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Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought

When journeying upon the path of wisdom, do not look down

Watching Karen Reyburn of the Profitable Firm talking with Paul Barnes of My Accountancy Place reminded me of a quote from Zen Master Bashō. Matsuo Bashō was a 17th Century Japanese poet – the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. He said:

"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought. Seek the meaning behind their footsteps, and not upon the steps themselves. For in seeking the footsteps you shall be glancing only upon the next footprint. And you're sure to stumble upon an unforeseen obstacle.

But in seeking the meaning behind their footsteps you're sure to see ahead; comparable to looking up while walking. Thus allowing you to easily manoeuvre around the hurdles on the path you walk.

…And if you walk like this long enough, you'll one day, to your surprise, find yourself among the wise."

Let me explain how that relates to you and me in business. My Accountancy Place specialises in the digital creative industry. Their offices look more like a creative studio than an accountant's office.The team are all young, casually dressed and use Mac computers. Some of them may have tattoos (I have nothing against people with tattoos – it just isn't me).

Now Paul has made a great success by focusing on this niche and making it easy for his clients to identify with his firm. Clearly I cannot copy his success by doing exactly what he has done – but I can find my own niche and use the principle of "the marketing mindset" that he and Karen were discussing. I can seek what he sought.

Paul clearly has an affinity with his clients and loves working to help them flourish. (Incidentally, if you are in the digital creative industry and need an accountant, you should speak to Paul). This is why he does what he does.

Find your "why" and the direction to follow will become clear. Use the systems that others provide for marketing and growing your business as a compass to point you towards your goals – but find your own path to your destination.