There is No Requirement to Plan

So much has been written about planning. Trainers, speakers, coaches, motivational types, they all write and speak about the importance of planning. Especially this time of year. 

 

They will tell you that you must have a plan for 2019. They will use all the standard cliches about failing to plan is planning to fail…you’ve heard it all before. That’s ridiculous, nobody would intentionally plan to fail. 

 

The truth is that you don’t need to plan to fail, it kind of happens all by itself. There is no special effort required. If fact, the less effort the better. Giving a half-hearted effort with no plan only delays the inevitable failure. So just sit back and watch it happen….to you. 

 

Don’t let people bully you into making a plan that you have no intention of following. I can hardly think of a bigger waste of time. Step up and be honest about it. Let them know straight away that you have no intention of putting forth the effort required to implement any plan. 

 

Most people will leave you alone after that. They leave you alone because their plan does not include helping others. Well, truth be told it’s far more likely that they don’t have a plan either. 

 

It’s actually a rather small number of people who have a real plan. Now by “real plan” I mean something written out. It includes an honest assessment of their current situation and a realistic look at their desired outcome. 

 

Within their real plan are short range, medium, and long range goals. Their plan has a budget within it. It’s a two part budget, one part details the money they are will to invest to achieve their desired outcome but more importantly it details the time they are willing to invest in order to succeed. 

 

The best plans also include things they will STOP doing so they have the time to invest in more productive activities. Of course it’s not a real plan if it doesn’t include implementation steps, start dates and completion dates. The plan does NOT include words like tomorrow or someday because people who make real plans know those “dates” can’t be found on a calendar. 

 

You can spot people with real plans because they are typically the people who people without plans complain about. People without plans are jealous of people with plans because they tend to have more of the stuff that the people without plans want. 

 

If that’s confusing to you don’t worry about it, I’ve been confused by it for years. 

 

It’s never too late to develop a real plan. If you’re one of those people who are tempted to once and for all develop a real plan for success in 2019 I have a warning for you. Once you invest the time to develop a REAL plan for 2019 it will continuously pull at your “lazy strings” until they are completely unraveled. 

 

Before you know it all the comfortable excuses you used in the past to explain away your “bad luck” or “unfortunate circumstances” will be forgotten. You won’t accept circumstances created by someone else, you’ll make your own. 

 

You will find yourself accomplishing more than you thought possible. You’ll use your old excuses as fuel to motivate you. You won’t stop until you’ve achieved the goals you built into your real plan. 

 

 Or…you could just do what you’ve always done. There is absolutely no requirement that you have a plan for success. You can just wander through life the way some people do. Like pretty much everything in life it’s a choice. 


YOUR choice!


What Are You Working On?

“If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.” Dale Carnegie

 

When you think of self-help authors in the last 100 years, Dale Carnegie’s name will come to most people’s minds. His influence went beyond those who read his books, and is still being felt today – over sixty years after his death.

   

This particular quote from him speaks to the importance of pushing forward when the odds against your success seem insurmountable.

 

The key part of the quote is the beginning…. “If you believe in what you are doing.” For most people pushing past obstacles is only possible when they are certain what they do matters. When you believe what you’re doing is important and makes a difference you will find a way to get the work done.

 

I think most people, well hopefully not most but too many for sure, never stop long enough to ask themselves if what they are doing is important. They never stop long enough to consider if and how their work matters. They don’t wonder if they stopped doing what they are doing if they and their work would be missed by anyone.

 

Sadly, the quality of their work and their level of success is reflected in their lack of interest in doing something exceptionally well or in doing something that makes a difference in the world.

 

I completely understand that circumstances very often dictate what a person does for a living. I get that many times people simply take a job for the money because they have families to support and bills to pay. In my younger days I too had jobs where I was more interested in putting in my time than in putting in real effort. 

 

But your job or career is not your entire life. If you’re in a place where you can’t make a difference for your organization that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference in the world. Find someplace outside of your job or career where you can do something that matters to you….and others. Something that you can believe in. Something that will leave a part of you behind when you’re gone. 

 

Here are some questions to consider as you look for that meaningful work. Hopefully you will find it right where you are. 

  • Do I believe in my work?
  • If not, what work can I believe in?
  • What work is most important for me to do today?
  • What, or who, distracts me or keeps me from doing the work that is most important to me and my future?
  • What unimportant things should I stop doing in order to invest my time on the important things that can make a difference?

When you have concrete answers to those questions take these action steps to get and keep yourself moving forward.

  • Remind yourself of the importance of your work as you begin each day, and at any time you feel distracted or feel like stopping.
  • Recognize the power of momentum, and get going.
  • Read this quote from Dale Carnegie often to help you stay focused on your key goals and to keep you focused on doing the work required.

Don’t waste time lamenting that your “day job” is less fulfilling than you would like. There are enough hours remaining in the day to “work” on something that does matter to you. 

