What would happen if we pushed aside the distractions in our lives and focused intently on our passions? Can we really live by the motto of “Do what you love and the money will follow?”
For the answer, look no further than entrepreneur Neil Moore. A music-obsessed child, Moore became a skilled pianist despite not knowing how to read music. But unsure how to make a living from his passion as he grew older, he became a successful restaurateur. He made big bucks — until a few bad business deals caused him to lose it all.
“I was in the restaurant business to earn enough money so that I could retire and just do music, but I saw that the equation of pursuing money now to do what I love later was, for me, a broken one,” says Moore. “As I watched my possessions being taken from me, I made a pact to devote myself to music. If that’s what I was meant to be doing, my hope was that the world would align in my favor and that path would reveal itself.”
Ultimately, Moore developed a playing-based music learning system that he parlayed into Simply Music, a music education and teaching company with licensed educators at more than 800 locations internationally.
Moore sees the ability to play music as a key driver of success for any entrepreneur. “Particularly with the technological tsunami that’s arriving, we need an additional pillar of education,” he says. “The creative arts have a very new role to play in immersing the mind in improvisational and creative thinking, and to prepare the mind to deal with constant, massive transformation that is becoming the norm.”
Based on his experience developing Simply Music, Moore emphasizes three key areas — which he calls the entrepreneurial trinity — that will help business owners to generate great results.
1. Space. Moore sees a clear link between the physical space we put ourselves in and our level of entrepreneurial creativity. Humans are very relational, which means we are easily influenced by the stuff around us. When we surround ourselves with things that distract us from our main task of running our business — folders with unpaid bills, boxes of items to unpack and the like — we essentially generate a physical version of white noise that saps our energy and power to create.
Take away the unnecessary objects — the clutter — and surround yourself only with those things that energize you, and you regain that power. “You know what it’s like when your car is washed and it just feels like it drives better? Well, a clean work space and work environment gives you a similar feeling about your business,” says Moore.
2. Completion. In all of our lives, there are dozens (maybe even hundreds) of unfinished actions that leave us feeling cluttered psychologically. Our job is to identify those outstanding issues and complete them. Doing so gives us a sense of closure that frees up our mental energy and creativity, and gives us more emotional room to run.
Moore explains that these “incompletes” might be actual tasks we said we’d do but didn’t, or people we said we’d call back but didn’t. But they can also be things we said that we regret, or things we didn’t say that we wish we would have. For example, Moore went so far as to call and apologize to a former schoolmate whom he bullied decades earlier. Says Moore: “I didn’t do it to get anything from him. From my point of view he was owed an apology, and for me that created space. The more you can do that in your life, the more it will transform your entrepreneurial creativity.”
3. Appreciation and love. “Many entrepreneurs’ focus and passion are directed so intensely to their business vision that their relationships — the people surrounding and supporting that vision — are compromised,” says Moore.
His advice: Take a little time to show genuine appreciation to the important people around us. In doing so, we actually put ourselves in a better position to make smart decisions about our businesses and lead with clarity.
What’s more, you don’t need to invest a lot of time. Sincerity is more powerful than minutes. Example: Every morning and every night, Moore thanks his wife and best friend of 44 years for loving and supporting him. “I communicate to her every day who she is to me. It takes less than 90 seconds, but it energizes me and puts me in my best entrepreneurial mindset,” says Moore.
Indeed, Moore carries that gratitude with him all day. “Personally, I physically embrace all of my team members every day. I want them to experience that I honor the fact that they are giving part of their lives to the fulfillment of a vision that has a greater purpose,” he says.
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