How many times does your life undergo an unexpected change? Something you didn’t plan, that throws you off kilter? What happens next? Do you panic, freeze or embrace the new opportunity. This is the starting point of Mark Sephton’s Plot Twist.
Mark has shared the stories of people, places and situations that have expanded his business, his life and brought him to where he is now. This book in as insight into embracing change can lead to exciting opportunities. The book opens, with Mark in SXSW in Texas and the stories that explain the development around Plot Twist as grounded in Mark’s experiences, both in America and other key moments of his life.
The book is very reflective, with action points through that you can apply. Whilst it is a business book, there are lessons you can apply to your career and life too! It has a multi-dimensional approach, from his approach to parenting to health and wellbeing.
The book leads with the belief that you should respond to what life brings. What would it feel like to remove control? This was a quick read, with many points that feel obvious, but only once they are brought to your attention. The six key points for me that I think everyone should bear in mind are:
1. The power of positive relationships
Be proactive with your connections; covers business connections to acquaintances that you would like to spend more time with. Be authentic, pay attention and be consistent. I would expand on this to interact both in public and private. Whilst nothing beats face to face contact, pay attention to the way you support and communicate with people. If you follow them on social media, have conversations and interact with their content; celebrate their successes and congratulation their achievements. Occasional inbox messages are not enough.
2. Be clear on collaborations
The next step, after positive relationships, is they become joint ventures; from business partners to events. Make sure, above all other things that your values match! What is the purpose of the joining up? Do you have a shared vision, complementary skills or do you balance each other out? The best way to find this out? Start with paying attention to point one!
3. Your energy is in your control
For me, and Mark, energy is at the centre of work-life balance. Chapter 11, Master Your Energy, talks about energy wasters to “kick to the curb”. Consider what drains your energy; from caring too much about what people think, to doubting yourself. On the flip side, what energises you? If you can’t get rid of the energy drainers, make sure that you have the opportunity to “top up your tank” in other ways in advance of any upcoming drain!
4. A change is as good as a rest
Physically changing your location, even for a short time, can generate new ideas and new perspectives. Stops you thinking in your normal pattern and be more open to “Plot Twists”. The human brain likes routine, predictability keeps us safe. Allowing yourself to get used to changes, however small, will give you the mental resilience to adapt to any unexpected situation.
5. Be a problem solver
Solve problems for your clients, first and foremost, is the central point of any successful business. Don’t let your ego get in the way! Accept critique and own any failures or mistakes. What could you do differently? What will you change?
6. Respect yourself
Whilst the customer (and other relationships) is the centre of business, it doesn’t mean that anyone should be treated disrespectfully. There are certain “early warning signs” that Mark mentioned that every entrepreneur should be mindful of: bad attitude, disrespecting your time, delayed payments, no chemistry, wanting something for nothing, unrealistic expectations. Same with relationships and friendships: selfish, gossips, manipulators and negative attitude all need to go (or be limited, especially if they are one of those terrible energy drainers!)
However you may plan your life and business, change is inevitable. You have to be prepared and flexible enough to shout Plot Twist and go full steam ahead into the new path that has been given to you!
I leave you with one of the wonderful quotes used in the book; a mantra to remember the next time change unsettles you.
“It’s not where you start that matters. It’s where you finish that counts” Zig Ziglar
“Plot Twist” was provided for free in return for an honest review.