Most of us follow a strategy that we perceive is prudent and well thought out until we discover that it is no longer working. What do we do? The results we are attempting to create may not be there; how long should we keep trying? Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.” There may come a point where you or I will acknowledge that it is time to come up with a new strategy.
One of my favorite rock groups was Traveling Wilburys, in their song, “End of The Line,” there is a verse with a great message:
“You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring
(end of the line)
Waiting for someone to tell you everything
(end of the line)
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring
(end of the line)
Maybe a diamond ring”
This message is simple, and yet powerful a powerful one. The lyrics are about allowing outside forces to dictate our plans and actions hoping that these forces may bring unearned benefits. Most unsuccessful people are defined by this simple verse. They go about their life, have no plan, no strategy, and wait for the phone to ring, and of course, they are hoping for the “diamond ring.”
There may be a time when the strategy that you or I have used with success suddenly quits working. It may be from external forces, like an increase in interest rates, economic change, regulatory problems or internal forces, meaning forces within your own life, that may cause you or I to get off purpose, and deviate from a past successful strategy. These forces could include severe self-induced cash-flow constraint, an unexpected illness, divorce, emotional problems, substance abuse, death of a loved one, partnership or staffing problems. The list is never-ending.
Once you have acknowledged that you need a reset or reinvention, the first decision is whether you stay in your chosen field or select a new one. A great start is to go online and download the book Acres of Diamonds by Russell H. Conwell wrote in 1925. This short book is about the decision to work on your success by what you already know in your chosen field, as opposed to start a new profession in a new field. This simple quote defines the message!
“You can journey to the ends of the earth in search of success, but if you’re lucky, you will discover happiness in your own backyard.”
Do I make the decision to use my body of knowledge, and background of experience, to go forward with a new strategy and to create something new in a newly chosen field? Has my past chosen field become obsolete, has it become a victim of “Creative Destruction”?
Are their new strategies?
Let’s propose that you or I select the option of staying in our own field.
- List all the elements of your past strategy that have failed or become obsolete.
- List all the things you have done in the past that may have caused the lack of results.
- Find a mentor or multiple successful friends that may have an honest discussion with you, about whether your reasoning is valid. Many people fool themselves about why their strategy failed. Your mentor or honest friends can serve as a “mental teaser” in case you rationalize, or just plain lie to yourself. You may get zapped if you are not honest or lie to yourself about the truth. The “hard-core truth” or “tough love truth”, is that most people create their own barriers to success. The reasons include lack of motivation, inability to accept rejection, lack of a written plan, lack of effective time use, ineffective focus on the most daily important task, and lack of tenacity to carry out a plan. These are all self-induced characteristics that lead to failure. Rationalization leads to results like a hamster working on a spinning wheel in his cage.
- Try to research the most successful top 10 people in your field. Study the group and try to find the characteristics that result in their success. make a list of what defines the set of similar characteristics that led to success for each of them and as a group. This list will become a blueprint to create a new plan of daily activities that will lead to success.
- 20% of the successful people in any chosen field are responsible for 80% of the results. That also goes for money gains. 80% of the people receive a meager distributive part of the remaining 20%. You need to write your plan of action to define how you will elevate yourself to the top 20%.
With a properly written action plan and implementation strategy, and of course “motivation”, you could be dropped off in Cheyenne, Wyoming and start all over in the same field. You would be successful within 24 months.
We are all aware that our success will correspond to the number of developed business friendships. All successful relationships are a two-way street. If you ask for and develop enough friendships, you will create an ongoing successful career. For both you and your business friends, friends do business with friends!
I do have a bit of advice on some business relationships you may want to avoid. People that are very much into themselves the ones where the world does not exist outside them. They may be parasitic, sycophantic, negative, defeatist or be secretly hostile or jealous about your success; the phone usually rings one way for them. Identify these folks and politely get rid of them. They bring nothing to the relationship, other than wasted time.
I have written 4 other articles that can be helpful for your planning activities, they can be viewed under the “Personal & Business Growth” tab on my website www.danharkey.com.
- Are we allocating our work time effectively?
- Develop a Unique Ability
- Friends Do Business with Friends
- Sales Process – Best Practices
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