When I was in college, I worked part time doing clerical work in a farm implement shop. It was a fairly benign job most of the year.

Then December rolled around and I was sent to a dark cavern where the dusty parts bins were housed. It was my version of being sent to Siberia.

My assignment was to count the contents of each bin. It took a couple of weeks to complete and I often wept as I inventoried the metal objects housed in the bins.

Of course, it’s common for businesses to do an end of the year inventory to see where they’re at. Even if your business doesn’t have an inventory of products or parts to count, it’s a valuable exercise.

I faithfully do so myself, but it’s far more pleasant than counting tractor parts. My inventory only requires a journal, a pen and some thoughtful time answering the following questions.

° What can you do now that you couldn’t do (or hadn’t done) at the start of the year?

° Where have you been that you hadn’t been a year ago?

° What have you learned?

° What problems have you solved?

° What has inspired you?

° How have you celebrated?

° What investments have you made in yourself?

° What new profit centers have you created? Launched?

° What new books have you read?

° What new connections have you made?

° What did you instigate?

° Which of your ideas are coming to life?

° What are you proudest of?

° Where have you made the most progress?

° What disappointments have you overcome?

° What unexpected gifts appeared?

° What would you like more of next year? Less of?

For me, the real purpose of taking inventory is to answer the question, “Are you living in a bigger world than you were when the year began?” How I honestly answer that question determines my journey for the year ahead.

As Alex Haley, author of Roots, reminded us, “The person who doesn’t know where they’re coming from, can’t know where they’re going.”

Dreams are extremely fragile—especially in their early days. They need to be nurtured and surrounded by support. Here are a handful of easy ways to get your dreams off to a great start.

° Passion must be present. While a dream may be born in passion, it’s up to you to keep it alive. If you’re halfhearted and lukewarm about them, your dreams will never come true.

One way to keep passion high is to spend a few minutes every day visualizing the successful completion of your dream. How does it look, smell, taste, sound, feel? Allow your vision to keep pulling you forward.

° Take good care of the boss. It doesn’t matter how great a dream is if the dreamkeeper is too tired or uninspired to bring it to life.

Sometimes the easiest things to do are also the easiest to overlook—like drinking plenty of water and avoiding toxic people. Dreamkeepers have an obligation to create the healthiest and most balanced life possible.

° Make your workspace a place that inspires you. Whether you work on a beach with your laptop or in an extra bedroom in your home, make it inspiring as well as efficient.

Burn incense, play classical music, have a tabletop fountain, and/or cover your walls with art or an inspiration board that pictures your dreams. And if you’re sitting on a beach, pick one with a great view.

° Take responsibility for staying inspired. There are three ways to run a business: Inspired, Uninspired or With Occasional Flashes of Inspiration.

You can identify those things that inspire you and expose yourself to them frequently. Whether it’s music or the words of a particular author or the company of another entrepreneur, know where your Inspiration Well is and go to the Well often.

° Create your own Hall of Fame. Ask a successful actor or musician who inspired them and they’ll probably answer quickly. Ask a would-be entrepreneur the same question and you’re apt to be greeted by a shrug of  the shoulders.

If you’re going to succeed, you need to be inspired by real people. Read biographies or interviews of successful people and pay attention to the philosophies they share.

° Be open to being inspired at all times. You never know where a great idea or solution to a problem will come from. Carry a notebook with you at all times so you can jot down ideas as they occur.

If you spend a lot of time driving, you may want to carry a voice-activated recorder to capture your thoughts.

° Notice what catches your attention, what makes you happy, what causes an emotional response. These are all clues. Don’t miss them.

° Collect entrepreneurial friends. There’s almost nothing more rewarding than spending time in the presence of kindred spirits who can add their own creative ideas and encouragement to what you’re doing. Cultivating such friendships will be one of the best investments you can make.

° Change the scenery. There’s nothing that dulls the creative spirit more quickly than daily routine. You can counteract the dulling effect of that by taking a field trip or creative excursion at least once a week.

Take your laptop to a coffee shop, visit a museum or walk in a Japanese garden. Challenge yourself to come up with new backdrops that feed your soul.

Like many Americans exhausted by the recent elections, I often wondered as I listened to the rhetoric if we were doing it all wrong. What, I mused, might happen if a genuine creative thinker took over the leadership reins?

Then I recalled a story I’d read sometime ago about just such a leader.

