Preparation pays off in business. It pays to have a system that gets you ready for any situation.
Everyone in business is looking for a successful business plan. They realize that the old adage is true that failing to plan is planning to fail.
photo credit: centralasian
I’d like to suggest that before you adopt a business plan, first take a look at your values. Knowing what you believe will keep you from doing things that you’ll regret later.
And if you already have a business plan, being clear on your values will help you clarify and if needed refine it to fit your beliefs.
For example, most people are compassionate. When they see someone in need, they usually feel the urge to help.
Having a clear sense of your values, will convert that urge into action.
Some people think that compassion has no place in business. They believe caring for people won’t cut it in the cut-throat world of profit-making.
This is often magnified among network marketers who are taught to look on friends and family members as money-making prospects.
Here’s a suggestion that goes against the grain: go to great lengths to show how much you care for people. Compassion is not only proper, but required to run a successful business.
Gauge the success of your business, not by how much money you make, but by how much good you do and how many people you help.
Making the world, or at least your corner of it, a better place is the beginning of a successful business plan.
The other day, I was reading a story about NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. He’s not my favorite, but I admire his will to win.
In the story, Busch talked about what motivates him.
“What I use is the car in front of me. If there’s a car in front of me, I’m going to chase him,” Busch said. “… I want to pass that guy. If I’m the leader, there’s another car in front of me, he’s going a lap down. The more guys you get a lap down, the more you don’t have to deal with at the end of the day. There’s always some motivation to go forward. There’s always somebody ahead of you that you can pass that’s going to mean something. Even if you are the leader.”
I thought that was a pretty good motivational strategy for anyone in business. It’s good to set goals. I’m a big believer in the importance of having lofty aspirations.
Sometimes, however, those high expectations aren’t enough. If that’s all we have, making progress might seem like we’re not accomplishing anything.
So, in addition to high, long-term goals, we have to stay focused on what’s going on now. Like Busch focuses on the car in front of him, concentrate on being the best at whatever you’re doing.
I once heard a speech by an Air Force officer who had reached the rank of general. In his comments he said his goal was always to be the best officer he could be, no matter what his rank.
Likewise, we should focus on being the best business people we can be. If we do this, we’ll reach our highest goals.
The other day, my wife was talking to our daughter about how her day at school went. My daughter talked about an exercise one of her teachers had the students do that day.
The teacher asked the students to join their two hands together, interlocking their fingers. She then told the students to look at their fingers to see which of their thumbs were in front.
When people put their hands together like that, they almost always do it the same way, the teacher said. She asked the students to try to do it the other way to see how it felt.
I put my hands together several times. Sure enough, they went together the same way every time. I had to make an effort to bring my hands together the other way. But after a while it started feeling comfortable either way.
Later, I thought of how similar the exercise was to many things in life and business. Often we are faced with issues that call for us to readjust the way we think or the way we do things.
Sometimes such small changes will feel uncomfortable at first, but will eventually feel fine. When that happens we need to be flexible. Our lives and businesses will benefit.
I was thinking earlier tonight about a seminar I went to several years ago that included a session on the way families work. One of the things I learned is the importance of being what the teachers called a “non-anxious presence.”
It seems that often issues that arise within families can be handled if one of those involved can keep his or her anxiety level down. That “non-anxious presence” can serve as a calming agent of sorts.
I often thought of that when uneasy situations arise in my life. I try to stay calm, and I’ve found that helps me deal with whatever I’m facing.
What’s more, I’ve discovered that the peaceful attitude often spreads to those around me.
When the military is choosing its most elite teams, it chooses those who demonstrate the ability to stay calm in chaotic situations. Those making the selections know the importance of staying focused no matter what’s going on around you.
As I was thinking of all this, it occurred to me that business people can also benefit from being a non-anxious presence. For those in network marketing, the opposite often happens. This comes across in two forms.
First, we know we have such a great product that we anxiously share it with anyone and everyone, even if they don’t need it.
Second, we’re often taught “closing” techniques that don’t fit our personalities. Moreover, we know that such strategies are likely to turn off the person to whom we’re talking.
