This article is part 2 of how to leverage the success mindset when you’re growing your business where I’m looking at dealing with change in business and sharing five Rs that help build your business resilience.
This article is part 2 of a two-part focus on how to leverage the success mindset when you’re growing your business. So, if you haven’t gone through part 1 – podcast or article – where we went through the three Ps, you might want to do that first.
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In part 1, the focus was on developing the right mental attitude on your road to success, drawing on 3Ps – your philosophy, personality and persistence. Without being overly simplistic, instead of seeing a dark cloud, we worked on seeing the silver lining in the cloud.
And in this second part, now I’m sharing five Rs – which are all about how to boost your efforts in the success zone, how to deal with circumstance and change on our growth trajectory and how to build your business resilience.
What Happens Happens, right?
A positive outlook is necessary to see challenging situations as opportunities to grow. The success mindset is a big part of how you can deal with change in business. Developing greater resilience means that you can work with the change and create opportunities out of whatever happens in your life or in your business environment.
A fabulous book regarding dealing with change in business and the power of a positive attitude is “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, MD.
If you get a chance to read it, it’s a very enlightening story – it’s a short little book and you can actually watch a Youtube movie – anyway it’s about these four little characters and how they respond to change. Based on metaphors about success, what makes us happy, comfort zones, entitlement, challenge, and so forth, it’s hilarious when you recognise bits of your own attitudes and behaviours in one or more of the characters!
My personal example for this was a major change from a long-standing career in academic development to starting my own consulting firm. And it all came about when the environment changed and I didn’t really feel the job I was in was the right fit anymore – and I kind of sabotaged my position to get an out. It provided an opportunity to break free from all the politics of corporate management; and working for myself now for more than 13 years, I’ve had zero regrets.
The whole change and opportunity came about because someone moved my cheese so to speak. It was something I’d thought about doing for a long time, because I knew it could create more freedom in my life. But I’d not had the courage to follow my entrepreneurial path until the situation presented itself and I reached a tipping point.
Without being overly simplistic, instead of seeing a dark cloud when our circumstances change, work on seeing the silver lining in the cloud. Sometimes our new cheese is way better than the old cheese – and we hadn’t realised there was another option until something supposedly bad happened. Instead of waiting for the push, why not seek out those changes, seek out new opportunities, find ways to do things differently, that’s the growth mindset.
Jim Rohn, a popular business leader and mentor famously says:
For things to change, YOU have to change.
For things to get better, YOU have to get better.
But that doesn’t mean always beating on yourself either – my motto is to plan for change by seeing and seeking out opportunities. I like to plan for both pace and peace – pace, so you feel you’re always moving forward and peace so you can enjoy the successes along the way.
So whether circumstances causes a change for you or you yourself push for change, your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to see it as a positive development.
With this in mind, what we’re going to cover are five success boosters to help deal with change in business through our attitude and perception of circumstances and change as well as our associations and support system.
And just as last week we had the 3Ps, these all begin with R – the 5Rs that build business resilience and finish off with a few benchmarks for developing a success mindset.
#1 – Reality Checks
#2 – Responsibility
#3 – Relationships
#4 – Reflect and Assess
#5 – Your Roadmap
Success Booster #1 – Reality Checks
In order to gain right thinking (being positive), you must decide to look at the bright side of life. For example, the company you work for is downsizing and you’re getting laid off or made redundant. Instead of seeing downsizing as a horrible thing that will plummet you in to debt, despair and depression, consider it an opportunity to look for a better job and take a chance on developing new skills and going down a new career path that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do before. And you probably wouldn’t have taken the opportunity without this having happened to you.
I write about this in my book, about turning obstacles into opportunities, because I had a similar circumstance and it led to me starting my consulting practice. I’ve been an independent business owner now for over 13 years and can happily say, although there have been tough times –it’s at least down to me not someone else’s decision – and I’ve never regretted the move that circumstance created for me.
Don’t be pollyannaish here – being positive isn’t about being blindly optimistic – it’s about considering all sides of a situation before you adopt a negative perspective. In order to maintain a positive outlook, you also must be realistic.
For example, if you’ve gained 30 pounds in the last 3 years, it would be highly unrealistic to expect to drop those 30 pounds in 3 weeks. If you take an honest and realistic assessment of your skills and goals, you’re much more likely to find success in whatever field or career or pursuit you go for.
Maintain a cautious optimism as you seek success, not be blindly optimistic about every situation. There are some situations in which positive thinking cannot overcome the situation you’re faced with.
Consider if you’re a heavy weight boxer or a quarterback; these are men in excellent shape. But if either decided to trade in their sport for high jump or ballet, verrrrry unlikely they’d make a success of it, despite having a great physique.
