Why People Who Do the Right Things Still Fail

HorseracingYears ago my dad was into horseracing. He loved to go to the track and bet on the ponies. He never spent too much. It was more about entertainment than making money. Although I think he made a few bucks most of the time. He had a system.

He was especially good at reading the racing forms. He was able to uncover the often overlooked details that revealed information about a horse that might suggest it was underrated.

I suppose it’s easy to pick a favorite. He especially loved to identify a horse that had strong potential to win a race that most others would underestimate. Nothing like picking a 5-1 or 7-1 and watch it blow by the favorites in the stretch.

One day my dad and I were discussing his horse selection strategies and he revealed a little secret to me.

He explained that horses have classes. Not like school…but more like social classes. He further explained that all things being equal, if two horses were racing and one came from better stock, the lesser horse wouldn’t or couldn’t beat the higher class.

I think it’s like the alpha dog or pack leader thing. I’m not sure that is an entirely accurate metaphor, but I believe it illustrates the point.

In only very rare instances would a lesser horse win given equal circumstances. If a lesser horse was significantly faster or more suited for a specific race it would usually win. But it was rare.

Personally, I found this an interesting phenomenon. In many ways, I have found this to be true about people. Especially about business leaders and the way they work.

People will only operate at a level they feel they are comfortable or capable of performing at. Despite providing them all the tools necessary to be effective business owners, leaders or entrepreneurs, they will still do the work they BELIEVE they are capable of doing.

  • The construction company owner sees himself as a construction guy – not a leader – so he gravitates towards doing the tactical work in a construction business.
  • The realtor sees herself as an agent – not an entrepreneur – so she goes out and sells homes, rather than building a real estate business.
  • The accountant, doctor, lawyer, appraiser, chef, beautician all see themselves in those roles – not the role of an business leader – and so they engage in their craft and neglect running the race at a higher level.

Here is the most interesting point. They don’t even see it. They call themselves the business owner, entrepreneur, leader, but they don’t work at that level.

The race horse doesn’t consciously think – “Oh, wow…here comes Secretariat. His momma and dadda were a lot better than mine, I better slow down.”

It’s instinct.

Humans, until they become conscious of this phenomenon, will sabotage their own progress until they change one thing.

The Way You Think About Yourself.

We must reprogram our thoughts and beliefs and KNOW that we are effective, capable, deserving and successful business people.

Who you believe you are will massively influence your performance.

One of the first signs that you have belief issues – you will continue to avoid doing the work and activities of a leader.

Despite having all the tools. You won’t work on your vision. You won’t set concrete goals. You won’t focus on the future of the business. You won’t define and cast vision and values. You won’t take the time to listen to and engage your people.

As a result, your business simply will not advance. How can it without leadership?

By the way, the same is true about effective management. Whether it’s you or someone else in your business managing. If you don’t see yourself effectively doing it; it won’t happen.

How do you fix it?

It’s a steady and arduous process of mental management. The most effective and simplest approach it writing a reminder down.

Perhaps something like – I am a highly effective business leader that is crystal clear on the direction and values for my organization and inspires and engages participants to support in achieving that vision.

Commit to reading and focusing on this statement for 40 days. Nothing magical about that number. It just represents a time frame that requires some discipline, focus and consistency.

Watch what happens, you won’t even realize it but soon you will be passing up the competition and running at a whole new level in your business.

You will be the fastest odds on favorite to win the race.

 

5 Minutes to the Perfect Business

"Live out of your imagination instead of out of your memory."  
    Les Brown

 

Thinking I have made it my life's works to understand what makes businesses and people tick. The people thing is a little more tricky. Business is not so difficult.

 

In fact, I have come to discover that if your do the right things, business is rather simply. It's not necessarily easy. Why? Because doing business well requires that we do things that most people won't do.

 

Statistic suggests that less than 4% of businesses actually really succeed. I am not talking about surviving or hanging on by a thread. I am talking about businesses that really stand out and work.

 

I am going to challenge you to do a little assignment. Because you are the best of the best, or at least endeavor to be the best, I trust you WILL take this challenge on. Most ordinary people won't do this. They will make an excuse or something… That's what ordinary people do. But you are not ordinary. Right?

 

I challenge you to do this task for 5 minutes. Only 5 minutes. That's it. 5 minutes only represents 3.4% if your entire day.

 

Get out a piece of paper and a pen. Imagine for a moment that you were going to recreate your business today. You have an opportunity for a clean slate. Forget about the past. Forget about limitations. Forget about what you think is possible based on your past experience. Rely solely on your imagination.

 

Then write out the answer to this question. "If you could create your business all over again, how would your business be different than it is today?"

 

Why is this question important? Simply this. You have a choice if you want your business to stay the way it is, or really become something great. Most people, at least the people I work with, want great businesses. In order to create something great, you have to know what great is.

Are You A Master Avoider?

"Is it possible", I asked my friend, "That by not doing those things that you know you ought to do, that you will be in the same place six months from now as you are today?"

 

"Not only possible," he said. "Probable."

 

"So you must like where you are?" I asked.

 

"No. I am not happy. In fact, if have this nagging, guilty, 'I shoulda thing' going on in my head everyday."

 

"So why do you keep avoiding?" I asked. "I suspect its fear."

 

He thought for a moment. "Yes, I suppose what it all boils down to is fear. Fear of change. Fear of what will happen. Even fear of success."

 

"That's interesting. Fear of success. Do you not believe you should succeed?" 

 

He hesitated. So I continued. "Since you don't see yourself inside as a success, you will avoid doing things that represent moving to the next level. You are unconsciously self sabotaging your own success so you won't create any in congruency on how you see yourself."

 

Here is an example. If you see yourself being overweight by 15 pounds. If you deep down believe that is who you are, no diet or exercise plan in the world is going to change your weight. Sure you might lose the weight for awhile, but I promise it will eventually come back. You know what I mean don't you?"

 

"Yes." He replied.

 

"The same is true about business. You are the leader of your business. But if you only see yourself leading your business that way it is now, you will never progress. No matter what advise or help I offer you."

 

"So what do I do?" He queried.

 

"It starts by beginning to reinvent who and how you see yourself…"

 

Check back tomorrow's post for the rest of the story