 

Know what you want to achieve, realize it can happen IF you’re willing to work for it and then get started.  You’ll never finish what you never begin. Why not begin today?


Where to Find Success

I wrote a post a few years back that I titled “The True Secret to Success” or something close to that. It got lots of views but I suspect many people didn’t read to the end. They quickly discovered that there really is no secret to success. 

 

For as long as there have been people, people have searched for that “secret” to success. They look for shortcuts and the easy way. The reality is that if they put as much effort into working for success as they did trying to “luck” into it they would have had success long ago. 

 

The only place to find success is in hard work and honest effort. Anyone who tells you that you can succeed without thinking, without planning and without working will also try to sell you ocean front property in Montana. (They might also ask for your vote but that’s another story) 

     

If you’re thinking you don’t have what it takes to succeed then think again. If you have enough desire and discipline you can be or do almost anything you want.

     

Actual research now shows that the lack of natural talent is irrelevant to great success. Even when you are talking about people like Tiger Woods and Warren Buffett natural talent takes a back seat to hard work and practice. Not just any hard work and practice but painful and demanding practice and hard work. Hard work again and again. Practice and more practice, over and over again. 

 

Yes, talent helps but hard work always beats talent when the talented person doesn’t work. 

     

We need to understand that talent doesn’t mean intelligence, motivation or personality traits. It’s an innate ability to do some specific activity especially well. British-based researchers Michael J. Howe, Jane W. Davidson and John A. Sluboda conclude in an extensive study, “The evidence we have surveyed … does not support the notion that excelling is a consequence of possessing innate gifts.”

     

You can make yourself into almost anything you want and you can even make yourself great.

     

One thing all the “greats” have in common is that no matter how “great” they are, they never stop trying to get better. They strive to grow each day and they never substitute good enough for great.

     

If you’re like most people, including me, and you can’t readily identify your innate gifts don’t worry about it. Get to work and you’ll soon pass up those people who were resting on their “gifts” while you were busy making the effort required to succeed.

An Audit for Sales Success

I’ve never met anyone who completed their taxes and then said “I hope I get audited.” We all know audits are bad things, someone checking up on us or worse, trying to catch us cheating. Even if you did everything by the rules audits are still a royal pain. But audits do indeed serve a purpose – they let us know how we did or maybe how we are doing right now.

 

My grandfather always used to tell me that an honest person doesn’t mind being checked. I would add to that bit of wisdom that the most successful people check themselves.

 

Here is a short audit for sales professionals. The results (if answered honestly) will help you understand the areas you may want to work on to ensure your continued success. Keep in mind there are no right or wrong answers. Just score yourself 1 to 10 in each of the areas and then develop a plan to increase your score before you conduct the next audit. Here we go:

 

  • Your goals are clear, written down and you review them daily.
  • You have a reasonable product or service. You can understand why your target market would buy it.
  • You have a repeatable sales process proven to work in your industry.
  • You know how many people in your specific target market you need to speak with to get a sale. (You know your batting average)
  • You have a sufficient amount of people who look like your “ideal customer” in a target list that makes you reasonably sure you can make your number, month after month.
  • You know the specific task motives, maybe even a few personal motives of your target customers, and you know that your product or service can match them.
  • You have a general interest statement that works, reliably, to get people to say, “Tell me more.”
  • You have a set of information gathering questions that you ask to find out if someone needs, wants and can afford what you sell.
  • You spend most of your day (four to six hours) in selling and marketing activities.
  • You work from a daily, weekly and monthly plan and are reasonably organized and efficient.
  • You don’t work more than 50 – 55 hours a week.
  • You do what you say you will do for prospects, customers and your employer. (You MUST be honest here cause if you’re lying to yourself you’ll never reach your potential.)

So how did you do? If you answered honestly you now have some areas to work on as you continue to grow yourself and your business. 


If you didn’t answer honestly then no amount of effort will lead to success…. but at least you learned why your struggling

Are You Persistent Enough to Succeed?

Almost all successful people, actually let’s get rid of the “almost” and say “ALL” successful people have one trait in common…they didn’t quit. They may have stopped once or twice, they may have gone backwards a time or two and fallen down fairly often. But they starting moving again, made up lost ground and picked themselves up (often with help) and persevered

 

There are plenty of examples of famous people who overcame severe obstacles on their journey to ultimate success. Abraham Lincoln failed in business, lost numerous elections and his sweetheart, and had a nervous breakdown. But he never quit. He kept on trying and became, according to many, our greatest president. 

 

Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book was rejected by 23 publishers.   

 

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.  

 

Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.  

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt was struck by polio but he never quit.   

 

Helen Keller, totally deaf and blind, graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, and went on to become a famous author and lecturer.

 

There are many more stories of well known people who overcame multiple hurdles to succeed. Even more impressive are the millions of stories about ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things through perseverance. What those millions of stories prove is that success can be achieved by anyone, literally anyone. That includes you! 

