Lifestyle 25 November 2016
Gone are the days when the metric for success is based on the dollar amount in your bank, the achievements won, or the accolades collected. While these are fabulous measures of performance and results, for longer term sustainability, the foundation of a success is built on character.
As leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners, learning to lead with character is imperative. Establishing your essence in developing characteristics grounded in emotional intelligence is drastically shaping the way we look at the new era of success.
It begins with self-awareness. The ability to grow and understand how you operate in the given context of the workplace, your team, or more simply your strengths and shortcomings. When you are more aware and accept the variances and uniqueness your greatest value, your navigation through problem solving and making better decisions comes with ease. You are readily able to understand perspectives and appreciate the ones you may not typically jive with. Lastly, you can commit to take action: whether it's expanding your ideas, innovating the company, or planning the next step in your career trajectory-this falls into place with profound focus and clarity.
Remember, your mother saying something to the tune of when decisions are made in haste, they rarely ever serve you, or rather come back in some way to haunt you?
Here are 4 essential traits that shape emotional leadership which include these 4 key
Embracing what you are building and for whom you are building by being sensitive
and open to the feelings of others. Understanding the perception and the perspective of the other person. This is the art of finding the reasons behind the decision making, and thought process of others. With kindness and warmth, this is the new era of leadership.
2. Vulnerability (Transparency)
When you are able to be vulnerable and showcase a more “human” and relatable side to you, it offers humility, trust, and respect that is instantly gained. It offers a tremendous opportunity for us to realize we are imperfect beings.
Celebrate flaws and champion some aspects that make you human which is desperately something that offers more collaboration and more cohesion with families, businesses, communities, and societies as a whole.
There is never any judgment in curiosity. This is a deep understanding and inquisition to know more. To understand why, and to pursue the unknown, gain a different perspective, a different thought process, encourage openness and expansion.
This is the understanding that adversity is a part of life. Embrace the tenacity and fierce
capacity to rise up again and again, in the face of the natural ebb and flow of life. In every single life there will be dark times, and it’s not about avoiding them altogether, it’s about understanding how to navigate through the challenging aspects of life and embrace some of the toughest parts along the road. Everyone will have them to some degree or another. It is not about being the victim, but rather opening oneself to life’s valuable lessons that strengthen your core as a human as a result. Utilize the silver lining in each scenario, so that you can make better decisions as a result.
Fundamentally leading with a greater capacity for understanding and strengthening your emotional leadership prepares you and steers you forth in the right direction that will not only empower and impact those around you, but make you a more distinguished human being with boundless success in that spills over into different aspects of your life.
5 Min Read
Organic growth has made all the difference for my company. Since its start in 2010, Fresh n' Lean has delivered more than 7.2 million organic meals that are free of pesticides, hormones, GMOs, and other additives. The business itself has grown organically, too, without the help of any outside capital. Over the past decade, Fresh n' Lean's bootstrapped operation has grown into a 220-employee company with nine-figure revenue.
Here's how I've been able to successfully build my business without taking on a penny of outside funding.
1. A Hard Decision
The decision of whether or not to take on outside capital is a difficult one.
I was lucky— I relied on personal savings to fund Fresh n' Lean at the company's onset. I thought Fresh n' Lean was a meaningful endeavor, and I believed in myself and my vision.
Not every business owner would be financially able to make the same decision I did. Either way, it's important that your company's growth happens gradually and naturally.
2. Start Small
I was an 18-year-old college student when I launched Fresh n' Lean.
I would regularly work upwards of 20 hours a day— cooking dishes, arranging the meals in tupperware containers, handwriting the labels, and personally delivering them to some of our earliest customers.
Pretty soon we were shipping meals nationally, and I began renting a commercial kitchen space.
We generated a ton of enthusiasm from our customers, and that support prooved that we were on to something. But the early days featured lots of trial and error. We made mistakes and learned from them before scaling the business.
3. Rely On Your Network
Fresh n' Lean started with a team of five people. My friends and relatives chipped in, and my brother Thomas joined Fresh n' Lean as co-CEO.
Relying on those close colleagues was so meaningful in helping me get the company off the ground. I often look at Fresh n' Lean's employees as a family, and that mentality was especially true in those early days.
As I ramped up the hiring, my experiences with every aspect of our operation made me sharp at understanding the company's needs— and helped me to hire employees with the right skill set and mentality to drive the company forward.
4. Hold Firm
Fresh n' Lean embodies a lifestyle choice, a chance for everyone in the United States to have access to nourishing meals amid their busy lives.
We probably could have driven more sales by offering non-organic meal options, but I wanted the company to remain true to my mission.
A decade later, I'm so proud to see the impact Fresh n' Lean has made in redefining fast food.
5. Capitalize On Industry Trends
We live in a society of instant gratification— we want everything now, and our world is completely focused on convenience.
When Fresh n' Lean was launched, the idea of receiving ready-to-eat meals on your doorstep was a strange concept. But a decade later, we're used to having everything delivered to our homes. Recognizing and capitalizing on those changing consumer habits was a big part of our growth.
6. Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
For years, I wanted to open our own kitchen facility— it was a top priority.
But building the space was a difficult and extensive process that could have financially devastated us if we attempted it too soon. In those early years, the project would have left the company too vulnerable.
Instead of moving forward with the project, we waited. In the meantime, we continued renting commercial kitchen space. One day a week turned into two, and then three and four, and eventually we were renting the space five days a week.
In time, we had no other options but to build our own kitchen facility— and our restraint before moving forward with that project was crucial, even if it was frustrating for the short-term.
7. Focus On You
As you build your company, it's easy to try to compare it to the growth other companies experience.
But headlines and press releases don't reveal the full story, and outside funding can mask structural and foundational problems. One example is the online ordering and meal delivery service Munchery, which secured more than $125 million from lenders before closing in early 2019.
Every company's story is unique! You can't judge your company's success based on the ups and downs of others. Focus on making your company the best you can.
8. One Thing At A Time
Our meal offerings have expanded through deliberate, strategic planning and extensive customer feedback.
Building the recipes takes time— we want to be sure to get it right. And our customer feedback ensures that there's built-in interest before rolling out new meal options.
9. Be Resourceful
Building the company without outside capital forced me to be more resourceful. I couldn't throw money at everything I wanted to change— I had to be patient and find alternative solutions.
It's similar, in a way, to cooking a dish without having every ingredient listed in the recipe. You must have the key ingredients! Our executive chef was one of our earliest hires.
But you can adjust and improvise on some of the secondary ingredients, using whatever alternatives you have available and relying on tried-and-true methods to fill in the gaps.
Who knows? Through experimentation, you just might find a better way to cook your dish or guide your company forward.