Blind optimism also puts you at the mercy of con artists and fraudsters — so obviously, your optimism must be tempered by context and relevance.
No matter what your abilities are (and I’m sure they’re fabulous), using them realistically will get you much farther than not. The right thinking, paired with your abilities, is what puts you on a course for success—no matter what field you’re in!
We’ve touched on this in the attitude sections last week, but there’s more to it than just having a positive attitude. You must believe in yourself and that You CAN DO IT!
“So how do I do THAT?” you might be asking me right about now. “I’m really not good at very much… So-and-so at my office doesn’t struggle with anything. That’s why they succeed!” I’m sorry — did we begin a whine-fest here? Who’s bringing the cheese to go with the whine?
One thing that stands in the way of success is your ability to believe in yourself whilst recognising where you still need to learn and grow. Sometimes we stay too long in learning mode, and need to push ourselves to take imperfect action – to keep moving forward. Because by taking action, we find clarity about the next step.
And that leads to the second R.
Success Booster #2 – Responsibility
Success booster no. 2 is all about taking responsibility – it’s about owning your circumstances and holding yourself accountable.
If you’re late for a meeting, we often give some lame excuse and blame it on the traffic or a previous meeting running on, two classics right?! But really, the truth is you didn’t leave early enough.
Excuses keep you in victim-land, whereas you want to be in victor-land. Excuses are natural yet unhelpful behaviours. Excuses don’t give us the momentum we need to succeed. They zap our mo-jo – remember I talked about mojo last week in part1.
Many moons ago I was working with a coach within a leadership programme, Bob Thomson, author of Growing People and many other titles and now Professor at Warwick Business School. In one of the group sessions – he shared something that really struck home at the time and has stayed with me for 15+ years – nowadays you’d probably call it a meme – and it was this:
Responsibility + Accountability = Ownership
Responsibility without Accountability doesn’t equal much, it’s just whining!
What leads us to take responsibility and hold ourselves accountable is really a simple concept – that of “ownership”. When we own the problem, we don’t blame circumstances or other people. Ownership is a real driver of success here.
And it’s often tough to grab it by the horns. Because, we all struggle with “stuff” – with something that feels like it happened to you, or was done to you – whether or not you know what that something is.
If you’re blaming circumstances for why you couldn’t get something done, it may be a deflection for holding yourself accountable, or taking ownership and thinking what you could do differently in the circumstances.
Or say, if you struggle with your self-esteem, then you’re probably comparing yourself to other people and using a measuring stick that’s not even remotely accurate as you bash yourself and your own abilities.
I once heard the story of Jessica Cox, an extraordinary lady who, despite being born with no arms, has a black belt in two martial arts and a private pilot’s licence! In an interview Jessica said:
“Circumstances count for 10% … how you deal with them counts for 90%”.
I don’t know about you, but that certainly inspires me into taking ownership for my success. When I am tempted to blame circumstances for why I didn’t achieve something.
At the same time, we do need to stay wary of reality (remember the first R) and not beat ourselves up unduly either. Sometimes it really is circumstances, but nevertheless, successful people generally find a way around it – they persist.
This is why I talk a lot about getting to the root cause of an issue so you know what to take ownership of and what action is needed. In business, for instance, root cause may be hidden as a mindset issue and we spend a lot of time thrashing away at marketing or money elements.
For every skill or task that you OWN (and it doesn’t matter what it is), there is a way to put those attributes and abilities to good use, and to develop them, and build them into your own personal success story.
I know many examples where that has created a new angle in how you help your clients or customers. It is literally success personified because your success mindset, skills and tasks become a core part of how you help others develop those same attributes and abilities.
Success Booster #3 – Relationships
Once you know the formula to success, it’s time to consider different avenues in which that formula should be put in to action. The main one you’ll find in every area of your life is relationships.
Why relationships? Because we are human beings, designed to interact with other human beings. This, by default, entails relationships. And also by default, if you don’t have appropriate skills to manage your relationships, you will fail miserably at whatever success you’re aiming for.
The first relationship you must consider is the one you have with yourself. If you don’t like yourself, chances are great you will project that dislike to others and your lack of self-appreciation will not propel you to success in any given field. The higher your integrity is, the more you will like yourself. The more you like yourself, the better your relationships will be with others—from the inside out.
Your family relationship is the next thing to examine. The most successful Harvard Business graduates (class of 1949, by percentages) had several things in common:
- They had wives who supported their work and endeavors; women who were intelligent and able to share ideas and be a sounding board
- They built their personal, family, and business lives on a foundation of integrity
Family relationships are extremely important as you consider your path to success. If you fail here, you will not succeed elsewhere—we’ve already covered that in depth.
