My dad, Vincent Vandeputte, talks about his journey as an entrepreneur and the tough times he's faced… and how he has overcome them! I absolutely loved recording this with my dad and can't wait for you to listen to this and hear your thoughts.
Vincent Vandeputte, Founder and Owner of SwiftSkills.org has had some good times and bad times in his life and business. This article is written from his point of view. I recommend listening to the episode to get the full experience, but here you can find some of the key points and quotes.
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Continued by Vincent:
When you’re in competition, you will always have good times and bad times. You can make mistakes and the key is always to recover as quickly as you can.
When we drive rallies together, we really focus on recovering as quickly as possible. The attitude in the car – as well as in entrepeneurship – is everything! That has helped us, coming from nowhere, to becoming a great team.
Recovery is definitely one of the keys of our success.
Q: What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your years of being an entrepreneur?
It would be to surround yourself with people better than you.
You don’t know what you don’t know, which is why it’s important to surround yourself with experts.
They can give you a boost to become more successful sooner.
By the way, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not learning from your mistakes!
If you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not working hard enough to do the good stuff.
Otherwise, you would be making mistakes.
It’s the way you deal with mistakes and the struggle, your attitude, that makes the difference.
One of the determining factors of your success is how you deal with failures, setbacks and struggles.
Q: What’s been your biggest failure?
Not letting go soon enough – because sometimes it’s good to ‘give up’.
Some of the things I learned over the years:
- Read documents closely: read them in detail. Take the time to read and prepare documents. Some people really don’t mean well and they will try to put something somewhere so you will overlook it!
- Being optimistic is good, but too optimistic isn’t… for example: I tend to be too optimistic in numbers, so I’ve learned to become optimistic rather than TOO optimistic
- Taking the time to respond. I’m rather impulsive, so I’m a quick responder as well. I’ve learned to take more time and to sleep over it, do some meditation over it. Things go much better like that.
Q: What are your strengths?
Resilience – I am a fighter. I take challenges head-on. I am also a good communicator, a good salesperson, and creative and innovative.
Talking about your strengths is a bit frowned upon where we live.
Q: What has been your deepest point mentally and how did you keep going?
My deepest point was when I was sitting in the car with my associate and crying when I realised the depth of a very widespread deceit I had been in… and I realised I lost everything, I was trying to survive and literally thinking about ‘how am I going to pay for food’.
What people don't realise is that: when your income flow stops, and your expenses suddenly increase, like lawyers etc… you can’t cut all your costs all the way, so your reserves go down very quickly.
And then, when I was at my lowest point, I made some decisions, feeling supported by my business partner.
From there, things started changing.
Q: How did you make them change?
I realised I could cry and think about how dishonest other people were and end up in self-pity… Or I could do it differently. So I made a decision to first, fight.
One of the lessons I learned much later, is that I should have cut my losses sooner.
Instead of being sucked up into negative energy, I decided then and there to cut my losses (losing everything I had built up and then some) and shift my focus to the future.
I decided “I'm gonna write down what I’m good at” – and I made a personal SWOT analysis. Maybe I could have won that certain lawsuit, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if it had kept eating up energy. The decision then and there to stop self-pity and stop focusing on the past and the negative… was pivotal – to accept it was probably not worth it. I think it was the right decision.
I revisit that SWOT Analysis regularly and back then, I decided to choose where I was gonna spend my energy.
I remember feeling in the morning like I got up and I had to fight myself through the day and people would attack me all day long. It was so draining and not constructive.
You can play a game not to lose, or you can play a game to win. I was really stuck in playing not to lose. I didn’t want to lose what they owed me, the money and the wealth that I had built up, so I kept fighting. But it was exhausting.
It’s that shift to play to win that really changed everything.
Q: How did you let go?
- I meditate and still do every day and it’s really helpful. I go in ‘Alfa waves’ and I can solve very complex issues while in that state of mind.
- The second thing is my ‘good news log’ and this is something that I’ve forced myself to do, really writing down what happened that is good news. I had to force myself to find 3 or 4 things in a day. Now I can show you my good news log… I already have 30 or 40 items in my log this week, 2 days in. It helps you to train where your mind needs to be. Solving your problems can’t be found in what’s not there. I make a memory chain out of all my good news.
Build on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Some people really enjoy your misfortune and struggles.
Make the decision to surround yourself with positive people. With people who believe in your and support you. They don’t need to speak a lot. Eliminate the people who talk behind your back. Eliminate them, throw them out. You don’t need that in your life.
What if we could decide to live in a different reality?
I shifted my reality to focus on expecting good things to happen.
Be aware of your self-talk, because it creates your reality.
When something happens, always ask yourself: what does this situation allow for?
Everything that happens allows for something better. It’s a mental state, an attitude. The difference between successful and not successful people is not skill and knowledge… it's attitude.
You will find more positive successful people than negative successful people.
If you are feeling stuck right now I would encourage you to increase your positivity by molding your surroundings to positivity. Buy a book, or if you don't have money go to the library or watch videos on youtube. There is a vast network of inspiration and motivation all around us… tap into that. Then you can go to the next levels.
Take Action. You have to get shit done. If your sales are too low, pick up the phone and start selling. If you have a weakness, do something about it, move forward. Play the game to win.
And you know what?
If you have to lose, you better lose quickly.
And remember, what I wish I had known sooner: you have to really be able to say, “this is my stop-loss”.
How much time, money, blood sweat and tears will I allow this to cost me?
I didn’t have this stop-loss until it was too late. I should have done that sooner.
Not making a decision, is also a decision.
If you want to play to win, you need to decide to start acting right now and focus on the future. Put a stop-loss on your worries and everything. Stop and move on. That's what I would tell my 16 year old self.
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