How to succeed at succession? Use the “BE PROACTIVE” formula!

Next Generation Revolution

Be proactive

I believe that this is at the core of every single achievement in life. You have to be proactive; you have to make things happen. Successors that wait for others to take the lead in the succession planning process, will most likely wait forever!

Educate yourself (about yourself, your business and the world)

I don’t mean only formal education (degree, MBA…), but keep on learning at every opportunity about:

Yourself:

Who do you know you are? What do you really want? Do you have what it takes? Can you develop the skills you are missing? Do you want to? Are you willing to pay the price to succeed? Know yourself and keep improving!

Your Family Business:

What kind or business are you really in? Bus Company or transporting passengers? Have you SWOT it? Where is the industry going? Where is the business going?

The world:

What…

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Inside the Mind of a 23 Year Old Indian NextGen

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Kanishka Arumugam

Kanishka Arumugam is the perfect example of the kind of NextGen this blog is all about. Young entrepreneurial people with a can do aptitude; an authentic leader that knows what he wants from life and goes for it. In this interview, this young NextGen surprised me with his maturity and wisdom. Kanishka Arumugam shares his family story and hopes for the future. Please, enjoy it!

1. Kanishka Arumugam tell me about you and your family business, Deccan Pumps Group, in India

I am from Coimbatore, an industrial and entrepreneurial city in south India, dubbed as pump city of Asia, known for its world class Pump Manufacturers, Textile Industries, International Educational Institutions, and also an emerging IT hub.

I am fortunate to be a second generation member of the Deccan Pumps Group. I grew up around the business and decided to be an entrepreneur from a very young age and this passion drove me to learn from organizations around the globe. Thanks to my prestigious alma maters of Sheffield, Leeds and Stanford Universities, that groomed me in many ways.

My father P. Arumugam and his uncle K.K. Veluchamy founded Deccan Pumps 32 years ago with a mission to make the life of farmers better by manufacturing superior reliability pumps. Today Deccan is a closely held conservative group with an annual turnover of around Rs 100 core focused on pumps also with its presence on Fluid Handling Distribution, Real Estate and Education. The brand is one among the Top 5 manufacturers of submersible pumps in the country and it remains Asia’s largest producer of vertical open well submersible pumps.

My father is a keen philanthropist. He runs a home for elders, has a desire to turn his ancestry farm into a model agricultural unit, and spends time in upgrading the basic infrastructure of his home village.

He believes not in chasing numbers but in giving back to society in as many ways as possible. Recently, he undertook a not-for-profit initiative and incepted the Info Institute of Engineering, along with his friends, mainly for the first generation learners of the country.

One can have simple living and be content but when it comes to business I believe one should never think twice about making it bigger. And this is what my dad and I often argue about. However such arguments help me evolve and I get to know the perceptions of the previous generation and absorb whatever is suitable in the current scenario.

Last year, after my graduation, I spent time with a few European family owned manufacturers and also had a short stint at Xylem, a non-family owned American company, the world’s largest producer of pumps and systems. Its major competitor was a Danish family owned company.

I was awestruck to learn how a family tradition could bloom into an industry that gives its competitors a tough time.

2. What’s your thoughts on building a Socially Responsible Company?

As mentioned earlier, a few years ago I often wondered why my father started a not- for- profit engineering college, a home for the elderly, rural development programs and similar activities instead of just growing the business. But now I realize that companies which are long lasting have a broader outlook and contribute to society in crucial fields such as education, healthcare, women empowerment and for a lot of other important social causes. The Forbes, Godrej, TATAs, Thermax and Wadias, are all living examples of this in India.

Last month when I was in Germany I visited my friend’s family owned company VIEGA, a fifth generation company which is into pipes and systems. It was interesting to learn how the family and business have involved the small town of Anttendorn in a larger way and how the feeling of goodness has been spread across from the taxi drivers of the company. Also the spirit of entrepreneurship and drive for growth is clearly seen in the fifth generation more than in the previous generations.

