I have frequently received calls and emails right out of the blue from people seeking advice on how to make a success of their lives despite the enormous challenges that face them. Often times, they’ve tried just about everything they believe they can try, yet they keep failing; sometimes life happens, unforeseen challenges just get in the way and undermine their attempts; other times they have found themselves in hardships and situations so disadvantageous that the very thought of achieving great success seems like a fantasy; other times they’ve done very little to create success for themselves and are just seeking a quick step-by-step magic formula on how to achieve success.
To the last group that have done little but want to achieve great success, I’m often quite straightforward and indicate that the only magic formula I know for success is the GOYB formula. They ask me what the acronym stands for and I tell them it means Get Off Your Butt – most see the humour in it, few don’t. Irrespective, the fact remains that it’s true.
To be successful you must go out there and earn your right to be successful, taking steps and initiatives and creating your own opportunities instead of waiting for opportunities to materialise. Unless you change something, nothing will change.
As far as the other groups of people are concerned, I tend to empathise a great deal. I can directly relate to the frustration of having a dream that just doesn’t seem to materialise or having to face one challenge after another until all your emotional reserves are drained and everything within you tells you to give up.
I know first-hand what it’s like to start so far from the bottom that your dreams appear impossible to reach or to have people around you question your sanity when you great dreams and ambitions. Before offering any sort of advice, my first statement to this group of people is never to give up on their dreams. As clichéd as the statement sounds, I have found from my experience and the experience of others that it’s true.
I also inform them that no great dream, vision or ambition was borne without its share of challenges. In fact similar to the risk and reward relationship in investing, as with our goals, the greater the goal the greater the challenges. Challenges are life’s way of testing our passion and desire to achieve that goal or vision for our lives. If we truly desire to succeed and really mean business about accomplishing great things, then we must fight for it. Its all about choice – we can choose to back down in the face of challenges when things get tough (implying that maybe we were not really, really passionate about the goal in the first place) or we can make a conscious decision to keep our eyes fixated on the ultimate goal we are going after, grab life by the scruff, take the punches, get back up and keep going. That’s the only way I know how and I know it works.
After, encouraging them not to give up and settle for less, I then examine their belief structure – i.e what they believe about themselves, their abilities, life, opportunities, those around them. Very often, people fail not due to the lack of effort, but they fail because the foundation of all their efforts – their beliefs – are skewed.
Success and failure are symptoms of our belief system. We get what we believe, or what we expect to get. Successful outcomes in life are based on a foundation of empowering and positive beliefs about oneself, one’s abilities and life in general; while failures are often the result of having limiting beliefs about oneself, ones abilities and the ability to succeed. Therefore, the starting point to achieving success is not hard work (though that is a critical, non-negotiable element for success), rather the starting point to achieving success is firstly examining one’s beliefs.
Believe in yourself
If deep down on a subconscious level you truly do not believe that you are going to succeed or have what it takes; then you won’t succeed. If you believe that challenges will arise and the challenges will get the best of you, then they will. If you believe that you are not capable of creating your own opportunities and that for you to succeed you must wait for the right opportunity to be presented at the right time, by the right person – then you will not lift a finger and will wait in frustration as other opportunities pass you by. If on the other hand we believe that we have what it takes to succeed and that we have the emotional resolve to face and overcome challenges, then we will.
Our actions stem from our beliefs and we will always act in line with our beliefs. We cannot act contrary to our beliefs, as our beliefs (irrespective of whether we are consciously aware of them or not) form the basis of who we are and the way we see the world around us. Consequently, while people may be working hard at a conscious level to achieve their goals, they may in actual fact be sabotaging their own efforts at a subconscious level, as a result of their limiting beliefs. As a result, they may find “things not working out” despite their best efforts because their belief system is toxic or inhibiting.
The solution to this is to take a step back and do the following:
- Identify these limiting beliefs and then examine the adverse effects these beliefs are producing in your life. What is it costing you in terms of opportunities, time, success, financially etc. Have these beliefs kept you far from where you ought to be at the current stage of your life?
- Identify times in the past when you succeeded at something and use those instances as your positive anchors when you are feeling discouraged. How did it feel when you accomplished the objective? How did see yourself and what did people say about you? Also outline all your positive attributes and strengths, no matter how small. Then use these as the bases of creating new beliefs about yourself and your abilities. Whenever you experience self-limiting beliefs or suddenly think you can’t achieve something, just revert back to your positive anchors and remind yourself of your strengths and positive attributes.
Empowerment begins with you
Over time, constant focus on the new empowering beliefs will gradually change how you see yourself and what you are truly capable of achieving. Making a habit of continuously taking mental notes of the benefits of positive beliefs and the costs of negative beliefs will further serve to reinforce empowering beliefs in your life and diminish the effects of the limiting and toxic beliefs. It takes time and practice, but it’s always worth it in the end.
