4 Ways to Succeed as an Entrepreneur – Guest post by Andy Beck

Hi everyone, and welcome to this Wednesday’s guest post, by our very own Andy Beck!

Before I pass this post over to Andy, let me tell you a bit about how I got here. It’s nice to reminisce on where we started and how far we’ve come, but also how much of the path is still in the future…

I hope Andy’s and my words are encouraging and helpful to those reading them.


I started my journey into entrepreneurship by starting my private counselling practice back in 2013, which has grown to encompass supervision since 2016 and coaching as well in the past year.

I’ve also begun a journey into furthering my entrepreneurial skills by publishing my first book in 2018 – 20 Self-Care Habits – and writing a novel which will be published in the next few months through Author Academy Elite (affiliate link), so watch out for that!

I’ve also figured out how to fill my practice through content marketing, which includes blogging, and have started to teach colleagues how to use these tools to their advantage, by showcasing their knowledge and putting themselves out there so the clients that need them can find them.

I’m currently working on finishing my fiction novel based on things that have happened in my own therapy and dream life, and creating a brand new website for new products and services, so stay tuned!


In tune with this week’s post – I have to say, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my colleagues, and more recently my fellow London Chapter Igniters, which includes Andy of course!


Anyway, without further ado, let’s get into what Andy wants to tell us today, It’s very insightful and important, especially if you want to join us in the entrepreneur world!

Don’t forget to check out his book Folk Springs Eternal, the intro to his new course, This is my name, and his blog!


“Look for the things and people that will help you achieve your wellbeing goals, and support each other.”

That’s a nugget of wisdom from our host, the estimable Karin Brauner, and it’s a wisdom that I can attest to. 


When you’re any kind of entrepreneur—especially one just starting out—the uphill battle before you can look unwelcoming, unrewarding, unpaid…you know, [insert negative adjective here]. 

Often we are counselled by society to expect money in return for our time.

I, for one, know that every office job I’ve ever had has cemented that belief, or tried to. 

As such, when you’re attempting to get your own gig off the ground, you’ll likely find yourself investing plenty of time, but not seeing much return.

How do you keep going?

How do you retain momentum?

The momentum you’ll need to smash through the roadblocks ahead, and start seeing results both financial and spiritual in nature? 

In this post, I give you four methods that have helped me so far.

Now I may not yet be earning enough money to live from my Celtic folk music and novels.

But damn it, come hell or high water, I’m going to get there. 



Let’s return to Karin’s aforementioned quote: “Look for the things and people that will help you achieve your goals.”

When you walk away from the beaten path to strike out on your own, you will most likely encounter criticism.

It will come from bosses, colleagues, family and friends, the people who know you well.

But it can also come from strangers.

There’s always gonna be people who don’t get us,” says Guthrie ‘Gus’ Ward, the rat-bag hero of my debut novel Folk Springs Eternal .

“They don’t understand us and they don’t wanna understand. Ignoring them can be hard, but that’s why we don’t walk alone.” 

Re-read that last bit. 

That’s why we don’t walk alone.

Nobody with a dream for better should be forced to suffer alone, whether it’s under the weight of criticism, or the burden of forging that path all by oneself.

Start by surrounding yourself with positive, passionate people.

I really think the late American entrepreneur Scott Dinsmore was right when he gave that advice in his famous TED talk How to find and do work you love .

I’m unashamed to admit that it was through Scott’s videos, and the worldwide Live Your Legend movement that he founded, that my own understanding of the world (and my place in it) was first turned on its head.

The message that Scott lived and breathed was, “find and do the work you love”.

I heard that message, loved it, attended the Live Your Legend meetups in London, and even ended up co-hosting them. 

What did I learn along the way?

Simply put, you should spend your time with people who inspire you, and who are already succeeding.

This will help you cultivate the belief that it can be done, that your dream isn’t impossible.