It is very essential for all the next generation family members to involve the society and community at large, in which they operate, and also to help the underprivileged and make the world a better place. A company’s purpose is just not to acquire wealth and markets but also to contribute to the society in which they live. This is an important value in creating long lasting organizations.

What do you think about Value system in a family operated company?

Care for the members (employees), humility, simple living with high thinking, involving the society, respect and care for the underprivileged, professional management with family members on board and taking part in participative management are important to the company.

The role of family business leadership can no longer be authoritative; only an all inclusive leadership model with the best value system works in today’s business organization. To put it in a nutshell, the secret behind a successful business is long term thinking, highly ethical practices strong values of family spirit, integrity, value delivery to customers and developing an entrepreneurship attitude in every employee. Keeping the company financially stable and risk-proof, safeguarding and adding value to the business: these must be the goal of a Next Gen member who wishes to grow his company in leaps and bounds.

Kanishka brief me about your opinion on Ownership, Management and Family.

Ownership, Management and Family should be viewed differently among the next generation members.

Your father might have been a great product designer who helped the company grow, but that doesn’t mean the next generation could follow or repeat the same. There is no point in just holding positions, adding value to the business is more important.  Perform else take a back seat.

Family involvement in a company definitely helps it grow at a much faster pace since the outputs are going to benefit their whole generation. More than money, emotions and attachments drive individuals towards better growth.

I believe family owned companies and the next generation should clearly differentiate between ownership, management and families. When these collide it gets complicated outside of the office too. It is simple when said, but I’m sure it is difficult to practice. My father and I might have a disagreement inside the office room, but that should not hinder the father-son relationship. My style of working is different from my dad’s. It doesn’t mean one is right and the other is wrong; we have to find our own strengths and contribute.

Is there any family structure in Deccan Pumps Group? Your group recently announced a Spin off.

Its sad we had to do this, we tried our best but was too late. Also the chief emotional officer my grandfather was no longer there . There was no issues for money or business.

In India sometimes families grow faster than businesses and so we are forced to draw agreements for securing the future of the business and the brand value of what our previous generations have created. We, at the Deccan Pumps Group, are currently working on ownership and brand sharing methods with the next generation members. The ultimate goal is to secure the business, brand value and at the same time allow every member of the family to pursue their interests.

Every next generation family member should be on a stewardship / trustee role. I find myself not as a maverick, but as a star in my own way. Gen-next entrepreneurs are fortunate to be born in privileged families and should be thankful for their education and resources that not many are fortunate to have in a country like India. So we should add value to what the previous generations have created, protect it and pass it on to the next generation.

Brilliant. What’s your future Goals?

I’m just 23 years old and have a long way to go and I am sure my thought process and learning will evolve as I observe, learn and grow. I strongly believe that every next generation member should spend time in at least two companies briefly before joining their family business. It gives one a great learning curve of how business families work across the globe, which elevates the thought processes and enhances entrepreneurial skills.

I’m looking forward to creating a great family owned company with strong values and best practices that I have seen and learnt in the last few years across the globe and act as a trustee to the future generations. One thing I have learnt from the west is that family companies are held by Foundations and work on the model of investing all profits back into the company where the family is allowed only a small percentage of profit. I shall try working out a similar model.

The next ten years is very crucial for the country. I’m sure there can be a lot of globally competitive family owned companies from India across all sectors, if family companies practice the best processes and systems. I hope to put myself to work and add value to what my father has created. I’m sure every next gen member is talented, unique and can contribute in their own way – be it CSR, Marketing or Research.

The internships I went through, systems I worked in, diverse cultures I experienced and talented individuals I met, have left an indelible mark in my life.

I’m currently working on a project setting up a state-of-the-art new plant with the experiences and processes I have seen across the globe. Though not a mega plant, I aim to make it a very efficient one. I found the brand Deccan Pumps strong only in certain segments. So my new Brand extension line would help create a new perception among customers and drive towards growth.

