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Buddha In The Boardroom – The Coaching Connection

The connection between the two worlds is through the interface of coaching. It is not about coaches who happen to be Buddhists.

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Is there any place for Buddhism in business; and what would it mean if there were? This article suggests that there is indeed a role for spirituality in business, and surprisingly, it is not about stress management, it is about improving the bottom line.

The term ‘Buddhism’ is being used here to mean understanding how the mind, the nature of thought and lack of a permanent personality condition self-awareness and results achieved or not achieved in the world. This is not about Buddhism as a world religion, but Buddhism as a reflection of how the world actually operates.

The connection between the two worlds is through the interface of coaching. Once again it is not about coaches who happen to be Buddhists. In fact one of the most effective and highly paid business coaches in the industry are of many diverse faiths or lack thereof. It is about coaches working in a powerful way and from a foundation which reflects Buddhist concepts and insights.

As coaching has developed, it has gone beyond simple goal setting and into an understanding of how our life stories determine what is possible for us, as well as the conditioned and therefore flexible nature of those life stories. It is a more internal perspective and starting place.

In the past, seekers after truth sought out a guru and the truths they learned were transcendental. Today the guru has been replaced by the coach and the truths they teach are about the bottom line. Yet the underlying principles of what they convey are similar.

Coach Michael Neil asks the question of his clients, ‘what would you want if not getting it didn’t have to make you unhappy?’ It’s a bizarre question that takes a few readings. The idea behind the question is that happiness is not dependent on external results. All anyone can ever feel is the effect of their own thinking. Happiness is an internal state, not something that the world can provide. The only direct connection is between thought and feeling, never between world and feeling. Thus the deal that went bad does not make the business executive feel depressed, it is his or her thoughts about the deal that went bad that produce the feeling known as ‘depression’.

This is only the first step. Thoughts are not even personal. Thoughts flow through the mind. It is not the case that a deal goes wrong and the executive deliberately thinks ‘negative’ thoughts. The thoughts just seem to come out of nowhere. Thoughts are clouds crossing the sky, a very Buddhist image. Yet those clouds affect our performance. The executive who has had a ‘bad day’ takes that thinking and feeling home with and shouts at his or her children. Some thoughts can be ‘sticky’!

So what can be done about those thoughts? Positive thinking? Reframes and visualisation? Ten top tips for changing negative thoughts? Not according to this approach to coaching. The nature of thought is to flow, and there will always be another thought if there is not attempt to grasp on to them. Grasping as a source of suffering is another very Buddhist concept. So this must surely mean that everyone needs to meditate and chant and purify their minds in order to be better business people?

Again, not according to this way of coaching which is known as the Inside Out Approach (and based on the work of Sydney Banks which has many parallels with Buddhist psychology)? What needs to be done with thoughts? Nothing, thoughts are just thoughts, and if left alone another one will come along. That is the nature of thought. It is the nature of the mind to be positive and creative; it is not something we have to force with a particular technique.

One thing to also notice is that if someone has a problem that is the effect of the thought and not the world. The event is the reality, the problem is extra. If a person is sitting on the roadside having lost their house and worldly belongings, that is the reality. It is their thinking that makes it a problem. It is their thinking that makes it a challenge; it is their thinking that makes it an opportunity or a disaster.

This is not a cheap reframe, a surface gloss. Thoughts come and go and the personality constructed of habitual thoughts is not real and permanent. Any given person can become the person they need to be in order to achieve what they want to achieve. The personality as a construct is another very Buddhist concept, and could also be seen as an application of karmic theory.

So how does any of this help to improve the bottom line of a business?

The habitual thoughts we have, our personalities are like the hard drive of a computer. If you had the information you needed on the hard drive you would access it and use it. If the data is not there, looking harder will not help. What you need is a connection to the internet. You can have a computer with very little memory but a great connection to the internet and do far more than with a hard drive which has lots of space but no internet connection.

As you begin to understand the nature of thought, understand that feelings come from thoughts and not the world, you grasp them less and they flow more. The nature of the mind is to ‘log on’ if it isn’t dragged back by habitual thoughts to the same few patterns and ‘vicious circles’. The nature of the mind is to ascend, and when it ascends it allows creativity and insight to be heard. The same creativity and insight which is often drowned out by the thinking/feeling connection.

