I personally talk to hundreds of business people every year.
Some I coach, some I train in various business subjects and many call, email or catch me in the corridors to pick my brain.
I am often asked for the magic answer to help them grow their business.
You know the magic pill which will solve all their business problems.
It’s a normal question. A question I asked myself many times over.
But not now.
Over the past thirty years of business coaching and training, there is just one thing you have to really do and that is…
Take a Reality Check.
A reality check to see what is working (keep it), and what isn’t working (stop it).
This will help you start to clarify where you are.
The next step is to look at yourself.
I have always enjoyed Stephen Covey’s thoughts in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e., self-mastery):
1 – Be Proactive
Stop being reactive waiting for something to happen. Get on the front foot.
Do what you know you should.
2 – Begin with the End in Mind
Envision what you want in the future so you can work and plan towards it.
Change your life to act and be proactive. Grow and stay humble.
3 – Put First Things First
Set your Priorities according to what should be done in your business.
1) Important and Urgent
2) Important and not Urgent
3) Not Important and Urgent
4) Not Important and Not Urgent
You can do this easily.
But guess what.
We have what I call a Play It Safe Mentality.
This is where we don’t wish to take any risks.
We sit back to see what happens when something new comes on the market or we
wait until it settles down.
Playing safe in the business you are in is dangerous. Playing safe doesn’t work.
- You need to take risks;
- You need to take chances. You know this!
- You need to innovate;
- You need to keep moving forward.
Yes, it is true if you take risks and keep moving forward you will make mistakes.
You will fail and you will fall down every once and awhile – you cannot help but not.
The truth is if you are not making mistakes as you move forward you are not learning.
You are playing too safe.
Walter Riso once said:
“Failure is not a crime. Failure to learn from your failure is the crime.”
Find your mistake and fix it.
So why don’t you take risks? Here is the main reason.
You think about all the things which could go wrong.
You look at the long-term picture, it’s too much, too hard, too long in time to get there.
It is known as the Negative Mental Rehearsal.
Here is a way to overcome it.
Look at it in steps. Steps which are easier to take, easier to fathom, easier to accept.
Take small wins rather than focusing on losing the larger target.
And here is the kicker – reward your small successes. Small wins lead to large victories.
When you are starting to take a risk, and please do, do what is easy first and set small wins.
If you happen to make a mistake – learn from it.
If you do not learn from your mistakes you will repeat them.
I witness business owners failing to take risks.
Often because they go through a negative mental rehearsal.
It is like to golfer who comes to the water trap and knows the last time he hit his ball into the water. He is focussing on the water again and mentally rehearses his ball going ‘plonk’.
He hits the ball and indeed it goes plonk.
He should instead have focussed on where the ball is going to land on the other side of the water trap – on the fairway.
A seasoned mountain climber doesn’t look at the ravine below with death rocks protruding from the raging waters when they come to cross the flimsy-unstable rope-bridge.
They look at the rungs of the rope-bridge so they know where to place their feet on each step.
They focus on where they wish to be not where they do not wish to be.
The secret is…
Don’t look at where you don’t wish to go. Look at your steps you have to take to achieve your vision.
But if you wish to be in a better place than today you have to stop The Play It Safe Mentality.