Conversely, spend time hanging around people who don’t take you seriously, or perhaps even exhibit signs of resentment and jealousy, and that will only sap you of your energy.

Worse still, it may frighten you back into the fold with the other statistical 80% who don’t enjoy their work. 

So when I said “damn it, come hell or high water, I’m going to get there”, I meant it.

Scary as it sounds, what waits on the other side is a life of success, strength and euphoria that you never imagined.

Something that looks and feels a little like this:

Something not to be feared. 



The final part of Karin’s aforementioned quote was, “support each other”. 

So here’s a challenge for ya, dear reader 😉 

Write down the names of 2-3 people who believe in you, and believe in what you do.

They could be close friends, colleagues you get on well with, or people you’ll meet at a networking event advertised on the likes of Meetup.com.

Basically, someone who’s told you that you’re good at what you do, and should try to do more with it.

Ask one such person if they’ll be happy to check in with you once a week, to ask you for an update on your progress against your weekly goals. 

Sounds motivating? 

😊 Good. This approach is called Accountability, and speaking from experience, it’s a powerful weapon in the inventory of the entrepreneur.

The likelihood of you motivating yourself to achieve a goal is 65% higher if you’ve promised that goal to someone.

Book an appointment to check in with that person, and the stat goes up to a staggering 95% . 


The most beneficial Accountability partnerships are, of course, reciprocal in nature, where the other person holds you accountable and you return the favour.

Small groups of three or four can work too, allowing for different feedback that two people alone may not have thought of.

Whatever you do, remember to keep those goals SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

I would particularly emphasise the third of these.

Break that mountain of your dreams down into more realistic, bitesize goals, and soon you’ll find yourself climbing up, edging slowly closer to the peak that previously you’d only been able to revere from the very bottom.



Another avenue via which you may find an Accountability partner, or just the direction you need, is the ever-popular self-help course.

I’ve bought and followed courses by Leah McHenry for my music, and Kary Oberbrunner for my writing.

In Folk Springs Eternal, Austrian-born mandolinist Herman enrols in a music marketing course too, offered by a Leah McHenry-esque figure helping bands to get the maximum out of their online efforts.

While it’s not a five-minute job, Herman makes some serious progress, and slowly I, too, can feel the momentum building in my favour. 

Without a doubt, the biggest change that Leah and Kary have stirred in me is a mindset shift.

In 2016, I suffered from a lot of self-doubt, telling myself things like, “Well I’m not an entrepreneur”, or “I just wasn’t made to succeed on my own terms”.

Fast-forward to 2020, and I’ve cast off a considerable chunk of that yoke.

My own Accountability partners have noted the change in my self-confidence and self-projection over the past four years, and I’ve started to make some sales, with 50 books sold since the novel came out in September. My next target is 50 more by the close of 2020, this most unusual of years. 

Such is the power of the self-help course to give people a sense of direction, and to bring like-minded people together, that I’m in the process of setting up my own course.

Entitled This Is My Name, there’s a lot of work to be done on it yet, but I’m excited for the positive changes that I’ll inspire in others, reflecting the same growth that I myself have experienced over the past few years. 




If you’re not keen on going all-in on personal development courses, some of which come at a hefty price, then one-on-one coaching sessions may be better suited to your situation.

Speaking again from experience, I have worked with one or two newer performance coaches who were looking for testimonials, and agreed to a fixed number of free coaching sessions in exchange for a positive review. So start by asking around.

Alternatively, keep an eye out for whatever deals performance coaches may be offering at the moment, given the craziness of COVID-19 and its pretty devastating effects on the economy.
 

But COVID aside…

just like having a private tutor for learning a musical instrument or a foreign language, having a counsellor to guide you on your personal journey to success can be an invaluable asset.

Again, nobody should have to walk the road less travelled alone, and who better to take you and your ambitions seriously than a certified coach with some glowing reviews in the bag? 

So tell me…

what do you think?

Which of these four approaches resonates most with you?

