Success in life and in business is the result of several compounding efforts. The key word here being ‘compounding’,
suggesting that success is not ONE stroke of fate but the summation of several calculated trials and efforts expended along a consistent direction.
You can never achieve success in one day. It’s a journey one must embark on every day and never a destination one intends to stop. To make this journey, the success or failure depends on your preparation.
Success they say is when opportunity meets with preparation. To succeed, you must train yourself first to identify opportunities, then look for ways to seize those opportunities.
In other words, success is developing the ability to recognize opportunities and developing the capacity to seize those opportunities recognized. Most times, when you see great achievements, don’t just marvel at the results, find out what specific actions was taken before they got the kind of results you now admire.
It’s those set of specific actions that gave birth to the results you now admire. You cannot hope to achieve the same kind of results they achieved by simply studying or copying the results, never. To get the same results, you’ve got to identify, learn, master and take the same set of specific actions.
Identifying those set of specific actions capable of yielding SIGNIFICANT results in your business is the focus of this article. By reading this article, I hope to help you identify, learn and master the 3 highly effective habits that will guarantee the outcome of the journey of success you’ve decided to embark on in your business.
A little word of caution!
This is an unusual article about 3000 words long! Which means, it could seem pretty long at first sight, but I beg your indulgence, kindly exercise the patience to go through it all gradually? Please don’t scheme, every single word are in their rightful place, nothing is out of place, if it weren’t so I wouldn’t be giving you this pre-information. It was written specially for you, in case you’re in a hurry right now and can’t read it all at once? Here’s what you can do; send it to your email, bookmark it, print it out, copy and save in MS word, retweet it on twitter, do whatever you like, but just make sure you read it and read as if your life depended on it, because it does! Trust me
Preparation is the KEY to success
As the great inventor and businessman Henry Ford once said; “before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” They are the behind the scene habits that constitute external success or victory in any given endeavour in life and in business. As a matter of principle, preparation is the most vital element of achieving success.
As former coach Bobby Knight once put it;
“the will to succeed is important. But I will tell you what’s more important; it is the will to prepare!”
After all is said and done, fortune will only favor those who are fully prepared to seize opportunities when nature makes them available. The first use of your time as an entrepreneur is in preparing to become the qualified person for the goal, vision or dream you seek. You the dreamer must first and foremost grow and develop yourself to match the size of the dream you seek.
What then are some of the habits that constitute preparation? They are basically three and come in this order; (LTP).
These are the 3 highly important habits that will not just guarantee success in your business but also in your life. Learn them; master them and then go ahead to apply them in your life and in your business.
Our ability to do is constantly limited by what we know. Therefore, in order to be able to do more, we must perpetually expand our knowledge through learning. Knowledge is therefore the power to do. Without knowledge our ability to do is limited. So the first kind of habit to develop in order to equip and empower yourself for where you want to go and who you want to be is learning. Learning is the willingness to acquire the knowledge, attitude and skills required for the dream, vision or goal you seek. Learning is perpetual; we are never through with learning. It’s a lifelong habit!
How do you learn?
Learning basically comes from two sources;
1. Study: this describes knowledge or skills obtained mentally. It could be done through one; personal reading of books and two; being taught by someone else.
2. Observation: this involves knowledge or skills acquired socially. They are obtained from the environment in which you find yourself and the experience, either yours or that of others. The environment comprises learning from your immediate surroundings and they constitute both positive and negative experiences and events. That means you should be learning from your mistakes, successes, failures, victories and loses as well as that of others.
What should you be learning?
They are basically three dimensions of learning;
1. The ‘why?’ is the purpose for the kind of dream, vision or goal you seek. Do you have a reason for wanting what you so desperately seek? Do you know why you want to achieve that goal, dream or vision so badly? Why is it so important for you to be successful for example? Do you know why being successful is so important? Why do you want to build a successful business or life? What is the purpose of success to you? Why do you need to be successful?
The ‘why?’ is the first kind of knowledge you should seek, because it brings into perspective all other things which you still have to learn. Without a healthy reason for chasing a dream, vision or goal, we end up becoming victims and prisoners of our own dreams, visions or goals. We compromise on the right principles, standards and values that naturally would have preserved whatever it is we so desperately seek. The ‘why?’ serves as a fuel (motivation) to propel you towards learning other things you need to know in order to have the dream you seek.
