"It's not where you start it 's where you finish" so the song goes … meaning that you do not necessarily have to START OUT as a winner – provided you make the decision to be one – you can acquire the necessary skills along the way.
This weekend I've been looking at my attitude (well I'm always looking at this to tell the truth). Let's face it we could all use something to give us a kick in the pants when we start feeling sorry for ourselves. However, sometimes it's worth stepping back to look at the big picture and reflect. So yesterday I deliberately stepped off the roundabout for a day to rest and recharge the batteries.
I've started to read a book by Frank Dick, OBE former director of Coaching for British Athletics. He talks about the difference between Valley people and Mountain people. Valley people seek the calm and comfortable ground of shelter, safety and security – their concept of achievement is 'not losing', and belong to the 'woulda, coulda, shouda' brigade.
Mountain people however, have decided that valley life is not for them and seek to test ambition on the toughest climbs. They know that there is rich satisfaction in reaching the top and the fight that's needed to get there.
Whilst reading I also learned something very interesting from Miroslav Vanek, former President of the International Federation of Sport Psychologists. He did a comparison study between motivation and talent. What was evident from his study that the most talented athletes did not have the same high level of motivation as the less gifted, who had to learn to deal with defeat. Therefore, those athletes who had not had the chance to develop a resilience to defeat – "a resilience they would need in the senior arena where every athlete, no matter how able, sooner or late faces defeat, because their abilities had never been challenged. these athletes had never stretched themselves ".
He goes on to say that the less talented athletes had been obliged to learn, to adapt, to fight, to bounce back. They had learned to face change.
What I took from this book is that in actuality – it's my own personal attributes – which are crucial in overcoming obstacles, regardless of what industry, arena or field I'm in. Without these attributes I would be unable to handle myself in challenging times, deal with change or setbacks. Without it – I would be blaming my circumstances, or feel a victim or powerless in the face of these external influences.
I had to admit to myself – that yes as a kid I was a talented athlete – but as to whether or not I had it within myself to accept defeat was something else. Then I recalled the time I was selected to trial for my County as a sprinter. On the day I did not even get a chance to compete because I slipped and fell flat on my face at the start line. Speechless disappointment followed. Then there was the time I was unable to successfully defend my long jump title because I delivered 3 'no jumps' in a row, and walked away in tears. Then there was the really disappointment of being beaten into 3rd place by .5cm at an important long jump event, and therefore missing out on the All England Championships later that season.
Sure I probably did allow those things to 'hang around' for a few days – before having a meaningful discussion with my Coach and looking for alternatives or 'finding the positives' in the situation – which I eventually did.
So … when you translate that into business, think about this. You've got a great product or an amazing service. But that's not enough. Because when you work for yourself – every challenge is usually magnified a 100 times anyway, because at the end of the day – the buck stops with you does not it?
In order to pass the winning post first requires a decision to work on yourself as well. You may only be running a business part-time or have only just started, or you're about to diversity, but consider yourself as a mountain person.
- Concentrate on what's important. Whatever discomfort or sacrifice or inconvenience you are experiencing NOW may be temporary – but the short term pain will be worth it in the long run
- Commit to being a professional and aim for excellence. Ask yourself from now on "how can I add value – how can I be even better".
- G o the extra mile in all areas . What would the best of the best be thinking and doing right now?
- B elieve in yourself first – work with a trusted adviser, mentor or coach. Plaster your house with slogans that tell you you're amazing. Stay away from the dream stealers and their tiny minds.
- Be flexible to changing circumstances and be open to new opportunities. Even difficulties have within them potential profitable opportunities
- Be organised – treat your business and yourself as a professional at all times – even if nobody can necessarily see everything going on in the background – remember you'll know which is just as important