What has 2022 taught me?
Number 4 is essential to know!
At the end of the year, some of us will reflect on the things we have done in that year to see, understand and realise what we could do better for next year.
To me. I will describe 2022 has been a challenging, fun and exciting year for me.
Why do I say that?
Let’s run through some of the key lessons I learn this year so you too can gain some value and perhaps utilise my learning experience for you to become better in 2023 and avoid the same mistake I did in 2022.
The first lesson is, don’t give out your shares or appoint directorship
because you are a desperate need of someone to manage the company or to invest in you. This is crucial and also something that you must be aware of so that it won’t jeopardise the company's progress. I know at times, you feel that you need the extra money to grow faster but nothing comes for free in this world. You have to sacrifice something to gain something. That is why many start-ups had to wind down their business because they think that with money, they can grow faster to conquer the market. Little did they know, overspending with no awareness of where the money goes. It is a sign of trouble coming to them.
After all, your investment in exchange with equity does allow those investors to have a say in your company. If you select the wrong pool of people to mix with especially with their money involved, you are bound to oblige them in certain matters. The same goes for directorship. A directorship has more authority than a shareholder. Please, I begged you, assign this role to someone you have known them in and out and also do some background checks. I learnt this the hard way because no one taught me this. I had to experience it, to learn it and here I am to share it with you so you can avoid this big mistake that will bring you many troubles. So, be careful who you accept as a shareholder and also a director for your company. Today
The 2nd lesson is principle matters.
A person without principle is a person without integrity. People can say whatever they want but what is the meaning of those words if your action says otherwise? At the end, action speaks louder than words. During the pandemic, I made a decision to move to made to order delivery concept because we needed funds to survive. Those profits we collected go back to the business to sustain its operation and also pay it forward by buying up food and sharing it with our NGOs. Some people may say that we are diverting from the real cause of doing our social enterprise but they have forgotten why did we switch in the first place? If I let those people judge us and stop me from making the best decision because I know the ins and outs of the company, then I am foolish. Thus, that is why we are still here today, unlike our competitors who had slowly vanquished from existence. I hope that will not happen to us.
At times, if we don't change ourselves to the current situation we are in, we will die and be left behind. An example I will like to share here with those reluctant to change is taxis. Taxis who hasn't signed up to be an e-hailing driver and still wants to stick to their traditional way of charging passengers are now in trouble because it has been harder for them to find passengers. Now, they are blaming the government for the change that technology has brought us to our modern-day society.
As soon as the pandemic is over and we have gotten used to covid-19, business is back to normal. That's where we saw the trend of edible food surplus picking up its pace earlier this year. Events, buffets, bakeries and cafes are having more diners and buyers which leads to an increase in production.
Furthermore, before this happened, the year 2020-2021, was a year that many businesses were not operating at full capacity because they are uncertain of the next announcement the government will make. If there is no surplus for us, then what is there for us to sell in our business? Many food rescue organizations had to resort to donations to buy fresh and newly produced good so they can give them to those in need. In 2022, we started to go back to what we originally do. We saved those edible surpluses in 2 ways. One is that we give out to NGOs for free and the second we help to sell at a discounted price. This year alone, we managed to save so much more food than any other year because I had to make a decision that will keep us afloat. I did consult my team members and they were ok with the way we operated before and after the pandemic. I have always chosen the people and the environment rather than making big profits. If I have put profits first, my business will be way different and we wouldn't be able to make a significant impact on the environment. A social enterprise is here to solve a social issue, not to make a big profit out of a solution you are solving. Do remember that if you're a social enterprise.
The 3rd lesson is to strategize before the execution
In the mid of this year, I came to realize that is good to have a plan but what good does a plan does if we don't execute it smartly? I realize that whenever we plan something, we must take into factor the people we are going to work with, the situation of the market, the consumer behaviour, and our competitors. If you are only here to plan for yourself to succeed, you won't go far. In the end, if you want the market to support you, you have to give them what they want. That's why, whenever you come up with a plan, think first about what you want to achieve?! Once you have understood that, next is to write down your strategy. Who you are going to work with? How are you going to stand out against your competitor? Where will this plan be executed and what needs to be done to make the project run smoothly?
Nevertheless, don't forget the WHY this project must succeed?! The stronger your determination is for the project and your team too, the better the project will be executed. In the end, passion always wins! So, do you have enough passion to plan a project, and come up with a strategy on how to win before you execute? One example I like to share with you is chess. Yes, you may have plans to play chess with your friend or participate in a tournament but what good is a plan if you aren't preparing to win? We may win and lose at times but if you lose without trying, then there is no point in planning in the first place because your mind and soul are not in the game. So what's there to learn if you're not serious in the first place?
