Today’s post is by Herman Dixon, president and CEO of Think BIG! Coaching and Training, Inc., a professional practice that helps CEOs, entrepreneurs, leadership teams, and sales professionals maximize their goals and opportunities.
You worked hard and had a strategy – yet you still fell short of your goals. What happened?
In these cases, consider the factors that constitute what I call the “dirty dozen” of why success can elude you. Understanding these factors – and then using the knowledge gained to reverse them – will go far in helping you find success.
Factor #1: You didn’t exercise the proper people skills.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. You must have the ability and desire to listen, and to be empathetic with others. Kindness breeds understanding and promotes respect. Demands must give way to being helpful and influencing others to act. Making people feel important should be an active daily event.
Factor #2: You didn’t cultivate a strong vision.
Success demands creative thinking. People want to be led and inspired physically, emotionally, and mentally. Those who want to lead or be in the forefront but lack vision, are unable to reach their potential or provide hope to those who follow. Vision drives imagination and inspires creativity. It is a critical asset for success.
Factor #3: You failed to stay focused.
Focus is a vital part of life. Having a clear set of priorities provides a roadmap for the right things to get accomplished so goals can be met. Beginning one project, setting it aside, and starting another accomplishes little more than piling more papers on a desk. Your disorganization can cause chaos for your customers. Remember: Simply keeping busy will not always yield accomplishments. You must work in a focused way.
Factor #4: You didn’t manage your emotional state.
Emotional management is a vital factor for simply living. Individuals who insult and rant about employees, friends, and colleagues – or who intimidate others – only make a room brighter when they finally leave that room.
Uncontrollable emotions produce non-productive results. Non-productive results lead to shortfall and outright failure in achieving business goals. Emotional management is a vital part of achieving success.
Factor #5: You fought change.
Opposing the new and being fundamentally locked into the past can be defeating. We all fall into the trap of repeating past actions and expecting different results from time to time. Just remember: Today’s business environment demands attention to new innovation and techniques that better meet the demands of clients as well as business operations. Closing one’s mind to that reality will only hold back you and your business in the long run. Expect change because it will come.
Factor #6: You were complacent.
Sometimes it is easy to feel we have “arrived.” We may be financially secure, confident in ourselves, and willing to “ride the horse” that brought us forward for the balance of time.
At this point we become, in essence, “lazy” and stop doing the things that brought us success. We deflect responsibility – at times knowingly and at times unknowingly – until we transform from a personal “asset” to a visible “liability.” Complacency kills growth, encouragement, and determination. Complacency is not a friend on your path to success.
Factor #7: You didn’t take the right risks.
Feelings of fear or simply having a poor self-image can cause an individual to hesitate and therefore find failure instead of success.
Risk taking is a valuable asset in building personal strengths. Whether it is facing the competition, creating new projects, or meeting new people, lacking the courage to engage displays a crucial flaw that lessens overall performance. A tendency to “freeze” without reason can also affect your whole team and reduce their desire to explore the unknown. As was once said, “People who take risks are the people you’ll lose against.”
Factor #8: You made it all about you instead of the team.
When one wants to do it all alone, the concept and power of everyone thinking together is lost. Refusing to take suggestions, shutting out critical insight, feeling threatened when help is offered, and firmly believing that one’s insight and approach is the only way to get things done is a recipe for certain failure.
No one is an island. Use teamwork to gain greater productivity, gather broader insight, and have the potential for far-reaching efficiency.
Factor #9: You failed to ask for help.
Virtually everyone has days in which personal issues take them out of the moment. However, when we fail to confide or seek the proper help – and our problems become our life story – we only create more problems.
Factor #10: You were overly sensitive.
Sensitivity is a noble quality but also brings challenges. When it impacts individuals to the point where they do not want to be questioned or challenged – or receive any constructive debriefing of any type at any time – this is a prescription for failure. This affliction produces the “turtle syndrome”: You do not stick your neck out for anything. In the end it is vital to remember the age-old saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Factor #11: You didn’t accept responsibility.
There are no perfect people or situations. Mistakes happen daily. Sometimes those mistakes are huge. Other times we find mistakes to be minor. In the end, accepting responsibility for shortfalls builds credibility. This can set the stage for credibility and validation to flourish.
Factor #12: You were stubborn.
Standing firm for one’s core beliefs can be an admirable trait. However, standing firm – neither open to compromise nor willing to listen to win-win options in most other areas – will often be seen as punitive. Obstinance chills the soul of opportunity. In the spirit of effective teamwork and in carrying forth progress, it is imperative that obstinance be set aside and replaced by prudent reasoning if ultimate success and esprit de corps is to be realized.
Former UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” By being aware of the “dirty dozen” and applying these lessons, you should be able to clearly become your best and most successful self.