmi Deb Roy

There’s an aura about her. The elegant 40-something at the bar or at the gym; her poise has the scent of experience, her tone is confident. She is what the Indian woman is morphing into.

Just a decade ago, this woman smelled of baby-powder and vanilla essence, her body camouflaged in inconspicuous- wear, she faced the camera only for family portrait. Her world around her loved ones, the kitchen, the grocery shop and if the times demanded it, a makeshift career. She stayed put, she stayed married whether it worked for her or not.

But it is a totally different story now. The ‘middle age’ tag just does not fit her. She is wise, well-read, well-maintained, fit, articulate and technology savvy. Her French manicured hand says it all.

She knows about the happenings around her and the cosmetic industry like the back of her hand. Teeny boppers might scoff at the idea of living up life at forty, but that’s just the ignorance of youth. They can be forgiven. For the wiser ones it is no secret that the prime of your life starts when you hit your forties.

The forty something diva may be spotting a few tattoos and a hip nose stud, but she knows how to carry herself with grace and elegance. She is confident and is known for her achievements. She has an aura that makes everybody’s head turn towards her.

Etiquette queen, Chhaya Momaya says, “Today’s forty something are much more confident probably because of their experience. She is much more at peace with her life and hence the calm shows on her face. She is no more struggling to make a place in the society. She has established her self and is much more economically independent than her younger counterparts. She has finished her duties and hence has money to spend on herself.”

This demi goddess knows the cosmetic industry like the little lines around her eyes, she know the financial market like the beginning of grey around her temples and she knows how to work both to her advantage.

The New Diva didn’t just crawl out from under a rock… she stepped out of fire. This forty something diva knows that growing old is a happy experience. They know that as you grow old in life your happiness should not be declined.

Older people are just as happy as younger ones, if not more. Today’s 40-something Diva does not fear conventions and traditions because she has seen what life is all about, has finished her duties and earns her own living.

Renowned fashion stylist, Rita Dhody says, “When a woman reaches the forty something age, she understands herself better. You are more experienced about life- it is a culmination of everything that you have learnt. For me changed circumstance was the cause of evolution in my life.”

“At age thirty I became a single parent with two kids. It was a situation that I was not prepared for. It was indeed a very challenging situation for me. But then actually the story of discovering myself started. Forty is indeed the new twenty five. These divas are less inhibited, have more experience of life, more understanding and less hang ups,” adds Rita.

Vinodini Rao, a forty something yoga instructor says, “I always tell my students who are mostly in their forties to age gracefully and to think young and to think freely and not to keep any burdens on their head that I feel will make them remain young from within and outside.”

Vinodini adds, “The most women whom I have met are women who in their forties and fifties and one of them is a mother who is in her sixties. She is independent, free and runs her own boutique. She can concentrate in her work and in herself more now than in her thirties when she was busier bringing us up. In fact with each passing year she is becoming younger and stylish and she understands fashion much more than me. She is well travelled and well read.”

The early years of adulthood are spent with concerns about career, starting a family which was followed by children’s education, buying a house, buying a car- the list is endless. But things take a very easy and pleasant turn when you hit your forties.

“I gave up my job when I became a mother at twenty-eight when I was blessed with twins. But now that my daughters are on their own and can take care of themselves, I have come back to work and started writing all over again for a leading lifestyle magazines,” says Sudeshna Chakraborty, a journalist by profession.

Vinodini, says, “It is very difficult to tell the age of a woman today. You look at her and wonder is she 25 or is she 35? And then you are amused to find out that she is 42, and it is lot to do with the way women are taking care of themselves.

Today’s 40-something Divas are completely at ease with themselves. They are not desperate to look young. In fact, they feel young from within and they know how to carry themselves with grace.

Fashionista Rita Dhody adds, “Be brave and throw away your old clothes which are not working for you. Don’t be desperate to hold on to your age. Wear neat straight cuts. The biggest fashion mistake people make is to wear outfits that do not go with their age.”

Today’s women in their forties are much more style conscious and sensible than what they wear a decade back. They look much more refined and attractive as never before. You may call her aunty, just out of habit.

