For the past 12 months, I have participated in a “think tank” sort of group – it’s a small group of like-minded entrepreneurs and we meet once a month at various spots throughout the Los Angeles area.
Participation in the group is by invite only. I’m still not sure how I received an invite.
Each month, the group’s founder invites guest speakers to come and share their knowledge, wisdom, mistakes, and experiences with the group. Because the group is kept small, these meetings are pretty vulnerable. Our guests speakers, also entrepreneurs, share about the nuts and bolts of their business(es) – their passions, what accounting software they originally used to use and what they’re using now, why they selected the CRM (customer relationship management) software they did, problems they faced and what they did to work through them, what their support system looked like, how much money they didn’t have, paying taxes, obtaining proper licenses, selecting the proper insurance, etc. You know, the stuff entrepreneurs dream about!
This past month, we had the privilege of meeting with the spunky, seasoned founders of Enrichment Educational Experiences, Linda McManus and Nancy Simpson. They are a tag team, based in Sherman Oaks, California, who have been providing awesome after school programming for over 20 years. Together, they are ying and yang, milk and cookies, peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin. They are a dynamic duo and each brings out the others’ best. In our short time with Linda and Nancy, it was obvious they are also sharp as tacks. After 20 years, they have been through pretty much everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly – which is exactly the type of people a young entrepreneur like myself wants to spend hours listening to.
I often receive advice from people…advice I did not ask for. Instead of listening to their unsolicited ramblings, I stare at their lips, bored, silently thinking “Did they think my last statement ended interrogatively? Why are they telling me how I should run my business when they’re an Uber driver? Should I just interrupt and say “I don’t respect your opinion in this area”? Should I carry around a crossing guard’s stop sign so when people ramp up into unsolicited-advice-mode, I can reach into my Marry Poppins bag and pull out my giant STOP sign?
Linda McManus and Nancy Simpson are wells of practical knowledge and wisdom! I could sit and listen to them talk for hours. And that’s exactly what we did when we met up with them at Enrichment Educational Experiences.
Towards the end of our time with them, they gave us one take away. Literally. They handed us each a laminated list of their top values at Enrichment Educational Experiences, complete with an actual key! Here they are:
8 KEYS OF EXCELLENCE
By Enrichment Educational Experiences
1. LIVE IN INTEGRITY
Conduct yourself in the state of authenticity, sincerity and wholeness that results when your values and behavior are aligned.
2. ACKNOWLEDGE FAILURE LEADS TO SUCCESS
Understand that failures simply provide us with the information we need to learn so we can succeed.
3. SPEAK WITH GOOD PURPOSE
Develop the skill of speaking in a positive sense with good intent, being responsible for honest and direct communication.
4. LIVE IN THE NOW – THIS IS IT!
Develop the ability to focus your attention on the present moment. Each moment, each task, counts.
5. AFFIRM YOUR COMMITMENT
Follow your vision without wavering; stay true to the course. Do whatever it takes to get the job done.
6. TAKE OWNERSHIP
Be accountable and responsible. Be someone who can be counted upon, someone who responds.
7. STAY FLEXIBLE
Maintain the ability to change what you are doing to get the outcome you desire.
8. KEEP YOUR BALANCE
Maintain your mind, body, and spirit in alignment.
Since meeting Linda and Nancy, I have been reading these 8 Keys of Excellence each day and it is transforming the way I approach my work, the people I work with, and how I care for myself. Here’s my challenge to you – read these for the next 21 days and then let me know how it goes!