From Corporate Strategy to Life Purpose – Episode 1 of 4
Time has always seemed enigmatic to me due to its intriguing way of adapting to the emotions and circumstances we experience, even though it often happens in a way that is opposite to what we would like it to. The funniest and most intense moments seem to be very short, and in contrast, suspense and uncertainty seem to enjoy incomprehensible longevity. However, if we quantify it, we would only be talking about hours, minutes, or seconds. In this context, I must confess that the last five years have been as short as the happiest day of my life, and as long as the most uncertain.
Long story short... After months of research, planning, and financial projections, and after more than 72 updates to the business plan, Eagle Business Coaching was launched in November 2016. My first enterprise in Canada, a reminder that increased my nervousness, even though I was already familiar with the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial world, given my projects in Ecuador and Colombia. In addition, my self-confidence was nurtured by the knowledge gained during more than 20 years of planning and strategy execution within the corporate world in different industries. I was equipped, prepared and ready!
I grew up listening to these antagonistic phrases that support or penalize both the employee and the entrepreneur, and fortunately, they never tipped my scales to either side: "95% of entrepreneurs go bankrupt in less than 2 years." "It's better to be your own boss." "Nothing compares to the financial independence of your own business." "Be the owner of your own time." "The entrepreneur assumes risks, costs, and taxes, while the employee takes a fixed salary." "If you want to stop sleeping, start your own business.”
I boast of being objective in my decision making and I believe in the advantages of market intelligence and its analysis, cost-benefit weighting, risk assessment and mitigation, the wisdom of common sense, and finally, in my intuition; factors that, with their generous eloquence, have helped me to understand the results of my decisions and, when these were not as expected, to understand that mistakes are nothing more than the necessary learning for what is to come later.
As I mentioned, happily these phrases did not put down immobilizing roots in me, which has facilitated my adaptability in two worlds that for many people are incompatible: entrepreneurship and the corporate world.
At the beginning of this century, with our first venture (I say “our” because my husband and I did it as a couple), I distinguished for the first time several of the differences between an entrepreneur and an employee, however, the possibility of doing one or the other never crossed my mind. From the beginning, I understood that the two had to coexist in a symbiotic balance. The employee provided financial security and capital to the entrepreneur; while the entrepreneur provided valuable work time and inspiration to the employee. There was no room for an existential crisis! However, I was aware that this was not a win-win equation, but it seemed to work synergically. Thus, the practice became common and other projects emerged, grew and some culminated successfully while others did not succeed.
Our family move to Canada in 2012, driven by our thirst for professional growth and success and characterized by the unexpected twists and turns that arose during our first year here, fueled in me a growing desire to start my own business. I was distressed by an enormous self-inflicted pressure to implement initiatives that are needed in both developed and developing countries. Ideas that, having the opportunity to live in three different countries and participate in their respective realities, took the form of a figure that spoke to me from within: do something about it!
For several years I did not know how to put my thoughts in concrete words, and as a consequence, I could not elaborate a plan, much less take action and address an agenda. All of them, although very good ideas, remained just that: ideas. The most relevant ones are summarized in the following points:
- Capillarization of the business purpose in the leadership of the day-to-day operation
- Entrepreneurs open to collaborative cross-sector partnerships
- Prioritization of projects that generate self-sustaining economies
- Circular intra- and inter-industry integrations
- Incorporation of diversity and inclusion not as strategies, but as natural elements of organizational culture
- Development of service leadership to achieve excellence in both customer and employee experience
These are concepts that have been discussed for decades but which, unfortunately, even in the G20 countries do not stand out as a living part of their economies; nevertheless, they are dazzling standards of their international policies. The UN, in its Conference held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, announced the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (17 SDGs); the same that have produced a global refocus towards the preservation and care of the environment, the end of poverty, and global economic prosperity. These seventeen goals are currently being addressed from the reality and perspective of each member of the United Nations.
I know it is ostentatious of me to pretend to change the world with my individual contribution, but I vehemently believe in the multiplier effect of the impact that tens, hundreds, thousands, and millions of entrepreneurs and leaders can cause worldwide if, by synergistically pooling resources and talents, we work for development opportunities for all. Let's think, what would happen if each one helps just one person, and this chain extends indefinitely? Opportunities would abound and, therefore, poverty would decrease. Now, imagine if we do this in a strategic, sustainable, and efficient way in which we all grow stronger and effective, opening up more sources of abundance and opportunities for others.
As you read this blog, there are places in the world where this is already happening today. Where would you start?
Ana-María Ortega P.