You may be unsettled to see her ‘now-ness’, but that svelte 40 something is going to have her say and make heads turn. She is tough, but she is wise. She is cute and astute. She is going to raise the bar for you. Her moon is rising and her tribe will increase.

Lachmi Deb Roy is a lifestyle freelance feature writer and has been a journalist for the past ten years. She is a mother of a six year old and writes for MedIndia and several national and international magazines like – ‘Femina’, ‘New Woman’,’Gurlz’ and ‘Parent and Child’. She has worked with leading publications like-‘The Asian Age’, ‘The Week’ and ‘The Deccan Chronicle’.

Working mom

Retaining Women In The Workforce: How To Nurture Female Talent

Today, in most organizations, women form a large chunk of the talent pool. Yet, they remain underrepresented because most drop out midway mostly compelled to familial and parenting responsibilities or a sheer lack of support from their organization.

Research has shown that women employees are an asset to any organization and companies that make active efforts to recruit and retain their female workforce, tend to thrive and grow at a higher rate.

While some organizations in India are moving with changing times, many are yet to wake up to this fact. The expectations and priorities of a female employee are largely different from a male one.

According to a recent survey carried out at Tata Consultancy Services by People Matters, women placed “lack of flexiwork options”, “male-dominated office environment” and “inadequate work-life balance” as the primary deterrents to their professional growth.

Here’s what organizations can do to attract and retain female talent:

  • Provide Equal Opportunities Employment Policies

By encouraging a more inclusive work culture, organizations can reduce attrition of female employees and ensure a better gender balance at the senior management level.

It would help to train and sensitize the senior management towards the need to eliminate gender stereotyping and nurturing a diverse talent pool. This also calls for a greater emphasis on fair and neutral appraisals that are solely performance-driven.

  • Opportunities For Personal And Professional Development

Mentoring programs, networking and leadership training are major driving factors for career-oriented women as they help avoid stagnation and promote growth. Such initiatives will allow large, medium and small-scale organizations to groom and train talented women for leadership positions.

Incurring additional expenses to retain women in the workforce may not seem like an economical idea at first, but in the long term, organizations are sure to benefit from the multi-fold benefits.

  • Provide Flexiwork Options

Even though many organizations provide for telecommuting, work-from-home and flexi-hours, employees availing these options are generally looked upon as less competitive and lax in their professional attitudes.

By placing telecommuters at par with on-location workers and offering them growth opportunities on the basis of performance and productivity rather than visibility in the office, organizations will be able to retain more women employees.

Moreover, women will feel less hesitant about taking advantage of such provisions, which in turn will keep them from quitting their jobs in the event of marriage, motherhood or other familial responsibilities.

  • Return-To-Work Policies

An astounding number of women take longer breaks to take care of a new baby. However, when it is time to join the work force, most women find themselves disconnected and “out of the race”.

Appropriate reintegration policies and women forums can help women find their place in the organization and at the same time, cater to the changing needs of their families.

Having daycare facilities within the office premises would be an added bonus as it would give working mothers a chance to care for their children without having to take frequent days off.


3 Green Business Ideas For Startups That Make A Difference

There will always be room for new ideas, particularly in business. Over the years, ideas have come and gone – some with a bang and some with a whimper. Many of these ideas have revolutionized the industry while others merely reinvented the wheel.

But if you’re looking to start a venture that will make a difference, cater to a ready market and still have the profitability of a promising business, going green is the biggest startup business idea you can use.

Green technology is one of the best and biggest business startup ideas that have ever hit the industry. With eco-friendly consciousness becoming widespread worldwide and still a small number of products to meet that demand, today is the perfect time to consider going into business promoting green technology.

Recycled Laptops

Already, industry insiders are predicting that this business will grow and become a trillion dollar a year business in 10 years’ time and could become the basis of the future global economy.

Some green business opportunities to consider:

  • Products Recreated From Recycled Materials

From apparel to shoes to construction materials, products made from recycled materials have switched from being novelties at specialty shops to becoming mainstream items.

