Ever wondered why is it that some people are better at achieving their goals than others

Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? If you aren’t sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. It turns out that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are pretty lousy when it comes to understanding why they succeed or fail. The intuitive answer — that you are born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others — is really just one small piece of the puzzle. In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.

1. Get specificWhen you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. “Lose 5 pounds” is a better goal than “lose some weight,” because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising you’ll “eat less” or “sleep more” is too vague — be clear and precise. “I’ll be in bed by 10pm on weeknights” leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you’ve actually done it.

2. Seize the moment to act on your goals. Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once, it’s not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them. Did you really have no time to work out today? No chance at any point to return that phone call? Achieving your goal means grabbing hold of these opportunities before they slip through your fingers. To seize the moment, decide when and where you will take each action you want to take, in advance. Again, be as specific as possible (e.g., “If it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I’ll work out for 30 minutes before work.”) Studies show that this kind of planning will help your brain to detect and seize the opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300%.

3. Know exactly how far you have left to go. Achieving any goal also requires honest and regular monitoring of your progress — if not by others, then by you yourself. If you don’t know how well you are doing, you can’t adjust your behavior or your strategies accordingly. Check your progress frequently — weekly, or even daily, depending on the goal.

4. Be a realistic optimist. When you are setting a goal, by all means engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it. Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. But whatever you do, don’t underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal. Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort, and persistence. Studies show that thinking things will come to you easily and effortlessly leaves you ill-prepared for the journey ahead, and significantly increases the odds of failure.

5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good. Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability. Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality, and our physical aptitudes are fixed — that no matter what we do, we won’t improve. As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves, rather than developing and acquiring new skills. Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong — abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable. Embracing the fact that you can change will allow you to make better choices, and reach your fullest potential. People whose goals are about getting better, rather than being good, take difficulty in stride, and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

6. Have grit. Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The good news is, if you aren’t particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it. People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don’t have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking …. well, there’s no way to put this nicely: you are wrong. As I mentioned earlier, effort, planning, persistence, and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed. Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

7. Build your willpower muscle. Your self-control “muscle” is just like the other muscles in your body — when it doesn’t get much exercise, it becomes weaker over time. But when you give it regular workouts by putting it to good use, it will grow stronger and stronger, and better able to help you successfully reach your goals. To build willpower, take on a challenge that requires you to do something you’d honestly rather not do. Give up high-fat snacks, do 100 sit-ups a day, stand up straight when you catch yourself slouching, try to learn a new skill. When you find yourself wanting to give in, give up, or just not bother — don’t. Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they occur (“If I have a craving for a snack, I will eat one piece of fresh or three pieces of dried fruit.”) It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier, and that’s the whole point. As your strength grows, you can take on more challenges and step-up your self-control workout.

8. Don’t tempt fate. No matter how strong your willpower muscle becomes, it’s important to always respect the fact that it is limited, and if you overtax it you will temporarily run out of steam. Don’t try to take on two challenging tasks at once, if you can help it (like quitting smoking and dieting at the same time). And don’t put yourself in harm’s way — many people are overly-confident in their ability to resist temptation, and as a result they put themselves in situations where temptations abound. Successful people know not to make reaching a goal harder than it already is.

9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking, or put a lid on your bad temper? Then plan how you will replace bad habits with good ones, rather than focusing only on the bad habits themselves. Research on thought suppression (e.g., “Don’t think about white bears!”) has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. The same holds true when it comes to behavior — by trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened rather than broken. If you want change your ways, ask yourself, What will I do instead? For example, if you are trying to gain control of your temper and stop flying off the handle, you might make a plan like “If I am starting to feel angry, then I will take three deep breaths to calm down.” By using deep breathing as a replacement for giving in to your anger, your bad habit will get worn away over time until it disappears completely. It is my hope that, after reading about the nine things successful people do differently, you have gained some insight into all the things you have been doing right all along. Even more important, I hope are able to identify the mistakes that have derailed you, and use that knowledge to your advantage from now on. Remember, you don’t need to become a different person to become a more successful one. It’s never what you are, but what you do.

If you want to be one of those who succeed in achieving your goals consistently, e-mail me for further information.

Strengthening your leadership skills: What does it really take to be a leader?

Strengthening your leadership skills What does it really take to be a leader?

