The word "challenge" has come to my mind frequently as of late. Perhaps it's because of what's going on every day in the news here in the U.S.A., probably also in your country, and certainly in so many places all around the world.
But it's not politics that spurs the word to come to mind; it's the energy underlying the word and the actions it stimulates in each of us as we go about the business of business, of your business and mine.
We need to confront the challenges of our world and our businesses with a different kind of energy, the energy inherent in the idea I've been sharing with business owners and entrepreneurs for 40 years: the idea of working ON your business, rather than being reduced to simply working IN your business.
If the political world has become the model for what we do as we fashion, and are fashioned by, the world around us - and I believe it has - then all of us who have been caught up in this model are doing exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.
That's why we need the mantra of "working ON it, not just IN it," to break through the model we've allowed ourselves to be saddled with and to see challenges from an entirely new perspective.
As business owners, we need to rise above the disparate parts of our personalities and discover what I call the transcendent self.
The transcendent self calls for a completely different language, a completely different understanding, a completely novel approach to fashioning a business, a business that would then emerge as a world of its own - a whole world, a healthy world, a world that makes complete sense.
After all, that's what working ON it brings - a clean, fresh, unspeakably joyful sense of relief from what imprisons so many of us in futile, soul deadening work.
So, yes, that's the challenge.
To awaken the part of you I have come to call The New Entrepreneur.
When The New Entrepreneur is awakened, the door is opened to discover ideas that, although they may seem absurd to others, or even to yourself at first, are so alive and vibrant that they create a productive impetus that can't be denied.
In other words, The New Entrepreneur is compelled to take the big, transcendent leap.
Sometimes these ideas come from a need to fix something, to make something work that doesn't work, but more often the transcendent ideas come suddenly, from out of the blue.
They strike like a prism, so stunning in their radiant beauty, even in their initial, seemingly impractical, form.
Here's a quick example:
The executive director of a not-for-profit and I were talking about the challenges of his work, bringing necessary services to the indigent people on the 15,000 islands of Indonesia. We discussed these islands not as places to improve, but as places to transform, much as Singapore was transformed by the amazing entrepreneurial leader which took it from the old world it was, to a new world no one ever imagined it could become. What emerged was a vision of these 15,000 islands, not as a problem to be solved, but as a new Indonesia, waiting to be born.
And that's the genius of this thing called "Working ON It."
It's the transcendent leap a new entrepreneur always takes when confronted with a transcendent state of mind.