Business relationships follow closely behind family relationships. They play a major role in the security and productivity of every individual involved in them, as well as the success and growth of the company.
You must also learn to manage your frustration as you deal with relationships. Because we are all human, we all have problem-areas and “sticking points” that will irritate and inflame others. If you can manage your frustration and turn a bad situation with an individual in to something you can learn from and make profitable, you will be that much farther ahead on your road to success.
Consider also, that the next person you meet is important. He or she might look like someone who cannot help you in your field, but then again, looks are deceiving. You never know when the person you assist might be able to assist you or report back to your boss what a great job you’re doing!
Summing up this section, you should be able to see how healthy family relationships, a willingness to go above & beyond at work, and an ability to consider the next person as important can have a monumental effect on your path to success. We cannot do it alone, and that mere fact means we must deal appropriately with people and relationships!
Somewhere on your road to success, you’ll begin to understand that you are really never alone. There are amazing sources of strength and help everywhere you look—you just have to use them. You’ll have to look to find them and then know how to use them, but it beats the heck out of not having them at all!
A team or a sense of community is incredibly important as you walk along your path. You may reap the benefits of success in your world, but you don’t get there alone. The fallacy of the “self-made man” is just that—because everyone is influenced directly and indirectly by scores of people. Let’s look at a list of those involved:
Parents: if they were there to raise you, they had the greatest influence on your life. Feelings of love and security are established early—as early as birth. Children who have parents who love, care for, and protect them gain enormously both psychologically and physiologically.
Teachers: chances are there is a teacher who has made an impression on you that you remember to this day. Positive or negative, there are teachers in our lives who have the power to influence us and shape us. Sometimes we choose paths in response to a negative example a teacher has left us; more often than not, we choose paths that are due to the positive influence they’ve left in our lives.
Friends: the happiest and most successful people tend to have a wide range of friends from different walks of life. They encourage us, lift us up, and are part of an inextricable support system in our lives.
Mentors: smart people who truly desire success find mentors that will walk with them as they traverse their road. Mentors, whether a coach, counsellor or experienced friend or colleague, are able to point out pitfalls and potholes in the road that we might otherwise miss, and their wisdom and willingness to teach us is an invaluable gift.
Groups & clubs: whether it’s through groups set up by spiritual leaders like ministers, priests, rabbis, pastors, etc., or clubs based around hobbies and interests like ramblers, flower arrangers, book club or music classes, these communities provide an amazing positivity in your life and can contribute significantly to your mental wellbeing and sense of community. Having contact with a spiritual leader or community involvement doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never feel despair, but it does guarantee that you won’t have to go through the dark times alone.
Just as you have a team as you work towards success, you can be a part of someone else’s team as well. Be a friend to someone who is just starting out on the road to success—encourage them, mentor them (if appropriate), and commit to be there for them when they need you.
There’s an old adage that says:
“You will get what you want when you help enough people get what they want.”
Do the right thing (remember your integrity), and have compassion in all situations. You’ll build your team and your success as you do these things!
Success Booster #4 – Reflect and Assess
At some point on your road to your goals, you’ll need to take some time out to reflect and assess where you are, where you’ve been, and how this is affecting where you want to go. I can’t emphasis enough how great a time out is for your productivity – as counterintuitive as that sounds!
I always start by just unwinding with a walk in nature or meditative music. I make sure I’m not always plugged in listening to books or podcasts, but just taking time to ‘be’ and allow space in my brain. It’s usually when you have your big aha moments.
But you can take time out in a ‘doing’ way too. One way you can reflect and take stock, determine how you’re doing and where you’ve been, is to journal. I personally am not a journaler, nor do I think everyone needs to be. But journaling is a great way to track your progress. If you feel intimidated by a blank book that’s sold as a “journal,” blog it. Blogging is a good way to put your thoughts down and out there in cyberspace.
Or choose an audio-method: speak in to a tape recorder. If, like me, you’re not a journaler, keep track of your progress and setbacks in the form of check-marks or some other recording-method.
I personally like to reassess after achieving some part of my goal. There is usually a natural denouement that comes with an accomplishment—a little bit of “time off,” as it were. I use that time to consider what I’ve finished and how it fits in to my goals and success.
Another time to reflect and consider is when you’ve hit a stumbling block. As you look at the obstacle in front of you, try to figure out where it came from and why you might not have seen it before you tripped over it.
If you have strayed off-course and found this boulder that way, this is the time to determine that. If you’ve lost sight of your values, you may have found this problem as a result of that. Reassess now and get back on track. Don’t forget your key value of integrity and realise that integrity is the most important thing as you pursue success.