 

I love the story about the high school basketball coach who was attempting to motivate his players to persevere through a difficult season. Halfway through the season he stood before the team and said, “Did Michael Jordan ever quit?” The team responded, “No!” He yelled, “What about the Wright brothers? Did they ever give up?” “No!” hollered back the team. “Did Muhammad Ali ever quit?” Again the team yelled, “No!” “Did Elmer McAllister ever quit?” There was a long silence. Finally one player was bold enough to ask, “Who’s Elmer McAllister? We never heard of him.” The coach snapped back, “Of course you never heard of him — he quit!”

 

Quitting is easy, it’s also very habit forming. Successful people have made a habit of doing the things that less successful people simply don’t like to do. Less successful people quit, the most successful people wouldn’t even consider it. 

 

If you’re tempted to quit, or even give less than your best effort, think about the goal that motivated you to begin in the first place. Re-dream that dream and then keep going. 

 

If that doesn’t motivate you to keep pushing forward, then think about Elmer McAllister.


Now get to work!

Where Self-Respect Comes From

The first thing to know about self-respect is that is doesn’t come from other people…hence the word “self.”

 

Respect is vital to any relationship and that includes the relationship you have with yourself. 

 

Self-respect can be hard to define but it’s really about being the kind of person you are not afraid to show to the world around you. It’s about being the kind of person you, and the people you care about, can be proud of. 

 

Self-respect comes from having a sense of dignity. It comes from maintaining your honor when you’re making life choices and every day decisions about how to live your life. 

 

Self-respect comes from caring more about yourself. To be clear, it is not about caring less for others, it is about caring for yourself too. If you’re not caring for and about yourself eventually you won’t be able to care for others no matter how much you want to. 

 

Self-respect comes from not needing anyone to treat you a certain way. Self-respect comes from appreciating the respect of others but not needing it to validate how you live your life. 

 

Self-respect is vital if you hope to have a positive self-image. Having that positive self-image will influence every other part of your life. Your career, your relationships with other people and most importantly, your own happiness. 

 

Self-respect will give you the courage to walk away from unhealthy relationships and situations. It gives you the courage to speak up for yourself and command the respect of others. 

 

No one, and I mean absolutely no one, can rob you of your self-respect unless you are their accomplice in the crime. Sometimes it requires a major battle to keep from being an unwilling accomplice. You should know it’s a battle worth fighting and it’s a battle you can win. And never, never, never be their willing accomplice. You are way too special for that, you matter way, way too much for that. Do not simply give your self-respect away. 


Self-respect is the cornerstone of a well lived life. Build your foundation of self-respect so strong that no one and nothing can bring you down. Once you’ve done that you can do anything! 


How Matters

I like to win! I enjoy success. I also know there are things more important than always winning and always succeeding. 

 

For me, and I know some will call me naive because of this, but for me how you win is just as important as winning itself. Success at the expense of your integrity isn’t really success at all. Now before you ask me to define success let me say that the definition of success is a very personal thing. But no matter your own definition of success if you cheated, lied or stole your way to it then your “success” is nothing to be proud of. 

 

No where in the Bible does it say that money is evil. What it does say is that the love of money is the root of all evil. Loving money, or the success the comes with it, at the expense of anything or anyone cannot be true success.

 

In the hit 1987 movie Wall Street, the character Gordon Gekko made a speech where he said “Greed is Good.” The line became famous but too many people apparently forgot that they were watching a movie. They believed the line as if it were straight out of scripture. 

 

It was frankly a line that many people wanted to believe. It allowed them to balance unethical behavior with the “fact” that greed was good. 

 

Well let’s set the record straight. Greed is not good. Unethical behavior is not good. Trading your integrity for the appearance of success is not good. Winning at all cost is not winning at all. 

 

Winston Churchill once said that “We making a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

 

If you truly want success then don’t try to balance how much of your integrity you’re willing to sacrifice to have it. Instead balance what you get with what you give. Don’t just work to make a living, work to make a life. 

 

I’ll never forget what my 7th grade teacher once told me. His name was Cyril Paul. 7th grade was a while ago for me and I don’t remember many, if any, of my teachers who came before or after him. To say he was an impactful teacher would be an understatement. What he told me was that “what” I did with my life would be of little consequence when compared with “how” I did it. 

 

The fact is that too many times in my life I have forgotten those words. The result has never been anything to make me proud of myself. But I always eventually come home to those words to get myself back in balance. 

 

I’m afraid too many of our world “leaders” either never had those words spoken to them or they have completely forgotten them. 

 

“How” matters. It matters in everything you say and do in your life. 

 

Be a person of integrity. If your leaders are “win at all cost” kind of leaders then lead up and hold them accountable for “how” they achieve their success. Whether they are leaders in your company, your church or your government make sure you hold them to very high standards. 


Always remember “how” matters for you as well so hold yourself to those very high standards too.