The products are being designed and upgraded to world-class standards with a great emphasis on manufacturing systems and process technology. The new plant is a small test that I’m putting myself to. It will also increase our productivity in one product line up to five times.

My Professors in Stanford and Sheffield have always been good mentors and when I shared this idea they felt that this startup would help me learn quickly all aspects of business and if I perform well I will be ready for a bigger role.

Perform and Preserve, else Perish. Also, if one fails to safeguard the business and grow, it’s a crime. With a strong support of the previous generations and the wide global exposure that we have access to, it’s time we next gens create history!

Kanishka Arumugam

Deccan Pumps Private Limited

¿Cómo convertirse en un “empresario en serie”? Esteban Sosnik de AtakamaLabs nos da las claves

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Yo vengo de una empresa familiar donde financiarse con dinero ajeno es el último recurso y pensar en vender la empresa nos produce dolor de estomago. Por eso, cuando conocí a Esteban Sosnik y me contó que ha creado dos empresas con dinero de inversores y las ha vendido en menos de 5 años desde su fundación, mi mente empezó a bullir con preguntas… ¿Cómo se hace eso? , ¿Por qué?, ¿Qué tienes que tener para que te den dinero?, ¿Cuánto te queda de la empresa?…

Esteban ya apuntaba a emprendedor de éxito desde el principio de su carrera. Después de graduarse con honores de la Universidad de Virginia con una licenciatura en Economía y Relaciones Exteriores, se unió a JP Morgan en el grupo de fusiones y adquisiciones de América Latina con sede en Nueva York. Más adelante, Esteban fue director general de Inversiones en Penguin, un fondo de Venture Capital para start-ups en América Latina, donde ayudó a lanzar más de una veintena de nuevas empresas en la región, muchas de los cuales aún hoy operan con éxito.

En 2.002 junto a Tiburcio de la Cárcova y Wenceslao Casares  (el fundador de Patagon) lanzo “Wanako”, una empresa dedicada a la producción de juegos para PC y consolas, que vendieron 5 años más tarde a la mayor empresa de video juegos del mundo, Vivendi.

Después de vender Wanako, Esteban paso a desempeñar la función de vicepresidente de Desarrollo de Negocios de Sierra Online, división de Vivendi Games. Pero su espíritu emprendedor lo llevo a lanzarse en el 2.010 a una nueva aventura, AtakamaLabs.

AtakamaLabs es una empresa de juegos online que se caracteriza por la innovación de sus productos que van adaptando dependiendo de cómo los usuarios funcionan con ellos. Solo dos años más tarde, Esteban vendió Atakama Labs a la multinacional japonesa DeNa aunque hoy en día sigue al mando de la empresa.

Esteban es un argentino alegre, divertido e inteligente que le gusta llenar la casa de amigos y aprender de todo el mundo a su alrededor. Yo he aprovechado nuestra amistad (es el padre del mejor amigo de mi hijo) para bombardearlo con preguntas y aprender de su extensa experiencia como emprendedor.

Pero he pensado, que tanta sabiduría tiene que ser compartida con el mundo y esta es la razón de esta interesante entrevista donde Esteban nos da las claves para ser un emprendedor de éxito. ¡Disfrútala!

Written by Carmen Lence, Executive Coach at NextGen Consulting & Coaching LLC. Contact Carmen  at carmen@nextgenfamilybusiness.com

What Dr. Kirby Rosplock Has to Say About Family Business, Women and Wealth

I met Dr. Kirby Rosplock at the Transitions West Conference in San Francisco a couple of years ago, when she joined me and another colleague in a very interesting conversation about family companies. She was humble, open, easy going and the way she talked about family business, and especially about women in family business, showed her passion and commitment to making a difference for them.

This is no surprise when you learn that Dr. Rosplock is also a 4th generation member and owner of a 130+ year old family business (www.BabcockLumber.com), a board member at the company and a co-trustee on her family’s foundation.