Finally, use reflection time to re-evaluate your goals. Have your goals changed a bit since you wrote them down?
Regardless of how you assess and consider your goals and your path to success, it’s important that you do. Everyone needs tweaking along the way, and that also applies to the goals we set for ourselves.
Success Booster #5 – Your Mindset Roadmap
Finally, for success booster no. 5, let me leave you with seven success milestones for you consider how well you’re adjusting your mindset along the road to your success.
1 Consider Your Responsibilities Before Your Rights
Today’s culture is moving us towards a sense that we must “see it to believe it” or “have it now,” and many of us fall into the trap of impatience. Yet, in honesty, your success depends on how well you’re able to play the long game as well as chase short term wins. Be accepting of delayed gratification rather than wanting instant gratification – and move your focus from your “entitlement” or sense of your rights to “accountability” and commitment to taking responsibility and ownership.
2 Fill Up on Faith, Hope & Love
I know that sounds super cheesy, but think about it. Your outlook is really what determines your output, and your output determines your outcome. When you choose to be optimistic, to read uplifting books, to listen to inspirational speakers…. when you shine light rather than stay in darkness and you put faith, hope and love in your heart and mind, when you’re open to appreciating and celebrating the little wins, not always focusing on the negative things that didn’t go quite right, then we find we’re able to overcome a lot more of life’s struggles and live free from anger, greed, guilt and envy.
3 Make Friends with Your Past—and then Look Ahead
You can use your past as a stepping stone to your future or you can let it cripple you. Over the years, I’ve really worked on my ability to live with “no regrets” – to truly believe that decisions I made in the past were the best ones I could have made in that moment in time.
It’s your choice whether you let feelings of regret hold you back or see past experiences as a gift of wisdom that move us positively forward. When you can make friends with your past, be focused on the present, and have a bright opinion of your future, you have succeeded, no matter what your goal is.
4 Know that Success Doesn’t Make You
Along with the idea above, understanding that a win doesn’t make you and a loss doesn’t break you. If you win, you’ll still have more wins to make before you “arrive,” and if you lose, you’ll have more opportunities to turn that around in the future.
5 Stand up for Morality
If you take a stand for what is right, even if it’s unpopular or costs you your job, you are successful. There is no disputing this fact. It’s the centrepiece of your integrity and authenticity.
6 Be a “Servant Friend” or Servant Leader
Success isn’t defined by how many people wait on your every whim or need; it’s defined by how many people you can help or serve while you achieve your goals. If you can help others as you climb, you’ll learn more and climb quicker. A servant’s heart is the true hallmark of a leader and shows the character of the person in the position of leadership.
7 Know that Failure is Just an Event
I talked about this earlier, but it bears repeating. If you fail, it doesn’t define you—it just puts you back at ‘square one’ with your idea and plan or better still, you’ve learned valuable lessons for future ideas and plans.
Whether you call it ‘having a go’ at stuff or label it “innovation” – investment you make in developing new ways to do things fits under the heading of R&D – research and development – for your business.
Benchmarks for the Success Mindset
I hope it’s been helpful to spend a bit of time focusing on how to leverage the success mindset and how some creative thinking and mental training can come together to help you stay positive even in the face of challenging situations.
Although I’m not a mindset coach per se, I’m a business mentor – I’ve been an avid consumer of mindset and mindfulness and its centrality to how we see and strive towards achievement in our lives or careers as well as in business. And it’s so obvious that an integral part of helping my clients be successful is this mindset area.
Mindset, marketing and money is what makes a business tick.
That’s why I was really excited to share some of the insights and wisdom I’ve gleaned from others and taken on board in my own business. It’s why there are so many inspirational quotes in my book!
Admittedly, I don’t always get all this mindset stuff right – it’s certainly more of a marathon than a sprint! But I hope these two pieces on leveraging the success mindset helps you in some way to think differently about dealing with change in business or your life.
It’s often just left to chance in much of the business training out there. Yet, I know how frustrating it can be to get stuck in your own mind. Rather than only focusing on the mechanics or marketing things, we need help to get out of our own way by shifting how we think and allow ourselves to feel.
Remember to keep a balance between optimism and reality but always aim to find the gift in every problem, to see obstacles as opportunities and to think outside the box!
Nurturing your business success mindset, building resilience to circumstance and dealing with change in business is quite often all that it takes to make some major breakthroughs in your momentum and maybe even your life.
If there’s one takeaway you get from this in dealing with change in business, it’s that whatever happens you GOT do this, you CAN do this. You CAN succeed and you DO have what it takes to be successful.