The ‘why?’ ignites your passion to endure the whole preparation process. It constantly keeps your dreams, visions or goals in check making sure your actions, attitudes and thoughts are all in line with what you desire.
If the ‘why’ isn’t big enough, the ‘what’ (dream) will appear too difficult for you to achieve and the ‘how’ (process) will appear too difficult for you to endure.
Your reason (the why) must be big enough to give you the required energy to embark and stick to the process (the how) in order to fulfill your dream, vision or goal (the what).
2. The ‘what?’ is the vivid knowledge of what you seek. The ‘what?’ is the clear picture of the desirable future you so desperately seek. Do you know what exactly it is? It answers the question; “what exactly do I want?” “How well do I know this dream, vision or goal?” “How will I know when it is eventually achieved?” “How am I so sure this is what I really want?”
Knowing the ‘what?’ helps to clarify your focus. It puts your dream, vision or goal into the right perspective. That is; the way it ought to be not the way you perceive it to be. Many of us want and pursue dreams, goals or visions we don’t even fully understand, how then do we intend to achieve them?
For example, most people don’t understand what it means to be successful in business and in life, yet they hunger and thirst after success. Without a clear understanding of the goal or vision you seek, there’s every possibility that you won’t recognize it when it comes or worse still settling for something lesser than what you originally set out to accomplish.
If you’re going to spend your life pursuing a goal, dream or vision, wouldn’t it be wise to first spend ample time learning about the goal, dream or vision?
Pursuing a goal, dream or vision you don’t fully understand, is like chasing thin air; you would only be busy doing nothing. So learn about that particular dream, goal or vision you seek. What would it look like when it’s finally achieved? What are the obvious characteristics of the dream, vision or goal? What will be the signs of the dream, vision or goal once achieved?
In this case, what will success in my business look like? Will the success of your business be solely dependent on you? What are some of the challenges of being successful? What will be the definition of success in my business and in my life?
3. The ‘How?’ is learning about the requirements or ingredients needed to make your dream, vision or goal a reality. The ‘How?’ is the price tag of The ‘what?’ and a test of The ‘why?’ The ‘How?’ is having an understanding of the essential skills and knowledge commensurate to the dream, vision or goal you seek. The ‘How?’ involves learning what it takes to make your dream, vision or goal happen. Without The ‘How?’ what you seek will only remain an imagination!
Dreams, visions or goals don’t just COME through, they are WORKED through. You must be prepared to learn all that it takes to do the work of making your dream, vision or goal a reality. The truly successful KNOW what it takes and DO what it takes, no wonder they are the only ones that HAVE what it takes to make their dreams, visions or goals a reality.
While the unsuccessful ones still dream, they LEARN, DO and ultimately HAVE and LIVE the dreams the unsuccessful are still busy imagining. Show me the size of your dream, vision or goal and I will tell you to go begin developing your muscles.
The ‘How?’ is often three times bigger than the size of your dream, vision or goal. So the next time you lay on your bed dreaming and imagining what your life would look like once your dream, vision or goal becomes a reality, check your muscles to be sure they are three times bigger than what you seek.
You want to be sure you have developed enough mental, emotional, spiritual and physical muscles needed to deliver the dream, vision or goal you seek. For it takes consistent hard work and perseverance to make dreams, visions or goals a reality. Many are ill-prepared for the dream, vision or goal they seek.
How prepared are you? In this case, what are the principles and practices of a successful business? Do you know what it takes to build a successful business? In other words, do you know how to create company that will be SIGNIFICANT (different and making a difference?)
This is the second habit of preparation. After learning comes thinking; the digestion and internalization of knowledge or skill acquired. In my opinion, this is about the most dreaded habit of many. What many refer to as thinking is simply worrying. Success in the pursuit of a dream, vision or goal will only happen once we are all able to tell the difference between thinking and worrying. The successful think while the unsuccessful worry.
What is thinking?
Thinking is that rare ability of coming up with unique and useful solutions or ideas to challenging situations or problems by using our mind to creatively ANALYZE, ORGANIZE and INTERPRET information received from our five senses.
Thinking is the art of making sense of reality; how we interpret the information received from our five senses. Thinking is how we form our perception (understanding, opinion, belief, and mindset) of reality. It is how we interpret the world around us (reality) and come up with our own definition or meaning to things.