Antanas Mockus had just resigned from the top job of Colombian National University. A mathematician and philosopher, Mockus looked around for another big challenge and found it: to be in charge of, as he describes it, “a 6.5 million person classroom.”

Mockus, who had no political experience, ran for mayor of Bogotá. With an educator’s inventiveness, Mockus turned Bogotá into a social experiment just as the city was choked with violence, lawless traffic, corruption, and gangs of street children who mugged and stole. It was a city perceived by some to be on the verge of chaos.

People were desperate for a change, for a moral leader of some sort. The eccentric Mockus, who communicates through symbols, humor, and metaphors, filled the role.

When many hated the disordered and disorderly city of Bogotá, he wore a Superman costume and acted as a superhero called Supercitizen. People laughed at Mockus’ antics, but the laughter began to break the ice and get people involved in fixing things.

The fact that he was seen as an unusual leader gave the new mayor the opportunity to try extraordinary things, such as hiring 420 mimes to control traffic in Bogotá’s chaotic and dangerous streets (a personal favorite of mine).

He launched a Night for Women and asked the city’s men to stay home in the evening and care for the children; 700,000 women went out on the first of three nights that Mockus dedicated to them.

Under Mockus’s leadership, Bogotá saw improvements such as: water usage dropped 40%, 7000 community security groups were formed and the homicide rate fell 70%, traffic fatalities dropped by over 50%, drinking water was provided to all homes (up from 79% in 1993), and sewerage was provided to 95% of homes (up from 71%). When he asked residents to pay a voluntary extra 10% in taxes, 63,000 people did so.

Another Mockus inspiration was to ask people to call his office if they found a kind and honest taxi driver; 150 people called and the mayor organized a meeting with all those good taxi drivers, who advised him about how to improve the behavior of mean taxi drivers. The good taxi drivers were named Knights of the Zebra, a club supported by the mayor’s office.

“Knowledge,’” said Mockus, “empowers people. If people know the rules, and are sensitized by art, humor, and creativity, they are much more likely to accept change.”

After two terms (not consecutive) as mayor of Bogotá, Mockus made an unsuccessful run for the presidency of Columbia. In 2010, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but when he shared the news, said he anticipated at least a dozen more years of active service.

He is currently the President of Corpovisionarios, an organization that consults to cities about addressing their problems through the same policy methodology that was so successful during his terms as Mayor of Bogotá.

Alan Cohen might have been thinking about Mockus when he said, “Outlandish ideas move the world ahead far more powerfully than logical steps. An outrageous imagination is ultimately the most practical contribution.”









For the past several evenings, I’ve been curling up with Richard Branson’s latest book, Like a Virgin. This collection of blog posts and interviews is subtitled Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School.

As you might guess, it’s full of stories, philosophies and insights that are often surprising and provocative.

I’ve been fascinated by this renegade entrepreneur for years who’s always done things with a unique flair. For instance, what other enterprise made up of 400 companies has no gigantic world headquarters?

In many ways, Virign’s success has come about by thinking big, but acting small. This morning, I posted a quote from Branson on Facebook and it got a bunch of Likes from my friends.

He said, “I have spent my career staying away from offices and have only ever worked from three places: houseboat, home and hammock.” I find that endearing.

Happily for us, Branson has always been willing to share his experiences and insights. He’s not alone, of course.

There are all sorts of wise entrepreneurial elders who generously share what they’ve learned. Doesn’t it makes sense to become a voluntary student of those who’ve made the journey ahead of us?

Another favorite of mine is Mel Ziegler who says, “I would not think of starting a business unless I was its first customer.”

Ziegler knows a thing or two about being the first customer. He started out as a journalist, but grew increasingly frustrated by his inability to have creative control over his life.

He and his wife Patricia  started their first business because Mel loved to wear bush jackets and khakis, but he couldn’t easily find any. “The closest you could get to something authentic was in the surplus world, particularly British Army Surplus in those days,” says Ziegler. “It was magnificent. We saw the surplus and were kind of excited by it. We just played with it.”

That business was the original Banana Republic, which began life as a mail order company. They didn’t just sell clothes at Banana Republic; they sold clothes in which you were certain to have an adventure.

Patricia drew the catalog and Mel wrote it. “We just created it more as a theatrical experience than a retail experience,” say Ziegler.”Neither of us had retail experience. Neither of us had business experience.”

I still have a couple of those wonderful Banana Republic catalogs which were unique and fun to read.