The answer is to put yourself in situations and contexts where that insight can happen, and that doesn’t mean meditating everyday unless you want to. A favourite method of Steve Chandler (coach to Fortune 500 companies) is to go for a long walk. During the walk the mind will naturally quieten and insights often occur. The coaching connection is to point the client towards loosening up their thoughts enough to discover their inspiration, and then turn that inspiration into a project. After inspiration then it is time for action and this often means moving out of the comfort zone and into a life of creative action. The ‘comfort zone’ is another way of saying habitual thought patterns and beliefs, (which are just more thoughts).

This is the Buddha in the boardroom: Understanding of mind and thought, utilization of that understanding to encourage insight, and action on that insight, transforming mere information into a project. The Coach isn’t a guru living on a mountaintop and negating the world. The coach is a relentless and compassionate spotlight into the thoughts that stop you taking action and being magnificent. That is what improves your bottom line. So, Buddha in the boardroom? Perhaps not actually in it, but businesses today would be wise to make sure their top people are actively working with a powerful coach, but only if they want to thrive!

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Business

About Parker Powers

Branding + Executive Coach / Ranked Dallas Top 100 CEO / Bootstrapped $25k – $100MM Rev. / Top 20 Revenue Magazine / Inc. 500|5000 Entrepreneur / I help people grow brands, business, and exit / I fight human trafficking – freedom for all.

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Serial Entrepreneur

Parker Powers, is an American serial entrepreneur, recognized leader in personal branding, Top 100 ranked CEO, author, speaker and recognized internet personality.

Parker Powers has bootstrapped multiple companies over the past 20 years, generating over $100MM in revenue online.As a contributing writer for over 25 major publications, and a humanitarian, his ventures have spanned many industries and continents over the years.

Parker is a published and respected business transformation leader followed by publications like Forbes Magazine and quoted and featured in business books, magazines, and online publications.

Through his coaching, advising, consulting, and diverse teamwork within the Blackwell SGP network, he is a known strategic growth partner for many entrepreneurs and companies across the U.S. & Europe.

Inc. 500|5000 Entrepreneur

Branding + Executive Coach

Dallas Top 100 CEO

Bootstrapped $25k to $100MM Revenue Company

Bootstrapped $5k to $10MM Revenue Company

Bootstrapped $600 to $500k Revenue Company

Top 20 Revenue Magazine

Inc. 500|5000 Entrepreneur

Mentor @RealCo Seed Fund

I help people grow brands, businesses, and exit.

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Business

Startup 101 – Should You Start Your Own Business?

Everyone has seen the success of people that have made an online business or home business work for them. What you may not have seen is the sacrifice and hard work that went into making this business dream a reality.

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Photo: Shutterstock

If you think it’s time to start your own business, you should learn more about what it really means. Any person with talent and good intentions can start an online business, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind first.

Once you understand exactly what it means to start your own business, you’ll be empowered to either do it or keep working at your day job. There’s no shame in either choice, and you should understand the risks associated with failing at an attempted business.

Your business, your taxes

Since you’re the owner, operator and president of your new business, you’ll also need to take care of the finances. You don’t have the benefit of an accounting department, so it’s crucial that you learn how to take taxes out for your online business.

Many people suggest setting up a separate bank account for business purposes, taking 30 percent out of every dollar earned. The biggest step in all of this is to NOT TOUCH IT. To get the most out of your tax savings, set up a high interest yielding savings account, so that not only have you set aside the appropriate amount, you may have some money left over as well.

It often means a LOT more work

When you work for someone else, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to work your 40 hours, go home and enjoy your weekend. This isn’t really the case when you choose to start your own business. The entire survival of the business depends on the hours of work you put in, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself working 10 hour days and some weekends.

This is especially important to keep in mind when first starting your business. You likely won’t have the freedom to relax at all until you’ve fully gotten your business off the ground.

You’ll need to purchase your own health insurance

One of the benefits of working for a company is that they take care of your health insurance. Health insurance plans are often offered through these companies, so all you have to do is opt in and money will automatically be deducted from your check every pay period.

There are often human resource departments that are available at all times to let you know your options before purchasing a health insurance policy. When you work for yourself, you’re responsible for your own health insurance. You’ll need to do the necessary research to get a plan that works for you, and make sure you’re on top of paying your monthly premiums.

There are a lot of benefits to working for yourself or others – should you start your business today?

If so, hit contact me and let’s see where I can help with your startup.

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Branding

Top Networking Tips: What Sir Richard Branson Did When I Told Him He Was Wrong

To promote your start-up or when looking for investors, you’ll need to get your message out there. Networking is the best way to do that.

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Photo: Parker Powers w/ Sir Richard Branson at his private home - Necker Island

To promote your start-up or when looking for investors, you’ll need to get your message out there. Networking is the best way to do that.

