Thursday, September 11, 2014

Success is normally found in a pile of mistakes...

We usually see success when it's been polished up a little like a diamond. It's pretty, and everyone wants it. That's where the problem comes for those seeking success. Often they've been deluded by appearances that success starts out looking like the finished product.

Nope. Success, as I have written before, is messy. You'll bump into things, make mistakes that'll have you cringing with embarrassment at times. You'll waste time on dumb ideas, get distracted, and waste more time. But, that's all part of the journey. 

Eventually you'll be getting better at what you are doing. You'll look in your pile of mistakes and see some flecks of gold, or diamonds. You'll figure how you got them, and start improving the way you work. In time, you'll have a great understanding of what you are doing, and progress will come much easier. More gold and diamonds. Nice.

Just to give you an example, when I was trying to grow my old investigative business, we went through many iterations of trying to keep up with the dictated reports that were submitted by investigators. This was expensive due to the overnighting of tapes, and on occasion we had to spend a ton of time looking for a missing tape. Then a woman who was working transcribing tapes asked why I didn't have a medical dictation system.

The reason? I didn't know what it was. But the system allowed all that dictation to be done via telephone every night. No more audio tapes, no more daily inbound express packages. In retrospect it seemed crazy we hadn't looked into it. But we didn't know such systems existed. But fixing that mistake was easily worth over a $100k per year. A nice additional profit.

You can improve the process by doing plenty of studying beforehand, but as my example illustrates, you'll probably still screw up. That's good. Because your success is going to be in that pile of mistakes. Just keep looking. 

Good luck!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right. - Henry Ford

A great quote by Henry Ford. There are plenty of other quotes about the role of belief in people's ability to accomplish things. 

In my experience, they are 100% true.

Now, if you can somehow trick yourself into thinking you can fly, that's not what I'm talking about.

However, there are many situations I have found myself in where I found myself delaying something or not doing it because I thought "I don't know how". 

Even after 53 years of living, I still play that game with myself. I'm convinced my idea for a podcast is sound, but I put all sorts of things in front of it, because of fear and a goofy internal dialog. 

It was no different when I started Omega nearly 18 years ago. Did I have a clue? No, I did not. But I just kept pushing myself forward. One more call, one more item on the list, until I was just doing it. If there was an inflection point, I have no idea what it was. 

The moral of my story. The best way to gain the "think you can", is to do it. Fail, but try. Try again. With every increment of effort you'll get better, and your confidence will increase. 

If you want to have your own business, then break it into "bite-sized" pieces. One at a time, try and master them. The process of doing that gives you not only the skill to start a business - it also gives you the confidence, the belief. 

Perhaps you truly can't today, but with effort inability will go away.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Real failure isn't a moment in time, it's an attitude in your mind.

In the movies, things are often painted with a nice black or white brush. We know what winning looks like, and we know what losing looks like. Success and failure are properly labeled so we can easily recognize them.

In real life, we might imagine such labels exist, but the reality is that they don't. Failure and success are often two different perspectives on an event. And even those perspectives are subject to change over time. 

For example, there was a company called Blue Ribbon Sports, known better today as Nike. In 1971, they were a tiny business that was losing their distributorship for ASICS running shoes in the USA. This effectively put them out of business. They had no product to sell. In that moment, it would be easy to look at this event and declare it failure. 

But founder Phil Knight managed to find someone to manufacture a new design, to create their own product - later known as Nike. If they had NOT lost the distributorship, they may have carried on as a distributor. While there's nothing especially wrong with that, it would have meant that you'd have never heard "Just Do It" as there would be no Nike. There's no way that a distributor would have the brand equity that Nike does. In essence, losing the distributorship was a major success. But it took a bit of time to see that. Most importantly, it took the will to keep going.

Such is the nature of much failure and success. What looks good in a given moment may not stand the test of time. Conversely, what looks like a complete failure today can be the genesis of a remarkable success. Keep that in mind before you become too downcast over a setback. Real failure isn't a moment in time, it's an attitude in your mind. Stay positive and just keep looking.