leveraging connection & collaboration for improved performance
You want to scream.
Things have not gone well. In fact, they’ve gone very, very wrong.
You’re desperately trying to figure out so many things – all at the same time. You know it’s not how you should do it, but emotions are high and you’re not in control. Of anything. Including your thoughts.
“Why did I do that?”
“Where did I go wrong?”
“I”m so stupid.”
A head full of questions don’t seem to provide many answers.
Try these 4 things. Just try ’em.
Think back to a previous failure that you endured. Didn’t it seem insurmountable? But here you are today. History has a way of putting things into perspective. Problems – in real time – seem larger than they may really be. Don’t blow your current problems up to be larger than they really are.
Gain confidence as you remember. You’ve been down and out before. You can get through this, too.
Look around at your resources. Your skills, your experience, your ability and anything else that might help you climb out of this pickle.
See these things in a new light. Maybe you’re missing the utility of some of your resources.
Have you ever seen those survival shows like Man vs. Wild? The first thing the person does is look around at what they’ve got to help them survive the situation. They get creative and repurpose all kinds of things. I once saw a guy remove the metal tray that held his truck battery so he could boil water in it. He cleaned it by rubbing dirt on it. He rinsed it off with water that was surely unsafe to drink. Then he built a fire and boiled small amounts of water in it to get rid of pathogens. What battery trays do you have in your life that you can use for something else?
Take a moment (or three) and be thankful for your inventory, no matter how large or small it might be.
First things first. Stop trying to do it all at once. Whatever went wrong won’t likely be fixed by jumping in a dozen different directions.
Get a plan and go to work.
What’s the first things you think you should do? Do that. To completion.
Taking another lesson from the survival shows – usually the first goal is to create safe shelter. They don’t start to build a shelter, then decide they’d better go hunting. If it’s shelter they need, first they build their shelter, then they go hunting.
Too frequently, we try to do everything simultaneously and end up failing to accomplish anything. Stay focused on the priority at hand.
Persevere. Do not let anything stop you from moving forward.
Show the problem, your competitors or your naysayers that you won’t accept defeat. Be resilient.
You may have to alter your course, or strategy, but that’s just being smart. If one thing won’t work, try something else. Stay mentally engaged and be creative.
Go back to the earlier steps if you must, but never, ever quit.
The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance by K. Anders Ericsson (and others) is an interesting study about how talent may not be the determining factor for success.
The title of the study tells you the answer.
Deliberate practice – focused practice – made a big difference in three categories of violin students. One group were those who went on to have solo careers. Another group went on to be part of an orchestra. The final group wound up as music teachers. The difference in what they did was drastic. Those at the top of that food chain – the soloists – worked much harder. But they also rested more. And they practiced in shorter, more intense spurts.
We’re always looking for keys, secrets and formulas. We want an easy answer. A simple explanation. And we often find them by blaming success on fate, luck, chance, serendipity, talent and a host of other things that may play a part, but it’s highly probable that, for most people, they play a minor role.
We’d be more successful if we were so lucky. It’s fun to think so.
And it’s lazy.
Fact is, most of us just don’t want to work that hard. Most of us just don’t prepare enough for success. The result? Most of us never experience the success we could.
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The runner waits for the starter’s pistol to fire before taking off. Otherwise, he’s disqualified.
You’re not a runner though. You’re a business person. There are no starter pistols in your life, except in your head. Seth Godin has been telling you for years that you no longer have to wait for permission. His admonition is, take permission!
Small business owners answer their phones. Well, the good ones do. When a customer or prospect calls, it’s like a starter’s pistol going off. The business then leaps into action. The problem is, the customer is holding the pistol, giving the business permission to begin doing what they do.
You can’t keep waiting to tell your story. You must get the word out without being obnoxious and self-serving. It can be done. Your customers and would-be customers are waiting to hear more. You’re used to waiting for them to ask you. Stop it. That’s no longer how the world works (if it ever did).
Today’s show is about the realities of how you should be running your small business. WARNING: It may involve a complete change of mind for you. The good news is that you can start today and it won’t cost you nearly as much as you think. If you don’t start, and follow through, it’ll cost you everything – your clients, customers and your business!
NOTE: Photo used with permission from Don McLaughlin. Find him on Flickr.
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