Simple, uncomplicated and practical, the switch has become one of the biggest startup business ideas today, resulting to the establishment of hundreds of stores and production facilities around the world.

Probably the most saleable and ubiquitous so far are reusable shopping bags, touted as the eco-friendly consumer’s answer to the call for reducing product carbon footprints and encouraging the use of materials that would otherwise clog up dumpsites.

How much you’ll need:

Should you go homemade, you’ll spend from around $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the equipment and materials you use. Design also matters, primarily because this product line does enjoy some popularity.

  • Eco-Friendly Car Dealership

Eco-friendly cars don’t only reduce the user’s carbon footprint, they also minimize the demand for fossil fuel. These are mostly hybrids and are designed to be fuel-efficient, thus allowing high savings to the user. Car dealership can involve sales or leasing, so you’ll have a choice.

Either way, the use of alternative energy is indirectly being promoted. The business will require establishing a relationship with auto manufacturers, although a known dealer could offer the same opportunity for nearly the same profits.

Eco-friendly carHow much you’ll need:

$10,000 to use with alternative models, probably lower if the auto producer is smaller. The latter option is a good choice for a startup business since new entrepreneurs might not want to shell out such a big capital. The need, however, is huge and continues to expand.

  • Organic Products

Selling products that have been produced using organic methods helps promote a healthy choice and encourages a more responsible way of using natural resources. Organically grown plants, fruits and vegetables, for example, present a huge market and remain as one of the biggest startup business ideas today.

The demand for organic products is rising and the profits are quite promising, considering that organic products are better priced than products using chemical fertilizers. By-products in this sector are also promising. They could be expanded to include product lines such as skin care, cosmetics, home cleaning and maintenance created from organic materials.

Many consumers are making the switch to these products because they are hypoallergenic and made from natural and naturally-sourced materials. This segment of the industry expects huge growth, which means more competitors will be joining the field. All the more reason to grab the opportunity to make your mark as early as possible.


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Women Leaders, Define, Design And Project Who You Really Are

As a leader of your organisation, YOU are the one people look up to everyday. YOU are the person that other people see, and YOU are who you are. How do you as a leader use this to your advantage?

12977620_sPassing out orders to other people is as easy as distributing business cards. But true leaders know how to lead themselves. A woman emerges a prudent leader when she becomes a working constituent of the overall setup of a business. It is important that a leader possesses the ability to self-motivate themselves while motivating others.

Women are more adept in managing crisis, they are more conservative in matters involving money and they have time and again proved to be the best in managing clients and inter team relationships.

These qualities that a woman leader inherently possesses, help in accelerating the growth of corporate strategies.

Women As Leaders In Business

While management is about perfecting existing things, leadership changes the way things or people work, bringing an overall improvement in the performance of any business.

You as a leader can inspire your peers to do things they think are impossible, help them resolve indecision or conflicts, work to solve problems and assist them develop a sense of emotional literacy.

Organisations around the world are increasingly recognizing the potential of women in terms of their skill sets, experience and composition.

With their abilities to avert risk and focus on long term matters, women leaders in the field of business are expected to bring about better growth that is more result oriented than being process driven. This was what the result of a study, focused on the emergence of women business leaders revealed.

Developing Leadership Qualities

  • Establish an unfeigned sense of commitment

To be a true leader, our sense of commitment should be much deeper than our company slogans written on boards. Establish a plan to achieve success and develop the ability to measure it.

  • Lead yourself

To be a true example to others, it is important to develop the ability to focus and motivate yourself, as you motivate them.

  • Be receptive

In business, sticking on to principles or decisions that gave success in the past is an age old practice and it can still be applied today. However, a genuine leader is also open to new ideas and recognizes that there are better ways to do things.

  • Keep learning

Leadership skills do not grow out of any sudden epiphany. Though we might come up with great ideas, being a genuine leader also means ever-learning. Reading books, attending seminars and a casual chat with colleagues on their views on different matters, can help us define and appreciate success in a better way.