Is there perhaps a fifth approach that we should have factored in?



You can contact Andy through this contact form.

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The Calmer Waters of Meditation – By Guest Blogger Andrew Beck (part 3)


Hi, and welcome to part 3 of this guest blog post by my musician and author friend, Andy Beck.

Welcome to part 3 of Andy’s guest posts.

In this post, Andy talks to us about how mindfulness works.


So, how does mindfulness work?


Mindfulness teaches you to let go.

Unlike other forms of therapy, which teach you to analyse whatever is troubling you, MBCT takes the opposite approach. “I can let it go,” is one of the most powerful statements I’ve come across.

When I catch my mind starting to run away with itself, I can let that negative thought or feeling go.

Of course, it’s perfectly natural to worry when bad things happen in the world.

That terrible crime reported on the news, the gang violence rife in some cities, the political and financial corruption pervading much of the world.

BUT: all your worrying and fretting will not change the way the world is.

It won’t reverse any of the examples I’ve just given, and it won’t stop people from being pricks to each other. But what you can control, and change, is how you deal with it all. 


Two of the most common mental health problems in the world are depression and anxiety.


I’ve had both, as confirmed by my own self-diagnosis on e.g. the NHS website.

Now depression is rooted in the past; you can’t be depressed over something unless it’s already happened.

Meanwhile, anxiety is rooted in the future; you can’t be anxious
about something unless you’re afraid it might happen.

The reason Mindfulness works is because it knocks both of these bastards out.

By engaging us in exercises where we’re forced to live in the present, Mindfulness stops us from dwelling too much on the past, or fretting too much about the future. 

I think this logic is genius.

And the result?

Both depression and anxiety have had the wind knocked out of their sails, their arms removed. 


Change the song

One weird thing about my mind is how it’s sometimes like a broken record. 

Quite literally.

I think about music so much that I can barely get through a day without 3 or 4 songs being stuck in my head, the same snippet repeating over and over again in my head for a good 45 minutes.


It could be any song, by any band; Biffy Clyro, Julie Fowlis, INXS and Sir Reg are all recent examples. 

Gus, being the male protagonist in Folk Springs Eternal, is in exactly the same boat.

A sure sign of how much we both love music?

Yep.
Enough to drive anyone mad?

Again, yep!


 Fortunately, over time I’ve started to noticed the trend.

I’ve noticed how the music in my head can and does affect my mood.

Sometimes, when I’m on auto-pilot, with that broken record spinning, my mind starts to run away with itself. This is what the professionals call “ruminating”.

Now, thanks to MBCT, if I can feel that mental fog starting to gather, I just
notice it (“Ah!”) and then change the song.

One of my go-to pieces of music for keeping a clear head is Aphex Twin’s “Parallel Stripes”, which makes me feel like I’m floating through space.

 A great piece to relax to. 

Changing the song is a life-altering habit that Mindfulness has helped me
cultivate, one that in turn cultivates calm and composure in my mind and heart.

It helps me keep on top of things mentally, to prevent that ol’ rumination
from happening and dragging my heart down.


My challenge to you, then…


Like life, music is about the highs and the lows.

The euphoria and the grief.

The tears of joy and those of sadness.

In this post, I have focused on the lows—and what one might do about them.

I encourage you to give MBCT a try, starting with Mark Williams’ audiobook.

See what it can do for you.

And by all means, let Karin and me know. 

It is true that bad things will happen in life.

No matter what we entrepreneurs do, negative experiences and events will rock us.

But we can still prepare ourselves mentally, so that such moments don’t drag us down for any longer than necessary.

For me, Mindfulness meditation makes that clear.

I hope the same will be true for you, too. 

Love,

Andy x

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this installment of our Guest post this week.

We will be collaborating with Andy for a few more guest posts, so if you haven’t, subscribe to my blog to follow them (see the form below), and also do go follow Andy’s blog page through this link for more on folk music, self-care and updates on his upcoming products and services.


