Never has there been a time in history in which the key’s to success and a better future are readily available. It’s almost as if the key to unlocking your future, your dreams a better life is right in front of you, but only hidden in between the pages of a good book. When CEO.com published this CEO Bookshelf list I was instantly excited, if you look at the list you have some of the most influential leaders in the world who make decisions everyday that influence the lives of millions of people. The books they read are a key indicator to there character and decision making abilities. I wanted to share this list with you to hope it helps you on your journey in life.
Everyone in life as some point is going to experience failure. In fact if you’re reading this you’re probably the type of person that fails more often then you’ve succeed. Failure is just a large part of life, I don’t need to know you or know your story to know that failure is apart of your life. I’m sure you have experienced this familiar set-up; you have an exciting goal in mind; you’ve done your homework; you think you’re amply prepared… but things just don’t work out. You’ve probably had times when you thought you were doing what you were supposed to do, but you were misinformed. You thought you had it all laid out, but it just didn’t work. You burned the midnight oil day after day after day, but it didn’t seem to help. You couldn’t seem to change the end result.
These are the times when you have to be your own best cheerleader. And there are two ways to keep yourself encouraged:
1. Take responsibility for the missed opportunity or the misrepresentation. Learn from the fact that even though you made the best presentation possible, your client wanted it a different way. Be prepared for the letdowns that happen every so often. Know that this lost opportunity just set you up to take advantage of the next one. Make the changes that will make the difference. Instead of dwelling on the mistakes, simply acknowledge them and learn from them.
2. Remind yourself that you’re bound to get better. Don’t get down on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s the next opportunity that matters, not the last one. The last one matters only in that you must learn from your mistakes. But the next one gives you the opportunity to make the necessary alterations, to show that you have learned from your mistakes. You can do it better next time. You just have to practice. Keep trying until. Until what? Until you’ve got it down.
3. Realize you’ve come along away. Trying and failing is much better then not trying at all. Realize that life is about the journey and not the event. Success is not a single event but several events over an extended period of time. Failing hundreds of times is insignificant in the big picture of your life.
4. Embrace the Changes you need to make. There is a reason you failed, and typically you habits and skill set is a large part of that reason. I know alot of people say “it’s not you that’s failing”, well I would say, it is your fault. It is not a reflection of what you could possibly achieve, you are not a “failure in life” however you did fail at this task and that is a reflection of your current skill set in life. Typically for you to turn your failures into a triumph you’re going to need to get better and that’s going to require change both in you and with things around you.
If you figured out what went wrong last time, then you know how to make it right next time. If you figured out what it was in your presentation that didn’t work, don’t say that next time. If you figured out that the reason you didn’t close the deal this time was because you didn’t have all the facts and figures in place, have all the facts and figures in place next time. Don’t beat yourself up for messing up. Pat yourself on the back for figuring it out.
You need to encourage yourself. You need to pump yourself up. You need to be your own cheerleader. Why? Because you can’t wait and hope that someone else will come along and cheer you up… make you feel better… tell you that you’ll do better next time. You have to rely on yourself. You have to have faith in yourself and your ability to figure out what works and what doesn’t. You have to have the inner belief that everything you’re doing, you’re doing for a positive outcome in the future. You have to encourage yourself with future successes.
Cheer yourself on to victory. You can do it.
The simple truth in life is that their’s no easy path between where you are and where you want to go. The hardest part about dealing with change in life is the realization that for you to move up, you’ve got to move on. Moving on requires you to have the confidence to step forward into the unknown and be willing to give up what you have openly accepted in your life up until that point.
It’s unfortunate that so many people in life don’t realize that for everyday they passively allow the average and familiar to stay in their life they are actively saying no to the best they could achieve and ultimately the full life experience. For real progress to be made in life, you must intentionally say no to the average and challenge yourself to seek out and create the best that life has to offer. In essence what you say no to in life is much more important then what you say yes to.
I have found that the prerequisite to getting the best is saying no to the known and the familiar, or simply put; you have to give up to go up. It’s only when you’re willing to give up the old does room for the new begin to take form.
The habit of actively evaluating and reevaluate situations, relationships, businesses, habits, conduct, health and all that your life has to offer is the first stepping stone to real progress. I’ve learned the unevaluated life create the environment for average to prosper. Typically the unevaluated business is the mediocre business, the unevaluated relationship is the mediocre relationship and the unevaluated life is the mediocre life. All great things in life take a tremendous of energy, passion and thought to achieve. This energy, passion and thought are the formula to get in the drivers seat of your life and ultimately create the life you want.
I’ve intentionally built this process into my life for many years. Every quarter I sit down and for a day and evaluate all areas of my life. I evaluate personal relationships, business relationships, habits and most importantly myself. I then make a “Stop doing list”, the stop doing list is my chance to let the past go and bring in the new. This could be to stop planning events for the company and to delegate it to someone else or something as simple as saying “I’m no longer going to allow this person in my life”. These steps allow for new and better relationships to begin. You have to be comfortable with the empty space during these transition periods which is why leadership is sometimes a lonely position. When it is time to start new, this is your time to be very selective on your new choice.
Several years ago the company was just starting to get a name and we were getting great coverage in the mortgage industry press. This was obviously a positive but I felt that for us to move to the next level and be a real brand we needed to be more forward facing to the public and I felt TV was the best way to do this. I put my team on this and was surprised when all we got was turned down for over 6 months. Upon reflection I realized that if I wanted things to change then we needed to isolate the issue. We turned all focus to TV spots and I completely stopped doing press for the mortgage industry. This was very controversial for my PR manager and I received push back from my team with things like “Who do you think you are” and “No one says no to a reporter”. I explained to them my rationale and then put 100% of my teams focus on finding TV spots.
It took about 3 months, but eventually I got in on a local morning show, then a weekly business show, then CNBC, Bloomberg and now I’ve been on a little over a dozen TV shows which has been great for getting our message out about the company as well as our charity organization. It turned one of the reasons that I wasn’t getting television opportunities was that I was perceived as too young in the eyes of many producers and they didn’t want the young kid to blow it on national television. Because I was so busy with other things that I didn’t realize the real issue which was the image I was giving off. By redirecting, giving up the old focusing on a higher objective I was able to overcome those barriers and now I can easily do both. But also I’ve become a very vocal figure within the industry and have used the press to do good both within and outside my industry.
In a leaders life the balance of the old and new is constant and is going to require constant questioning both personally and professionally, every quarter the “Stop doing” list is something that should be look at and thoroughly examined to make sure you’re making progress in life but also to make sure you’re moving forward.
Below are some points that you should consider to allow the best into your life:
1. Do things you never done before
2. Learn things you’ve never learned before
3. Say no to things you’ve never said no to before
4. Change things you’ve never changed before.
5. Be someone you’ve never been before.