Her experiences in her own traditionally male-oriented family company filled her with an immense curiosity about how other people, especially women, experience their involvement in the family business world. This led Dr. Rosplock to write her dissertation paper: “Women’s Interest, Attitudes and Involvement with their Wealth” and she subsequently dedicated part of her successful career as a writer, researcher and lecturer to women’s empowerment around wealth.

In the following interview, Dr. Rosplock shares with us what is behind her passion for helping women, what interesting findings she has discovered in her research and details of her new project, which involves writing a handbook on the family office for Wiley & Sons.

How Strong Family Values Can Keep your Family Company Successful Over Generations

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It is a windy Friday afternoon at the lovely Marina del Rey. I’m meeting Gilbert Devlyn to learn about the keys behind the success of his family business, Devlyn Optical, which is now in the 3rd generation.

The Devlyn family is from Mexico, and they are the owners of  a 77-year-old company that first started as the only optical service in the town of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. When it first opened, it had just two employees: Mr. Frank Devlyn and his wife Nelva Mortensen. Today, it has more than four thousand employees, 829 branches in Mexico, which makes it the largest optical chain in the country, and the brand has even expanded to Guatemala, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and the USA. The company has also expanded its services into ophthalmology clinics.

What I find really interesting about this company is that, unlike most third-generation companies, which tend to keep the family out of management and focused on ownership, the Devlyns have managed to retain 11 family members working in the company and they are the 3rd generation in charge of operations.

There is definitely no sense of entitlement here, as Gilbert explains. When he was a little boy he asked his father to buy him a toy car. His father offered him the opportunity to work in the family company and earn the money he needed to buy the toy for himself instead. Gilbert was very disappointed when, after a week, he got paid just 140 pesos (the standard salary for the work he did at the time). He learned a lesson about how hard it is to earn enough money to buy what you want and that his family was not just going to hand him everything on a plate.

Gilbert is down to earth, kind, polite and oozes love and admiration for his family. He is also well educated, intelligent, ambitious and driven. After working for a few years outside the family company and completed an International MBA, he has recently joined Devlyn Optical. His desire to contribute, make a difference and find his place in the organization for himself is evident. With people like him in the family, there is definitely no need to look for talent elsewhere.

This is what Gilbert has to say about values, emotions, family business and making a difference.

Written by Carmen Lence, Executive Coach at NextGen Consulting & Coaching LLC. Contact Carmen  at carmen@nextgenfamilybusiness.com

About Transitions West Conference and Changed Lives

I just got back from the Transitions West conference at Marina del Rey, which was organized by The Family Business Magazine and Stetson University’s Family Enterprise center. This is a conference “created for family companies by family companies!” and, once again, we enjoyed some great, honest presentations by some outstanding family business members, non-family executives and family business experts.

Among my favorites were the opening keynote by Jim Ethier, Chairman of the Board of the Bush Brothers & Company, during which he described the experiences his family company had as they built their family governance. Also, the panel of non-family executives made up of James B. Wood, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of The Clemens Family Corporation, Robert J. Underbrink, President/CEO of King Ranch, Inc., David Yale, President, Just Born, Inc. and Ross Born, Co-CEO of Just Born, Inc., where I realized how difficult it is to find the right non-family CEO and the time and effort involved in the process; and the panel about how family councils foster engagement among family members, where Ashley Levi, Board Member at H.G. Hill Company, and Meghan Juday, Family Council Chair and Director at IDEAL INDUSTRIES, shared their experiences about how useful their families council has been for them. And finally the presentation from Mark Peters, CEO of Butterball Farms Inc., who underlined the risks involved in not having succession planning in place. Thanks to all for sharing their experiences and being so inspiring!

This was my second year at the conference and I was happy to see that many families came back and brought along quite a few more family members. I would say that the number of participants doubled from last year. Congratulations to the organizers!