Each of us has a different idea of who is a good leader; is it for example Richard Branson, Barack Obama or Nelson Mandela? What makes them different?

In a research project carried out by Franklin Covey, 54,000 people were interviewed and asked to identify the essential qualities of a leader. Perhaps not surprisingly, ‘integrity’ was by far the most popular response. Getting people to trust you is a mixture of your character – who you are – and your competence – how you do.

Thirteen behaviours were identified as building up strength in your integrity as a leader. They can be summarised as:

  1. First of all, talk straight. Too many people use the following tactic with truth… ‘bend it, shake it, do anything with it’.
  2. To really get people’s trust, always tell the truth and let people know where they stand.
  3. Demonstrate respect and show that you genuinely care – if you have made an appointment to see a member of staff, don’t keep them waiting… return phone calls when you say you will.
  4. Right wrongs and apologise for mistakes quickly. Nobody expects you to be infallible, be humble and don’t try to cover things up.
  5. Create transparency and do not have hidden agendas, be genuine in your dealings with people.
  6.  Demonstrate loyalty. Give credit to other peoples’ efforts, be loyal to those who are not present and don’t run people down behind their backs.
  7. Do what you say you will. Don’t blame other people, profess ignorance or go into denial to explain inaction.
  8. Confront reality. Don’t let things fester in the office; face problems head-on rather than hoping that problems will just go away.
  9. Practice accountability and hold yourself accountable as well as others for good or bad results.
  10. Learn to communicate clearly with everyone and check that requests and instructions have been understood. In this way you can manage expectations.
  11. Develop your listening skills. Being able to listen is essential in good leadership. People quickly react negatively if they feel that they are not being listened to and lose faith in their leader.
  12. Do your utmost to keep all commitments – this provides a true reflection of who and what you are so make sure you get organised!
  13. Extend trust to others, delegate and give others clear responsibilities and lead by example.

So here’s the challenge to you… as a leader do you display these 13 key behaviours?

How do you measure up?

If you are serious about success, you will want to adopt these behaviours.

For more information on how to build your ultimate business, follow the link: http://bit.ly/7StepstoUltimateBusinessSuccess

Starting a Business in Challenging Times

Stack the Odds in your favour!

Experienced business owners will tell you that when you are starting your own business, you may have to wear many “hats”. You may have some great ideas, but fail on the more “administrative” tasks that are needed to be successful.  You need to know your strengths and weaknesses.  Lack of management experience accounts for many small business failures. Entrepreneurs often think that they can do it all and may not seek outside help when they need it. Do not be shy about seeking out the advice of expert advisors, networking with other entrepreneurs and hiring staff to work on the tasks that you are not good at.

On one hand, desire and persistence along with innovative thinking can improve the odds of having a successful business. Knowing what you want to achieve, determination, setting goals, paying attention to detail and motivating others are key elements for your success and business growth.

On the other hand, desire and persistence alone will not make you successful.  For example, a lot of people love to cook and are good at it too.  So, they dream of starting a restaurant.  However, there are already many restaurants, the profit margins are often slim and consumers have lots of choice.  To be successful in that market, you need to be truly offering something new or unique.  In short, you need to be sure that there is a big enough market for what you plan to offer and that the competition isn’t already too strong.

Survival Tips

These tips can help you to overcome a great number of the factors that lead to the failure of many small businesses.

1. Develop a good marketing and business plan that takes into account customer needs, competition, pricing and promotional strategies.

2. Understand your business finances, such as cash flow and handling credit.

3. Make sure you have enough working capital to allow time for the business to grow.

4. Keep a good inventory of your products or services and your existing customers.

5. Supervise, train and motivate your staff.

6. Make sure you do have the experience, knowledge and skills to run your business.

7. Plan every part of your business from start to finish – to fail to plan is to plan to fail!

8. Know your market and define how much of it you will be able to capture – going through this process will ensure a good understanding of your chosen market.

9. Make sure you are offering a product that is unique and desirable compared to your competitors.

10. Don’t under-estimate your expenses and over-estimate your revenue.

11. Make sure you have some cash reserves or a line of credit to help you get through slow periods.

12. Don’t be too proud to seek expert advice when you need it.

Whatever else you do, at least reflect on each of these 12 tips and see which can help you to sustain and grow your new business. The very worst thing that you can do is nothing!