  • Do not be unnecessarily restrictive

If you are a leader, then it is most probable that you already have a good workforce under you. Some leaders often unwittingly lay down a system of rules that are unnecessary and restrictive. Cutting on monarchic practices will help you influence the people whom you work with, in a genuine way.



Business Travel Tips: How To Deal With Travel Stress

Business travel can be stressful and can have a negative impact on one’s efficiency and work performance. Stress affects your overall health as hormones released during stress bring about physical changes in your body like migraine, skin infections, irritable bowel, post menstrual syndrome and lower body immunity.

Business Travel StressFrequent travel can disturb your digestive system as well as the sleeping pattern. You generally have a tight schedule while travelling as it involves meeting many people in a limited amount of time.

You may have travelled a long distance, experienced a change in time zones and are caught up in meetings and late night dinners. All this can leave a person exhausted.

Delayed flights add to the stress and you may miss the meeting you were going to attend. Odd flight hours, long travel time and crowded planes add to the anxiety. The result – a stressed traveller who is irritated and loses temper on flight attendants.

You’re deprived of sleep as you prepare for meetings or conferences while travelling and not getting enough sleep can again be stressful. At the end of a busy work day, you go to a hotel room and hotel beds may not be as comfortable and cosy as your bed back home and thus the sleep may not be as relaxing.

How to combat travel stress?

• Avoid last minute packing to avoid panic and do not stuff too many clothes and accessories. It is always preferable to keep a travel case that is always ready

• Make sure that you arrive at the airport before time. Delays due to traffic jams can add to the stress. Avoid them by leaving early

• Sleep well the night before departure. Lack of sleep can lead to poor performance at work

• Avoid busy airports and travelling at peak times. Nonstop flights will be a better option to avoid delays

• Schedule your travel such that you give yourself plenty of time to make it to your meeting

• Enjoy reading a book or listening to music while waiting at the airport

• While travelling your sitting posture should be such that body is relaxed. Slightly arch your neck and relax your shoulders and abdomen. Do not sit with your legs crossed and distribute your weight evenly over your pelvic bones

• Meditate and practice deep breathing. It will help you to relax and deal with stressful situations

• Discipline yourself and try to keep a regular sleep schedule

• Stay in touch with your family and children

• Eat right – take a balanced diet and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Make sure that you do not over eat and avoid junk food. Too much alcohol should also be avoided

• Exercise and stay fit – take a brisk walk. Exercise uses up the stress hormones and helps you to relax and gives you a sense of wellbeing. Hit at the hotel’s gym to exercise before you get started for a busy day ahead

• Take some time out for yourself and build personal time into your schedule. Do not be overloaded with work all the time. Spend some time going around the place and just being with yourself. Plan to meet a friend for lunch or dinner. Listen to music or simply read a book


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Thinlas Chorol

Indian Women Social Entrepreneurs: Achievement For Self-Realisation

There are varying perceptions and opinions around the globe about social activists and social entrepreneurs. In the midst of this are a few successful Indian women social entrepreneurs who have challenged the status quo and the myths about social entrepreneurship.

Social Entrepreneurship in India

With a population consisting of 1.2 billion people, India still has around 350 million individuals living below the poverty line. This indicates that one of every three Indian does not have even the basic requirements like education, nutrition and health care.

Social entrepreneurs work to uplift the deprived sections of society and help them lead a better life. They focus on bringing changes in systems in the society, rather than depending on businesses or the government. Though the concept of social entrepreneurship evolved several years ago, it has only recently become a corporate idiom.

India has some successful woman entrepreneurs working for social causes. Many women are turning towards social entrepreneurship because they have the tendency to work in a heart-centered way – an innate quality of feminine expression.

Famous Women Social Entrepreneurs in India

  • Thinlas Chorol

Thinlas Chorol is a social entrepreneur, trekker, writer and more importantly, the first woman in Ladakh to start a travel company, entirely operated and owned by women. The ‘Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company’ is the outcome of Thinlas Chorol’s strong will to prove her identity in the society.