Believe you have what it takes, work at it and resolve not to settle for less than the best for yourself. You will not only be amazed at how this begins to change you as a person but more importantly, you will be astounded at the potential and power you had kept buried for so long.
Better Thinking For A Better World
How to think more critically and strategically in a world filled with complexity and rapid change.
We take the act of thinking for granted. It is often seen as a skill one is born with and not one that should be cultivated over time.
As the world becomes more complex and more busy, strategic and critical thinking becomes more valuable. Strategic thinking points to the ability to decide how and when to deploy resources to achieve a certain end state.
Below are four areas of focus that will improve your strategic thinking:
1. Making Time For Reflection
Life is busy. Juggling work, friends and family, and the recurring notifications from your phone has become quite a feat. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to create space for reflection.
Time spent in solitude allows you to reflect and connect the dots. It temporarily takes you out of a world in which you must be reactive to survive and keep up.
My suggestion is to create a SOS (space of solitude) for at least 30 minutes every day. In this time, reflect on what has been working and what has not been working. Meditate on your goals for the future and plan for the actions that will help you get there.
2. Asking Better Questions
Many of us fall into the trap of sequential problem solving. This happens when leaders or organisations simply move from one challenge to the next and the only question they ask is “how do we overcome this challenge?”.
What about the questions like “how did we arrive here?” or “what assumptions are we making here?” or “what does better look like?”
I am not trying to give you a template of questions to ask. Merely prodding you to go beyond challenging the problem but to also challenge the thinking about the problem.
As we deepen our questions, we elevate our thinking.
Do not simply ask more questions. Ask better questions.
3. Seek More Input
Teams are great and often underutilized. How can you use your team’s knowledge, experience, and opinions in a more constructive way?
Well, how about allowing them sufficient time for reflection in solitude but also as a group. How about prompting them to look for the patterns in their environment? How about, as a leader, asking them questions that allow them to really stretch their cognitive abilities?
Even better, empower them to ask those questions themselves.
Related: Disruptive Thinking: A Winning Edge
4. Thinking rules
We often make the same mistakes over and over. Not because we have not learned the lesson but because the context changes. Or excitement gets the better of us.
During your reflection time (hopefully you have noticed the importance of this by now) you can reflect on your past decisions and figure out how you could have made better decision.
Once you have done this start jotting down a few personal rules that will help guide your decision making in the future. A personal guideline I established was that I will wait 24 hours before making any big purchase. Gadgets and golf gear often get the best of me. But simple rules like these help to guide my decision making and prevents me from making mistakes irrespective of context or emotional state.
What is next?
Starting today schedule a daily SOS. Yes, schedule it. Do not leave it to chance.
Think of it as training for your brain. A space where you get to think. Free of distraction and noise. You will be amazed at the clarity that comes from these sessions and how your productivity and effectiveness soars.
Flourishing Through Failure And Finding Fortune
What we mean by business failure is not the entire business failing due to running out of money or not meeting the target for the year.
Is there a way to flourish through failure when it comes to business operations? Is it something that should be encouraged or stand as grounds for dismissal? Or is all of this just nonsense in a world attempting to pursue perfection?
Let’s talk about failure
What we mean by business failure is not the entire business failing due to running out of money or not meeting the target for the year. We’re looking into the business, into those that make it run – its people.
People are imperfect and make mistakes all the time. But rather than brushing something off as a fail or mistake does no justice when it comes to learning from it. And there are different definitions and degrees of failure based on department and responsibility. But when you mess up and fail, you affect more than just your individual performance.
Related: Smart Money For Small Businesses
Here’s why it can be good for business
As frustrating as it is to have to “clean up” after an employee messes up, failure can actually be good for business.
- Fewer mistakes: Failing means you can learn from it and be less susceptible to failure in that area again in the future. When you fail, you become a lot more aware of your actions than before and critically analyse before you act for fear of messing up again.
- Relatability: This will never be a perfect world and businesses and people that don’t mess up are an intimidating and alien concept to the rest of us. If the incident affects the entire business, then use that material to tell your “success from failure” story and show everyone that you’re human and that it is possible to come back from it. Failure makes you relatable in the eyes of the public.
- Humility: In the same breath, you (as a business) learn to be humble in the times you do succeed, as those moments can be fleeting.
- Focus: Failure brings a newfound focus and determination to work harder and be better. It’s a shock to the system where you’re forced to bounce-back or continue to fail and jeopardise your position in the business.
- Innovation: And, finally, failure can be good for business when it encourages innovation. You need to innovate and find a way to sort out the problem that’s been created in a way that will also discourage it from happening again.