I also meet Peter Begalla, Adjunct Professor and Program Manager at Stetson University’s Family Enterprise program, who I interviewed last year about the unique Family Enterprise program that Stetson University offers (Read interview here http://wp.me/p1tGmG-2n) and Professor Greg McCann, founder and Director of Stetson University’s Family Enterprise Center. I was interested in gaining the perspective of one of its students and when I meet Emily Dudley, senior at the Stetson University’s Family Enterprise program and second-generation partial owner of Dudley’s Auction Inc., at the Transitions West conference, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to interview her.

Please check what Emily has to say about how Stetson University’s Family Enterprise program has “changed her life.”

Written by Carmen Lence, Executive Coach at NextGen Consulting & Coaching LLC. Contact Carmen  at carmen@nextgenfamilybusiness.com

What Happened to What Was Once the West’s Greatest Industrial Power? Dr. Henry M. Kaiser shares his family story and what he learned from it

It is a cloudy Tuesday afternoon in San Francisco. I’m having lunch at the Embarcadero with Dr. Henry M. Kaiser. I met Dr. Kaiser a couple of years ago when I joined his lead in creating the FFI Northern California Chapter. Our shared passion for family business has made for a few interesting conversations in the past. Today is not an exception.

I’m listening to Dr. Kaiser’s explanation about what motivated him to write his book “Inheritance Lost, Heritage Transformed,” where he relates his life and the events that lead a Fortune 500 family-owned company to enter voluntary liquidation just seven years after the passing of its founder and his grandfather, iconic industrialist Henry J. Kaiser.

While I’m listening to Dr. Kaiser’s story, I cannot help but notice his candor, strong curiosity, drive to be better and his fight to be relevant and make a difference. I can almost feel his passion about helping others to avoid the pain, powerlessness and disappointment that he experienced when the family empire dissipated in front of his eyes. Within Dr. Kaiser’s story there are certainly some important lessons to share that may inspire others to take the actions needed to achieve a more positive outcome with their own family companies.

In this short interview, Dr. Henry M. Kaiser, former director of Kaiser Hospitals and Health Plans, explains the events that led to the voluntary liquidation of the family business and shares some words of wisdom about what he believes he, and those around him, could have been done better.

Written by Carmen Lence, Executive Coach at NextGen Consulting & Coaching LLC. Contact Carmen  at carmen@nextgenfamilybusiness.com

The Art of Coaching with Heart and Soul

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It is a warm Saturday afternoon in the Seaborg room at Berkeley Faculty Club.  I’m standing in front of a group of CEOs, managers and a few coaches that I just met a couple of hours ago. Next to me is Dr. Mark Rittenberg who is feeding me lines that I have to complete for everybody to hear: “What I want you to know about me is…” and words start coming out of my mouth, without filter, while Mark encourages me to speak slower and louder, urging me to look my audience in the eye. Next line… and I reveal another piece of my soul, next line… and another piece, next line … and tears start pooling my eyes while my words expose, for everyone to see, my soul stark naked.

You may wonder if I am a bit nuts and this was some kind of group therapy… not exactly. I was on the first day of my training to become a certified executive coach at the Executive Coaching Institute at UC Berkeley. I was one of the 24 participants that, every year, come from all over the world to take part in this transformative experience where, after 10 days of intense emotional, physical and mental immersion in the extraordinary world created by Dr. Mark Rittenberg and his team, you not only become a better coach, CEO or leader, but, quite simply, a better human being.

Mark, Arina, Lucy, Ivan, Jenny and the personal coaches assigned to each one of us (Ingrid, Tom, Reva, Susan, Siobhane, Thomas, Winston and Doy) pushed us everyday to take one more “baby step” out of our comfort zone. Mark would engage us in impossible-to-follow number games, that prompted us to be fully present, and think on our feet. Arina would encourage us to reflect on our life by helping us to find the defining moments that made us who we are today and assisting us to become comfortable with both the good ones and the bad ones. Lucy would teach us how to focus through the art of meditation. Ivan revealed to us the amazing power of our voice and taught us how to use it, not only to communicate, but to COMMUNICATE. And, of course, we learned coaching skills and had the chance to practice them with executives of leading companies from Silicon Valley and San Francisco. What a treat!!!

