Do you have some big goals for yourself? If you do, great. But do you have the skills required to actually achieve them? If just doing more of the same is not guaranteed to get you to your goals, then read on.
We have all heard the expression “life is a marathon, not a sprint”. Yet we all sprint around expecting to get “there” faster, wherever “there” is. The truth is that doing anything worthwhile requires work.
As author and Financial Times columnist Tim Harford says: “Work that matters is often difficult. It can be absorbing in mid-flow and satisfying in retrospect, but it is intimidating and headache-inducing and full of false starts.”
That quote could describe most businesses I know when it comes to getting hard work done. But just because work is hard does not mean it cannot be fun, fulfilling and worthwhile. Here are a few totally uncool suggestions to help you on your way:
1. Be patient
Patience is a hugely underrated virtue. As someone who can be as impatient as the next business owner, I have really had to learn the value of it.
How does that show up in my work life? By setting realistic timeframes for development and execution of my ideas. Be honest. Anything that is going to be a game-changer for your business is unlikely to be implemented easily or quickly. If it was that simple everyone would be doing it already.
2. Learn some new skills
To continue growing in your business, you have to continue growing as a person.
If you are seeking to achieve a record level of turnover and profitability this year it is possible, even likely, that what got you where you are now will not take you where you want to go. If you want to get better and achieve goals, you have to look for new skills you can learn:
- What existing skills could you develop further?
- What additional skills might become important to get where you want to go?
If a whole new skill seems daunting, try improving or mastering something small. For example, instead of trying to be great at first meetings with new clients, work on being a master at asking great questions. A narrower focus is likely to take you deeper and help improve the skill more quickly.
One new skill can make an impact if it is learned well. Seven new skills half-mastered will not move the needle. Half-mastering things will just increase your sense of failure and frustration.
Learning a new skill gives you a boost in confidence but, more importantly, enthusiasm for learning more. This will reignite your passion for life, learning and growth. And, to be honest, what else are we here for?
3. Notice the small wins
It is easy to point out problems in your business and never give yourself credit for the amazing progress you have made. But continually beating yourself up is not helpful. Set some regular times in the diary for noticing the small wins.
That might be on a weekly basis at your regular leadership team meetings, or monthly, quarterly or annually at your other planning and review sessions.
4. Finish things
A friend of mine once told me the last 5 per cent of a project takes about as long to complete as the first 95 per cent. This changed my life. Now I make sure I can spend loads of time on the last 5 per cent to try to make it great. That is where all the game-changing stuff happens.
If you can become a master at finishing things off properly, committing to your best work, you will find it gets noticed.
When I first came to the UK, a guy told me financial planning was “a great get-rich-slow business”. And he was right. So just keep going.
While it is great to hear of some new tech start-up going from a valuation of zero to a billion dollars in six years, it is not the norm.
Incremental improvement, sustained over a long period of time, will have you looking like a genius at the end of your career.
There is plenty to be excited about in most businesses. Get focused on the skills, behaviours and habits you will need to execute your business goals and be prepared to put the work in. You will find your chances of succeeding – and the fun you can have along the way – will go up exponentially.
Brett Davidson is founder of FP Advance