This article was also published in the Business Newsday 23.1.2014
In a recent Facebook post, Rich Schefren, entrepreneur [with a proven track record in business development and marketing excellence] posted this challenge:
[WISDOM] Most entrepreneurs spend too much time looking for answers that can only be found inside themselves. So today, challenge yourself. Choose a problem you’re dealing with – either personal or professional. But this time, instead of seeking a solution outside (in books, blogs, mentors, etc.), spend an hour or two thinking things through. Ask yourself: How could you be the cause of this problem? What would you do if your life depended on solving this problem today and you couldn’t ask anyone for help? More often than not – you’ll find your answer.
Rich is a no nonsense guy. He recognized early on that “how his clients were thinking” was the main distinction between those who proved difficult to work with and those who were the easiest to help. About his worst clients he said “First I’d have to convince them they had a thinking problem. If I succeeded, next, I’d need to convince them it must be solved first (this was never easy because they were anxious to get the result that brought them to me in the first place. If they “got it” I’d then have to coach them through solving their thinking problem and the problems it caused. And then only when it was finally solved, I could FINALLY get to work on why they came to me in the first place.”
Many business owners that I work with have a hard time seeing themselves as the problem. It’s much easier to point fingers. They complain about a problem that keeps recurring. They blame everything under the sun as the reason/reasons for its perpetuation. They ask for advice [or at least “appear” to be asking for advice]. And then they launch into why EVERY SINGLE suggestion offered won’t work and they have supporting reasons as to why. Sometimes you wonder if they just want to be RIGHT and are not really seeking resolution!
Regurgitating the same thoughts, same solutions is NOT THINKING. This is what the Buddhists call Monkey Mind. If you have kids, think about the reasons they give you as to why they can’t do something. It’s usually the same ones. They’re not really thinking anew in every situation. We do the same thing. We tell the same stories, make the same excuses and unfortunately – drag forward the same challenges.
Are we really suckers for punishment – lovers of pain? Not really. We are creatures of habit even when the habit is not serving us in a positive way. We seem to entangle ourselves in a never-ending mental loop of excuses with no escape hatch. We all get defensive when the spotlight is on us. No one is immune (me included) to this behaviour but there has to come a point when you draw a line in the sand and decide to turn things around. You can’t keep blaming the target when you fail to hit the bull’s-eye.
You have to make up your mind whether you want to remain comfortable with your REASONS or whether you want RESULTS. Is it a truly a lack of resources holding you back or a lack of RESOURCEFULNESS?
Starting right now, jot down all the reasons why you’re not hitting the targets and getting the results you want. Is it that you don’t have enough time? You need more staff? You haven’t yet nailed down that magical strategy that’s going to propel your business into the stratosphere? You’re waiting to master this brand new software that should iron out most of your system kinks?
Now take a closer look at those reasons. Behind every one of them is the false belief that if Santa could make an emergency trip this January and give you unlimited resources, unlimited time, and unlimited staff-support that your business would immediately grow and you’d be earning oodles of dollars in no time flat. The truth is that well funded does not equal automatic success. In fact from the dot.com days to now, many well funded companies end up bankrupt.
What’s the difference between those who succeed and those who fail? HOW THE OWNER’S /LEADERS THINK!
Ever heard of the boiling frog syndrome? If you drop a frog into boiling water, it immediately jumps out. However, if you put a frog in a pot of room-temperature water, and then bring the water to a boil very, very slowly, the frog will stay in the water until it dies.
We entrepreneurs sometimes behave like the frog that eventually dies. We don’t become aware of the threat of our surrounding water literally starting to boil, until it’s too late. An issue arises. We ignore it. Next day – same issue…ignore. Following week issue escalates to an annoyance….wish it would go away. Now you regularly become frustrated with the issue and start looking for reasons why this is happening TO you and thwarting your progress. Irritations pile high one on top the other until one day – the situation is irreversible!
I recently came across this, in a book called *The One Thing* by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan: Individuals with written goals were 39.5% more likely to succeed however individuals with written goals and weekly accountability were 76.7% more likely to succeed. I wonder how that percentage would increase if you were to be accountable daily?
My suggestion is that regardless of where you’re at – take a fresh look at your business. Exactly what do you want from your business? What is the minimum necessary to have it and what is the fastest and easiest way to get what’s necessary? At the end of each day review your vision and then look at your actions for that day: are your actions taking you CLOSER to or FURTHER away from your target? And at the end of each week – do a more in depth analysis. What did you learn? Did I accomplish my #1 thing this week? Am I carrying any excess baggage into the week that can be dropped? What were my greatest accomplishments? What can I improve upon? Ask yourself these questions and WRITE down the answers. I promise you, if you become accountable to yourself, and start THINKING your way to the answers you need you will become successful. Remember your THINKING could NEVER be outsourced so be bold and willing to take responsibility for your results. It’s the only way to turn your business around!