If you want your business to be successful and profitable you need to make sure that you are not doing the things, which could cause your business to fail. To promote your start-up or when looking for investors, you’ll need to get your message out there. Networking is the best way to do that.

Get Out There

You don’t have to be a social butterfly, but you do have to put yourself into the right places. If cocktail parties are out of your comfort zone, look for opportunities that suit your personality. You could volunteer with associations connected to your niche, offer to assist investor groups with tasks or attend lectures put on by financial firms, incubators, etc.

Don’t just attend events with people the same as you, though. Plunge into places where people who know people can connect you with the right people. Also use networking to find team members that will give your start-up the depth it may be missing.

Listen and ask questions as much as you talk about yourself. Come away from networking opportunities more knowledgeable than when you first arrived. Augment your networking with follow-up coffees, email exchanges, and other opportunities as appropriate.

Speak Up

Of course, the purpose of any networking activity is to communicate your message. Practice an elevator speech (a short 60-second introduction about what you do). Your mini-speech isn’t something to spew out to any innocent bystander. Develop relationships with small talk first and sense whether a person might be open to hearing what you have to say.

Politely introduce yourself and give others the floor by letting them talk. If given the chance to discuss more than the weather, jump in with a great but natural opening line, or what is called a hook. A hook is a quick phrase that precedes your elevator speech. It is a sentence that in 20 seconds or less causes a listener’s ears to perk up, and hooks them into wanting to hear more. You could include a question, humor, or simply an opening line that begs more information. After sharing your hook, pause to look for verbal or non-verbal cues that invite you to share more.

When given a cue to proceed, use your elevator speech. Try telling a captivating story the person you’re talking to can connect with. A well rehearsed touching story will be more memorable than a presentation of facts and figures. Don’t make assumptions though. For instance, instead of assuming the person next to you skis and starting with, “You know when you’re skiing and the…” change it to “I like to ski, but a problem I find is…”,

Be Honest

The first time I was invited to Sir Richard Branson’s private island; Necker Island, I got his attention in a much different way than most would probably consider as effective networking. Later that evening, after a day of group discussions on how to use business as a force for good with his Virgin Unite team and a few others; I saw my opportunity and I took it.

It was shortly after Richard and I lost a game of pool against our opponents (thanks to me, because I missed every single shot, he didn’t), I figured I’d take a different kind of shot. I bluntly asked THE Richard Branson, “Can we sit and talk for a minute, so I can explain what it is you’re doing wrong”?

It was obvious to him the question was in regards to Virgin Unite, (Virgin’s philanthropic division, not my horrible pool playing), we had been discussing earlier that day, “Of course”, he quickly responded, “Let’s sit right over there”, while pointing to his large table across the room.

We sat down and I immediately said to him, “You’re Richard Branson, and no one here can or ever will be Richard Branson. Most of us here are serial entrepreneurs, industry leaders, influencers, humanitarians, or celebrities, who have a sphere of influence in our own small part of the world, rather than make everyone conform to a strict platform, let us bring awareness and participation from others out there in our own way. You’ve built this playground, I’m asking you consider just giving all of us a sandbox on your playground, rather than having to create our own.”

While that analogy may not resonate with you, it very much did so to him based on our discussions we had earlier that day on how to build upon and support Virgin Unite initiatives effectively, yet independently. He quickly responded, “Please say what you just said again.”, I instantly repeated. He said, “One moment”, as he reached across the table and grabbed a nearby pen and small pad of paper.

“Okay, go ahead Parker.” In all honesty, as I repeated the analogy to him I jokingly thought to myself, “Holy sh*t, friggin’ Richard Branson is taking friggin’ notes on what I’m saying!” As soon as I could think that, he had apparently already made a decision that would change my life in many ways. He put down the pen and quipped, “Can I just give you my email and you send it to me instead and we go from there?”

My hands began nervously fidgeting with my phone in an effort to get it unlocked. Finally, I did and he had to repeat it several times as I entered the information. I have been back with my wife and business partner Bernadette Powers to Necker Island and Moskito Island to see Richard and Joan, as well as going back soon for a project I cannot mention as it’s not been made public yet. “Always ask” is on one of my mantras, because a no is the worst that can happen.

Richard and I exchange emails from time to time, he has sent business my way, and I get to stay involved with some of the cool stuff he is doing. Two things enabled that to happen, I’m honest with people as a principal, even if they are a Billionaire, second and most importantly, there was a great leader willing to listen to how perhaps he was not getting it right. Whether or not I was right or wrong is irrelevant; to quote Andy Stanley, “Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” No, he never actually hit me as one might guess from the image at the top, it was a fake punch done for a charity function I was putting together.

