Think BIG, to be bigger…
Part 1 of series: Growth begins with you – watch the introduction here.
By Julie Perkins, Founder of Wyseminds
The global economy continues to be rocked by all manner of negative factors, with rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine continuing to adversely affect economic activity:
- The IMF’s very latest World Economic Outlook projects that global growth will fall to 2.9% in 2023
- Investment in emerging markets and developing economies is predicted to fall
- Employment rates across Europe are at historically low levels
- A wage-price spiral makes it harder for the European Central Bank to control inflation
But I’m not here to spread bad news. I am here to tell you: now is not the time for fear or complacency. With crisis comes opportunity.
Look out and lean in
When the economic climate around us, over which we have no control, is stormy, it’s easy to feel that there’s not much we can do as entrepreneurs and business owners. Keep your head down, accept that things will be hard for a while and try to keep going may feel like the only way.
But acceptance and fear can set you on a backwards course as competitors surge ahead. Opportunities missed, potential remain untapped.
Think big, to fuel growth
Now more than ever is the time for positivity, for big ideas. Thinking big is how you become bigger. When you start talking the language of big, you feel big. You project big. You propel your business forward to the next stage.
Thinking big and painting a vision of a brighter future is absolutely not about changing the fundamental essence of who you are as a person, or altering the business purpose that guides you. These are the unique strengths that guide your company and communicate your values to clients and customers. Thinking big is about growing your business on your own terms, staying connected to the things you love and believe in.
And when thinking big is fully rooted in your company’s purpose, great things can happen.
Growing your business begins by setting out what you want to change. By thinking in terms of vision, you inspire the right people to join your journey who help you discover that it is possible to get where you want to be. What you have today is not what you want to have tomorrow, think beyond where you are now and visualise where you want to be. Look up from the everyday and paint a vision of the change you want to see. Imagine the future. Be excited for the journey.
Re-framing the future as full of possibility, rather than serving up more of the same is crucial if you are to take the right next step, as one of our Wyseway graduates, Luce explains:
“I couldn’t see where the opportunities were going to come from. The spirit was flat, growth wasn’t there because I didn’t want to find it anymore.”
Discover the joy of the journey
Vishen Lakhiani, in his book ‘The Buddha and the Badass: The secret spiritual art of succeeding at work’, really helped me to see the power of thinking BIG. It’s natural for us to think (and especially those of us with our own businesses) that work is about us. It’s not, it’s about the journey we are taking to where we want to go, not the outcome. Once you start to look at it this way, thinking BIG becomes freeing. Transformational.
So many of the entrepreneurs I work with (and I include myself), are afraid of not making the picture of success that they hold come to life. We may be embarrassed or ashamed that we could even consider the possibility of making that vision come true. Perhaps that’s why we keep the bigger picture hidden only to ourselves, for fear of judgement. Afraid that by bringing our vision out of our heads and hearts, it is no longer ours.
But when we remove ourselves from the centre of everything, as Vischen suggests, we can think bigger. Having a vision of where we are going makes it easier to enjoy the journey. The joy of the journey helps us attract what we need to make that journey, to make the difference. Fulfilment follows this discovery, magnified by the people we meet along the way.
Clarity of vision
I’ve spoken with Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, to understand what drove her to build her idea of making glasses an affordable accessory into a hugely successful business operating in 13 countries and employing 30,000 people:
“I wanted people to have as many spectacles as an optometrists’ partner and family”
Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers
But whilst her founding vision and purpose was clear, when she set out she had no idea what it would look like in 30 years’ time. For her it was about the journey, not the destination – she wanted to make it fun and fulfilling. It’s fair to say that she and Doug are still having fun today!
Doug always carried his five-year vision with him, summarised on an A4 sheet of paper. Keeping this vision close enables him to make decisions today that meet the needs of his customers in five years’ time, including the right people you need tomorrow. It also explains why he came back from holiday in the early days with an IT manager!
Alan Gilmore, Art Director for two of the Harry Potter films, told me that he always shakes hands with people he meets as if he will know them for the rest of his life. He thinks about what skills they have, how they could work with his team in the future. Sometimes this will become true, and maybe that’s because in that moment his visionary approach changed the course of the journey they will go on together.
Think of the future difference you wish to make, like many visionaries before you, you don’t need to know how to get there, just believe in it to inspire others who do.
Trust yourself, follow your vision
Here at Wyseminds, our goal is to support female entrepreneurs like you to grow your business on your own terms, staying connected to the things you love and believe in.
Your business is unique and special precisely because it’s yours. Brought to life by you, nurtured by you, part of you. If you’re feeling that you’re not clear where to go next, how to take growth to the next stage, then the first step is to identify what you want to change. Visualise what ‘bigger’ looks like and free yourself to take the journey there. Think BIG.
In my next blog in this trilogy series, I’ll be looking at the power of subtraction – the value we can bring to our businesses by saying goodbye to things that are no longer adding value. Taking only what you need on the journey. A difficult, but necessary process that ensures we always face forwards, towards continued growth.
In the meantime, try out our online support programme for free, here to discover how you too can become a visionary thinker and think BIG.