 

We’ll have a new post series by Andy starting next Wednesday, all about how to survive as an entrepreneur.

Watch out for it at 10am GMT Next week!

 


 

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The Calmer Waters of Meditation – By Guest Blogger Andrew Beck (part 2)


Hi, and welcome to part 2 of this guest blog post by my musician and author friend, Andy Beck.

In this post, Andy will tell us about how he found Minfulness based cognitive therapy, and how it’s worked for him.


It’s not a one off

First things first…MBCT is not a one-off. It’s not a one-time form of therapy that “fixes” you, so you can just carry on like before.

No—with Mindfulness meditation, we walk away with a practice for life.

Something we can engage in for 5-10 minutes (or longer) every day.

Far from being burdensome, this keeps you on the straight and narrow, mentally speaking, from day to day. 

So what is it? 

Basically, Mindfulness meditation involves simple breathing exercises. These bring your mind under control, gently.

This reduces the stress, the panic, the moodiness etc. of your daily life.

The more you practice it, the better you’ll get at keeping your mind cool, calm and collected

Is it hard? 

Nope.

Mindfulness is very easy, and almost anyone can practice it.

Think it’s some guy up a mountain somewhere, sitting cross-legged with his arms outstretched humming to himself?

Think again.

All you need, in order to get started, is a comfortable chair to sit on, 10 minutes to yourself, and e.g. this video

Is it expensive? 

Nope.

All I’ve ever spent on MBCT was £10.49 on the aforementioned Audible book by Mark Williams and Danny Penman .

The best investment of £10 I’ve ever made!

The only other thing you need to invest is time, so that you’ll understand both the theory and the practice. 

Is it genuine?

Yep.

Mindfulness techniques have been around for several decades in the West, and have been developed by leading researchers and professors working at some of the best universities in the world. 

So in other words, it ain’t fake. 

Is it scary?

Not in my experience.

Mark Williams might not be the only MBCT guru out there, but he has one hell of a relaxing voice (here’s another example video).

The form of therapy he teaches doesn’t freak me out or make me feel unpleasant in the slightest, and it never has. 

Is there an app for it?

Of course!

I’ve used Insight Timer a fair bit, though Headspace also gets a very good write-up.

Other apps are available too. 

Synctuition, while not strictly related to Mindfulness, is an interesting one to try before bedtime, though the free option is limited. 

Is it effective? 

Yes.

Not only has it turned my life around, but check out the following example case study.

At Exeter University in 2008, a group of individuals who had each suffered from a major episode of depression were split into two groups.

One group was given anti-depressants, the other got MBCT.

After a year’s worth of monitoring, both groups had recovered to the same extent.

Meaning that Mindfulness is just as effective as taking medication, perhaps even more so. 

Dr. Stuart Eisendrath at the University of California explains more about the study here (Applying Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to Treatment).

I can recommend the whole video. 


I hope you enjoyed this installment of our Guest post this week.

We will be collaborating with Andy for a few more guest posts, so if you haven’t, subscribe to my blog to follow them (see the form below), and also do go follow Andy’s blog page through this link for more on folk music, self-care and updates on his upcoming products and services.


In next week’s post, Andy will tell us a bit more about how mindfulness works, from his personal experience with it.

A disclaimer as a therapist: there are lots of great and useful tools out there to help you in your daily life, including mindfulness apps, and related books like Andy’s, mine, and others.

These resources will help you tackle those things that have had you stuck for a long time, but I have to add one thing that I’ve learned through my training and experience as a counsellor:

I am a firm believer in the power of the therapeutic relationship in the healing process, so finding a nice balance between the resources mentioned in this post, and finding a therapist to talk through some of these things will be of great benefit.

Until next week….


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The Calmer Waters of Meditation – By Guest Blogger Andrew Beck (part 1)


Hi, and welcome to this guest blog post by my musician and author friend, Andy Beck.

