Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business

19Apr/104

Constructing My Plans

Everything in life is a learning experience.

I've experienced this first hand this past week working on something that I've never done before--remodeling a Tokyo office floor into a seminar hall.
Through this experience the thing that stood out to me the most was the power of networking. If I had been offered this opportunity a year back, I would probably have said that I didn't have the skill, experience, or time to do the job.

But at the time that this opportunity presented itself, it was not in the form of an offer.

I've been working on tuning my senses to look for and recognize the hidden opportunities that are already all around us, just waiting to be found. Opportunities that will add value to someone else, and will in turn bring you the financial benefits you need.

So when I visited my dad's office where he conducts seminars, something clicked, and I saw an opportunity to add value to his business by upping the standard of his "seminar hall", which actually looked like an office which badly needed renovation. I pitched it to him on the spot, and he agreed to the idea but first asked me if I knew how to do this kind of work. I answered that I'll get the job done, while in the back of my mind I was scrambling trying to figure out how I was going to accomplish this.

I immediately called my friends who had some experience in this field, and following a few leads and recommendations, I was able to put together a team who was capable of the job. I was the contractor/architect, and I hired a foreman and two workers, with the use of their tools and vehicle for transportation.

It would take me more than a blog post to list all of the setbacks and subsequent wins throughout this project, but in the end we were able to meet our deadline and create the level of quality that we had originally planned, without any compromises.

So here's what I learned from this experience in point form:
1. Never underestimate the power of networking. You never know when you will need the skill or expertise of someone you meet.
2. Setbacks are just that. Learn from them and just keep moving forward.
3. Realize that opportunity to add value to others is all around you. Act on it now!
4. Trust and rely on other's strong points above your own. Working as a team means that each team member has his or her strengths. Let them lead where they are stronger than you.
5. Admit your weak areas to your team, and they will respect you for it, try faking it, and you will lose respect quickly.
6. Whether or not you feel it, act confident. Adjusting your physiology to the state you would be in if you were confident will affect your mental state to become the same.
7. Plan, plan, and plan some more. Preparation is where the bulk of the work is done. If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

8Apr/103

A Change of Course

The other night at dinner with my friend Sylvia and my dad, I was invited to a seminar by Peter Sage, a personal development expert and entrepreneur. On a whim and my gut instinct, I committed to attend. He's a tall guy from England who has a firm handshake. I had the privilege to meet him backstage before his seminar, and was introduced by my dad as his son and "a very influential person in Japan." to which he replied "You've got some big shoes to fill!" This gave me something to think about and a lot to live up to.

The seminar was called "Straight Talk" and was focused on business strategy, but not in the way I was expecting. The entire morning was focused on being happy. As simple as this may sound, it's the basic fundamental reason we try to be better people, be more successful, and make progress in our lives. But if we don't know what exactly we want in life, besides to be "a better person," "more successful," etc., without any tangible way of measuring when we will have arrived, then how can we expect to ever achieve that goal?

Being true to yourself and to everyone in your life is the most important fundamental principle behind any business you may be in, or in fact for anything in your life. Speak to people from your heart always, mean every word you say, and don't worry about others discovering the true you, because otherwise you will never truly connect.

When he finally got to the business bit of the seminar, which I admit I was hoping would come much sooner, he again gave emphasis the true values of life. Adding value to others is the single most powerful way to create and grow businesses.

If there is one thing I learned from him, I would say that to be truly great is to be truly humble.

Ps. Two day later I had the chance to have a lunch with him and some other close friends of mine and spent nearly 4 hours talking freely with him about all kinds of subjects which I'll post more on in a later entry.