After they sold that business, a chance encounter on an airplane got the Zieglers involved with starting Republic of Tea. “The only way I know how to create a company is for myself,” he says. “ I don’t really know how to do it any other way. I mean, I created Banana Republic and Republic of Tea for myself. I’m doing this for myself.”

That may sound simple, but it’s quite revolutionary.

The old paradigm (still much in vogue) has entrepreneurs studying demographics and putting together focus groups, hoping to infiltrate the consumer mind.

The artistic entrepreneur does it differently.

The creative entrepreneur knows that it’s possible to start a revolution by taking an old idea and changing the way it’s been done. That’s precisely how Virgin has built itself into a global operation.

Whether you aspire to build a huge business or are thrilled to remain a small operator, when it comes right down to it, being an entrepreneur is nothing more than spending your days sharing what you love with other people.

“The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years,” said Mr. Rogers, “is their obvious delight in what they’re doing and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing and they love it in front of others.”

Writers talk about (and agonize over) a condition they call Writer’s Block. When this occurs, even experienced authors report feeling stuck, unable to work, to come up with anything to say.

Any creative endeavor can get bogged down when the creator feels blocked, of course. Psychologists  suggest that we can shorten our down time by doing something unrelated to the project that has us stymied.

In other words, we can solve the problem by walking away from the problem…for a  bit.

With that in mind, I polled several people and asked them, “What do you do when you need some fresh inspiration?”

Many of their replies included old favorites, tried and true nudges. Since I think it makes sense to have a portfolio of remedies for getting unstuck, take a look at the list and note any suggestions you aren’t currently using .

The next time you need a creative jolt, try one or more of these:

° Keep an inspiration journal filled with quotes, stories of people you find inspiring, pictures of beautiful places. Page through it when you need a lift.

I also keep a file labeled Make Me Laugh so I know where to go when I’m getting too serious.

° Go to a busy place like an airport or shopping center and watch people. Make up stories about the folks that pass by.

° Dance or exercise. Walking is a proven way to slow down and open up.

° Brainstorm with other people and pay attention to even the silliest ideas.

° Do needlework or make something with your hands. Give your mind a rest.

° Meditate. Stare out of a window. Browse in a bookstore. Be very quiet.

° Practice mindless motion—like vacuuming the rug. I am convinced this is the secret weapon of creative thinkers.

° Call a friend. Ask questions of someone who might have insights to share, but isn’t emotionally invested in your project. Listen.

° Read a book. Take a class. Bump into good ideas that have nothing to do with the project that has you stumped.

The key, this poll would suggest, is to shift gears.

The late Ray Bradbury would agree. He said, “There shouldn’t be any difficult moments. As soon as things get difficult, I turn on my heel and let the idea percolate on its own. I pretend to abandon it!

“It soon follows and comes to heel. You can’t push or pressure ideas. You can’t try, ever! You can only do. Doing is everything.”

What skill can put you at ease in social situations, make your business memorable and  keep your curiosity on high alert?

You probably grew up with it and are still drawn to it.  It is, quite simply,  a universal connector that helps us understand each other and ourselves, makes us desire things, gives us a sense of possibility.

This magical tool is storytelling and it belongs in every entrepreneur’s toolkit.

So what does it take to be a great storyteller? The fundamentals are pretty simple.

° Curiosity. Bernice Fitz-Gibbon, who not only wrote innovative ad copy, but also trained many successful copywriters, wrote, “I have never known anyone who bounced out of bed in the morning, delighted and astonished by the world in which he found himself, who was not a success. A vibrantly alive curiosity and a perceptive awareness will put you right up there with the best of them. This intense interest in people and things—this sense of wonder—can be acquired.”

Without curiosity, you’ll miss all the good stories happening around you that might be put to work on your behalf.

° Attention. TV  journalist Steve Hartman created a popular feature on CBS called “Everyone Has a Story.” He looked for his subject by throwing a dart at a map and then headed to wherever the dart landed. Once there, Hartman began calling people at random from the phone book until he found someone who agreed to talk to him.

Some of Hartman’s stories were funny, some were poignant, some were buried deep, but he never came away empty-handed.

Hartman’s premise is that stories exist everywhere, but only storytellers seem to be paying attention. Follow their lead. Listen for inspiration. Listen for evidence. Listen for material.

