(As published in the Sunday Star Times, September 27, 2104: www.stuff.co.nz/business/small-business/10548755/Success-comes-from-work-and-planning)
It is really interesting (obvious but worth stating) that all the supposed “great” human beings that have existed have had the same amount of time in a day and a year as you and I. So why were they able to achieve some really great things? They identified what was really important to them – their purpose – and then they did something about it. So many of us sit on our hands and life passes us by and we are left with regrets that we did not do what we knew and felt we should have done. We are left telling our friends and families in the future that we should have, could have, would have – but didn’t. We missed the opportunity to be something great. Why? Because we are not brave enough to get started is probably the main reason.
I hate to quote an ad campaign, but Spark is right – sometimes you just need to get started. I’m all for people and businesses to daydream a little bit, musing about what their best self could be. I think it’s important regularly to wonder what you could be at your full potential. Who your customers could be? What NZ could be? What life would look like if all these things aligned? Thinking like this, on a daily basis, is really life changing. But, like the advert says, you just need to get started.
So how do you know what direction to get started on? Follow your gut feeling – it’s your best compass around. In my experience (and that of my business coaching clients), your gut never lies and it never stops working. So if you’ve had a thought at the back of your mind for years about something you should do, take time to truly consider doing it – listen to your gut instinct.
For many people, their fear of starting comes from their fear of failure. They worry about not succeeding at what they set out to do. How do you get around this? Have a realistic think about what obstacles might stand in your way to achieving that goal. Now get a game plan in place to overcome those obstacles. I know not every obstacle is solvable, however every success story (unless you won lotto or have some extreme luck) in the history of business was pretty much achieved through hard work and perseverance. Most successful people and businesses experience knockback after knockback but it’s how you recover from these setbacks that defines you and your course of success. Get knocked down eight times, get back up nine. (If you’re getting knocked down 100 times, I suggest you rethink and change tack with what you’re doing and go in a new direction.)
For some, the day to day to-do list keeps them too busy to even dream or think big picture. It holds them back from thinking of what they could truly be good at. If this is you, take time out to smell the roses. Go and sit by yourself somewhere, phone off, and think in terms of what you should and could be doing differently that would make you both happier and hopefully more successful too. Then give more than five minutes thought to what the gap is between the end successful picture and where you are at today. Work out the (many) steps that you need to take to get there.
As we all know, Rome was not built in a day and neither is business (or personal) success. As long as you are doing something weekly about getting to where you need to get to and you consistently think about how to get around the obstacles that will be thrown your way, you are likely to be on the right track. I have found with my clients that getting better and better is not really that hard – it’s just about getting into the process of constant improvement and recognising that not everything is rosy and can be improved. Facing reality, thinking of greatness and what you could be, and then doing something about moving closer to that state is what will make you the success you want to be.
So what are you going to start doing? Today!