The Before and After Moment

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Let’s start this with the assumption that everyone reading this is human. That means everyone has experienced these before and after moments.

Like before you met that person and after. Or before you had that experience and after, before we read this fantastic book and after. We all have those impactful moments which change our lives in a big or subtle way.

One of my big moments was when I discovered meditation. Before this moment, my life was driven by my internal emotional roller coaster. I was constantly up and down, trying to hold on and pushing myself to the illusionary end goal without really knowing what that was.

I heard about meditation before, but I thought of it as a voodoo kind of thing. It was nothing I wanted to get into. It changed when a friend of mine started talking about meditation and how it helped her to overcome her intense anxiety. I saw the transformation she went through, and it made me curious.

I started reading about it and tried a couple of free apps I found. Initially, I struggled with it. It was so far out of my comfort zone and required me to be still in the moment, something I never was.

My friend kept motivating me to continue with it, and over time I saw some changes happening. I started looking forward to these quiet moments, where all that mattered was what is right now, where everything else fades away. Where my mind would calm down, and my body started to relax.

All this happened more than ten years ago, and I still love those moments and start every day with my meditation.

Another huge moment was when I got into entrepreneurship. I mean, I have been running businesses all my working life, but I never thought about it much. I just thought I was lucky and took the right turns.

It all started when I was invited to speak at a student gathering. The idea was to talk about my experiences as an entrepreneur and business owner. They gave me 20 minutes of speaking time and another 10 minutes for questions and answers.

First, I felt good about the invitation, but as more as I thought about it, as more worried I became. What am I going to talk about without sounding like a self-promoting idiot? What should be the outcome of all of this?

I was invited before to discussion or panel meetings where I was asked about my opinion regarding a specific issue or problem. That was easy; I always had opinions about anything. No problem there. But this was different. This wasn’t about one thing. This was about the life of an entrepreneur. What does this even mean? Is there such a thing?

I didn’t have any answers to that, and I went into the speech without real preparation. I just hoped it would work itself out. I wanted to let it happen and be as natural as I could be, talking about the one thing I know best, myself.

What happened was so far off from what I had expected. To make it short, nobody was interested to hear my story. Instead, most of them were looking for answers to their own problems.

I got questions like, how do you start a business? How do you stay motivated? How do you find finance? How do you find the right people? And many more questions like this.

I didn’t have good answers to any of those questions, and needless to say, I was not very useful on that day. Even though I was running multiple businesses, I could not answer their questions in a way that would help them. I could only tell them what I did.

It was a disaster. I felt like a real loser and decided never to do that again. A few months passed by, and I could not get that event out of my head. The questions I’ve got from the students were valid.

How could I not know the answers to that? What have I done all these years? What have I learned?

To make it short, that’s how the Entrepreneur Academy came to be. It was initially a project name to find out what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I did a lot of research, spoke to many other entrepreneurs and recorded many hours of conversations.

This project turned into a real business in 2014, when I decided to help other entrepreneurs and share my knowledge with anyone interested. Since then, I was able to condense it down even further to three core points:

  • Action
  • Curiosity
  • People

Without action, not much happens. Whatever it is you want to achieve, you need to take some action to make it happen.

Curiosity is vital to further ideas and be open for the new and old, and it allows change to be a driving force.

People are the core of everything. Whatever reasons you might have to achieve something, it will involve others. It could be clients, coworkers, family and friends; they will always be part of it.

Those three core points are the basis of any success in business, career and life. Any successful entrepreneur will have all three points covered. The reason you read this blog today is because of this one event.

I am still learning today, and I am still curious, full of action and surround myself with many people to learn from and interact with. My life certainly changed. It has a purpose, I meet many amazing people, and I can be of real value to others. Love it.

What was your before and after moment?

John Di Stefano

An entrepreneur at heart and founder of the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium, this site is run by John di Stefano, teaching and supporting entrepreneurs to learn the skills every entrepreneur needs to create a better life for themselves and the people around them.

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