When someone says, “Your teleclass was so exciting that I was awake until 3 AM with all these new ideas,” weave it into your marketing.

° Edit.  Editing is critical in all forms of storytelling. The difference between a boring and an enthralling storyteller is in the editing. We all know people who start telling a story and then wander off to side stories about the characters or unrelated events or random thoughts.

So what does an editor really do? According to Sarah Tieck, the job of an editor is to ruthlessly look for what’s relevant and then eliminate the rest.

In many ways, editing uses the same skills as are needed to identify priorities in the goal-setting process. It’s also a bit easier to do in writing than in speaking where you don’t have the benefit of reviewing your words.

°  Bring it alive.  Don’t you just marvel at all the ways chef Jamie Oliver describes food? That’s what a great storyteller does. Passion and a good vocabulary are the fuel.

Except for Prairie Home Companion, there’s not much storytelling in radio anymore. If you listen to Garrison Keillor—a master storyteller—you’ll hear how he adds just enough detail so we can imagine the scene.

In marketing, part of the storyteller’s job is to help the audience of potential customers imagine how your products or services will be useful to them.

Storytelling can do that more vividly than just listing benefits.

°  Watch your audience. Bores do not notice their listeners fidgeting in their seats or gazing around the room looking for an escape. Alas, the self-absorbed among us are oblivious to this.

There’s a woman I know who is the personification of this. She’s not particularly creative and I suspect even Steven Hartman would have a hard time finding a story to tell about her, but that doesn’t stop her from talking about the only subject she cares about: herself.  She doesn’t notice that people can barely stay awake during her  monologues.

A good storyteller, on the other hand, understands body language and looks for clues. After all, storytelling always involves at least two people: the teller and the listener. Both are important. Connecting with your audience is a basic function.

In Funky Business, the authors make this observation: “True leaders are CSO’s – Chief Storytelling Officers. They provide the focus, inspiration and meaning that the organization has been crying out for…. Funky leaders give rise to and spread stories.”

Polishing your storytelling skills can be as good for your business as it is for your social life. Even better, it’s a fun and creative way to approach your marketing and promotion.

Setting your life up to be lived as an on-going treasure hunt, can only happen if you’ve  identified things that enrich your life. Not all of those things are things, of course.

Here are some collectibles that enhance the entrepreneurial life.

° Testimonials. Happy clients and customers who take time to let you know that they appreciate your efforts do more than simply lift your spirits: they can also help you attract more happy clients and customers.

Develop a system for saving the e-mails, thank yous and verbal words of praise. I usually ask at the time I receive such things if it would be okay to share. Nobody has ever turned me down.

° Experiences. Different experiences are good for your curiosity, your personal growth and, often, the basis of  your best stories. Why, then, do so many people fail to put themselves in new situations?

Habit, routine and self-doubt are some of the culprits here.

While all new experiences aren’t necessarily planned in advance, it’s a good idea to regularly put some on your calendar. Without them, you won’t have many good stories to tell your grandchildren.

° Joyfully Jobless friends. It was Napoleon Hill who first brought attention to the notion of a Master Mind Group. That’s still a fine idea, but you also need informal relationships with others who are self-employed.

Start following entrepreneurs on Twitter. Organize a local Meetup group. Find out about organizations and informal gatherings of self-employed folks in your area. Go to workshops and conferences aimed at the self-employed.

Follow up on recommendations of friends who say, “Oh, you should meet So-and-So. You have a lot in common.”

Before you know it, you’ll have a tribe.

° Stories. More and more marketing gurus are  singing the praises of storytelling. Not only is this an overlooked marketing tool, many people overlook their own best stories.

Keeping a simple journal or file of stories you encounter—both in person or as a reader—is a good idea. When it comes time to  write a speech or spiff up your Web site or produce a mailing, you’ll have a pool of material to draw from.

Then there’s this from Michael E. Gerber: “I dare say, all successful entrepreneurs have loved the story of their business. Because that’s what true entrepreneurs do: They tell stories that come to life in the form of their business.”

° Portfolio of profit centers. There’s a line in the movie About a Boy that I love: “Two’s not enough. You’ve got to have backup.” They’re talking about relationships in the film, but it is equally true for profit centers.

As I’ve frequently mentioned, all enterprises go through cycles, but not all cycles are synchronized. If you have variety in your offerings, you can adjust, revamp, shift gears as necessary.

