(A special excerpt from The Go-To Person’s Guide to Success)
In 1961, “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” opened on Broadway. During its run of 1,471 performances, the show won 7 Tony Awards and a New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award. The play (and subsequent movie) was great, despite the fact that nobody can succeed in business “without really trying.” Success in business (or anything else, for that matter) requires work – hard, focused, disciplined, and committed work. There are no shortcuts to success.
Success requires the proper use of certain knowledge and skills. Without the proper mental foundation, there’s no way your knowledge and skills will be used effectively. I refer to this foundation as “mental toughness.” Why? Because any level of success must be built upon it. Developing mental toughness is a choice.
I received some great feedback and comments from many of you regarding my last week wake-up call regarding the importance of saying “no” when appropriate.
During the week I had some subsequent conversations with clients about it and thought that it would be helpful to expand further on at least two areas where saying no is of critical importance to you, the development and the success of your company.
First, when you are working on something important to you and give in with a “yes” to the question “Do you have a minute?” you are basically giving up any control over your own destiny. Being a good leader doesn’t mean you are constantly available to everyone. It’s impossible to function effectively that way. Continue reading →
As we embark upon the beginning of 2019 many are going through the annual resolution setting ritual. Goals are being set and promises made of which many will eventually be broken.
I’d like to suggest a different approach for you to achieve success and growth in 2019. It’s simple really but will require your very best commitment and self-discipline to follow it effectively. Simply stated, learn how to say “No” when: Continue reading →
Just before he died, renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw was asked to name a famous deceased man whom he missed the most. Shaw replied, “The man I miss the most is the man I could have been.” This was an interesting response from Shaw in his final days.
There is never a good time to question lost opportunities and go through the “would have, should have or could have” analysis. But imagine having to realize what you did not accomplish when you don’t have enough time left to change the outcome! Talk about a “worst case” scenario! So why wait until it is too late? You have the choice to take action now to begin to create the destiny you want.
First, create a description of the future you; how you want others to describe you and how you will create value for others and your company in your future role. Be specific – you want clarity. The clearer you are, the more likely it is that you will achieve your desired outcome.
Secondly, have confidence in your ability to be successful in creating the “you of tomorrow.” Have no doubt or fear. Start acting like that person right now – today. Will you make a mistake here and there? Of course, you always try to “learn from the experience.” Never let anyone talk you out of your dreams or try to hold you back. Remember the Met’s battle cry: “You’ve gotta believe!” Continue reading →
Success requires the proper use of certain knowledge and skills. Without the proper mental foundation, there’s no way your knowledge and skills will be used effectively. I refer to this foundation as “mental toughness.” Why? Because there are no shortcuts to success and any level of success must be built upon it. Developing mental toughness is a critical choice you must make.
Here are three key steps to get you going in the right direction:
Get Rid of the Clutter – To achieve any meaningful level of effective performance, you need to eliminate all of the distractions that waste your time and drain your energy. The best way to do eliminate this clutter is to develop clarity on what you want to accomplish.
Focus on Winning – You would be amazed by how many folks focus on avoiding problems, or how not to fail, as opposed to “winning.” When you don’t focus on winning, you allow events to “control” you. You become a victim instead of the master of your circumstances. This creates self-doubt and weakens any confidence you have in yourself. Play to win – all of the time. There is no downside.
Develop Risk Taking Skills – To get what you want in business (and in life) you have to take logical, planned risks. These types of risks usually have a reasonable downside offset by a larger upside or reward. Keep in mind that we all have an “internal risk warning system” that holds us back. The best way to manage this internal warning system is to be clear on what you want to do, which helps you to stay focused on the facts instead of the emotion (fear).
In my new book – “The Go-To Person’s Guide to Success” – I explain the importance of mental toughness is in helping you develop and maintain a success/growth mindset. Willie Mays, “The Say Hey Kid” captured the importance of a success mindset when he said: “What you are thinking, what shape your mind is in, is what makes the biggest difference of all.”
I, like many of you, like information in the simplest and most efficient way possible. If I want or need further explanation, I will ask for it or go look for it myself. It is in that belief that I wanted to share with you 5 very simple but very effective techniques, when used as described, that will make your job as the leader easier and more significant.
These techniques were developed over the span of my corporate career and from my work with my many and diverse coaching clients, and…from the many mistakes that I have made along the way. Continue reading →
Do you like everything “perfect”? Perfectionism isn’t perfect. And it’s one of the biggest business killers. How do you allow yourself to do your best job without getting caught in this dangerous loop? Chris explains…
I can remember telling my sons, and later on, individuals who reported directly to me that I found perfection to be boring and frustrating. I urged them to pursue excellence, or, in other words, to do the very best they could with whatever they had at the time. You know, “play the hand you’re dealt” in the best way possible.
Individuals who pursue perfection – and many of us have met them (and some of you may be one of them) – are never satisfied. They are always looking for one more piece of information or data to help them make a decision or take action. Oddly, they never make that decision and end up frustrated and, in many cases, demoralized. They are, in fact, very unhappy people. I sometimes describe those seeking perfection as individuals who are “studying all of the sides of a circle.”
Unlike individuals who set stretch goals and who are resilient in order to effectively deal with setbacks, perfectionists aim high goals (and in some cases unrealistically) in order to demonstrate their value to others. Then, when they fall short they become brutally critical of themselves. This, in turn, leads them feeling that whatever they do is never enough. Perfectionism, left unchecked, can lead to serious mental health issues. I read recently that research suggests that being too hard on yourself can actually limit one’s ability to achieve success. Being perfect makes it harder to think clearly because of the stress that it causes.
Here are 5 simple actions you can take to offset any desires you might have to be perfect:
Focus on the best outcome you can deliver versus harshly judging yourself.
Focus on taking action to keep moving forward and learning as you go.
See mistakes as normal and as learning opportunities, and not as a “failing grade” on the imaginary report card in your mind.
Set realistic and achievable goals and celebrate small victories. Learn to give yourself a “high-5” at every opportunity that you can.
When being threatened by overwhelm and frustration, stop where you are and identify one positive action you can take – big or small (small is preferred) – that will change the momentum in your favor.
Give it your best effort. It’s really OK not to be perfect.