Pat Kiely, former CEO of AA Ireland, was one of the participants and my partner in one crazy theater piece we had to perform in from of the rest of the class. He told me that he had come to ECI to “get refreshed” after a rough couple of years. He attained his goal and transformed, in front of all of us, from a gentle Irishman that felt most comfortable blending into the background, to an outstanding, outrageous, funny Mr. Edison from the theater piece “The Prisoner of Second Avenue.” The performance left Pat feeling that he had more energy than the sun itself and everybody else with a smile on their face and a collective sense of achievement. Because, by then, it was clear that it wasn’t just the program leaders and coaches that were the source of our transformation, but that we all played an undeniable role in each other’s successes.

I’m flying back from the FFI Global congress at Brussels were I had the chance to test my own transformation.  After the ECI experience I decided to throw my MBA-like presentation style out of the window and I presented  “My story, Coaching and Coaching in Family Business” from my heart, fueled by my passion for coaching and family business. After the presentation quite a few people came over to congratulate me and they told me how my presentation and story reminded them of their own journey and that I had inspired them to continue walking the road less traveled or at least to start considering that path. My objective with this presentation was to educate my audience about coaching and about how coaching can help family business. Inspiring others to be better was an unexpected added bonus that has made all the difference to me.

Thanks, ECI community.  Let’s add one more little success to our list.

By Carmen Lence, Executive Coach at NextGen Consulting & Coaching LLC

Contact Carmen at carmen@nextgenfamilybusiness.com

How Coaching Enables you to CHANGE

We all know that change is difficult. In fact, change is so difficult that our brain is actually wired in a way that provokes sensations of physiological discomfort as soon as we face the slightest threat of change. As such, many of us do whatever it takes to avoid it.

Neuroscience (the study of the anatomy and physiology of the brain) has, in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging, provided insights into why change is so difficult. When we want to make a conscious change, we use an area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is where our working memory is placed. This area of the brain uses up a lot of energy and its use quickly generates a sense of discomfort, or even anger, because is linked to the amygdale, which controls our fight-or-flight response.

In order to avoid this discomfort and stress, our brains favor the use of the basal ganglia, which is the part of the brain that controls habit-based behavior. Have you ever locked your front door and then completely forgotten that you have done so? Such events are the result of your use of the basal ganglia, which can complete any familiar activity without conscious thought, all the while using much less energy than the prefrontal cortex.

On top of this, many people seriously resist being told what to do because this fires the prefrontal cortex’s connection to the amygdale. This provokes a defensive reaction and an inclination to find as many reasons as possible not to obey the instruction. This is especially true when the emotional aspects of new plans for change have not been explicitly addressed.

Finally, because the brain is programmed by experiences that are unique to each individual, everybody thinks in a different way. As a result of this, solutions provided by others are not as meaningful to us as the solutions that we reached by ourselves, using our own experiences and opinions.

Coaching your way through change

Coaching involves helping clients to think about possibilities, encourages them to arrive at their own answers and solutions, energizes them and motivates them to take action. Coaching is an ideal tool for bypassing the prefrontal cortex’s defenses and driving people to implement changes.

Research has shown that when we find our own answers to problems, our brains undergo high levels of activity as they build new connections. Studies into neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to change structurally and functionally) show that if we focus our attention on positive things that is where we are going to be making and reinforcing connections. As an example, a study of brain patterns in Buddhist monks revealed that the part of their brain associated with happiness (left prefrontal cortex) was highly developed. This indicates that, they do possess the capacity to educate themselves to be happy!

The coaching process reinforces the motivation to implement changes by making the client design their own solutions and actively plan the steps that need to be taken. This entails that they devise their own action plan and retain accountability for its implementation. David Rock and Jeffery Schwazrt in their article “The Neuroscience of Leadership,” point out that those reinforcing moments of insight can make changes in the brain that can lead to new behaviors.

Coaching is a process that releases people’s potential and both accelerates change and keeps it sustainable, long after the coaching engagement is complete.

