Why Create the Wheel

In 1999, I remember being up early.  I used to get up well before everyone else because I found it easier to study and plan my day.  I remember one early morning just sitting and asking myself; what are you trying to accomplish?  I guess everyone has moments like that.  But this was different.  I remember feeling like what I was doing with my life wasn’t making much of a difference.  I remember saying to myself like so many others over the centuries, “there is a purpose for my life, my journey, what is it?”  That morning is etched in my mind because it was the beginning of an awareness that has only grown over the years.  I liken it to the awakening that prompted me to get my first pair of glasses.  For years I would extend my arm to read, further, further, further away until the ligaments in my shoulder told me that I was either going to do something about my vision or have a prosthetic extension added to my arm.  I got glasses, and the world came back into focus.  So, it was not really a decision as much as a scheduling event. That’s how Create the Wheel was born. 

So, at that time I didn’t know it was Create the Wheel, but I did know that there was a theme in my life that I had to change.  Albert Einstein is widely credited with the well-known quote “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”   However, the actual quote is from a book written by Rita Mae Brown, Sudden Death, in 1983.

 Just as an aside, I had an English professor during my undergraduate studies that was probably the finest example of a positive empowerer I have ever known.  She told me once that everything we communicate, whether written or oral, has an owner.  Either we own it, or someone else does.  Her point was that she could tell the kind of person you were by the value you placed on the words you owned and didn’t.  I have never forgotten that. 

Anyway, back to the point!

So, years passed, career twists and turns happened, family maturing, and progress was made.  But…still…  It seemed like I kept doing the same thing, of course getting the same thing, all the while expecting something different.  I remember at one point a few years ago saying to myself, “here I am again, it seems like I am just re-creating the wheel over and over again.”   It really frustrated me.  But this is no joke, no long after that epiphany, I was talking with a friend that owned a business.  His exact quote to me was, “Kurt I am absolutely so tired of re-creating the wheel in my business.”  Well, it didn’t hit me then.

But one night I was lying in bed, just on the edge of sleep.  You know that moment when you are the most relaxed but still contemplating the day.  That’s when the light bulb went off.  I wanted to invest myself in Creating the Wheel not re-creating it.  I knew that if I could do it for myself, I could share that journey with others and hopefully they would benefit as well.  It became more than a name.  It became my purpose.  So that’s how it all began! 

Principles

I lived an early childhood that was disconnected and gray.  The formative years of my life contained a lot of conflict, struggle, and separation.  You can’t really exist in an environment like that without having long term effects.  I am not a psychologist, but I don’t have to be one to know that you learn the tools necessary to help cope with your daily existence.  In many ways, you create principles for self-preservation that are not always sound for running your life.  I did that.  Principles like; obedience equals acceptance, value is based on things, and self-worth is earned.  As you can imagine, the reinforcement of principles like these contributed to my re-create the wheel approach in life.  But something happened to me. 

I guess the best way I can describe what happened was that one day I just said to myself…” enough of this shit!”  I had spent my early childhood listening to a chorus of “you will only amount to what I say you will” or “do what your told and shut up!”  I had an awakening!  I went from thinking of myself as a lowly follower to thinking of myself as a person with the potential to change the world.  Though it happened much later in my life, that’s when the principleof Create the Wheel was really born!

 So, let’s update the historical record between then and now.  So I went on to get married, raise 3 beautiful boys, get three college degrees, participate in the founding of 4 companies, worked as a corporate leader, participating faithfully in my community, and do my best every day to make a difference. 

As we all know, life is not this monotone straight up experience.  We make decisions, we suffer, we grow, we laugh, we love, and we give. So, the principle that has guided my life is that it’s what we give in life that matters most.

Predictably then, the guiding principle behind Create the Wheel is helping others

Create, Connect, Commit

While helping others guides the focus of Create the Wheel, the principle of Create – Connect – Commit helps form the foundation for those efforts.  Believe it or not, Create – Connect – Commit is a business principle.  Let me explain.

