Almost everyone knows that to succeed at anything, you need:
- A clear, specific goal
- A step-by-step plan to reach that goal
- Immediate and massive action on the steps of that plan
- A willingness to persist until you reach the goal.
If you’ve read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich or are familiar with Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, you know that you need to put out into the universe your desire to make your goal a reality. But you also know that you can’t just wish your way to what you want; you need to be taking action, too.
In the course of my coaching and training work, I’m asked a lot of questions about the basic principles above. For instance:
If we’ve all heard these things before and we “know” them, why are so many of us no closer to where we want to be this year than we were last year? Why are some of us actually further behind? Is it because this stuff only works for a few people? Are we not doing it right? Is luck an essential element that some of us just don’t have?
For a long time, I believed that people didn’t get what they wanted–and professionals didn’t have the practices they wanted–either because
(1) they didn’t know what to do or how to do it, or
(2) they knew how, but were afraid to do it.
My friend and mentor, Steve Chandler, started our relationship by sharing an even more fundamental reason with me: they haven’t decided to pursue it. Whether or not they know what to do or have fears about it, they simply haven’t chosen it. They haven’t made the commitment to get past their fears or to learn what they need to learn.
Of course, the hesitation to make that commitment might itself be caused by fear, but then, they haven’t made the commitment to take steps to overcome that fear. So, while most people know how to be successful (however they define success), they are, in essence, choosing not to be it.
Advisors and other salespeople often mistake “selling” for the art of persuasion. But really, it’s about making meaningful (sometimes emotional) inquiries into your prospects’ lives, so that they can determine for themselves that you have what they need.
In the wake of the Academy Awards, I’ve been thinking about what got most of the people who took the stage all the way to the point of receiving that coveted prize.
Yes, a little luck and some great connections were involved in them getting those noteworthy jobs in the first place. But for each person, when it came to doing the job itself—the work that resulted in the nomination and, ultimately, the win—it was about having had total intense focus on his or her chosen career.
Whether it was in acting, directing, set design, costume design, editing, or any other category, the winners were talented people who had been totally immersed in their work for many, many years.
What’s your category? If you’re a CEO, are you a contender for an Oscar in running a company? If you’re a sales rep, an advisor, or an attorney, would you ever be nominated for Outstanding Service in your field?
Imagine if there were Academy Awards for the work that you do. If you wanted to be nominated, what would you need to do that you’re not already doing? Where would you have to intensify your effort or learn something you don’t already know?
Here are three ideas to help you earn your Oscar:
- Think and act like you are a contender. In a pre-Oscar interview, Robin Roberts asked actor Louis Gosset , Jr. what advice he’d give to someone starting out. His response was, “Do the very best you can. Bring your A-game wherever you go.”
- Master your craft. Some professionals are incredibly adept at the technical side of their businesses—whether it’s watching their company’s financials, knowing which investments are best for their clients, or knowing how to produce a superior product. But these same people often lack leadership and people skills. Conversely, professionals can be great leaders or sales people, but be weak in their business or product knowledge. Oscar contenders must work to strengthen their weaknesses, and many of my clients have sought out a coach to do just that.
- Keep at it. Nelson Mandela advocated for a multiracial democratic government in South Africa, from a tiny prison cell, for 27 years. Dozens of actors who have won Oscars worked for fifteen years or more before their big break. Your effort to win your Oscar for what you do is not likely to be as much of a challenge. You just have to persist.
- Get help. Fledgling actors attend workshops to network, hire coaches to help them with their business tasks, and take classes to strengthen their performance skills. If you need training, find it. If you need a coach, hire one. It starts with having the courage to open up to someone else and admit you don’t have all the answers. Having even one conversation with a coach could shine the spotlight on what’s holding you back from your Academy Award.
A NEW FACEBOOK GROUP: THE PROSPEROUS ADVISOR
While many of my subscribers are not financial and insurance professionals, I am asking even you to share this information with someone who can use it. I’ve started an exclusive Facebook group called “The Prosperous Advisor”, in which advisors can ask questions and share strategies in a closed forum only shared with other members.
This won’t be a place where vendors will be posting…just an arena for advisors to help one another grow their businesses.
Anyone who is interested can request membership here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1569962283322404/
Do what you need to do to get the success you want, and keep REACHING…
We all know to watch our Return on Investment–but what about our Return on Effort? Sandy explains how we can make sure we are maximizing our time and earning the money we deserve through our highest-value client arrangements.
A few weeks ago, I invited Marc–an IT consultant who had worked with me for a few months last year and gotten some very good results–to lunch. We set the date, and then Marc said: “I’ll be there…unless someone calls me with work that needs to be done that day…I mean, business comes first, right?”
After I hung up the phone I thought about how Marc’s response to my lunch invitation actually hinted at the work we both knew still needed to be done: Marc’s agreements were often statements without substance. In this case, his loose commitment was actually a non-promise.
Marc would tell clients he could probably finish a project in a day, even when he knew that was impossible. He told creditors that he’d try to have them paid by Friday, and the check wouldn’t be sent until the next week.
I coach my clients to “under-promise and over-deliver”. Marc was so worried about pleasing his clients and vendors that he had taken to over-promising and under-delivering—making shaky agreements up front, and ultimately, not being able to deliver on them.
But this isn’t just an issue of using the wrong tactics–it’s an issue of integrity. An old sales mantra goes: “Clients need to know you, like you, and trust you in order to agree to do business with you.” The “trust” part of that know-like-trust triad is based, in large part, on a sense that you will keep your promises.
Marc needed to follow this simple rule:
Make only promises you can keep…and keep them.
Non-promises, like “I’ll see you for lunch, unless something else comes up,” could actually be insulting (how important is that lunch with me?), but more importantly, they violate the first part of this rule. I have no doubt that if Marc is making non-promises to me, he’s making them to clients, as well.
If you want to grow your practice faster, make promises you can keep…and keep them. Once you have that down, you can keep REACHING…
When you look at your practice (here you can also insert “business”, “career”, or “life”), what are you seeing?
Is there a picture of how you want it to be? A compelling vision that drives your work and interactions with people? Are you on a mission to bring your message or your help to more people–seeking clients for your cause? Is your mission to help your clients–or your loved ones–in more ways, even if this only means making more money so you have more time to give to friends and family?
In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill tells us that nothing happens in the absence of a “burning desire”, which would lead some people to say that to be successful, you must be passionate about the results you want to achieve.
But my coach and friend, Steve Chandler, warns people that “passion” is too overwhelming a concept. If you make a commitment to grow, you can be passionate or not; it’s keeping the commitment that makes it happen.
On opening day of Disney World in Orlando, a reporter remarked to Roy Disney, “It’s too bad Walt didn’t live to see this.”
Roy is said to have replied, “Walt saw it first; that’s why you’re seeing it now.”
What’s your Disney World? What are you seeing? Will others get to see it, too?
Have you made the commitment to make it happen, or is it just something you’d like to see happen? Take a few minutes this week to think about and write down what your Disney World looks like. See it. Then, if you really want it, commit to it.
Don’t forget that if you need your “vision” checked, you can hire a coach. In the meantime, keep REACHING…
This week’s article was written by my friend and colleague Elise Holtzman in her lawyer newsletter Tuesday Morning Counsel, but it will benefit anyone who thinks he or she has too much to do:
Create a referral network with Centers of Influence by finding someone you can act with. An advisor and an attorney, for instance, can create an infinite feedback loop of referral relationships just by mutually agreeing to send clients to one another. Sandy explains how to “trade referrals” thoughtfully with COIs in this month’s Power Minute.