Every week I wrestle with what to write. What should I share? Sometimes an idea might pop into my head and then I think “is it enough to write more than 900 words about this?” At times I am certain about what I want to say – most times I’m not. In the end I always feel a deep sense of joy at having completed that which started in utter chaos and as I hit the send button I feel like a champion for the day.
I wrote a column about two weeks ago about having your best year yet. I took on such a challenge myself – June 2012 to June 2013. I decided that I would use Napoleon Hill’s ‘A Year of Growing Rich – 52 Steps to Achieving Life’s Rewards’ as a companion guide on my journey. It’s really a collection of some of Dr. Hill’s most popular articles that first appeared in the magazine ‘Success Unlimited.’ In the introduction the editor says “none of these articles are lengthy; none of them difficult to grasp. But they are challenging. After editing this anthology and reviewing its contents repeatedly, I can tell you what I am still struck by new inspirations each time I approach it.”
After reading this I was stoked and ready for my journey. The very first chapter is called ‘No One Drifts to Success.’ In a nutshell, you must have a definite purpose, a plan for achieving it, believe that you can achieve it, write it down, commit it to memory and begin putting the plan into action with fervour. I decide that until I fully had this first step down pat, I was not going to move forward. It didn’t matter if I stayed longer than a week – I would read the chapter every day until I got it ….and acted accordingly! I started on May 28th 2012 and am still reading that chapter. This is what I discovered.
We business owners like to think we KNOW a lot of stuff. We like to move fast. We want results. We don’t even want them today. We want them YESTERDAY! You know I’m not kidding. But it made me think. In my own haste to succeed – to win – to reach the top am I guilty of wanting to short cut through some patches so that just maybe, I might get to where I’m going faster? It’s like when there’s traffic on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway or on the Eastern Main Road, we opt to take the ‘back road’ – just to keep moving. We can’t stand being stuck in anything – including our businesses.
Here are a couple of back roads that we take:
- We seek money first instead of figuring out how we could add value especially when month end is getting closer and we have not made our intended quota
- We dabble through with the excuse that “we don’t have time” to get the knowledge we need to be successful forgetting that business is a discipline and we need to develop not just strategies for results but certain capabilities that are important for us to get into the rhythm of consistent profitable performance improvement
- We get distracted by what everyone else is doing that APPEARS to be making money losing sight of our own strengths and talents. Fellow entrepreneur Tito Phillips Jnr says “Stop doing what every else can do and do what ONLY YOU can do exceptionally well.”
- We adopt the “I can do it by myself – I really don’t need your help!” attitude. Great things are seldom achieved alone
- We establish many goals and attempt to pursue all at once thinking that we’ll be that much richer, that much faster, if all come together simultaneously. But nothing beats a definite purpose…
…which brings me back to why I’m stuck on chapter one of ‘A Year of Growing Rich’.
If you truly want to build a great business, you can ill afford to take short cuts especially when you’re putting down the foundation. Perhaps this is why your business is shaky right now because you probably read that you should have a definite purpose, create a plan of action, believe you could achieve it, write it down, memorize it and act as if it were impossible to fail and then you decided that you KNEW what you were doing and just went in and starting DOING DOING DOING.
Usually I think we know WHAT we want to achieve. We may even put a plan of action in place but then we start taking the ‘back roads’ instead of following the plan. The plan is never integrated into the actions that we take on a daily basis.
Today as this column was coming together I decided to take a look at a video that someone had sent to me via email. When I first got the email I saw Anthony Ro…, assumed it was Anthony Robbins and said “I know about him already.” But God works in mysterious ways. Something prompted me to go back to the email, and realizing my error, I decided to take the time to watch the clip. It was about Anthony ROBLES – a one legged wrestler.
In the clip he was being honoured by Jay Leno as the 2011 Recipient of the “Jimmy V Award” for perseverance at the ESPYs. On July 20, 1988, the doctors were not prepared when, Judy Robles, age 16, gave birth to a baby boy who was missing his right leg. “The doctors could not explain what went wrong or why I was missing a leg. My mom raised me with my head in the clouds, so I believed I could do anything I set my mind to. This way of thinking compelled me to walk onto the Arizona State University wrestling team to prove to them, and the world, anything was possible. Through trials and hardships, both on and off the wrestling mat, I finished as a 3-time All-American and the 2011 NCAA National Champion.”
Anthony had a definite purpose, a plan of action, a strong belief in his own competence, the love and support of an extraordinary mother and excellent coaches who helped him along the way. When he started he was the worst wrestler – but he kept his focus and worked at his purpose. People pitied him initially and felt that he was at a disadvantage. When he started to get better – they started to say that he had the greater advantage because of his upper body strength. It didn’t matter – he stuck with his plan. .
Napoleon Hill asks us to memorize our definite purpose; to read it aloud first thing in the morning and last thing at night. How many of us would find this childlike and silly? Yet as Hill says – “The person who acts with purpose and a plan attracts opportunities. Only with definiteness of purpose will you be able to overcome the defeats and adversities that will stand in your way.”
And my point is simply this: whether you’re writing a column, building a great business, working at experiencing your best year yet or pursuing champion status in any sport the principles remain the same – the struggles will almost always present themselves but with a definite purpose and perseverance you’re bound to come out smiling in the end. Just as Anthony did and just as I am now that I’ve finished this week’s column!