However, the flukes of the marketplace are only part of the reason for building a portfolio. You need outlets for all of your passions.

An evolving portfolio is how you create the pieces of our own particular puzzle.

° Resources. The abundance of information available to us is both dazzling and daunting. Knowing that useful resources exist  can do a great deal to dispel fear and doubt, but only if you take advantage of the  best resources you can find.

Go beyond a Google search and find resources in your community, at the library, and, perhaps, your local visitor’s center. Does your local newspaper do stories about small businesses in the area? Are there local radio talk shows that might enjoy having you as a guest?  What about adult ed programs that can sharpen your skills?

° Expertise. Almost from the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I recognized that being regarded as an expert would be useful. Of course, if you’re passionate about something, growing into expertise is almost inevitable.

Using that expertise to expand your visibility, help others, make new discoveries, and create additional profit centers requires understanding the expert’s role and a willingness to value what you already have accomplished.

As I point out in my Establish Yourself as an Expert seminars, this isn’t something you do by the first Tuesday of next month. It’s an on-going, evolutionary process—one that keeps you stretching, exploring and growing. Doing so can also open doors of opportunity in delightfully surprising ways.

In one of the first books I ever read about self-employment, You, Inc., author Peter Weaver pointed out that people who work for themselves tend to take better care of themselves.

“I’ve found that most people who have their own small businesses seem to run a little harder, stay a little thinner, drink less and smoke less,” Weaver wrote. “Oh, you can find some who are florid-faced, wheezing, too fat, drink too much and smoke too much, but in general most self-bossers tend to take care of themselves.

“Maybe it’s because they realize that they are the most important asset on their company’s books. They’ve invested so much time and money in their business, they want to protect their investment.

“Then, maybe it’s because they’re happier with life and they don’t feel the need to overindulge as a means of escape.”

As you may have heard, October 16 is National Boss’s Day. If you’re the boss of you, I suggest you celebrate heartily.

Slip off to a movie matinee.

Send flowers to yourself.

Invite a Joyfully Jobless friend or two out for lunch.

Write a Gratitude List of all the blessings your business has brought you.

Set a new bold goal.

By all means, look in the mirror and blow yourself a big kiss.

Being the boss rocks. Celebrate!

As my Facebook friends can attest, I’m totally besotted by Venice. So imagine my excitement when the amazing Lisa Tarrant came up with this new header for this blog.

Take a look at those lovely buildings and what you’re seeing were originally the world headquarters of many homebased businesses. The Venetians weren’t the first, of course, to work from home, but they did it with more elegance.

Those three-story buildings were designed to house both business and family. The ground floor served as a warehouse for goods coming and going in and out of Venice. The second floor was used for business offices, while the entrepreneur’s family occupied the top floor.

Although tourism is the top business in this magical place today, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well as I was reminded on my last visit there.

When my family and I arrived at the vaporetto stop in Venice, we were greeted by our temporary landlord Carlo. He shook hands with each of us and then escorted us back to the 500-year-old building he owns which housed our apartment.

The first thing I noticed about him was that he didn’t actually walk: he bounced. And he smiled a lot.

The next afternoon he stopped by to make sure that things were running smoothly. “So, Carlo,” I asked, “where did you learn to speak English so well?”

The grin got even bigger and he told us how he’d decided to learn English when he was 16 and began his lessons by listening to Simon and Garfunkel. “Then I went to London and discovered I didn’t know how to speak it at all.”

We invited him to sit down and tell us more about this building which he was renovating. What followed was a delightful story about creative entrepreneurship.

He said he’d been a pharmacist, but when the building came into his family rather unexpectedly, he left his pharmacy to devote himself to this new enterprise.

His parents occupied an apartment on the ground floor. There was another space he rented to a group of architects. Carlo lived on the top floor while the other four apartments were vacation rentals.

Redoing the building had obviously been a huge undertaking and he seemed to be enjoying it all. I tried to imagine how difficult it would be to rehab an old building in a city where everything had to be brought in and removed by motorboat. It seemed daunting.

When Carlo told us that he was facing a couple of off-season months with few takers, my sister Margaret suggested he advertise on Craigslist, which he was unfamiliar with.

To our delight—and his—he promptly got two bookings after posting on that popular site.

The following evening we received an invitation from D.J., the occupant of the apartment next to ours. He’s an American who calls himself a “globalnista” who spends four months of the year in Venice.

