Are you in the 95% or the 5%?

Have you ever started a new hobby full of passion and focus, really energised to achieve the results and even when you’ve had a few set-backs, you’ve been able to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get back on track? When we’re in this frame of mind we think we’re invincible and we’ll always be able to work in this way. However, in reality, we haven’t made those actions into winning habits, so when life gets busy we forget the basics and become a butterfly dealing with the priorities of the moment rather than the bigger picture.

This happened to me when I wanted to lose weight. I knew my target weight and had a date in mind for when I wanted to achieve it. My small steps were to note down daily the food I ate so that I could make sure I didn’t go over my allocated points. Each week I’d weigh in with my friend so that we could support one another and remain on track. I even started using a salad plate rather that a dinner plate as psychologically I felt that I had a full plate of food. And the results were amazing. I lost the weight. But then I became a bit cocky. You see, I thought I’d learnt the secrets of weight loss. I thought that what I did was so ingrained that I didn’t need to track my food on a daily basis and then I started to use a normal dinner plate. Before I knew it I was nearly 10lb heavier.

Now you might ask, why I am telling you this? It’s because it’s not just in our personal lives that we sabotage our success, we do the same in our business lives too. We stop doing the three or four things on a daily basis that lead to our success. We get caught up in the other elements of our life and think it won’t matter if I don’t do xyz today, and then that leads into a week and then a month of not doing it. And that’s because we don’t initially see the impact of not incorporating them into our routine. It’s only when the negative result come knocking at your door that you suddenly think ‘if only I had continued to ….’

I remember when I worked in Financial Services thinking the culture of the business was so embedded in the way we did things that it would be okay to focus on other priorities as we navigated the choppy waters of change of ownership. How wrong we were? Without the regular communications and the rituals of living the values, it felt like we had to start from scratch to bring the culture back to where it had been ….. much to the relief of the staff!

I suppose it’s a bit like attending a training course and thinking I’m definitely going to adopt these principles and make them my new habits as they will make such a positive difference to the results we achieve. Each time you meet as a group you reflect on what you’ve done since the last session to reinforce your learning and skills. The programme ends only to find that three or six months later, everything has reverted to how it was before you started the development. In some instances it’s slipped back even further and you’re back to fewer communications and more grapevines, silo management and fire-fighting.

When we allow the rituals that make for a ‘Success Mindset’ to fall by the wayside we don’t initially see the negative impact, but little by little they start making their mark, and if left long enough can create stress and anxiety in our lives. The good thing is that every day is a new day and so we can begin to implement them again. Over the last three months, I’ve been using my personal coaching sessions to review the habits that help me to be successful and started incorporating them more consciously into my daily routines. And the results have been really positive! After all, it’s the cumulative rather than the intermittent actions that provide us with our success. I couldn’t ever imagine starting to train for a marathon a couple of weeks prior to the race, but I’ve often put myself under immense pressure to achieve business results which in hindsight were totally unrealistic.

I was reading a book called Slight Edge by Jeff Olson last month and was surprised to read that 95% of the population start off with really great expectations of themselves but never achieve the end goal? Think about all the New Year’s Resolutions that will be made in January and how many gym memberships will be wasted! The key to being one of the 5% with the success mindset is to find ways to continue with the rituals when you’re less motivated to do so.

So what I’d like you to do when you’ve finished reading this newsletter is think about a time when you’ve been your most successful.

  • What made it a success for you?
    • Note down the five or six steps
    • Review them and decide what you can learn from them and incorporate into your current project to make it a success.
    • What can you do to make them daily habits so that no matter what is happening each day, they’ll be the ones that take you from strength to strength.

One little thing that has really helped this year is to have one overarching goal that I’m determined to achieve. I’ve written it down as my affirmation and it wakes me up every morning. Within the first few seconds of turning off my alarm, I have read it and visualised it. And to bring it to life, I then have three activities that I carry out every day to achieve it and a further three things that I bring into play on a weekly basis.

If you’re wondering where to start with this kind of structure and you’d like some help, give me a call. If you’re anything like me, the first step is always the hardest!

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