Finding fortune in failure
The abovementioned benefits, if you will, of failure are in themselves favoured fortune found in failing. But there are things such as intelligent failures, trial and error, and inspiration that are the true game changers when it comes to failing.
Intelligent failure is defined by Sim Sitkin as: “Learning, maximised and accelerated through the act of trial, error and communicating stories.”
These failures are, almost, planned specifically to generate a profitable and successful outcome. At a risk, of course, because you never actually know what the outcome is. Having a business strategy and plan, created with so much detail, gets put to the test where a trial and error system is used to determine what works, what needs to be tweaked, and what needs to be completely discarded and redesigned.
With intelligent failure, it’s what you make of it and where your motivation to fail is to progress. Unlike preventable and unavoidable failures.
But, in the moment, it’s always a bit harder to see the end of a failure’s repercussions. You do need to find a way to move forward though, once you’ve learned a lesson, there’s no point in wasting time dwelling on it. You need to keep moving forward.
Do what you need to do to better yourself and avoid similar situations in the future. One way to do that is to keep learning and adapting with that knowledge. Invest your time in sales, human resources, management or marketing courses. Whatever it takes to better your skills and encourage your mind to think more strategically and carefully when it comes to doing the job.
Get it into your head now that you will never be able to please everyone. And if you can do your job, own up to your errors, but a the same time provide your solutions, you will remain valuable to the business.
In order to move forward, you need to find your motivation and keep it going after you fail. And the way you do this is through support.
Every business operates as a team and you don’t have to be in it alone.
Take more calculated risks and try new things to challenge yourself to do better and find innovative solutions. This will keep you focused and motivated to keep pushing through previous disappointments as it will be a new and fun way of doing your job.
Magnify your goals, literally, on the wall or on your desktop. Keep reminding yourself what you’re striving for and understand that even when you do fail, that the goal has yet to be achieved and is still possible if you just put your mind to it.
At the end of the day, failure is whatever you make of it. You can choose to let it discourage you or you can manipulate it to help you grow and make you more resilient. Failure is an opportunity to do better next time and all successful business people fail, they just know how to deal with it.
Want To Feel Empowered? Check Out These 17 Quotes From Successful Entrepreneurs And Leaders
To achieve success, you must constantly feel empowered.
Feel empowered with these 17 quotes from famous leaders and entrepreneurs from around the worldCoco Chanel
With entrepreneurship comes its own set of trials and tribulations. Whether it’s bouncing back from failure or dealing with difficult investors, every stage of the entrepreneurial journey has its challenges. And to be successful, having the endurance to push through the tough times is necessary. Often, feeling empowered and being inspired will help get you there.
Empowerment is a necessity when it comes to building confidence, moving towards your goal and not listening to any discouraging words from others. And while empowerment can come from a variety of places, it has to start from within. As Coco Chanel once said, “My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.”
“The cynics may be the loudest voices – but I promise you, they will accomplish the least.” – Barack Obama
“I’m not the bravest or smartest person, but I’m courageous enough to dream big, challenge myself and take bold risks.” – Richard Branson
“It seems like the world is crumbling out there, but it is actually a great time in your life to get a little crazy, follow your curiosity and be ambitious about it.” – Larry Page
“My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.” – Coco Chanel
“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” – Michelle Obama
“If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas Edison
“You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it.” – Sheryl Sandberg
“As is a tale, so is life: Not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” – J.K Rowling
“Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them.” – Mark Cuban
“In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.” – Jeff Bezos
“Sometimes, I shake if I have to do something that I’ve never done before – maybe not noticeably, but inside. But I’ll do it because I know it’s not an insurmountable task.” – Martha Stewart
“In your defining moments, do not let your morals be swayed by convenience or expediency. Sticking to your character requires a lot of courage.” – Steven Spielberg
“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more proactive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” – Warren Buffett
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
“The value of achievement lies in the achieving.” – Albert Einstein
“It’s your game; make up your own rules.” – Barbara Corcoran
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
- The 3 Nasty Little Secrets About Teams
- HP Launches New Ink Tank Printers For High-Volume Home Users
- Why You Need To Be Using The HP GT 5820 In Your Business
- 4 Accounting Online Learning Courses From ACCA You Can Take For Free
- Personalised Learning Is Optimised For Your Needs
- 6 SAB Entreprenurship Programmes That Provide Business Management And Support
- Nigeria’s Strides Towards African Energy Efficiency
Entrepreneur Profiles2 weeks ago
10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing
Upstarts2 weeks ago
10 Young Entrepreneurs Under 30 Share Their Start-Up Secrets
Women Entrepreneur Successes1 month ago
Colleen Tshikani Makhubele Talks About Finding Her Edge And Growing In SA’s Oil And Gas Sector
Self Development3 weeks ago
10 Things Successful People Tell Themselves Every Day