Everyday life can easily create habits in our responses that mean rather than shaping the world around us we are defined by our environment. In such a place success is harder to define, find and keep. To change such circumstance starts with our attitude and that is something we can learn from a skilled coach.
The other day whilst out running, I was listening to an audio book The Essence of Success by the late Earl Nightingale. The author described an event that captured the notion of success being an inside job.
He recounted how a popular US newspaper columnist, Sydney Harris and his friend were out for a walk one evening, when Sydney’s friend bought a paper and politely thanked the vendor. The vendor however, didn't even acknowledge him. Sydney commented to his friend that the vendor was a rather surly fellow.
“He's like that every night” his friend replied.
“So why be so polite to him then?” enquired Sydney.
His friend immediately replied, “Why should I let him dictate how I should act?”
Reflecting on the incident later on, it hit Sydney that his friend’s words were true but that the operative word was ‘act’. He thought that far too many people simply reacted to circumstances rather than predetermining what their actions would be regardless of the circumstances.
Harris wrote in his article that ‘nothing is more unhappier than the perpetual reactor. His centre of emotional gravity is not centred within himself but within the world outside him. His spiritual centre is being raised or lowered by the social climate around him.’ He concluded that 'we must learn to become the masters of our own actions and attitudes.'
For me, the story seems to point towards deliberate actions being based on a clarity of purpose and a strong set of personal values that are routinely expressed or in other words - acted on. This is further supported by the famous quote from James Allen,
“Circumstances don’t make a man, they reveal him."
These words stand true for businesses as well as individuals. Imagine if I was to come into your business and observe your interactions with those around you, what would they reveal about you or your business?
As a coach I meet lots of businesses that have inadvertently fallen into the trap of reacting instead of acting. This is normally a subtle, almost imperceptible, shift over time. However, when challenged with some simple business questions then owners and managers quickly realise they’ve ended up somewhere they don’t want to be. Typically, this means that they have lost sight of their initial mission, vision and values in response to changing market conditions. This has gradually led to them becoming too reactive to short-term circumstances. This can cause other issues that negatively impact on the business such as taking on too many of the wrong clients, undertaking pieces of work that are neither inspiring nor profitable, chase the money syndrome, and / or forgetting to execute and measure a deliberate and defined business strategy.
Help is at hand though and we have specifically designed a Business Success Coaching package that helps individuals and businesses be clear about where they currently are, state explicitly where they want to be (i.e. define success) and to design a strategy that they act on to ensure that they achieve business success. The package is based on the latest research and our work with hundreds of business owners over the last 2 decades.
Think about how you’d know if you’ve got the right balance between acting on your clearly defined business success strategy or are you reacting too much to short-term market conditions?
The chances are that if your business isn’t achieving what you think it could or should be in terms of profit, or if you’re having to work longer and longer hours to generate the same turnover then it’s likely that elements of the business have become too reactive. Act now and get in touch and we can arrange a quick review for you.