A trekker and a tourist guide by profession, Thinlas points out that she faced several challenges as a woman to uphold her work in the field of trekking, an all-men’s domain. Breaking the glass ceiling was a no easy task for Thinlas because trekking and hiking were always considered to be a man’s interests. For this simple village girl, trekking is a passion and her career too.

On one of her trekking expeditions, Thinlas decided to set up the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Agency. The company is run and managed by an all-women’s team. She also works to help women trekkers develop the confidence to face challenges while trekking.

She envisions a society where women are fearless and confident enough to embark on vigorous treks. The fortitude and determination of this trekker is as strong as the mountains she hails from, and is something for everyone to learn.

  • Ela Bhatt

Ela R.Bhatt is one of the most remarkable social woman entrepreneurs India has ever seen. She has dedicated her life for the development of the oppressed and poor woman workers in India. Fondly called the gentle revolutionist, she founded the SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association) 30 years ago.

Today, the trade union has more than 1,000,000 members primarily consisting of construction workers, vegetable vendors, incense stick makers, bidi rollers and women coming from similar unorganized sectors of business.

Through the concept of microfinance, the SEWA bank empowers poor women throughout the world. Initially started to help Indian women, the trust has now branches worldwide to help women, improve their quality of living.

Ela Bhatt founded the SEWA to guide women, no matter how poor or uneducated they were, to develop the ability to solve their problems. The SEWA today, is one of the best programmes for women and a microfinance model for organizations throughout the world.


Photo source Wikipedia

Business Etiquette Training: Get The ‘Finishing School’ Advantage

Two young women with engineering degrees were interviewed by a multinational software firm, but the one who got picked had average grades and wasn’t a gold medalist at the University level.

The other candidate had topped her batch and had consistently got excellent grades through the semesters. She was rejected because of her poor communication skills.

There are thousands of professionals churned out by colleges every year, not just engineers but in several other fields. But of these, how many are really employable? And, on how many students can organizations invest in extensive training to bridge the gap between college and corporate?

For this very reason, executive finishing schools have become very popular today. An executive finishing school is an institute that offers to “polish” a person’s skills and train them to deal with situations they may encounter at in the corporate world.

The training that is provided seeks to complement their education and in a sense “groom” them to be more confident and walk with their heads held high.

Etiquette training for women is not a new concept. It has been observed right from the time women (especially in Britain and other European countries) taught their daughters how they should hold their heads when they dance and how not to cross their legs when they sat at a party.

Today, there are finishing schools to give an all round training in personal etiquette, dress sense, fine dining and communication skills. Apart from this, lessons in the art of conversation, making friends and influencing people are not uncommon.

“I was overwhelmed when I came to the software hub Bangalore and everyone around me spoke flawless English. Obviously, my programming skills were not going to be enough to survive!” says Kavita a software professional who works for a multinational firm in Bangalore.

Kavita studied at an engineering college in Madurai and she was recruited to work in Bangalore. While her technical skills were exceptional, she needed to work on her soft skills to be able to fit into the environment at work.

Dale Carnegie India is a training company which seeks to emphasize ” practical principles and processes by designing programs that offer people the knowledge, skills and practices they need to add value to the business.

Connecting proven solutions with real-world challenges, Dale Carnegie Training is recognized internationally as the leader in bringing out the best in people.

Dale Carnegie India is headquartered at Mumbai and has branches at Delhi, Bangalore and Pune. Students are given tips about various things including addressing people by their first names and asking questions instead of giving orders. Women are encouraged to initiate handshakes, to show confidence.

While knowledge and college education have given women opportunities in the corporate sector like never before, in several cases, there are gaps in areas such as communication skills, and etiquette that need to be bridged.

This is addressed by finishing schools that aim at making the woman confident and ready to take on the world.


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Women In The Workforce: What Do Women Want In Their Career?

This article highlights one of the topics that will be discussed at the 2nd Annual Women in Leadership (WIL) Forum India.

