Thinking outside the balut business box
Balut is a high-protein Philippine delicacy that’s loved or loathed depending on how the dish was first introduced to the eater. I’m using this favorite dish (I’m Filipino and grew up with it) ha-ha, as a metaphor for the fears that we have and what holds us back from getting what we want.
Let me list the activities where I hesitated, was stopped, or didn’t go full-on in taking action. I’m writing my own top 10. Beside it, I also list the “valid reasons” or fears that came with it. After you read below, can you take a minute to write your own?
I also call it my “Business Box” because it defines the limits of the box of my life that I operate in, that I’m comfortable with. It describes my operating habits and the reasons and feelings that come with them:
- I don’t know anyone: I’m new in the area.
- I still need to master the business before I can go full speed: knowledge first, then confidence comes.
- I’m busy with my other work: I will get to it after my other priorities are completed.
- My manager will do the closing for me: they can do a better job than me.
- I’m not licensed yet: I will just focus on building the other parts of the business.
- I travel a lot and can’t put down roots in any one place: timing is not ripe yet.
- I don’t need the money, I’m fine where I am: I’m not hungry/inspired enough.
- I don’t feel comfortable talking to strangers: I can be shy at times.
- I hate it when I’m rejected: I don’t like the feeling.
- I’m not committed enough: I’m still new at this.
Interesting. As I went through my list, I saw the validity of my reasons and the uncomfortable feelings of fear, the unknown, rejection, and disharmony that came with them. I was comfortable with the status quo of my “box,” my present life habits. Was I, really? Upon looking closer, I saw that I got trapped with the stories, considerations that other people had somehow tainting my own experience. I call it the balut fear factor! However, if my balut metaphor is too far out for you, let me use a different food analogy.
When you get yourself a yummy Krispy Kreme donut, do you get excited with the anticipation of your first bite and the experience of how it melts in your mouth!? Do you even notice that there’s a hole in your donut?
The Donut represents my goals, my dreams, and all the yummy delicious stuff of what inspires me with the business. My Donut represents all the things I want to do, the lifestyle for my family, the freedom, my Tesla, the contribution that I want to give back to my community, my church, making a difference with the lives of people, and making this planet a better place. These are what inspire me, get me excited, and make me feel good.
However, I realize that the 10 things I wrote above are all about the limitations, fears, the past, and shortcomings of the operating Box that I live in. The “Hole” in my Donut!
Here lies the key insight that I was focusing on the Hole, not the Donut. The key shift is simple. Focus on the Donut and not the Hole!
“Commitment” according to the Encarta Dictionary is: responsibility; something that takes up time, or energy, previously planned engagement. I realize that “commitment” and “responsibility” are not heavy, serious, and guilt- filled words. It’s all about what I focus on and give my energy and time to. Simple.
Write down the 10+ “Donut” items that inspire you in your business, the “Why” you want to create success in the business. These are 10 specific activities, experiences, and things, together with the awesome feelings that go with it. Enjoy and focus on your Donut!
Jorge “Jerry” Perez de Tagle, lives in the US and the Philippines, is an author and change management consultant for the private and public sector. He taught at Syracuse University, New York and has his PhD in Social Change, Honoris Causa, and is a PhD Candidate in Organization Development. He was one of the 10 Outstanding Entrepreneurs in 2009 and is now the National Chairman of The Way To Happiness Philippines Foundation, and is the Vice President for Global Outreach & International Relations with the US Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce.