Thursday, June 28, 2012

Business Lessons From the Wizard of Oz

ETP member since 2008, successful entrepreneur and CEO with AtUrBest Special Events and founder of the ETP Charlottte Network Group.  Referencing the Wizard of OZ, Amanda tells a delightful story of business lessons learned traveling along the yellow brick road.

Growing up as a child I enjoyed watching several classic movies, one of them being The Wizard of Oz

I can recite that movie from the beginning to end. As I got older I realized that the only way I was going to get down my road of success was to follow Dorothy’s dreams. She had to take that journey down the yellow brick road.
My journey down the yellow brick road led me to my passion: event planning, which included putting together weddings, corporate events, charity events, high school and family reunions, dances, parties, church functions, etc.… no matter what my clients’ dreams were -- I was willing to execute diverse flawless events.

One of the things I had to do was create and follow my rules that I have set for myself as I prepared to take my long walk down the yellow brick road. If you are a fan, you know that there were several obstacles in Dorothy’s journey down the yellow brick road. Dorothy’s determination was so strong because she knew she wanted to get back home. She never lost her vision that there was no place like home. As for me, I never lost my vision in creating a successful event planning business.

As Dorothy got up her nerve to face her task she encoun-ters several wonderful friends along the way.  I also have encountered certain wonderful friends, colleagues, associates, and of course a lot of interesting employers (Some of them are nice and some are so high up the chain of command that they wouldn’t know me if I sat right next to them in church).

So, as I began my journey down the yellow brick road I have made several rules that I needed to follow. I knew I needed to have some guidance, the advice from others that would lead me in the right direction. The next thing that I had to do was set standards for me. By setting the-se standards for myself, I would be able to set out and build my business. One of the hardest things for me to follow was focusing on having faith in my ability to succeed. Since 2008, I have been out of the corporate world (that of the traditional 9 to 5 punching the time clock).

When I started out on my own, one of the problems I had was worrying about how to do it instead of just doing it.  I was so caught up in the fear of associating myself with the idea of being successful and having the ability to learn from others.

I was so set in doing things on my own that I couldn’t communicate with others. Just like Dorothy I had an agenda to get back over the rainbow. I was passionate about what I was attempting to do with my business, work for myself, accepting who I was. I knew that being a part of the corporate world no longer gave me that adrenaline rush or that safety cushion that I needed in order to survive. Yes, my journey down the yellow brick road was going to be a tough hop, skip and jump.

I needed to learn to be able to accept who I am; I needed to learn to ask for help. Like many people who would want to start their own business, I had difficulty coming up with a viable list of small business ideas. I needed to be able to establish and meet my goals. I started to put together a framework of goals. For a starter, I wrote down what I wanted in my life and how my business was going to be in harmony with my goals. I decided to carry a journal around with me and write my thoughts, aspirations, and insights. 

By using this journal it harnessed my ideas and gave me a new perspective and specific outlook on my goals with an appropriate timeline to follow.

I knew I had to be positive and learn that having a business is not about tricks, win-lose deals, or dishonesty. It's about action, persistence, patience, honesty, faith and hard work. Business is about creating long term relationships; it's about making those relationships a WIN-WIN situation. Business is about creating value in the world and feeling compensated because you have made people's lives better. Business is about getting what you want by giving people what they want or need.

So, my journey down the yellow brick road has been a hard but a very rewarding adventure. Going back to the characters of The Wizard of Oz I took a little of what they wanted in life (which they were not aware they already possessed):
  • from the scarecrow - Use my brain in conducting business to make it a success.
  • from the tin man – Put my heart into my business because I have the ambition to reach for higher things.
  • from the cowardly lion - To have the courage to ask for help when I need it.
  • But most of all from Dorothy - I have learned that no matter what you wish for; dreams can come true.
So, the moral lesson in my story is - “to follow your dream and look over that rainbow.” There is no place like home but you can follow your dreams (no matter how small or how big). Don’t settle for anything less.

Whether you have a 9 to 5 job or a business of your own - - - what is your passion? Find out if your passion would lead you to a journey down the yellow brick road.

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