Create

The first act in imagining a business is the act of creativity.  You know what I mean, you have this crazy idea that people should be able to brush their teeth faster, lose weight by sitting on the couch, or travel around in their flying car.  While those ideas are maybe a little comical, they make the point that every business on the planet starts with an idea.  Ideas turn to creativity, creativity turns to innovation, and a business is born.  Whether you are opening a flower shop, a restaurant, and manufacturing plant, or a lemonade stand, you follow something like that path. 

Like many entrepreneurial people, I have had an abundance of ideas about businesses.  Let me share one to illustrate the process. 

If you’re an iced tea drinker, you know that lemon is an add-on.  I happen to really like fresh lemon in my tea.  As a matter of fact, I have been known to switch to a diet soft drink just because I could not get lemon at the same place I was buying my tea.  I realize that seems somewhat ridiculous but hey, stick with me. 

Anyway, if you are going to add lemon, you typically go over to where the condiments are and nestled on the counter is a tray with sliced lemons and a pair of tongs.  Or a worse scenario, you get your cup with the lemon slice plopped into the tea already.  Either situation stinks!

The one thing that I really dislike about getting lemon is that to get the lemon juice you must squeeze the slice of lemon.  You pick up the lemon with your fingers and squeeze it into your drink.  Lemon juice can squirt everywhere, you have dipped your fingers into your drink, and touched the lemon slice with your hands (my hands are always clean by the way…😊).  Not good.  Enter my idea for the Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!

This is the greatest invention of all time!!  Well, it’s not an invention yet.  But it could be.  The point is simple, having an idea is the first step to creating a business. 

Connect

One of the things that you learn (that I learned painfully) either the easy way or the hard way is that you cannot do it alone.  Today, you hear the term solopreneur offered as a model for business owners that want to “do their own thing.”  Indeed, the solopreneur is the fastest growing approach to entrepreneurialism.  But the title is deceptive.  It isn’t suggesting that the business is the result of a single person, it suggests that the idea may be from a single person, but the business is the result of connection(s). 

Imagine a business that was disconnected from others, what would that look like?  Likely not much.  How would you get things done?  How would you acquire knowledge you didn’t have?  How would you get customers?  How would you keep customers?  The obvious answer is that it’s through your connections that you build your business. 

It follows that, creating and nurturing connections with employees, partners, providers, and clients is elemental to the success of any business entity. 

Commit

Probably the single most important element of the Create-Connect-Commit principle is the last element, Commit.  An idea without a commitment is a dream!  A connection without a commitment is a façade.  There is no business without a commitment. 

Like many people, I am an avid reader.  But you don’t have to be a bookworm to see the myriad of titles on Amazon that imply perseverance, maniacal focus, struggle against the odds, and life-changing decision making is required for every business endeavor you undertake.  Well, I have been blessed to start, grow, and exit a few companies.  I can attest to the fact that the description above is accurate.  Those decisions don’t happen all at one time, at some point, you will be faced with each of them.  If you are not committed, they are much more excruciating.

In the end, it’s sometimes your commitment that means the difference between success and failure.  I have my own examples as well as those of my friends to validate that point.  To be sure, there are times (very few) when the best course of action is to stop and evaluate if the effort makes sense.  But make no mistake, determination and commitment is the currency that is exchanged very often for success!

Make the Principle Work for You

I have had the opportunity to coach and consult with many businesses of all types, sizes, and stages.  As I mentioned, my main objective has been helping them to improve.  But they must define what they believe success looks like.  Some have seen success as increased sales, others as more efficient operations, still others as improving culture.  No matter their view of success, they all start with the same principle, the principle of create, connect, commit!

Create, Connect, Commit is a principle, not a strategy.  It can apply to every part and phase of your business.  It’s important to remember because developing a strategy that isn’t grounded in principle is the same as creating a sophisticated task list.  You might get things accomplished, but they won’t fit together. 

I would suggest you overlay the principle with what you might currently be doing.  Ask yourself some questions.  How does your purpose and vision connect with your customers?  Does your customer experience reflect the value you place on them?  Have you changed as your market has changed?  These are just a few questions that you might consider in light of the principle. 

Until Next Time…

Create the Wheel℠ is a coaching and consulting company that uses a proprietary system to help companies develop and execute their strategy.  We focus on getting results.  Check out our site at www.createthewheel.com