I needed to sort some things out the other day and decided to go back to the place where my journey first began 27 years ago. I went back to the Football field where along with my classmates, I threw my cap in the air and set out to put a ding in my portion of the universe. I no sooner sat down on the bleachers when my ego started in so for once in my life I asked it to go wait in the car.
I asked myself a question that I had been sweeping under the proverbial carpet for years . . .”Are you living the life you planned on living?”
The honest answer for me is “sometimes”. Some days I have it together, others I don’t and other days it seems like my success has gone M.I.A.
So out of my own personal course correction, I thought it would be meaningful to share the process I use. Ironically, it’s the same process we should use when we are knee deep in success!
I’ll spare you the positive thinking sermon and cut to the chase:
– Make a true decision! The verb to decide in its Latin root means to remove all possibilities and cut off all alternatives. Think about the things that you want and then ask yourself if you’ve truly decided!
– Put your body armor each day before doing battle. You do this by putting something good in your head. Something positive, something for you. If exercise is your thing, get it in the bank early. Spending time with your spouse, thinking time, reading time . . . make it your first priority. Watch what happens to your attitude when you do things for you before the business day starts! Watch for a cool increase in your effectiveness when you start the day on the right note.
– Adopt a mindset of patience, with the urgency to move now, not tomorrow!
– Learn to be more vulnerable by asking for help. I see this as one of the biggest obstacles to a sales professional’s development. You can thank the ego for that. While the ego enables us to leap tall buildings in a single bound and brush off rejection, it also keeps us from asking for help. Resist your urge to label vulnerability as a sign of weakness. It’s actually the ultimate sign of confidence and the key to your growth!
– If you haven’t taken on the attitude of “student”, I’m thinking right about now is as good a time as any!
– The average person stops learning after their formal education ends in their early twenties which leaves plenty of opportunities to rust. Are you rusting?
– Don’t ever go to bed at night without spending at least 30 mins on your personal development. Don’t have the time? Make the time! God forbid we find an intelligent substitute for watching Lost or playing Farmville.
– Continually assess where you are in your journey and hunt down information to make you better in areas where you have deficiencies. And don’t be so focused on improving the things that need improvement that you don’t get better in the areas where you rock!
– Model success. If you know of someone getting the result you want, why reinvent the wheel? Speaking of modeling success, leadership guru Robin Sharma says that when we read a book (or article), we are in essence having a conversation with the author. He asks (I’m paraphrasing) How cool would it be to have a conversation with Steve Jobs this week, John Maxwell next week and Paul Castain the next. Actually, he didn’t include me but screw him because by his own definition, you’re having a conversation with me right now and he isn’t. Seriously, what a cool way to model success!
– By the way, there’s more information available in your daily newspaper than a person would be exposed to in their entire life back in the 1700’s. Not sure why I just said that but I bet you’ll be a hit at the next cocktail party you go to if you use that. You’re welcome!
The Knowledge Trap:
This is something we talked about quite a bit back in my days at Dale Carnegie so I want to give credit where credit is due.
The knowledge trap is something very deadly and is a bit of a silent killer.
Most people think that having the “right” attitude and arming themselves with knowledge is enough. Not even close amigo!
Please indulge me while I provide a sick example. Let’s say that since I was a young “Uncle Paul” I wanted to be a Pilot. My attitude for being a Pilot was perfect. I considered myself a lifelong learner in the Pilotorial Arts and read every damn book I could get my hands on.
Would you get in the plane with me if I offered to fly us somewhere? If yes, you’re a sick bastard, if no, I’m insulted but agree with you.
So I guess we need the final component
Without action our music stays in our heads, our canvas remains blank, and for the grand finale . . . we don’t grow!
– Abandon the concept of “Practice makes perfect”, it’s a half truth at best. Perfect practice makes perfect otherwise I might simply be getting better at doing something the wrong way. I’m a big advocate of practicing with a video camera. I can’t begin to tell you how much I learned once I started video taping. As a side note, I got to see just how bald I was from the back. Thanks Dad! Just for the heck of it, do a presentation every now and again with that webcam on your computer. Review, rinse and repeat. Just make sure you aren’t broadcasting. Tape your end of your prospecting calls. Leave a message on your own voicemail and listen to it like a prospect.
– Commit to taking 5 actions each day towards your goals. The authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul shared this advice in Success Magazine last year. They recognize this as THE #1 THING they did to get the book on the best seller list. I never begin a day without asking myself “What’s in your ‘5’?” Most people lack daily focus. Do this and you get to eat your competitor’s lunch!
– Take on an “Accountability Partner”. This has been a key component of my training program for the last decade and I can tell you, first hand that you will accelerate your performance when you add accountability. Who do you know that will help hold you accountable? Agree to a biweekly call where you update each other with a progress report. If on the last call you committed to x amount of phone calls, networking events etc there’s a magical power in knowing that you have some “Splainin” to do if you didn’t. Accountability Partners also support each other by staying on the lookout for resources to help the other person achieve their goals.
– Get The “Action Verbs” flowing! As Tony Robbins says “Don’t leave the scene of a decision without taking action” I could stand to get better in that department. How about you?
Oh and getting back to my High School story. After some needed soul searching in the bleachers, my thoughts took me back to a shy 17 year old “Uncle Paul” who asked out the good looking girl in Chorus.
27 years later, we’re still together!
Today you are cordially invited to get back after your success!
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