By Carmen Lence Coach and Consultant at NextGen Consulting & Coaching LLC

If you want to learn more about coaching and coaching for Family Business, I’ll be presenting “Coaching, Next Generation and Sustainable Change in Family Business” together with Christin McClave and Dennis Jaffe at the FFI international congress in Brussels on October 19th. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

 

How Tony Robbins helped me to stop making excuses

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Tony Robbins at Dreamforce in San Francisco

Today, a little dream of mine came true. I had the opportunity to listen to one of the most inspirational speakers and successful coaches of our time: Mr. Tony Robbins. Thanks to the organizers of the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, I found myself jumping up and down in the Moscome center, hugging complete strangers with all my love, shouting YES! YES! YES! while throwing my arms up in the air, clapping like my life depended on it, dancing and jumping even higher… I left with an extra dose of motivation plus a good workout! Great deal!

I have admired Tony Robbins for a long time. He was once a struggling teenager but one day he came across a marvelous book: “Think and grow rich” by Napoleon Hill, which changed his life by starting him out on a path of curiosity that examined the psychology of successful people and helped him to question how he could change his own situation for the better.I also experienced troubles when I was a young adult and I too had come across Hill’s book by pure chance. As with Tony Robbins, the book also changed my life. Like Robbins, I became a self-help junkie, reading any self-help book I could get my hands on. It seemed that those books where the only support I had when nobody else supported me, and after reading so many of them, I came to the conclusion that you are not what you eat, you are what you read! I went from feeling like a victim to feeling empowered and aware that I’m the only one who is responsible for the failures or successes that I encounter in my life; my circumstances were no longer an excuse.

I believe that Tony Robbins’ message is basically a fundamental truth that deep down we all know, but most of the time choose to ignore. That truth is that you can either have what you want, or  excuses not to have it. We all have the potential to achieve our dreams, but quite often we decide that we cannot do so, perhaps due to A, B, or C reason, and many of us look to others to validate our excuses. However, the reality of the situation is that the only thing between you and what you want, is YOU.

During the presentation, Tony explained that our decisions shape our life and that those decisions are controlled by our mental state (how we feel from moment to moment) and our blueprint (our story and expectations). He demonstrated how we are able to change our state by changing our physiology (or moving our body, hence all the jumping) and our focus. You can change your focus by asking yourself questions that launch your thinking in the direction of positivity and possibilities.

For example, instead of focusing on what you don’t have and asking yourself why you are not earning X amount a year? Ask yourself, what is something I can be proud of? What is really important to me? What can I be really grateful for? What excites me? If I were earning X, what would my life be like? What would be the ideal situation? What is an action I can take today to get one step closer to where I want to be tomorrow?

As Buddha said: All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” So, be aware of what your mind is focused on and learn how to change it when this focus is not serving you well.

I know that all this is easier said than done. We all fall back from time to time and return to a state of negativity,  self-defeat or pasivity. That is why the help of a professional coach can make the difference between dreaming and achieving. A professional coach is trained in exercises and questioning techniques that help you to keep your focus on what you want and how you can achieve it. A coach is trained to help you to devise your own solutions that suit your own unique situation and they help you to implement these solutions, keeping you accountable and motivated. A professional coach knows how to inspire you to take the actions you need to take to positively change for the better!

As an example from my own life, I have been putting off writing a new blog post for months and I always seem to find a good excuse to start “tomorrow.”  Today, after all the jumping and hugging, Tony asked the conference attendants to generate one professional goal, I wrote: “have X more clients by the end of the year,” then he asked us to write one specific action that we would take immediately towards achieving this goal. I wrote: “write my blog again.” There you go… done! Coaching works!!!

By Carmen Lence Coach and Consultant at NextGen Consulting & Coaching LLC

If you want to learn more about coaching and coaching for Family Business, I’ll be presenting “Coaching, Next Generation and Sustainable Change in Family Business” together with Christin McClave and Dennis Jaffe at the FFI international congress in Brussels on October 19th. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!