When the opportunity to review Mr. W. Brett Wilson’s new book, “Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes”, came along, I couldn’t pass it up. Although I don’t know Mr. Wilson personally, I have been an avid fan of Dragon’s Den and have watched various entrepreneurs try to pitch their idea to the panel of ‘Dragon’s’. While Mr. Kevin O’Leary would often say, “How is this going to make me money?”, it was Mr. Wilson (and a few other Dragons) that would show true compassion. I also have a little bit of a soft spot as Mr. Wilson calls Calgary his home – which is also my home town.
When the book arrived at my home, there were two books. One was addressed to me and signed by Mr. Wilson and the other was for me to give away to one of my readers however I like – also signed by Mr. Wilson. I was pleasantly surprised at the kindness of this gesture. After reading his book, I looked back at the letter that came with my books (addressed to me and signed by Mr. Wilson – not typed). I realized that something as little as addressing and signing a letter can seem so simple, but can be a lasting impression.
As I started to read Mr. Wilson’s book, I had two areas of focus that I wished to learn:
- What can I personally learn from this man and all of his success?
- What can I take and put into practice for the two companies that I run?
As I read and came across something that I found valuable, I would fold the corner of the page over. After reading half the book, my new book looked like it had gone through the wringer! One of my favourite parts of this book are the quotes that are interspersed throughout each chapter. Although there are many, I think this one is my favorite:
“My new life motto is: simplify. In order to live a life of integrity – by reprioritizing, rebalancing and redefining success – sometimes you just have to get rid of the junk.” – WBW
The book is broken into ten chapters. Each chapter is titled with words that reflect the kind of person Mr. Wilson is and has become. Chapters titled, ‘Making Choices’, ‘Choose Integrity’, ‘Go With Heart’, ‘People First’, and ‘Philanthropy Is Good Business’ are just a few of the chapter titles.
What Can I Personally Learn From This Man And All His Success?
Throughout the book, there are many lessons that I can personally take from Mr. Wilson. One that continues in my thoughts is the one about making choices. I’ve already had to make choices in my life that were difficult. After seventeen years of teaching, I chose to leave a profession that I truly thought I would be in forever. The choice to leave was not one that I took lightly and had many things to consider. Leaving my dear teaching partner was one of the hardest things I had to do. That being said, the choice to leave the education field is not one that I have looked back on or have regretted. My choice to take the scary step to start my own business (without having a single business class) was a huge step for me! My choice to start a second business with my wonderful business partner, Christina Rowsell, was also a choice that I did not take lightly. In my family, my husband and I often talk with our teen-aged kids about choices. Choices about who their friends are, choices about what they do with their little bit of free time, and choices about their attitudes. As my businesses grow, I know there were be many more choices that will have to be made and considered. I do believe that we all have a choice. It’s the choices we make that will determine the road we travel in life.
Choosing integrity is another part of this book that really resonates with me. I grew up with two, hard-working parents who moved from Edmonton to Calgary when my twin sister and I were six months old. My brother was three years older than we were. They had no extended family to call upon or turn to. In the chapter’ Choose Integrity’ Mr. Wilson touches on many facets of integrity: be fair, be respectful, learn from challenges, and never give up. These are all qualities that my parents instilled in me and that I hope to continue to instill in my children.
“Never be afraid to fail. Be afraid of not learning from mistakes.” – WBW
What Can I Take And Put Into Practice In My Businesses?
Along with ‘making choices’ and ‘choosing integrity’, ‘people first‘ is one that I am dealing with right now in my business. As Mr. Wilson puts it, “Partnering with the right people is the best way to find lasting success and satisfaction in business and on a personal level.” Those words are ones that I will continue to come back to.
Mr. Wilson also talks about looking for passion. When I met Christina Rowsell, she wanted to interview me to blog about my company. Although I listened to Christina for many years on the radio, I had never met her. We had a great first meeting and discussed many things. The one thing we discussed were the businesses we come across in our lives. My company had grown from a residential organizing business to one that also included business services ( Social Media, time management and productivity). We were finding that businesses I worked with and businesses that Christina were blogging about were having the same issues: how to move their business forward to the next level. Over many coffee meetings Christina and I discussed what we could do to help businesses – educate and empower them to grow. Building off of Christina’s blog, ‘The Brighter Side‘, we formed Brighter Business Empower.
“For most successful people, hard work and enthusiasm are usually evident in everything they do. I don’t buy that people have different morals and values in their personal lives than in their business lives.” W. Brett Wilson
As Christina and I look at building, expanding, and tweaking Brighter Business Empower, I am confident that our passion for helping individuals and businesses will be our guide. It is absolutely refreshing to meet and work with someone who holds the same values and has the same passion in life.
Philanthropy is good business is one aspect that I am just starting to fully understand as a business owner. Get It Together has had many opportunities to give back. Working with Inn From The Cold was definitely a highlight. Giving up my time to help redesign their donation center was not only a fun project, it was such a rewarding one. Although the project is not complete, I can hardly wait to see it when it is! I know that as I move forward, giving back will be a higher priority in planning for the future.
As part of Brighter Business Empower, we find guest speakers to speak on various topics for business owners. Our guest speakers are asked to choose a charity of their choice. At every seminar, Christina and I go out and find donations for the Brighter Business Basket. We sell tickets for $2.00 each and 100% of the proceeds go to the guest speaker’s charity of choice. It is one area of Brighter Business Empower that we are very fond of. After much consideration, I have decided to donate my extra copy that Mr. Wilson sent to the Brighter Business Basket in January. I believe that all business owners should own this book.
Although I could go on and on about many insights that I’ve learned from reading this book, I wanted to touch on one last item. Mr. Wilson uses the words, ‘moral compass‘ throughout the book. When I first saw the word in the book, I had to read it over again. My dear friend and life coach, Elizabeth Critchley, first introduced me to those exact words years ago. It was Elizabeth that guided me with my decision to leave the teaching profession. It is Elizabeth that I turn to for business and life advice. And, it is Elizabeth that I look to as my mentor. She has such wisdom, compassion and quite honestly, common sense. I just couldn’t imagine my life without Elizabeth in it! It is those words, ‘moral compass’ that guide me. Not only in my personal life, but in my business life as well.
“A moral compass is a mental process that consistently points a person in a particular direction in life.” W. Brett Wilson
I am so glad that I built up enough nerve to email Mr. Wilson when he was asking for people to review his book on Facebook. The 252 page book is a fairly easy read filled with knowledge, wisdom and truth. The teacher in me often says, “If you learn something new each day, it’s a great day.” After reading Mr. Wilson’s book, I can truly say that today has been a great day!
“Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes” hits shelves on Nov. 6th.