It's All in Your Head
Does a positive attitude lead to success?
by Gary Lockwood
Having a positive attitude toward your business and toward life in general may be one of the most important characteristics of successful people. In my years of experience as a Business Coach, I have observed many successful entrepreneurs. With very few exceptions, those who are successful and happy have developed and maintained a positive outlook .
A positive attitude is not accidental. Successful entrepreneurs know how to create a positive attitude and positive motivation for themselves. They don't just wait for it to happen. That would be like wanting a drink of milk, then sitting in a pasture, waiting for a cow to back up to you.
By the way, having a positive attitude is not the same as blind optimism. I am not suggesting that you ignore the challenges in your life. I AM suggesting that you just not dwell there. What do successful entrepreneurs do to develop and maintain their positive attitude?
First, they know what's important. They have carefully determined what counts in their business and personal life. Highly successful people have clearly articulated values for your business in the areas of: customer service, employee relationships, cash flow, productivity, image and growth.
Why is this significant? The past few decades have seen enormous and accelerating changes in technology and social structure, in geopolitics and especially in the organizations in which we work. The pace of change is staggering and daunting. The mass of information available to humankind is doubling every 20 months. You make up to 1000 decisions per day. The time-to-market for new products and services is dropping fast. This is truly "Life in the Fast Lane".
In the midst of all this turmoil, you can't do everything. It is important to focus on a few things that you can do well. Someone once asked the great football coach, Vince Lombardi, to describe his offensive strategy. He said "to knock down all the opposing players". When asked about his defensive strategy, he said "to knock down all the opposing players". He said "if we do those two things well, all our other plans fall into place".
Knowing that we are working on the right things is a great boost to our positive attitude. In times of great change and ambiguity, how do we stay focused on the right things, unless we know what are the right things. Our business values help guide us.
Another way that successful entrepreneurs maintain their positive attitude is they talk to themselves. The things we say to ourselves influence our feelings and our attitude.
Once, there were two shoe salesmen sent to a faraway land to sell shoes. After the first day, one sent back a telegram saying "This place is a disaster! No one wears shoes!". The other salesperson also sent a telegram. His message was "This place is a gold mine! No one wears shoes!".
Being aware of what you say to yourself inside your head (self-talk) will help you adjust your attitude. Many people beat themselves up when things go awry. When you berate yourself and tell yourself that you are 'stupid' or 'useless' or 'an idiot', naturally you begin to feel negative about yourself, your business, the people around you and even life itself. Mistakes are the fuel of creativity. Everyone makes mistakes. Smart entrepreneurs LEARN from their mistakes and move on.
Try positive affirmations in place of negative self talk. When things get a little tense, just say to yourself "I can do this" or "We'll find a way to make this work" or "Let's concentrate on a solution, not who caused the problem".
Successful entrepreneurs keep their positive attitude by being careful about who they hang out with. There are always others who will readily tell you that 'it canıt be done' and ' youıll never make it'. Surround yourself with supporters. Good supporters will help you work on contingency plans and help you work around challenges without pounding you with discouragement. Avoid the "aint-it-awful" club.
Every weekday afternoon in America, between the hours of 4:00pm and 7:00pm, there are people sitting around bars and lounges talking about how bad the world is. They bemoan the economy, the competition, the government, the company, the weather, blah, blah, blah. And they call this "happy hour!" Don't join the "pity party".
Successful entrepreneurs also develop their positive attitudes because they feed on progress. At the end of each day, instead of recounting all the difficulties and all that remains undone, write your accomplishments. End each day on a positive note by jotting down the three best things that happened this day.
Often, there is no one around to acknowledge your achievements, especially those little ones that happen in the course of the day. By focusing a few minutes on your accomplishments, you give yourself a little pat on the back and recognize progress, even when small.
Successful entrepreneurs take charge of the quality of their lives. A recent study showed only 4% of people enjoy both their work life and personal life. Many people have made financial objectives their sole concern and have paid a heavy price for their success - poor health, failed marriages, neglected friendships, no personal development in any area except business.
Financial success, no matter how great, can never compensate for poor quality of life. A properly functioning business is supposed to be the servant of a full and satisfying life that includes good health, close and loving relationships, recreation, culture, and a powerful contribution to the community.
The successful entrepreneur develops a personal life that is multi-dimensional. How? The solution is to take time away from your business. Free time makes you sharper. Free time provides the rejuvenation you need to restore your confidence and sense of well-being. You come back from time off with a new perspective, a higher energy level, increased creativity, and often, a breakthrough idea.
When things get busy or when business gets tough, its easy to let your attitude slip. Yet, this is when you most need your positive attitude. Your attitude influences your actions. When you really need positive action, remember that 'itıs all in your head'. Enjoy the journey!
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Gary Lockwood is a Business Coach, Speaker and Publisher of the BizSuccess Coaching Program at "www.bizsuccess.com"
Gary helps business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals get all they really want from their business, professional practice or job.
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Fax: (760) 770-0868
Email: [email protected]
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