Over the last few weeks, I’ve been delighted to share some excerpts from my upcoming book with you.
In writing these posts, I’ve been struck by the wide range of influences I’ve had, and of the transformative power of other people’s work. Most of all, however, I’ve reflected upon how lucky I have been to have met, read about and built relationships with so many incredible people. Which is what led me to writing this post. This week, I share the most difficult part of my writing journey: the acknowledgements.
The concluding chapter of the book reviews the FACE methodology and summarises the importance of hiring the right people to help transform your business. This part came easily. However, when it came time to draw up a list of people to thank, I found myself overwhelmed. It’s been an interesting process to reflect upon why I found this part so hard to write.
As you’ll know, I am a huge fan of Brené Brown. In fact, I have included the opening quote from Daring Greatly in the final section of my book.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
You’ll have noticed that this quote had such an impact on Brown that it provided inspiration for the title of her book! However, it is Brown’s exploration of gratitude and joy that I wish to reflect upon in this post. Having recently watched Brown’s incredible Netflix film The Call to Courage, I was led to consider why writing the acknowledgements section was so challenging. In her thought-provoking speech, Brown explains that we often live from a mindset of scarcity. What does she mean by this? In short, scarcity can be defined as a culture of ‘never enough’. This idea ties in well with some of the themes my book explores. Often, as entrepreneurs, we want to raise money but are hampered by an imaginary glass ceiling. With this mindset, we often think that there is not enough money to grow in the way we had ideally envisaged. Scarcity holds us back.
Brown also links scarcity to personal experience.
I’ll never forget the story she shares of standing over her daughter’s bed, overwhelmed by how much she loved her. As a father myself, I have often been blown away by the limitless love I have for my children. However, this love can make us feel vulnerable. What if something were to happen to them? How can something so wonderful be real? When will it all come crashing down? As entrepreneurs, we can experience these feelings about our businesses.
Another limitation I discuss in my concluding chapter is the potential for entrepreneurs to ‘check out’. Whether it be giving up, or appearing to lose interest, there are a vast array of reasons why an entrepreneur might disconnect from their business. But one of them is certainly to do with vulnerability. When we invest all our time, money and love into something, we become aware of how painful it would be to lose it. This, Brown explains, can lead to numbing. When this happens, we disconnect, and no longer give our all.
The fear of loss is so overwhelming, that detaching often seems like the only option. For if we aren’t that attached, surely it won’t feel so bad if it all comes to an end? But this is a dangerous game. As Brown says, you cannot selectively numb. Numb vulnerability and you numb joy.
So, what’s the way around it? And how does it link to my experience of writing the acknowledgements section?
The truth is, vulnerability is never easy. Accepting and feeling grateful for how many people have helped you and inspired you can be scary. What if the appreciation isn’t reciprocal? What if the relationship was merely a short chapter in your life? What if something happens to this person you’ve come to rely on? These are all thoughts that scream scarcity. But in Brown’s incredible talk, she explains that there is a remedy to this mindset: gratitude. When we are thankful for what we have, and really take the time to savour it, we focus less on the fear of losing it and more on the joy of having it.
There are many ways you can practice gratitude. From writing a list of things you are grateful for, to practicing appreciation, there are many ways you can put gratitude into practice. For more ideas on how to incorporate gratitude in your life, see here. I also recommended watching Brown’s film and her TED talks.
I had to put gratitude into practice when writing my acknowledgements section. And truth be told I found it very difficult. Being grateful feels vulnerable, but as Brown explains it is absolutely vital if we hope to live a wholehearted life.
Finally, it is time for me to share my gratitude with you, dear readers.
It has been a real privilege sharing my musings with you on this blog. Without this platform there is no doubt that I would have struggled to write my book. I am so grateful for your feedback and your time. This blog would be nothing, were it not for you. But some good things must come to an end. To paraphrase one of my favourite Swiss sayings, it is looking back with one eye crying and one eye laughing that I share the news that this will be the last blog post I will write on addthenmultiply.com.
I will continue sharing my thoughts, advice and reflections on a new platform, davidbhorne.com.
I’m really excited to start a new chapter, and hope you will join me on this new, different and more focused platform! If you access this blog via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, you’ll be able to see the details.
Until then, friends, it’s been an honour and a privilege to share my thoughts with you.