That means, how we analyze, organize and interpret (think about) the information supplied by our senses from the world around us (reality) forms the basis of our perception (understanding, opinion, belief, and mindset) about things (issues, problems, events, experiences, circumstances, environments etc.). And that is why it is such a very delicate matter.
Thinking has the power to change our perception (understanding, opinion, belief, and mindset) of the world around us (reality). And once it begins to change our perception (understanding, opinion, belief, and mindset) of the world around us (reality) our life begins to change either positively or negatively depending on the kind of information we received from our five senses. That is thinking can totally alter how we analyze, organize and interpret what we see, feel, hear, taste and smell.
Worrying on the other hand is not trying to make sense of reality. It’s more of trying to deny reality by focusing more on the issue, problem, situation, experience etc., rather than trying to understand it so as to gain the power to overcome it. Worrying is not analyzing, organizing and interpreting the information we receive from our five senses, it’s complaining, labeling and ignoring the information we receive from our five senses.
Instead of trying to analyze the situation or problem (this is the 1st step of thinking), worrying focuses on complaining about the situation or problem.
Instead of trying to organize the facts obtained from analyzing the situation or problem (this is the 2nd step of thinking), worrying focuses on labeling; attributing blames and assigning names to the situation or problem.
Instead of trying to draw up solutions or ideas by interpreting the organized facts obtained from analyzing the situation or problem (this is the 3rd step of thinking), worrying simply ignores all the information presented by the problem or situation hoping that the problem or situation will take care of itself somehow.
The goal or objective of thinking is to gain adequate knowledge or insight of the problem or situation so as to be able to uncover a suitable idea or solution to overcome the problem. It’s like looking at the problem or situation through a microscope; you want to see the patterns, the cause and effects of the problem or situation by dissecting and magnifying it.
Thinking helps us discover solutions by understanding the problem or situation.
Until the problem or situation is fully understood through deep thinking, the suitable idea or solution required to overcome the problem or situation will keep eluding us.
On the other hand, the goal or objective of worrying is SAYING everything humanly possible to make the problem or situation go away except DOING the right thing which is; spending time to analyze, organize and interpret all the information you are getting from the problem or situation. Problems don’t go away by simply talking (SAYING); they go away by taking actions (DOING).
After ‘the saying’, ‘the doing’ must always follow. This is the essence of thinking; it helps us know WHERE to begin to do. It gives us an idea on how to tackle the problem or situation.
Since the role of learning is to equip us with a reason to pursue our dreams, visions, or goals (the why?); a vivid understanding of the dreams, visions or goals we seek (the what?); and a knowledge of what it takes to make our dreams, visions or goals a reality (the how?).
So, the role of thinking is to help us identify with our present problem or situation so as to be able to discover a way out of it (the where?) and begin the journey towards the dreams, visions or goals we so desperately seek.
This is the formulation and presentation of knowledge and skills acquired through learning guided by the ideas or solutions generated through thinking into a strategic series or course of action.
In other words, Planning can be defined as “the intelligent organization of our knowledge, skills, experiences, ideas and solutions into a set of strategic actions”.
By strategic, I mean each action carefully developed and executed as a vital part of a much bigger whole. That is every action in the plan builds on previous actions and sets the tone for future actions. The outcome of your preparation is a finished and detailed plan that will be used as a guide when applying all you’ve gathered from the two initial habits of learning and thinking.
In this case, you want to have a laid out series of strategic actions (blueprint) that will deliver your dream, vision or goal of building a successful business or life. Your plan should include the following;
1. Timeline: how long will it take you to go from here to where you want to be? In other words, what is the expiration date for your dream, vision or goal? For example, what date in the future do you plan to have built a successful business or life?
2. Deliverables: how will you know you are gradually approaching the accomplishment of the dream, vision or goal you seek? Dreams, visions or goals don’t happen as a whole, they materialize in tiny little parts that when put together makes the complete whole. Deliverables are the tiny little parts of your dream, vision or goal and you’ve got to have a list of what they are. For example, how many branches of your business must you build to be satisfied? How much impact must your businesses have in the lives of those it serves?
3. Tactics: how do you want to play to win? What are going to be your tools for delivering your dream, vision or goal? In this case, how do you want to build your successful business empire? What successful business building instruments or tools do you want to adopt? There are several ways of achieving success in business, so how do you intend to measure your level of success? In cash or in kind, or both?