Be Clear

Just as the story above is, your story, solutions, services, and ideas while relatable, should also be communicated in simple terms. The listener needs to understand and get it, or it’s pointless. Make your story is granular with specific examples about how your product, solution or ideas have been used and by whom. Know what your objectives are and be able to describe what sets you apart.

Remember, an elevator pitch is short, interesting and to the point. Be brief and wait for feedback or prompting before carrying on. Whatever you do, don’t act like a know-it-all. Yes, demonstrating confidence and intelligence is important, but never imply you know more than everyone else. Investors and advisors want to work with someone that is aggressive and hard working, but still very teachable.

Research in advance who the people are you’ll be meeting, if possible. Find out their niche, what they’ve done, and what they’re presently involved in. Don’t hesitate to ask the people you meet for further help or to touch base again. Be savvy though. Make sure you’ve earned the right to ask for help or they may think you just want to use them.

Be a Giver

Always offer to add value where you can to someone with no expectation of anything in return. My philosophy is; build relationships, add value and the money will appear, always value people before profits. This applies to employees, customers, partners, vendors, etc.

You can call it karma, reap what you sow, or whatever, but most breakthroughs, major business, financial or personal growth in my life has almost exclusively been preceded by me being a giver. Whether it’s helping out a fellow entrepreneur, cutting a check to a non-profit, donating my time or rescuing kids in the jungle and giving them a home and education like in the photo above.

Giving and helping people has always been a passion, and it just so happens great things personally, professionally, and profitably do come out of it. If you have a purpose, mission and a vision that includes helping others, you will almost never fail at what you set your mind too.

Build a Solid Team

No man or woman is an island and most good businesses need a balanced team of smart people involved. Hang out with and rally the right people. Networking is a great way to build a team or gather a board of advisors. The right people will help build your reputation and platform as well as guide you in the right direction.

Keep adding to your business-building repertoire over time. Great things may not happen from just one meeting. The same goes for pitching a book to publishers. There are many great books—best sellers even—that were pitched over 20 times before being picked up.

Test Your Product

Learn from each experience and keep building and testing your product. Take your product to the public. Find out who understands or needs your solution, and let them try it. Collect as much hard data on these trials as you can. You might want to video the sessions, do online focus testing or follow-up surveys with the participants.

When you relay these points to investors and advisors, don’t be afraid to tell them what didn’t work and how you’ve needed to tweak things. They don’t necessarily want to hear the entire history or about laboratory test results and what your family and friends think. Get the feedback you need from the people who will be your customers.

UsabilityHub.com happens to be one of my favorites, I have no affiliation, they are just the one I prefer to receive real, and honest feedback on brand names, designs, usability, product offerings, etc, from the public.

Get Your Name Out

Go easy on issuing broad press release blasts. Many people don’t have the time to read pages and pages of analytics delivered to their inbox. Target specific people in a way they’ll know they’ve been chosen. You can also create abbreviated versions of your business plan to streamline the data for the right situation. Online business planning tools that convert your plan into professional documents will help you do this easily.

Getting your message out there, looking for funding and finding targeted clients is a lengthy process. Get off to a good start by building a great team, fine-tuning your message, and choosing good networking opportunities. If you’ve really got something, you’ll be contacted and on your way!

Do you agree? Whether it’s yes or no, please tell me why?

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About Parker

Parker Powers, is an American serial entrepreneur, recognized leader in personal branding, Top 100 ranked CEO, author, speaker and recognized internet personality.

Parker Powers has bootstrapped multiple companies over the past 20 years, generating over $100MM in revenue online.

As a contributing writer for over 25 major publications, and a humanitarian, his ventures have spanned many industries and continents over the years.

Parker is a published and respected business transformation leader followed by publications like Forbes Magazine and quoted and featured in business books, magazines, and online publications.

Through his coaching, advising, consulting, and diverse teamwork within the Blackwell SGP network, he is a known strategic growth partner for many entrepreneurs and companies across the U.S. & Europe.

Inc. 500|5000 Entrepreneur

Branding + Executive Coach

Dallas Top 100 CEO

Bootstrapped $25k to $100MM Revenue Company

Bootstrapped $5k to $10MM Revenue Company

Bootstrapped $600 to $500k Revenue Company

Top 20 Revenue Magazine

Inc. 500|5000 Entrepreneur

Mentor @RealCo Seed Fund

I help people grow brands, businesses, and exit.

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