Here’s how you solve both issues: don’t mention your product unless the person gives you a reason to think they might need it, and forget every pressure tactic you’ve learned.
Anyone who buys your product if they don’t need it will never buy it again, and those who are pressured into joining your business will never stay. Both situations waste time and effort and make our profession look bad.
Some of the best advice to help your business can be summed up in two words: stay calm.
I was in a study group the other night when the leader pointed out that the spiritual life is a paradox, requiring both solitude and contact with others. He was, in effect, encouraging us to spend some time in quiet meditation between our weekly sessions as a group.
Good advice. Every once in a while everyone needs to get away from the chaos of daily life. I think burnout is in large part caused by the way we keep our engines revved way too high for much too long.
Of course we can’t stay shut off from the world for too long, either. We need to stay connected to other people. The relationships we form with other people enhance our lives.
Business can work much the same way. We must look inwardly and become comfortable with ourselves. As one of my mentors likes to say, “You do not have to change who you are to have success in your life or business.”
At the same time, we need a team of people behind us and around us. When a group of people works together for a common purpose, great things happen.
One key to success in life is finding a balance between introspection and interaction.
I’ve been thinking today about how my busyness seems to get in the way of my business.
Sometimes I just think I have so many things to do that I don’t get anything done. I was reminded of this watching a clip from one of the morning TV shows this morning. It focused on traffic and included a section comparing how efficiently ants got around to traffic jams on major highways.
The ants it turned out, get around much better even though there are a lot more of them than there are cars in the traffic jam.
Later, I thought about how my life sometimes seems like the traffic jam. All the things I want or need to do are stacked up behind each other.
As I pondered what to do about it, it occurred to me that I need to set priorities and do the most important things first. I also need to set aside a certain amount of time for each area of my life.
I have a feeling that getting my priorities in order and honoring a time schedule will help me stay on the fast lane to success.
Recently I went on a trip to Belize with some folks from my church. We spent four days working and about a day and a half sightseeing.
One of the sights we wanted to see was the Blue Hole. It had been raining hard that day, and initially it appeared that the park where the Blue Hole was located was closed. But a park employee came out and opened the gate to let us in.
Before long we were hiking along a muddy, slippery trail in search of the pool of water. Since it had been raining and I hoped to take a dip in the Blue Hole, I had changed my tennis shoes for sandals. Big mistake.
Our group got spread out along the trail as some of the younger, more adventurous ones went on ahead. After a while the group I was in heard someone shouting behind us.
It was the park ranger. Turns out we were on the wrong trail. I understood him to say the trail we were on didn’t even go to the Blue Hole. I agreed to try to catch us to the ones ahead of us, while the others turned around.
After a couple of near slips, I knew I wasn’t making up much ground. I decided I had to run. So run I did.
Weird things go through your mind when your running along a slick rain forest trail.
Things like, “If I fall down that steep embankment, will they ever find my body?”
And, “What in the world am I doing here?“
And, “I certainly wouldn’t have put on these sandals if I knew I was going to have to run?”
Eventually, I caught up with several of the others. I went back with a group of them while another fellow went ahead and caught up with the others. On the way back the raindrops came to an end and mosquito swarms came out of nowhere.
Later, I found out that I had misunderstood the ranger. The trail did go to the Blue Hole, it was just a mile and a half away — a good 45 minute hike on a dry day. A few of those in the group made it to the pool and even took a swim.
I never even laid eyes on the Blue Hole, but the others told me it wasn’t very blue because of all the rain.
Initially, I was disappointed, tired and frustrated. Looking back, it wasn’t so bad. We all made it back, although a few had some minor injuries, and it makes a great story.
So what did I learn, other than never change into sandals when you’re going to be hiking through a rainy rain forest?
First, I learned it’s best to know where the trail leads before you start. Sometimes in life, we’re faced with multiple options. It’s good to be decisive and take action, but it’s usually better to get the information you need to make a good decision.