We met through an autor programme called Author Academy Elite, which is based in The United States and offers a lot of programmes for self and professional development. More specifically, we met through the Igniting Souls London group, led by yours truly, and we’ve become accountable to each other and a third member who I will be featuring here once her book is published, as she touches on a topic close to my heart as well – Autism.

It’s safe to say that we both would recommend Kary Oberbrunner and his programmes! You can test out the free versions first and then decide for yourself.

Let me now tell you a bit about what the next few posts will be about…


Andy has recently published his new book FOLK SPRINGS ETERNAL, which follows four talented musicians playing Irish and Scottish music with a punk twist.

So, why is Andy talking to us about mindfulness and meditation if his book is about music?


Folk music, a passion of Andy’s, as well as Self-care, are at the heart of this book.

In a nutshell (as revealed in the Amazon summary of this book), the book talks about how these four individuals navigate through life to get where they want, finding the tools they need to find success among the criticism, the busyness of life, and every obstacle that is placed among them.

Sound familiar? We all go through similar things, so this book is very relatable whether you’re into folk music or not.

At the end of the book, Andy offers coaching and other services that will help guide you to find success and to withstand setbacks and failures.

Without further ado, I’ll let Andy talk directly to you guys about what he’s found through writing this novel, his own life journey and his discovery of meditation as a means to reach his goals and do what he’s passionate about.


“You should be a priority in your life at all times,” said my author friend Karin Brauner when introducing her book “20 Self Care Habits”.

Get that right, and pandemic or no pandemic, all of life’s other obligations will be less of a strain. 

I know what that strain feels like…


My wife and I spent a week in the Inner Hebrides in 2017.

Yes, we were on holiday in Scotland, one of the most beautiful parts of the UK. And I felt dreadful.

Far too much time to think, not enough control over my thoughts to stop them spiralling out of control. 



This is just one example.

Fortunately, my breakthrough came that same year; having suffered from depression and anxiety on and off since my mid-teens, I finally discovered Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), or Mindfulness meditation.

And it worked.

This is something of a miracle, given that I was convinced I was beyond help, that my mind was some incomprehensible maze. 



And I’m not the only one to feel this way. 

Even Lin, the heroine in my recent novel Folk Springs Eternal, struggles not only as an Irish folk musician but also with her own state of mind: 

[S]he needed to control her temper. The irascible attitude, the raised voice, the profanity, definitely the way she’d behaved towards Gus and Herman that morning. None of it had helped; more to the point, it was embarrassing, both to her and to her friends. 

But what could she do to address her aggression issues?

She had no idea where to start, and her only inkling was defeatist. 

Maybe I can’t change.


Do you recognise yourself in any of the above?

Feel like demons are stalking you, and you don’t have much of a defence?

Then this post is for you.

Lin chooses to embrace the calmer waters of meditation, and just like me three years ago, it turns her life around.

She goes from being verbally and physically abusive towards those closest to her, to showing them the respect and affection they deserve (and quitting nicotine).


Even if the world is not much different, her world certainly is.

And so is mine.

Now, we can both show the world the best versions of ourselves, and try to leave the positive mark on it that we want to be remembered for. 


While I can’t say that Mindfulness will be THE answer for you (as different therapies work for different people), my mental health advice is as follows:

“Never stop searching for answers.”

Thus, knowing about MBCT can’t hurt; it at least gives you the chance to try it out, to see whether it will benefit you. 


I hope you enjoyed this installment of our Guest post this week.

We will be collaborating with Andy for a few more guest posts, so if you haven’t, subscribe to my blog to follow them (see the form below), and also do go follow Andy’s blog page through this link for more on folk music, self-care and updates on his upcoming products and services.


In next week’s post, Andy will continue talking to us about mindfulness based cognitive therapy.

Just a note from the therapist in me: if you’d like to know more about other therapies also available, you can have a look at my website in the “how I work” section.

Until next week….


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