The fourth lesson is Mastermind
One book that changed my mindset after I read it twice is Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It is a book that made me realise one piece of wisdom “ Your future is determined by the people you work with “. The book highlighted one of the main points known as Mastermind. A mastermind is a group of like-minded people striving for progress that has agreed on a common goal for all members. A mastermind community is also there to keep you accountable so that you can keep hustling until you achieve your goals. The mastermind community is also here to foster teamwork among members because teamwork makes the dreamworks. Not to forget, it is a safe circle to share your problems and hear suggestions to solve them as a team because, in the mastermind community, we treat each other like family.
Besides that, all this while, I didn’t join any mastermind community that understands our biz and me until Aug 2022. I decided to challenge myself and put aside some of my time to commit to 2 mastermind communities that I know will push me further and help me turn over a new leaf. There are Toastmasters International and also BNI. You may ask, did they bring changes into my life?
Yes, they did! Today, I learn that doing business doesn't mean you have to help yourself and another person but we can create a community of business leaders that supports each other to grow the business. If you want your business to go from one point to another and keep growing, you need an ecosystem that synchronizes with other businesses that can support your company's vision.
Grab started as an e-hailing driver. Then they realise, they are more than just doing e-hailing. They can create a super app that integrates supermarkets, food delivery, attractions, hotel bookings and many more. We can always start small and if you want to grow bigger, your mindset can't stay the same but must always be open to seeking new opportunities and learning from others in the market.
Furthermore, I have always thought my public speaking is good. I was able to deliver a good presentation whenever I represent Green Hero out there. One day, I decided to put my ego aside and told myself that, if I always tell myself I am already good, then I am delusional. I need to wake up to reality. I need to have a growth mindset. It was then, I took the leap of faith and joined Toastmasters International. Today, I have learnt that there are people out there that speak & present better than me, I also learnt to give better feedback as an evaluator, learnt about using different vocal varieties in my speech along with my pace and also about the role of players in the club.
Now, I understood why having a community is important, especially for those with the same mindset as you. I am trying my best to lead my time to build a community in 2023. We want to add value and change lives. So far, we have only touched the lives of those in NGOs & the B40 communities but what about the people who have supported us until today? Where do they belong and how do we make them feel? It is time to change the way we operate and focus on building the community so anyone we engage will have a sense of belonging.
The fifth lesson is to seek help
My life during the pandemic and post-pandemic is the hardest I have ever been through. It was way worse compared to the time I nearly dropped out of college. The reason for that is because of conflicts. I always dream of creating a green hub in Malaysia for ASEAN but at times, the setbacks I have in life often question me if that vision is possible. It is sad & heartbroken to see that the people you make memories with to achieve that vision are no longer by your side and slowly become memories that are about to fade. I once have a conflict over money matters and my leadership. They weren't happy with how we progressed during the 1st year of the pandemic and left for another industry. Another conflict I had with 2 people was due to expectations. I set expectations for them that ended up in disappointment. Who was to be blamed? ME! I shouldn't have set high expectations of someone without promising some kind of reward. All of us may have felt motivated by the dream that was sold to us but what good to achieve it if you were to put in your time & resources in it but end up getting nothing great out of it? You will feel wasted right?
Well, that's how they felt too! I should have at least tried to get them to agree on some kind of reward so they will be motivated to carry out their duty mannerly. I am a bad leader. So that's why I need mentors & coaches to help me when I need help so I can be better than who I was.
My mentors & coaches are always there for me to question my actions and make me realize if my action was sensible and correct. My mentors & coaches are always there for me to love me, and encourage me to keep going until today, they have not given up on me no matter how many times I have fell in the last 5 years ever since I took the courage to find my purpose in life. As soon I found it, they cheered for me and continue to give me the support I need and also the advice I need to hear at times to keep hustling.
Nothing great comes easy to you. No entrepreneurship journey is ever made on a horizontal line but rather a roller coaster ride. I am thankful for my mentors and coaches that whenever I seek help, they will always make time for me. There are moments I wished I could do something for them but in the end, they didn't expect much from me because their only hope is to see me succeed. I love my mentors & coaches. I won't give up, I won't back down and I won't leave this world without leaving a legacy behind. I am determined to become a better leader and lead my team better in 2023.
That's why I am seeking feedback from my team members and you to fill out this form if you know me : https://forms.gle/N2QaVxLTBEdvthxk6
Help me become better. Help me change this world. Help me to help the environment. Together with you, I believe change is possible.
Lastly, I will like to say ,
Thank you 2022 for teaching me to be careful of assigning someone with a title that can have a say in your company.
Thank you 2022 for also teaching me to have principles because without them, what am I?
Thank you 2022 for also teaching me that we must always have a strategy to execute a plan, participate in a mastermind group that we find comfortable and also seek help if we need one. You're never alone in this world.
You're alone if you choose to be and remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.
Now let's rise and conquer 2023!!!