I often write about conducting reconnaissance on our competitors in business—maybe that’s because it’s often our competition that drives us to do more and achieve more. In truth, if we want to be recognized as an industry leader, and if we want our business to succeed no matter what the competition is up to, we’ve got to go all in. Have I told you lately that super-achievement isn’t easy? There are no ifs, buts, or maybes allowed. Full focus, passion, energy, and dedication are required. This doesn’t mean we can’t have other interests or areas of importance in life (to the contrary!), but when we have our business hat on, we must pull it down tight … and put on a matching outfit. Are you going full steam ahead?
Some of us make our to-do lists in the morning. Some list everything right before bed, then we wake up during the night and add more. There are entire seminars on how to formulate and use our to-do lists to be maximally productive. But sometimes our to-do lists are too long, too complicated, far too ambitious and downright overwhelming. And so items fall to the bottom of the pile and we simply “do the best we can.” How about a different approach? Introducing the other to-do list: the “ta-da!” list. At the end of each day, after dinner but before bedtime, take a few moments to celebrate. You got things done today. Put them on the “ta-da!” list. Give yourself credit, because you deserve it. What’s your ta-da today?
If put on the spot, we could all probably offer a short list of world-famous leadership, business and community role models without much difficulty. But many of us shy away from having such “world-class” mentors because they’re simply not approachable or because we’re searching for the perfect person (who doesn’t exist). We find wise, inspirational figures closer to home, in the form of parents, siblings, colleagues, and even bosses. With “homegrown heroes” to look up to, having a mentor is always possible. And don’t let geography or time zones prevent a mentor meeting — technology really can bend the space-time continuum. Let this serve as encouragement to raise the bar, and find a mentor this week. Why admire role models from afar when your mentor may be in the next room?
It’s always interesting to read success stories of people and businesses that are painted to have become an “overnight success.” In business, as in life, perseverance is key to making it really big. Few stars in business, sports, music or life can say they achieved success easily or overnight. For most of us, it takes years of hard work, bridge-building with the right people and developing an elite team to support our efforts and ideas. In short, success must be earned. While it’s inspiring to hear these overnight success stories, there’s no denying that they are the minority of cases. How do you rate yourself on the stick-to-it-iveness-o-meter?
Conventional wisdom says we become more settled with age, and our career paths just seem to organically sort themselves out. Yet it’s estimated that a person will hold any given job for just over four years. Considering the number of years in the workforce, that’s a lot of migration! While the number of career changes may be fewer for entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s still common to move from one venture to another. The reality is, change is constant and no one has it all figured out … nor do they need to. Those who have found emotional nirvana expect, embrace and learn from change. When we stop enjoying what we do, it’s time to move on! In what areas of life do you feel the winds of change blowing?
It’s critical to have a clearly articulated, aspirational and inspiring vision for business and life. Equally important to the written mantra is playing the mental movie, by visualizing the journey and the attainment of our goals. If we don’t believe it’s possible and can’t visualize it, how will we inspire and enlist others to join our cause? Olympians, warriors, peacemakers and empire builders have all used the power of visualization to achieve their goals. Here’s how. Step 1: Create an inspiring vision. Step 2: Believe it! Step 3: Visualize every detail of what success looks, sounds and smells like. Step 4: Play the mental movie over and over, several times every day. Step 5: Take action to make it so. In what ways are you prepared to do the impossible?
Even after we’ve achieved much success in our career, business, and our relationships, there’s still so much more to learn and achieve in life. Lifelong learning is the ticket to an open mind, infinite ideas and unimaginable opportunities. Every new lesson learned can help us see the world in a new light—and it’s awesome! If we’re feeling stumped for creativity or finding it difficult to focus on our ideas, maybe it’s time to get out of our stale routines and take up a new learning opportunity. Perhaps it’s time to infuse a new perspective by adding someone new to our team or personal in-crowd. What opportunity to learn will you embark on next?
Today’s challenge: We must take time to introduce ourselves to people we’d normally walk right past. We might be genuinely surprised by who they are. That’s right, we need to take risks and introduce ourselves to those we sit next to, the barista, or that neighbor we always see but don’t know. What are their stories? How might we serve? What might we learn from them? These people are in our lives, yet we’ve probably never had a lengthy conversation with them, because we couldn’t see their value to us. What if there was significant value there, but we just didn’t know it yet? Would that change our desire to interact with them? How many new friends can you make today, and what stories can you discover?
Are you in, or are you out?
What may start out as us taking on an early leadership role to avoid the mundane, 9-to-5 job of achieving someone else’s dreams can sometimes lead to questioning who we are and why we’re working so hard! Aren’t “leadership” roles supposed to be easier than “worker” roles? Hell, no! Real leaders share the burden with their team when it gets too heavy, keeping their team focused by ensuring they are properly prepared to handle the heat, stress and unfair realities of everyday life. We step into the leadership gap because we want to make a positive difference. Leadership comes with the high price of determination, dedication and responsibility. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! Are you going to step up, or should you step out?