Take Risks

Take Risks!

 

Take Risks

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

          I was speaking to a group of students recently and was asked a question about some of the characteristics that entrepreneurs have that make them successful. One of the first things that came to my mind was that entrepreneurs like myself are not afraid to take risks even when we know failure is a potential outcome. By its very nature entrepreneurship is very risky. The majority of small business fail in the first year or two of operation. You can’t really play it safe when you’re an entrepreneur because you must constantly evaluate what your customers/clients need, what you can deliver and how to find your way of doing that in a unique way in your industry.

            Some of the risks I have taken as an entrepreneur have turned about better than others, but I would never know the success of any of those risks had I never taken them in the first place!

            I frequently read business and entrepreneurial stories and one of the best parts about any success story is learning about the risks individuals take at the very beginning of their entrepreneurial journey. Those risks are usually the ones that become total game changers for them!

           Simply stated, the main reason people are afraid to take risks is because they become consumed with the monkey-chatter in their heads telling them that they may fail. Sure, you may fail, but you may also succeed. What is guaranteed, however, is that you will never know unless you try.

           A little note about failure: Failure isn’t always a bad thing. Remove the negative energy you give to the concept of failure. Instead of looking at it as a bad thing, realize that failures are nothing more than learning opportunities and a chance to begin again with a new perspective!!

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader Award (NELA) Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril

3 Ways to Make Forming New Habits Easier

3 Ways to

Make Forming New Habits Easier!

           Think of habits as your brain’s specialized Productivity Center! Habits are formed after an activity has been performed at least once and eventually become behavior that is automatic. Think about some of your daily habits such as getting up in the morning to brush your teeth, exercising around the same time everyday, and going to bed at a certain time every night, etc. The first time, or first couple of times, you perform a specific activity, it probably takes a bit of concentration, attention to detail, energy, and brain power to perform. However, once you start to perform any given activity over and over, the amount of mental effort you have to exert becomes less.

          There is a ton of science involved in explaining how our minds specifically form habits and is beyond what I am discussing here today. My focus in this post is discussing how forming new habits can lead to personal success for you!

If you want to change or “break” a habit, you have to find an alternative to that habit that offers the same reward (Tweet this).

           Let’s take smoking for example. It’s difficult for people to break the habit of smoking because there are not many healthy alternatives that excite that same area of the brain that nicotine from smoking does. Smoking and other habits are hard to break because they have become automatic for people to do them without thinking!

Here are 3 Suggestions to start changing your habits today:

1.) Start Small – Start small, with an alternative to the old habit, that is actually achievable. If you want to begin the habit of working out more often, start with just going to the gym or the park 1 day per week for 30 minutes. Do this repeatedly for a couple of weeks until it becomes a new habit, then increase the frequency and/or duration.

2.) Be committed to Repetition – Do you know someone who ALWAYS seems to misplace their keys? Whether it’s you (Yes, you!) or someone else you know, create a place such as a key ring holder on the wall that you place your keys on each and every single time you enter that given space ie – work, home, purse etc. When you come home and are tempted to simply throw the keys on the kitchen counter, resist and remind yourself that you are committed to changing your habit and take the couple of extra steps required to place them in the designated spot.

3.) Have a plan in place to pivot away from undesirable habits to more desirable habits no matter how many times it takes. Example: If you have formed the habit of starting your suggestions in business meetings in a negative tone, know that it is OK to stop in the middle of your sentence, pause for a second and say something like, “Let me start over……….”, immediately correcting that habit and beginning your statement with confidence.

What other suggestions do you have for helping to form new habits?

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

                Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril

Gut-Check: Learning How to Trust Your Intuition in Leadership

Gut-Check: Learning How to Trust Your Intuition In

Leadership

intuition

                  I’ve honed in on this skill of trusting my gut pretty well through my practice of medicine. I’ve learned that when in doubt, always trust my intuition when it comes to making decisions for my patients. All the typical “textbook” signs of a particular medical condition may not be present in a patient I am examining, but when in doubt, I’ve made it a habit of trusting my gut to make important decisions and diagnoses.

               When we talk about “Trusting your Gut, we are really talking about trusting your intuition.  By definition:

Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. Intuition provides views, understandings, judgements, or beliefs that we cannot, in every case, empirically verify or rationally justify.

               Great leaders don’t simply rely on facts to make decisions. While relying on facts may be the most logical for most people, leaders are often times called to make the correct decision even when all the facts don’t line up. For illustration purposes, think about it this way–> FACTS are equivalent to MATH, while INTUITION is equivalent to ART.

             ❐  Experience is definitely a great way to sharpen your intuition. Experience making important decisions teaches you that everything can’t be explained by looking at situations in black and white or by simply looking at the facts.

             ❐  Learning to quiet your mind is another method that allows you to listen to what your gut is trying to say. Many times FEAR plays into our decision-making – fear of making the wrong decision, fear of judgement from others, etc. When you learn to quiet your mind and remove fear from the equation, you can begin to trust what feels right to you.

              As I’ve mentioned here on the blog before, Leaders don’t always have the right answer and make mistakes just like everyone else. There are times when leaders trust their gut and make great decisions and times when they end up making an unpopular decision. This may cause strife on a team or within an organization because the leader chose to “trust their gut” instead of using logic and sticking with the facts. If this happens, it’s best for the leader to admit the mistake and use the experience to guide their decision-making in the future. It’s important to remember that no leader nor any given team member will make the “best” decision 100% of the time. Removing the fear and trusting one’s gut is a major step along the path of becoming a superb Leader!

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

         Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

True Leaders Admit Mistakes

True Leaders Admit Mistakes

 

Leaders Admit Mistakes

 

               Mistakes are inevitable and are proof that you are working and trying. Show me a person who has not made mistakes and failed and I will show you a person who has not tried anything new! Mistakes are useful for growth if we learn from them and heed the lessons they teach us. However, before you can decipher the message from the mess you must first admit the mistake.

               Admitting mistakes is tough because it makes you vulnerable. Admitting mistakes also strengthens your leadership skills because it actually makes you more trustworthy and relatable.

                A couple of years ago I actually showed up for a business meeting an entire day late because I made the mistake of putting it on my calendar incorrectly! Talk about EMBARRASING!!! Instead of making up some kind of lame excuse as to why I missed the meeting and showed up late, I admitted my mistake to the person I was meeting with. That colleague actually agreed to meet with me the day I was “late”, we had a good laugh about it and even had the meeting over a nice business lunch! This taught me an important lesson – be honest about mistakes you make. The outcome from admitting them may actually be better than the initial intended result!

What is a recent mistake you could have handled differently?? How do you plan to rectify the situation?

— Dr. April

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

               This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.

The Power of Ideas

The Power of Ideas

 

Leadership Ideas

 

               We all have ideas. Everyone can dream. However, the sign of an effective leader is being able to take those ideas and put them into action! Try. Experiment. Yes, you will fail every now and then and that’s fine. Failure is an opportunity to begin again with more insight and direction!

             In 1985, when Steve Jobs was just 30 years old, he was fired from the company he co-founded – Apple! He had revolutionized personal computing and had built the company into a billion dollar empire! Jobs didn’t let that set-back stop him. He came back from that defeat with ideas that have completely changed the way we use computers, smart phones, music devices and TV! The process of Steve Jobs taking a tiny idea and putting it into action has changed the way the world operates!

What ideas do you have today that should be acted upon to produce change?

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.