Next, I learned it’s best to listen closely to people who know the lay of the land. Had I realized that the trail eventually led to the Blue Hole, I would have likely either turned back then or kept going until I reached the destination. Either way, I wouldn’t have had to make a mad dash on slick grass.
At times, when we face a decision it often pays to find someone who’s been in a similar position. Find out how they fared and learn from their experience.
Finally, I learned that it pays to have a leader. If any of us had ever been on that trail, we would have known how far it was to the Blue Hole. We would have known to drive down to another trail, much closer to where we wanted to go.
In life and in business, a good mentor makes the difference. Find someone who’s already successful and do what they did. They know the trail already.
This mentoring program made a difference in my life and business.
There’s an adage that says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
The other day, I was looking for a notepad on my desk. I needed it to write down some information that I wanted to be sure to remember later.
My desk can get kind of messy. OK, it can get very messy. Stuff was piled all over the place.
I looked and looked. No notebook.
I moved some piles around. Looked under other piles. Nothing.
Finally, I stood up. I quickly spotted the notebook right where I could see it perfectly from a higher vantage point.
On the way home later that day, the odometer on my ever reliable car hit 272, 931 miles. It occurred to me that there is another six-digit number that would logically follow that one.
And no, I’m not thinking of 272,932. But, yes, I know that number would also logically follow 272,931.
I’m thinking of another number. Figured it out yet?
Try this. Remove the comma — 272931. Does that help. No?
All right. Give this a shot. Don’t think of it in thousands. That help? No?
All right. Think of the numbers in groups of two. 27 29 31. Now you know it, right?
The number I’m thinking of is 333,537. After 27 29 31 comes 33 35 37.
When you change the way you look at the number, the number changes.
It’s often that way in life. Often a problem arises. A challenge occurs.
If we groan and fuss and gripe about it. We’re not likely to find a way to solution.
But if we focus on finding a way around, over or through the situation, we’re much more likely to solve it. We might even find a way to turn it into a positive.
There’s a great episode of a show that’s been off the air for a while called, “The West Wing.” In it, the sitting president was running for re-election. The opposing candidate was portraying the president as aloof and out of touch.
Indeed the president was a brilliant man and often came across as condescending to some. His team struggled with a way to deal with it, until finally one of his advisors pointed out that they should use it to their advantage. He said it should be a blessing to have a president with a high IQ.
The president quit worrying about looking too smart. In the next debate, he showed his intellect and made his opponent look stupid. He went on to win re-election.
Next time you’re struggling with an issue, try to look at it from another perspective. See if there’s an upside, a way to use the situation for good.
Even if the thing you’re looking at doesn’t change, you’ll change for the better.
This network marketing system helped me change the way I look at business and at life.
My wife makes this great hash brown potato casserole that is out of this world. She takes some hash browns and mixes in some butter and other stuff, then puts them in a pan, tops them with bacon bits and cooks them in the oven.
They are good. I mean, they are real good.
She often cooks them for family reunions. When we’re going through the line, one of the first things I look for is those potatoes, because I’m hoping there’s still some of them left.
Often there’s not. I hate it when that happens.
My wife got the recipe from someone she knew. I was thinking the other day about how my wife follows the recipe. If I’m going to the store, she tells me exactly what she needs for that recipe. Then she puts in exactly the right amount of each ingredient and then cooks it for just the right amount of time.
She does all that because she has a recipe. She knows if she follows all those steps the casserole will come out just right.
It’s the same way in our life and in our business. If there’s someone who’s successful and is willing to show us the way, all we have to do is follow their directions. Do what they do and we’ll have the success that their having.
I spent years floundering in my network marketing business. I knew successful marketers, but their success didn’t translate to my success.
Then I found this free mentoring system. The networkers I met freely shared their expertise and their time with me. People who had absolutely no stake in my company showed me the path they had already taken to success.
For a while, I couldn’t believe it. I kept waiting for the manipulation.
It never happened.
I kept saying to myself, “What’s the catch?”
Never was one.
Finally, I got past my disbelief and started doing what my mentors showed me to do. Now, the success I had missed is coming my way.
All I had to do was follow the recipe.
This free e-book was the first step in my recipe for success.