Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
and Life Lessons Learned Looking Back:
Seven Key Lessons
By Victoria Munro
This week, I celebrate my 65th birthday
and was challenged to reflect on and share some lessons
I’ve learned. In doing so, I certainly don’t
presume I have in any way arrived. I plan to keep learning,
growing and changing—hopefully for the better.
In the process of starting and running
nine businesses, I’ve made many mistakes, I’ve
done some things right and I’ve learned a lot.
Listed below are seven key
lessons I wish I’d grasped years ago. I
trust they will provide some useful insights.
1. Relationships are priceless.
Treasure and honor them. Money may come and go, and
though it’s an important and essential aspect
of life, money alone won’t bring lasting fulfillment.
Meaningful relationships will.
As my children grew up and left the nest, I encouraged
them to seek out and surround themselves with supportive
friends they enjoyed and respected. “Make this
a priority,” I urged them. “You will need
these friends and they will need you. Be there for them,
give more than you get and, when you have a need, they’ll
be there for you.”
2. Take time
out often to reflect—just to think. In
our busy, fast-paced lives it’s easy to postpone
or neglect taking time to step back and reflect on the
big picture or even the situation at hand. It’s
tempting to push ahead, doing whatever it takes to make
the business succeed, sometimes without stopping to
define exactly what ‘success’ means to us.
Looking back, I see that during hectic,
stressful times, I often made poor decisions. Taking
time to step back, analyze the situation, consider all
possible options and their potential consequences could
have led to wiser choices. Think about what you really
want in life. Write out your personal definition of
3. Failure isn’t fatal.
It’s a reminder that we’re human and an
opportunity to learn. We all makes mistakes. We do and
say things we regret. It’s far better to take
a reasonable risk and fail, than never step outside
your comfort zone. When I blow it, I follow three rules:
objectively at what happened and what I can learn
from it. Then, make changes to avoid repeating it.
all the positives—you can always find some.
no beating myself up with negative self-talk.
4. Know and
be true to yourself. Understand your strengths
and weaknesses. Focus on further improving your strengths
and compensate for your weaknesses. Be clear about what
is and isn’t important to you. Identify your core
values and commit to never
5. Keep on
learning. Education doesn’t finish when
we graduate from college. Continue learning: read books,
listen to CDs and seek out and spend time with others
you can learn from. Develop a curious, questioning mind.
I didn’t attend high school or college—I
started a business—but I love to learn.
6. Life isn’t
fair. Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
In life and in business, everything doesn’t always
go according to plan—it’s a journey over
mountaintops, through valleys, and across flatlands
and gentle hills. None are permanent and, when you’re
walking through a valley, that’s good to remember.
I’ve also found a healthy sense of humor to be
a great remedy in tough times. Learn to laugh a lot!
7. Be quick
to forgive, even if you need to forgive someone
a hundred times a day. In business and in life, people
hurt people. Decide to never hold a grudge. Remember
to forgive yourself too!
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
businesses. To receive FREE business success articles
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