A Special Forces soldier, TV personality, author, motivational speaker, corporate team coach and now, fitness app curator – is there anything Ollie Ollerton can’t do?
His ventures into various business opportunities means Ollie has learned a thing or two about entrepreneurship. So, for this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, he’s sharing his knowledge in hopes to inspire the next generation of leaders and innovators.
The events of this year have had massive effects on business and education. It’s understandable that many are feeling discouraged and hard done by as opportunities keep getting cancelled and uncertainty is expected to be lingering for the foreseeable future.
But that’s not to say you can’t make the best of a bad situation. This is one of the most important characteristics of a successful entrepreneur. You should know that things won’t always go the way you want them to and we often face unpredictable challenges. But, the way you react, reassess and then continue to pursue your goal is what separates the winners from the losers in business.
This goal needs to be something that inspires, motivates and keeps you on track. In fact, it should be something greater than a measurable outcome, which is what usually defines a goal. It needs to spark a passion deep down inside you – a purpose, if you will.
Find your purpose
For me, my purpose was realised after my time in the Special Forces, which may come as a surprise to some. It was every boy’s dream to serve in the Forces when I was younger, and I worked incredibly hard to get there.
It looked like I had it all but in reality, it wasn’t ticking every box for me. It didn’t fit my purpose.
It wasn’t until I went to Thailand as part of an organisation called Grey Man that I found something so powerful that it changed my life forever.
The team and I set out to rescue children who were being trafficked for slavery and prostitution. The power of helping in this situation sparked a feeling that was so fulfilling, it has gone on to inspire everything I have done ever since.
I urge anyone who is setting out in business to find what it is that makes them feel this way too. Of course, it won’t be the same for everybody. Some will want the freedom to be creative while others find solace in something that is more regimented and structured.
But whatever it is, it should provide you with the driving force that keeps you going, even when things are tough.
Adopting a winner’s mindset
Whether you’re pursuing a particular career path or are setting out on a new business venture on your own, your mindset will have a large part to play in your success.
It’s a similar principle to the one that underpins the Battle Ready 360 fitness app. Fundamentally, the mind, your body, the fuel you consume and, in this case, your work, all go hand in hand. If one element begins to slip, all will feel the impact.
However, your mind is perhaps the hardest to conquer. In business, you need a mentality that is resilient, positive and logical.
You should expect challenges to arise but when they do, resilience, a positive outlook and logical thinking will help you to overcome them in the best possible way.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to build a winner’s mindset. Firstly, you should not shy away from difficult situations, whether that’s in business or any other aspect of your life. It’s all about taking on the short-term discomfort of the situation for the long-term gain.
It’s harder than it sounds. As humans we’re wired to seek short-term comfort, which leads to long-term pain. But as with any muscle in the body, over time and with practice, you can strengthen the mind, too.
Introducing a routine to your daily life is another way to build discipline and mental resilience. This is particularly important under the current circumstances where our normal day to day activities have been disrupted.
It can be easy to become demotivated in these instances but no matter what your situation is looking like, we can all find things to keep us busy and healthy. All it takes is to then build a routine around them.
Free time is a rarity in life and the fact that we have more of it right now should be seen as an opportunity. Rather than wasting this time scrolling through social media or sat in front of the TV, work on your goals. That might be reading a book on a skill you want to learn or laying down the foundations of a new business plan, for example.
You might even embark on a fitness journey by allocating a certain time for exercising each day. This will also help you to keep your mind healthy and then in turn, your ability to perform at work.
Planning and sticking to a routine allows you to really get the things you want to do, done. Even those bigger goals you have in life start with smaller, daily actions. It’s time to stop making excuses and start putting in the work.
Although I didn’t find my purpose in the Forces, it did help me to understand and appreciate the importance of a routine and particularly, it’s impact on the mind.
Trust the process
Similarly, a lot of what I learned in the Forces has enabled me to get to where I am today, even though I wouldn’t credit the experience for helping me to realise a purpose.
I understand now that it was all part of the process and without it, I may have never gone on that lifechanging trip to Thailand and consequently, found the thing that sparked my passion.
And even since then, various steps and events in my career have played vital roles in inspiring my next move or creating such unpleasurable times in my life, that I have no choice but to rethink and change directions.
This is another important lesson in entrepreneurship. You can set out with a clear plan but along the way experience things that cause you to pivot. And there’s nothing wrong with that so long as you keep moving forward. All it really means is you’re learning, developing and becoming a better version of yourself.
Life places no limits on the possibilities or opportunities we encounter. We simply have to be open to accepting them and then willing to do whatever it takes to make them work to our advantage. As the saying goes, you have the world at your feet – just make sure your shoelaces are tied up.