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Ketan Dattani, Chief Executive Officer and Founding Owner, Buckingham Futures

Ketan Dattani is CEO and Founding Owner of Buckingham Futures and understands the role that self belief has played in their business journey so far. They took some time out to speak with The Industry Leaders about this powerful state of mind.

Firstly, can you give us a little bit of background about your business journey?

I was lucky to find employment as a trainee medical microbiologist very quickly after completing my bachelors degree in Environmental Biotechology in 1996. However, it only took a few weeks for me to realise that working in a laboratory full-time was nothing like I’d imagined. Rather than applying the analytical skills, I had learned at university, I was tasked with very basic, mundane, and repetitive tasks. In 1997 I returned to full-time education to undertake a Master’s degree in Environmental Planning and management. After graduation, I struggled to find a role within the Environmental sector and so began my career in recruitment. I set up Buckingham Futures, a specialist Consultancy supplying Environmental Health personnel across the Private and Public sectors on a nationwide basis as I identified an opportunity to aid Environmental Health professionals to fill the gap in the employment sector caused by significant challenges to the global economy caused population growth, increasing demand for natural resources, soaring costs of energy and escalating impacts of climate change. I was very motivated by the idea of creating something from the ground up. My philosophy is one whereby Environmental factors are drivers of my business success. This means that we always go the extra mile to understand the business objectives and operating environments of our clients.

What role has self-belief played in your journey as a business leader? How has it influenced your decision-making and overall success?

Self-belief plays a crucial role in the journey of any business leader. The confidence and trust in yourself can help you overcome obstacles, make tough decisions and lead your team to success. A person's decision-making process can be significantly influenced by their level of self-belief. You may take calculated chances and make more forceful judgements, which may be crucial for your success and growth. Instead of looking to others for direction or approval, a person who has confidence in their skills and trusts their judgement is more likely to make decisions that are consistent with their aims and values, even when faced with doubt or criticism. Without self-belief, a business leader may struggle to inspire and motivate their team, make difficult decisions or take calculated risks. With a strong sense of self-belief, a business leader stays focused, perseveres through challenges, and inspires their team to do the same. However, it is important to note that self-belief should not lead to overconfidence or an unwillingness to consider different perspectives or feedback from others. A good decision-maker must also have humility and be open to learning and adapting their approach based on new information.

Can you share a specific moment or challenge in your journey where your self-belief was tested? How did you overcome it and what did you learn from that experience?

In the journey of any business leader, there will be situations where their self-belief is tested, this varies from setbacks, failures, or criticism from others. Overcoming these challenges requires resilience, perseverance, and a willingness to learn and adapt. In my experience, setting up Buckingham Futures was a huge challenge for me and put me outside my comfort zone. From recruiter to owning and managing my own business is something that is very daunting for business leaders. I started by focusing on my strengths and accomplishments, while using setbacks and failures as opportunities for growth and learning. Reminding myself of your past successes and the skills and qualities that have helped you achieve them can boost your confidence and help you maintain a positive outlook. Life will provide challenges, but it is important to face head on once you repeat this over and over again until you see success.

How do you cultivate and maintain a mindset of self-belief amidst the inevitable ups and downs of life?

In order to cultivate and maintain a mindset of self-belief I have learnt strategies to keep a positive mentality. One thing to practise is gratuity, make it a habit to identify and appreciate the good things in your life. Always be grateful for the things that come, be thankful for those who stay with you. Focusing on the positive can help shift your mindset and foster a more optimistic outlook. Visualise yourself achieving your goals and succeeding in your business endeavours. Be specific about what you want to achieve. Use all your senses to create a vivid mental image of achieving your goal. Imagine what it feels like to touch, taste, smell, hear, and see your success. Visualise the details of your goal, then repeat your visualisation exercise regularly daily. This will help reinforce your self-belief and keep you focused on your goal. Reflect on past successes and accomplishments. Remembering your past successes can help you maintain a positive mindset and reinforce your self-belief. Use your past successes as motivation to pursue new goals and challenges. Remembering your past successes can help you maintain a positive mindset and reinforce your self-belief.

Are there any specific strategies or practices you follow to boost your self-confidence when facing uncertainties or setbacks in your business?

How do you cultivate and maintain a mindset of self-belief amidst the inevitable ups and downs of life? The strategies and practices that help boost my self-confidence when I face setbacks and uncertainties. By focusing on my strengths I can navigate challenges with resilience and confidence. Below are the 5 strategies that I follow: 1. Practice self-care: Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Prioritise activities that help you feel grounded and centred, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones and set goals into smaller achievable steps. 2. Focus on your strengths: Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments, and how they have helped you overcome challenges in the past. This can help boost your confidence and give you a more positive outlook. 3. Seek support from others: Reach out to mentors, colleagues, or other trusted contacts for advice and support. Talking through your challenges with others can provide a fresh perspective and help you identify new strategies for moving forward. 4. Celebrate small wins: Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. Recognising your progress and accomplishments can help boost your confidence and motivation. 5. Embrace uncertainty: Instead of fearing uncertainty, embrace it as an opportunity for growth and learning. Accept that setbacks and challenges are a natural part of the business journey, and focus on how you can use them to improve your approach and achieve your goals.