Remember… It is insanity to continue to do the same things you were doing before and expect a different outcome!

If you would like to learn more about this subject then you can download my e-book “The 7 steps to Ultimate Business Success”. Just Click on the following link: http://bit.ly/7StepstoUltimateBusinessSuccess

Coaching The Transition from Technician to Leader

How many of us in business start off as the Technician – the doer, craftsman, producer, operator… – and find the challenges of making the transition to Entrepreneur and Leader a massive shock?

Part of the attraction of becoming a business owner is the potential for increased income, the creation of a lasting legacy and the ability to take control of our work-life balance – maybe even take more holidays! While many people choose to work solo, many others arrive at a place where they no longer want to be the sole technician and they want to step out of running everything every day. The question is… how can you do that and continue to earn a living?  Here’s a clue!

“I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.”
– John D. Rockefeller

Various research has shown that there are a significant number of people who want to start their own businesses, including many self-employed individuals.  According to one survey (carried out by Synovate for the E-Myth Corporation in the US) these people said that the biggest challenges they face in starting a business are lack of knowledge and confidence (44%), raising finance (44%), and the economic and competitive climates (39%). These challenges are equally true for the sole trader aspiring to become a fully-fledged business owner.

There are many pitfalls when starting any business – here are 5 key mistakes that must be avoided when starting up your own business:

• Using your heart, not your head
• Underestimating cash needs
• Not researching the market
• Limiting your business education and knowledge
• Treating the business like a job

In addition, the prospective business owner must be ready and willing to make the transition from being a sole operator and “jack of all trades” to becoming a leader, a manager, and a mentor of other people. As a business owner you are the leader of a team, regardless of whether your team is comprised of two or two hundred.

The #1 Secret of being an Effective Business Owner

“It is through leadership that the entrepreneur converts his vision into reality.”
– Michael Gerber

One of the questions we might ask a coaching client in this situation is: “Are you the leader or merely the most senior employee?”  In other words, are you truly learning and striving to become a leader in your business venture?  Or have you simply created a new job for yourself?  We believe that effective business leadership is a combination of three elements:

Vision… is a picture of your entrepreneurial and personal dream and what you want your business to become at some point in the future.  You need a crystal clear vision that you’re able to communicate with passion and a strong sense of commitment.  Everyone in your business must understand it and be inspired by it.  It must become their vision as well as yours.

Action… is what you choose to do or not do, and the way you do it.  Your actions set the standards for everyone involved in your business.  Taking action means doing, and frequently that is where the business owner is most comfortable.  However, the ability to recognise better action – or what we might call “Right Action” – is what you must develop.  Right Action creates an environment that promotes the best performance throughout the company.

Spirit… is the way you do things and the energy and focus that you put into all that you do.  It’s your positive outlook, or the respect and concern with which you treat people.  Spirit is what animates and inspires you.  It’s what other people feel when they’re around you.  This is an important aspect of your leadership – it is what motivates most people.

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been”
– Henry Kissinger

As the leader of your business, one of your primary responsibilities is to be clear about where you are going and why.  Therefore, you need to begin by creating a totally clear vision for your business.  This written document describes your “entrepreneurial dream.”  Documenting your vision in a clearly written statement allows you to share it with your team, giving you a powerful tool to communicate, inspire, and focus the energy of the business.

It’s an important first step – have you clearly defined your vision of your future yet?  What’s stopping you?

How Hard Can It Be?

The mechanics of starting a business are relatively straightforward and easily learned. There are multitudes of resources available to entrepreneurs looking to create a start-up business or transition from freelancer to business owner. But the fact remains that, according to the Small Business Administration, two-thirds of new businesses will only survive for two years while only 44 percent will make it four years. And that survival rate drops to just 31 percent of businesses that reach seven years. So, can these odds be beat?

Yes, they can! …and tens of thousands of businesses owners have proven this out year after year. The biggest mistake the freelancer must avoid is becoming a business owner in name only while operating like a freelancer with a title of “Business Owner.” The transition is one of the mind as well as the title. Armed with a clear vision, a well-written plan, and the mindset of a leader, any freelancer can successfully make the transition to business owner.

If you would like to learn more about this subject then you can download my e-book “The 7 steps to Ultimate Business Success”. Just Click on the following link: http://bit.ly/7StepstoUltimateBusinessSuccess