I have thoroughly enjoyed Connie Ragen Green’s challenge to write 30 blog posts in 30 days. I’ve gained a new appreciation for my blog throughout this challenge, and for the value of writing and posting consistently. So I’m declaring right here and now my new commitment to post to my blog on a more regular basis — at least once and hopefully two or three times per week. This got me to thinking about the other commitments I’ve made to myself and my business — my big mindset shifts — and this seems like a good time to share them.
1. I’ll be responsible for my own results.
It sounds so simple. You may think, “Of course I’m responsible for my own results.” Or do you really think the economy is responsible for your results, or your clients, or the government?
There is a huge shift in the US, where I live, away from truly being responsible for ourselves, and most of us are guilty of it to some degree.
We see it on the news all the time. Many in our country expect the government, their employers, their parents, and others to take care of them. This didn’t start until the Industrial Revolution when people started working for companies, and the companies started taking care of employees.
Before that, if you needed food and you lived in the US, you went out and plowed a field. If you needed money, you sold a horse, or did a project for a neighbor. This isn’t so different than what’s going on in other areas of the world, even today. But are some of us just a bit too willing to wait for an answer from someone else rather than to go out and plow the field like our great-grandparents did?
What does this have to do with business? A lot.
It’s tough in business now, for some of us. A lot of people, and companies, have tightened their buying. But you are in charge. You may just have to find a different field to plow, or a different tool to use.
I take responsibility for my own results.
2. I’ll make careful choices, and choose differently than others.
We make hundreds of choices every day, many of them unconscious. You brush your teeth without thinking about it, you choose what you’ll eat for breakfast. It’s easy to let life just pull you along — to just drift along on autopilot.
The same thing can happen with your business, and you just do the same things over and over. I’m committing to some new and different choices.
I won’t unconsciously follow the crowd, or just drift along, or keep doing the same things because I’ve always done them — because my decisions determine my results.
I’m going to make careful choices, and choose differently than others.
3. I’ll get out of my comfort zone.
We’re often told to be cautious. “Don’t reach too high, you may fail.” How many times have you heard that, or “You can’t do that, something may go wrong”? Usually it’s said by a well-meaning friend or relative, trying to keep us safe.
But anything I’ve ever done that was worth doing was out of my comfort zone. Learning how to catch a mooring point in very high winds after blowing out the main sail in the British Virgin Islands was out of my comfort zone. The first time I got up in front of a large group to give a branding presentation was out of my comfort zone. Starting my business in a city where I only knew a handful of people was definitely out of my comfort zone.
I remember my dad telling me that I could be anything I wanted to be, and I believed him — and I didn’t want to let him down. So I kept reaching. Now, if I don’t feel a little bit scared by something I’m doing, I figure I’m not growing.
I’m going to continue to do things that take me out of my comfort zone.
4. I’ll surround myself with people who are where I want to be.
We’ve all heard that we are the sum of the five people we hang around with the most. Well, your business can become the sum of the five companies you admire most if you study the way they do business.
Check out and comment on their blogs, follow them on Twitter, study their websites and print literature, read their press. Learn how businesses where you want to be do business, get under their skin, and their “business” will rub off on you.
I’m going to look for businesses that are where I want to be, and study the way they do business.
5. I’ll remember that not everyone will like what I do.
Your business has to be authentic to you — and you can’t please everyone. If you try to, your business will be very bland. It’s important to remember that not every customer is right for you — you need to find those who align with you, who are a good fit for you.
This has to a lot to do with positioning — when you choose a position, when you decide to put a stake in the ground, it naturally excludes some things and some people. With positioning, you’re saying “This is what I am,” or “This is what my organization is,” which in effect, also says “This is what I am not.” A lot of business owners have a problem with this — they don’t want to exclude anyone or any segment in their marketing.
You need to remember that when you do take a position, and you start to have success with it, there will be nay sayers, and detractors, who will criticize you. Expect it. It’s going to happen. Don’t let it sway you or make you second guess your direction — stick to your guns.
I’m going to remember that not everyone is going to like what I do or support my success.
That’s it. Those are my five commitments, my mindset shifts, in addition to my commitment to posting regularly in this blog. The idea is that by posting them here, they’ll stay more at the top of my mind, and I won’t slip back into my old habits and my comfy comfort zone.
And now that I’ve told you, you can help keep me honest.