Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas about personal and professional development.

Posts Tagged ‘advice

Build your own way.

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Build your own way

I was recently asking a question on LinkedIn, about the best advice you ever received, related to your career or business. I received of course a lot of interesting answers. The only one who did not answer to that question was me, of course, but it is an opportunity to share my experience about that question.

When I finished my studies in finance and accounting, I remember my mother giving me a good advice. She was owner of a small metalworks factory, founded by my grand father after the second word war. She told me that “If I wanted to join the company, we have first to talk each other about this. A family business is not always an easy things, and I don’t want to have difficult work relationship with you as I had time to time with your grand father. First, do your experience somewhere else.” I remember, when I was still student, people saying to me that I had not worries as I had already the family business and I should never to have to look for a job. This remarks make me laugh today. I would say that the only thing which is an evidence is that I am the son of my mother and that’s all. I never join the family business and today, when I see the way I did, I learned a lot of things by having done it, and that is what I would like to share here.

By remembering my mother’s advice, I would translate it in another way: “Build your own way.” Nevertheless, is it a bad idea if you decide to join the family business and if you take it over later? Not necessarily, but I would says that it is important to let your footprint in it, to drive it following your goals. It is obvious that time are changing, we are leaving in a fast moving environment, and in these conditions, you will not do the same things than your parents did. In my case, I never joined the family business. I just became administrator of the company and assisted in some tasks related to the accounting and finance, but I was never part of the daily operations.

The way I did my career until now, and by not choosing to join the family business, made me think about interesting thoughts and statements.

  • It is first important to build your own way. What do you want to do as a job, what  are your goals in your life. You have only the answer to that question. And sometimes, it is not always easy to determine, because people are used to put labels on you. They are not necessarily seeing you as you are, but as they want to see you.
  • Motivation is a major key of success, in your personal as in your professional life. Choose a job you like to do, a job where you can find interest and motivation. You need to be convinced yourself, in order to convince the others, and to maximize your chance of success.
  • Avoid to live in the comparison. By choosing your job, by building your own career, you decide to be the own actor of your life, to be you and not another. If you want to be so successful than somebody else, you will be probably disappointed. Each person is different, and it is useless to try to copy somebody else. The original is always better than the copy. Be the original, not the copy.
  • Work with inspiring people: I had the chance to meet people who brought me a lot of significant things, contributing to improve my work. This is only possible if you develop harmonious relationships with people. I think it is probably more difficult as member of the family business. You will be more seen as a family member of the boss, and not as a normal collaborator.
  • Learn from your own experience. By building your own way, you will meet success and failures. Take successes as rewards, and failures as opportunities, and you will probably learn much more from your failures. Each experience will improve your know-how and is an asset to face new challenges. Your own experience will improve the way to do things, to face issues and challenges on a different way.
  • Develop your capabilities and curiosity. By setting your own goals, by building your own projects, you expand your capabilities. You discover each day who you are. And with curiosity, you will maybe discover new interests, hide talents.
  • We have not only one life. By taking over a family business, you realize maybe something you want, but you subscribe also to maintain a tradition, and maybe to do the same activity during all your life. You are always free to change, to sell your business if you want. But by choosing to take over the family business, you are more in a spirit of continuity.

You are the only one who knows what you want to do. You can always ask advices to other people, but don’t loose your critical mind. It is always important to confront the given advice and ideas to yours. What seems to be positive for somebody else, can not be seen as positive by you. Each of us, we have our own expectations, our own ambitions. These expectations and ambitions are the result of different components. It is related to our temper, to our education, but also to our own life experiences. Each of us, we have different tempers, we received different educations. We are unique, we are ourself and not somebody else. The decision to take a way or another has to be ours, and not the one of somebody else. This decision is the result of several experiences, of a brainstorming process, determining goals and expectations. It is the only way to be ourself, to be the actors of our own life, to learn and discover who we are, but also to enjoy life as we are expecting. Build your own way.


Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

July 18, 2011 at 21:40

If you can dream it, you can do it.

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If you can dream it, you can do it - Walt Disney

This quote as title of this article was from Walt Disney. Recently, I was attending a presentation session for web entrepreneurs, organized by the Betagroup in the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels. The organizer of these sessions is used to end the session by telling a quote related to entrepreneurship. After the session, ending by a networking drink, I had the pleasure to talk with a freelance journalist about the experience of entrepreneurship. She was raising the question to know if the fact to dream about doing something is a sufficient condition to do something and to succeed. This question seems to be a bit naive, but it is not the case at all.

Today, we can attend a lot of coaching training sessions where some coaches says that everybody can do what he is dreaming and that he will succeed. I wrote on this blog an article about the fact to stay focused on your goal. I agree with the fact that if you do not believe in what you are doing, you will never reach your goal. But in order to succeed in the project or the job of your dreams, there are several conditions you have to keep in mind:

  • Do I have the talent for this? It is important to know about yourself, to clearly determine what are your strong points and your weaknesses. Peter Drucker was used to say that it is better to work on your strong point in order to go from the competence to excellence instead of to work on your weaknesses in order to go from the incompetence to the mediocrity. I would add that you can be able to play piano, but there is a huge difference between knowing to play piano and to be a piano player like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In a competition environment, you have to appear to be one of the best player.
  • Am I entrepreneur minded? To become entrepreneur is not only a change of social status, it is also a question of mind. An entrepreneur needs to have always a project in advance. He is somebody who wants to move things forward, who is curious and who has of course the entrepreneurship spirit.
  • Is there a market for the services I want to propose? You can not escape to that question. It is important to know if there are customer interested by your product or services and if they are ready to pay the requested price.
  • Are you ready to assume the risk linked to start as an entrepreneur? As you know, entrepreneurship is always risky. Are you ready to loose a part of your money if your project do not succeed? If you can not sleep anymore, it is because you invest probably a too big part of money in a project and you are scared to have a lack of revenues.
  • Have you an alternative plan? If you do not succeed, have you develop an alternative plan in order to still have revenues? I remember an article about a entrepreneur who launched his own activity after a 15 years employee career in a bank. This man was explaining that he invested a part of his money in two apartments he gave to rent, ensuring an alternative revenue in case of business failure.
  • Do not hesitate to ask advices to serious advisers. It is always an asset to have different points of view from professionals in different areas. There is more in few heads than in one. Make the difference between serious people and the others. The others are building time to time their own legend, or are telling you only their success and not their failures.

These points I mentioned are important to maximize your chance to realize your entrepreneurship dreams. If you can dream it, you can do it, but stay in contact with the reality and be creative.

Interesting links for entrepreneurs: –

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 27, 2011 at 00:38