I started my first ‘real’ business when I was in my early 20's. It was selling life insurance. I knew absolutely nothing about running a business. Man, I was so green, it took me a couple of weeks to work out they actually wanted me to sell insurance!! My saviour was that I had the privilege to work with some fabulous people. People with a genuine client focus, together with some real business savvy. What a tough but ultimately brilliant learning environment it was.
I remember the day that one of these early business mentors handed me ‘The Book’ with the following verbal instructions:
“Sandercock, don’t over-complicate things — read this, do what it says and you’ll be successful”.Now you may be thinking that ‘The Book’ explained some kind of manipulative sales technique. Nothing could be further from the truth. ‘The Book’ was actually a blueprint for business and personal success. And it would work for just about any type of business. It would would work for just about any one.
It worked on the premise that success is ultimately an individual thing. Yes, surrounding yourself with the right people and working as part of a great team may achieve better results or even quicker results, but in the end, the really successful people know what they need to do, and they just do it.
Well, if it’s that easy, why isn’t everyone super successful?
Because there are obstacles. And these obstacles are not the state of the local economy, how much experience you've got, which firm you might represent or who your competitors are.
The real barriers to success are within us - fear, procrastination, poor planning, no clarity, over-thinking, lack of discipline, poor communication etc etc etc.
We've all been there at some time. So how do we overcome them?
Well, this well established and researched model* says that people performance is maximised when three factors work together:
Larry Bird, maybe the best basketballer ever to play the game, after receiving his 3rd NBA MVP was asked if he was going to take a well earned break. “No”, Larry replied, “I've got a few things I need to work on”.
Everyone can get better. The most successful understand that to become truly proficient requires commitment and a large investment of time.
It doesn't matter how much you stare at the phone, it still won’t ring! Create your own opportunities, or know where to look.
Tiger Woods says the most important distance in golf is the 5 inches between the ears. Believe me, getting ‘between the ears’ right, applies to us all. I have been witness to some people who seemed on the surface to have little going for them, but through drive and sheer ‘bloody mindedness”, have produced great results. It goes to show, knowing exactly what, why and when isn’t always enough. Only action brings results.
If you want to improve, and you implement a structured program to do that, improvement is inevitable. It can be achieved by anyone willing to make the effort.
Upcoming blogs will explore practical ways to address the 'real' barriers to success as they apply to the Motivation, Ability and Opportunity model. These concepts when combined will make a simple and extremely effective step-by-step plan of action for achieving the things that are important to you.
The really good news is that none of these are overly complicated. Anyone can do it. Implementation though is key and really is the ultimate competitive advantage.
* MAOB Model - Ölander and Thøgersen (1995)