We accepted his invitation to stop by for a drink and once the seven of us were seated and had drinks in hand, I asked him a question about himself. That began a long monologue which involved D.J. and his own cleverness as the theme of the story.

While I wouldn’t call him a liar, some of the details seemed a bit fuzzy while other parts of the story were obviously embellished.

When we left, Margaret said to me, “I can’t tell: was he fascinating or tedious?” I laughed and said, “He could have used some editing.”

But it was more than editing that D. J. needed. The difference between him and Carlo really came down to authenticity. Carlo was genuine and D.J. was faking it. Just as important, Carlo paid attention to his listeners; D. J. paid attention only to himself.

Whether we realize it or not, we’re telling our stories all of the time—to strangers as well as those we know. And storytelling can be a powerful—or neglected—business tool.

The authors of Funky Business say, “Communicating a vision not only involves repetition and a carefully distilled message; it demands the ability to tell a story. True leaders are CSOs—Chief Storytelling Officers…Funky leaders give rise to and spread stories.”

After telling a few good stories themselves, they conclude, “The message is simple: light the campfire, gather the tribe, and start preaching and practicing. Lift us up where we belong.”

If you haven’t done so, give some thought to storytelling and how it can enhance your business and your life. Collect stories, share them, find the stories in your business and pass them along.

Make storytelling one of your business building tools.

And while you’re at it, why not make this next year the one in which you write the best chapter of your own story so far?

It’s easy to imagine people looking at the prolific William Morris and saying, “I wonder how he gets so much done.” During his lifetime, he produced a dazzling body of work that included writing, social activism, publishing and all those intricate textile and wallpapers.

I’ve always suspected that the secret of his enormous output stemmed from the weekends he organized at his home, Red House, where he invited his artistic friends to come and spend the weekend “making things.”

Rossetti, Burne-Jones and the others who came to make up the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were participants in these Art Weekends.

In gathering all these creative souls around himself and nurturing their talents, he was taking advantage of that extraordinary energy known as synergism.

This phenomenon was first noticed and named by the pharmaceutical industry where it was observed that combining drugs sometimes produced a result greater than the individual parts. The same thing can happen when people gather together and the result is greater than the individual contributions.

In other words, synergy says two plus two equals twelve.

While synergy can occur spontaneously and in unexpected ways, the smart entrepreneur will consciously create situations to help it along.

This is particularly important for those of us who work alone and need to reach out to other self-bossers on a regular basis to take advantage of the rewards of synergism.

Here are some suggestions for doing just that.

 ° Choose carefully. “As I look at my life,” says Stewart Emery, “I notice that all my friends are people who support me in learning the lessons I have to learn. We have consciously chosen each other based on the contribution we can make to each other.”

We all know that both Dreambuilders and Dreambashers inhabit the world. When we share our ideas with the latter, our energy is diminished and the likelihood of accomplishing our dreams dims, too.

While we may not be able to avoid them altogether, we do need to learn to protect ourselves from these psychic vampires and spend time with people who get as excited about ideas as we do.

° Instigate. Create situations and gatherings for the purpose of brainstorming. Form your own small Joyfully Jobless group. Have regular breakfast meetings with another self-bosser.

If you’re feeling really frisky, invite a few trusted folks to go away on a mini-retreat where you spend time away from normal demands and concentrate on generating ideas for all members of the group.

You could even host your own Art Weekends ala William Morris.

° Show up. You’re  more likely to be the recipient of synergistic energy at a seminar than you are watching old reruns on television.  Today many people are enthusiastic participants in social media on the Internet. While this may be an efficient way to share information, it’s not the same as being in the presence of other people.

Communication is more than just words and, in fact, nonverbal communication is hugely important. As Mary Pipher so eloquently puts it, “To have a real life people must participate in real communities.”

Get involved in events and activities where ideas are encouraged and flow easily.

° Be opportunity-minded. My friend Chris Utterback and I seldom had a conversation without one of us exclaiming, “Oh, there’s a great business idea!” We always were observing the things around us with the attitude of finding better ways of doing things or discovering something that was missing.

Often this led us to giving ideas away to others who could carry them out.

More importantly, it conditioned us to see the world as a place filled with abundance and unlimited opportunities. We knew that we’d never run out.

Connect, collaborate, create and watch how synergy  helps you to build a better business.

Or as Jim Rohn pointed out, “You cannot succeed by yourself. It’s hard to find a rich hermit.”