When looking at their long term career plans, what are women looking for in an organization? The findings of a survey conducted among women working in fifty companies across thirteen different fields revealed the following results:

• Women tend to place families first, and spare very little time for themselves
• Women feel undervalued in the workplace
• They feel underestimated in the market place
• Women feel underserved

The issues that drive a woman to work and the choices and priorities that she makes during her career are different from that of a man. When it comes to career, a woman looks for work that offers more meaning and it has to go hand-in-hand with her lifestyle and responsibilities.

What Do Women Want At Work?

The main benefits a woman looks for in her work include:

• A supportive work atmosphere.
• A reasonably good balance between work and home.
• Recognition and scope for achievement.
• A good compensation.
• Working for an organization that has high values and a sense of social responsibility.
• A challenging job.

A recent survey conducted by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry in India shows that 82 percent of working women prefer flexible office timings.

The option to work from home, day-care facilities for children, friendly leave policies and flexible office hours provide women a huge amount of support to help them climb up the corporate ladder on their own terms.

Here are a few other interesting revelations from the survey.

• 82% of mothers with children aged between 0 and 4 prefer flexible office hours.
• Only 16% opted to work full time, away from home.
• 85% men wished to marry working women because they believe such women can manage home and work efficiently.
• 71% women agreed that HR policies are becoming better with time.

Marriage Vs Career

The Indian census reports show that every year, nearly 5.5 million Indian women join the workforce. But the number of them who hold on to their jobs are not even half of it. Irrespective of the position or income, the traditional reins that hold a woman remain strong. When family responsibilities take priority over work, it can leave a working woman feeling pitied and judged for her commitment.

Almost 50% of the women in India tend to drop out of their careers following marriage or children, and a number of them do so more because of cultural pressures. Bias in the workplace is also a reason that many women quit work.

Emerging Trends in Indian Companies

Following the footsteps of multi-national organizations, a number of companies in India are also adjusting their existing policies and becoming more adaptive to the needs of its woman employees. The new initiatives also help companies retain a higher number of women workers.

In this increasingly competitive market that demands versatile skills, it is important for the companies in India to widen their management policies for women, as the fair sex is now an almost equal part of the Indian workforce.


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Awakening The Entrepreneur Within You®: The Power Of Practice

by Michael Gerber

There is a commonly held belief that one becomes an entrepreneur by going into business, or going out on one’s own.

I don’t subscribe to that belief.

Awaken the Entrepreneur WithinIn fact, as you and I get to know each other better – and I trust we will over time — you’ll discover that not only don’t I subscribe to that belief, but I hold strongly to the opposing belief (with overwhelming evidence to support my position!) that to go into business, or out on one’s own, in the belief that by so doing one is an entrepreneur, will result in tragic consequences of the greatest magnitude.

In short, it’s a very, very bad idea!

So then what – writing as I am on – is an entrepreneur?

Let me share my view with you, and then let me give you three exercises to do to awaken the entrepreneur within you to come out and begin do her work for you to create your new and astonishing world.

Hear me, an entrepreneur is not a person, but a personality. The personality living inside of each and every person on the face of the earth… the personality who dreams.

The entrepreneur inside of you, of me, of your children, of your husband or wife, of your father or mother, of your friends, of your relatives of every shape, size and dimension, no matter what they do for a living, no matter how bold or how shy, no matter where they live or what their education may be or not be, the entrepreneur in each and every human being is the dreamer, the dreaming soul in each and every one of us who sees life as it could be, not as it is; who sees mountains where only flat land lives; who sees great buildings and cities and countries arising with enormous energy where as of yet no buildings or cities or countries live; who sees the sweet juice of opportunity around every corner, in every cranny, nook and claptrap yard, in every square or rounded inch of misery, there is, to the entrepreneurial personality living in each and every human being a life larger than life, a beauty larger than beauty, a promise larger than any promise could hope to be.

The entrepreneur in each and every one of us is the inventor, the creator, a lunatic of the most profound dimensions, the inconsolable pursuer of the impossible who sees visions where others only see work.

The entrepreneur in you and in me is holy, truly holy, and not to be believed.