How do you handle self-doubt or negative self-talk that may arise as a business leader? Do you have any specific techniques for reframing negative thoughts?

1. Identify negative self-talk: Pay attention to your internal dialogue and identify any negative self-talk. Recognising negative thoughts is the first step in reframing them. 2. Challenge negative thoughts: Once you have identified negative self-talk, challenge it by asking yourself if it is based on facts or assumptions. If it is based on assumptions, challenge those assumptions and look for evidence to support a more positive viewpoint. 3. Reframe negative thoughts: Once you have challenged negative thoughts, reframe them in a more positive light. For example, instead of thinking "I'm not good enough," reframe it to "I am capable and have the skills to overcome this challenge." 4. Practise positive self-talk: Incorporate positive affirmations into your daily routine. Instead of focusing on negative thoughts, repeat positive affirmations to yourself, such as "I am capable and confident." 5. Take action: Instead of getting stuck in negative self-talk, take action towards your goals. Break down your goals into smaller, achievable steps and focus on making progress one step at a time.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle with self-belief? How can they start building a stronger sense of confidence and belief in themselves?

For aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle with self-belief, building a stronger sense of confidence and belief in themselves is crucial for success. Here are some tips to help: Set achievable goals by identifying your most important goals and prioritise them based on their impact on your business. Using the SMART criteria can be beneficial to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Be considerate of the resources you will need to achieve your goals, such as time, money, and personnel. Make sure you have the resources necessary to achieve your goals before committing to them. Learn to embrace failure instead of viewing it as a reflection of your abilities, view it as an opportunity for learning and growth. Take time to reflect on your failures and identify what you can learn from them. Instead of viewing failure as a negative outcome, view it as a chance to learn and grow. Use failure as an opportunity to gain valuable insights and adjust your approach. Learn to celebrate every small win and accomplishment, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Remember to always keep an open mind and be flexible to change. Life will always throw hurdles and challenges being willing to adapt to the environment and pivot your approach to achieve your objectives.

Have you ever encountered external skepticism or negativity regarding your business ideas or decisions? How do you stay grounded in your self-belief despite external influences?

As a business leader, it is common to encounter external skepticism or negativity regarding your business ideas or decisions. Remember that external skepticism or negativity is inevitable in business, but it doesn't have to define your self-belief. By staying true to yourself, you can stay grounded in your self-belief and achieve success in your business endeavours. Here are my tips: 1. Trusting your instincts and staying true to your vision. If you believe in your ideas or decisions, don't let external influences sway you. 2. Focus on your goals in mind and stay focused on the bigger picture. Don't let external skepticism or negativity distract you from your vision and purpose. 4. Develop and adopt a growth mindset and view challenges and failures as opportunities for learning and growth. Use setbacks as motivation to improve and refine your approach. 4. Take calculated risks and be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Don't let fear of failure or external skepticism hold you back from pursuing your goals.

Are there any books, podcasts, or people you'd recommend checking out for anyone who wants to change to a more self-confident and belief-rich mindset?

I am an avid reader and I have read so many extraordinary books. However, one particular book that has particularly resonated with me is ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad — What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money — That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not!’ by Robert T. Kiyosaki. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is one of the few books that I recurrently read. It has taught me the art of storytelling and persuasion and how Robert turned a simple idea into a multi-million-dollar information product empire. In the book he presents a persuasive narrative that is very simple to grasp and tremendously relatable. The way Robert simplifies multifaceted topics and makes them applicable to ordinary people is highly convincing and influential. The biggest takeaways for me from the book are that the single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth and most people never win because they’re afraid of losing or failing.

Finally, what are some practical tips or exercises you can recommend for entrepreneurs to strengthen their self-belief and mindset on a regular basis?

Building self-belief takes time and effort. By practising these exercises regularly, entrepreneurs can strengthen their self-belief and achieve success in their business endeavours. Here are 4 practical tips and exercises that I can recommend for entrepreneurs to strengthen their self-belief and mindset on a regular basis: 1. Daily Affirmations: Take a few minutes each morning to affirm yourself. Repeat phrases like "I am capable of achieving my goals", "I trust my abilities and decisions" or “I can make it” to reinforce a positive mindset. 2. Surround yourself with positive influences: such as supportive colleagues, mentors, or friends. Seek out people who believe in you and your abilities and can offer guidance and support. 3. Learn and develop new skills: Continuously learning and developing new skills can boost your confidence and help you feel more capable and competent. This can include attending workshops, taking courses, or seeking out mentorship opportunities. 4. Practice self-compassion: treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Recognise that setbacks and failures are a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey and use them as opportunities for learning and growth.

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us here! Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?


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