To paraphrase Edward de Bono, the original ‘lateral thinker’; ‘the purpose of the human mind is to not think at all.’ By this, he means that we all react to new situations with learned auto-responses because it’s easier than re-inventing the wheel for every new circumstance.
Here are 7 thought traps that can be very tempting, but that will get in the way of your business success. The inspiration for this newsletter came from Larry Kim’s article entitled: ‘7 Things That Will Keep You from Being Successful’…
1. Money as the only/best measure of success. Money, as a means of exchange is vitally important in our world. Money as a tool for comparing the value of diverse things – such as houses and cars – is equally important. Unfortunately, it is easy to make revenue or salary, the be all and end all in our minds, even though we all know it can’t buy happiness. Employees and entrepreneurs alike often default to money as the key measure of success and even self-worth.
But consider this; there is always someone with more money, a bigger house, a better car. There are untold ways to measure success. When money is your metric, it leaves you feeling dissatisfied… permanently. That’s no basis from which to grow a successful business.
At PBC, we ask our clients to focus on creating wealth, delighting their customers, continuously improving their products, and inspiring the people on your team.
2. Regrets, we’ve all had a few. Reliving past mistakes and carrying those thoughts forward into every new situation is a sure way to repeat them and to hinder your future success. Of course we have to review our performance in order to understand and learn how to do better. However, we also need to stop looking over our shoulders. Rather, we should store the lessons learned every day, so we can recall them. We’ll need them on our journey to success.
3. Envying the success of others. Instead of looking up to successful people who you meet, do you feel jealous and think envious thoughts? Envy and jealousy are negative emotions that hold you back. These thoughts need to be replaced by analyzing how successful folks behave. Emulating the right things they do. Using their experience to drive your own success. Beware the negativity that can consume you from within.
4. Surrounding yourself with ‘NIPS.’ Any group of people is made up of three cohorts and generally, 20% will be self-motivated, star performers 60% are solid every day reliables. And 20% are ‘NIPS.’ You can tell this last cohort by the things they say… “Not invented here!” – “I know this already!” – “Prove it to me!” – and most common of all – “But I’m a Special case.”
The danger for business leaders is they get sucked into interacting with the NIPS and neglecting the 80%. You set up rules and regulations and procedures, all in the futile hope of engaging the NIPS in your Vision. NIPS management is when you can’t trust some, so you don’t trust anybody, and treating everyone as though they are NIPS.
Remove negative people from your business. Avoid the complainers, and mood vacuums who are all take-no give. Surround yourself with successful, positive people.
5. On second and third thoughts! It’s essential to have a plan and to review it at key moments. It keeps your business moving forward in the right direction. But it’s all too common for us to second-guess and question every planned move. Until all you get is ‘wheel-spin’ without traction.
Trust your own judgment, experience, and skills. Recall those hard-won lessons you stored up! Let them guide your key decisions. Avoid ‘analysis-paralysis’ through overthinking… Pick up the phone and just do it!
6. “Don’t get cocky kid.” When you realize that you are happy and content with your business and your place in the grand scheme of things… Enjoy the moment. But ask yourself; ‘Am I being complacent?’ The comfort zone can quickly turn into the dead zone! This is the time to be like Luke Skywalker. Fly into the unknown and learn something new.
The rule is that, anything can be improved. And should be! Stay hungry. Stay sharp. Go out and check out what the competitions are doing better than you.
7. Creating a ‘Say-Do’ Gap. At PBC, with all our clients we begin with your Vision and Strategy for success. We help you put it into words, and we support you as you put it into action. But the final thought trap is when words displace actions. Ask your employees if they feel a gap between what you say and what you do. Do you ‘walk the walk’ as well as you ‘talk the talk’?
Of course you always have to talk up your business. But never let that be all there is to it. Set SMART (specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-bound) goals to ensure you’re always moving forward.
Call PBC for a free consultation on the thought traps and any other issues when minding your own business.
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This originally appeared in my September 2016 Newsletter.