Which says that Walt Disney knew who his entrepreneur was, as did Sam Walton, as did Ray Kroc and Steve Jobs, as did Debby Fields and yes, even, as strange as it might seem to you, did Einstein and Chopin and Rumi and every “imagineer” (Disney’s word!) who ever dared to climb a mountain that wasn’t there, and to reach the summit, and to hold up his hands and head and scream to those who didn’t see him or her until they came into view…not even the mountain!…”I’m here!”

And there was no ‘here’ until they said it. And there was no ‘there’ until all the others saw it. And there was no summit until they created it. And that’s what the magic of your entrepreneurial soul does when you invite him, when you invite her, to go climbing.

  • The First Exercise

Stop thinking about what you want to do. Stop doing what you are doing. Go to a place, any place will do, where activity ceases, where there is no itinerary, no schedule, no agenda, no responsibility, no work of any kind, no expectation, no result you have set for yourself, no goals, no objectives, no action plans whatsoever, go to such a place to empty your mind.

And that is the first exercise to awaken the entrepreneur in you… to empty your mind. To dream and to create there needs to be both space and energy. With nothing whatsoever you intend to do.

The entrepreneur in us wants to play with the idea of things, without constraint. To write without purpose, to imagine without an end game, to live fully and completely in the moment of his or her experience, now. Not in the past, nor in the future, but now.

To prepare yourself for this Exercise, try sitting down where you are, closing the door, telling everyone who might bother you, to give you ten minutes without disturbance of any kind.

Unplug the phone, turn off your computer, sit down, face a wall, close your eyes, place your hands in your lap, breath deeply, and just stay there, just like that. You’ll see immediately what I mean, and why that is important.

You must do this First Exercise every single day!

  • The Second Exercise

Get a blank piece of paper. You have nothing in mind. Sit with the blank piece of paper and let whatever comes to mind go to the paper. Whether it be a sentence, or just three seemingly unrelated words.

Whether it be an entire paragraph, a thought, a concern, a conclusion, let it write itself down. The key here is to let ‘It’ speak. To let ‘It’ speak. To let ‘It’ say what ‘It’ wants to say. To let ‘It’ have the room to breath.

My saxophone teacher once said to me, years ago, “Michael, you don’t make music, music finds you.” You need to let ‘It’ play its music. That is what the entrepreneur in you wants more than anything, to play ‘It’s’ music.

You will be amazed what appears on the blank piece of paper as you do this Second Exercise.

Do it for only 10 minutes.

Do it once a day. And save those pieces of paper, with the date on the top right hand corner. Save them in a box, or a file folder, and know that that box or file folder is a sacred place. Because your dreamer has created it. Your entrepreneur has become vulnerable. Your creator has expressed himself, herself, and you have been a witness to it.

  • The Third Exercise

Maintaining your entrepreneurial journal is a daily process, and I highly recommend it. Buy yourself a Journal, preferably with leather covers, a rich looking Journal, a Journal that impresses you because it looks so rich, so permanent, so significant. Write in that Journal what you learned that day. Write in that Journal what you felt that day.

Write in that Journal anything that came to mind that day, as you sat with a blank piece of paper, as you sat in your chair facing the wall for ten minutes with absolutely no interruption at all, as you felt your feelings come up, your feelings of being blocked, your feelings of being ashamed, your feelings of excitement, your feelings of despair… whatever came up that day, record it, even though you may not think you are an accomplished writer, or even if you think you are, your entrepreneurial Journal is not about the writing, it’s about the recording.

This is your life, someone once said. This is your life, and if you don’t take it seriously, who will? This is your Third Exercise, and it will feed your First Exercise and your Second Exercise, and you will know it.

Believe me, you will know it.

Copyright © 2011 Soulfully Living. All rights reserved.

Michael E. Gerber is the world’s #1 small business leader. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What to Do About It, and 12 other books about entrepreneurship and small business management. The E-Myth Revisited has been translated in 29 languages, is taught in 118 universities as a foundational entrepreneurial textbook, and forms the foundation of the Michael E. Gerber Companies, which is dedicated to “bring the dream back to small business worldwide.” 

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