Business and life are never straight-forward.
And if you run your own business you know that it
presents a unique set of challenges.
In 2009 I met a Dublin based business owner, Morgan Browne.
In the space of a couple of months he’d lost 2 deals worth €400k
which was essential to cash-flow, had to let go key members of his
team and the banks halved the company’s overdraft and credit facilities.
He was a few weeks from going out of business.
He had also been prescribed anti-depressants and made a throw-away remark
which has since become a joke between us…’At least it can’t get any worse’.
I said ‘Never say that. It can always get worse!’
A week later Morgan broke his leg.
To managers faced with such deterioration (in results), a more flexible measurement system often suggests itself: just shoot the arrow of business performance into a blank canvas and then carefully draw the bulls-eye around the implanted arrow. – Warren Buffett
One of the wealthiest people in the world, Warren Buffet’s company
Berkshire Hathaway is one of the largest companies on the Fortune 500,
with annual revenues in excess of $195 Billion.
The above quote is taken from his 1982 annual letter to shareholders.
In it Buffett derided businesspeople who set targets and then,
confronted with unsatisfactory results, simply change the target.
What those people do, Buffett said, is move the target to suit the results
as opposed to the best business people who hold the target and
force themselves to change their approach.
“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” – William James It’s all too common – meeting people who have all sorts
of projects or tasks that are still open – i.e. not completed.
But every project or task that is uncompleted
takes up a chunk of your mental energy – usually unconscious.
The project you started but hit a roadblock…
The personal financials issue you need to sort out…
The preparation for that presentation next month…
The book you started but haven’t finished…
The innovative work idea you started but haven’t finished…
Procrastination hurts us because we know at some
level that we have to do the work. And we can beat ourselves
up for not completing.
“It’s amazing the clarity that comes with psychotic jealousy.”
– Rupert Everett, Actor
Sometimes it’s there. Sometimes it’s not.
There is no doubt in my mind that having clarity on a
desired result has a massive impact on the probability of it happening.
(whether it’s a good result or a bad one)
If you think about the major problems around you at the moment,
test yourself on this question:
Do I have a clear image of the positive outcome I want?
If you don’t take some time to clarify it. Writing helps.
And then connect with it for a few minutes every day (ideally in the morning before your day starts). This is important as most people get distracted with the
inevitable ‘emotional flares’ that come with problems.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain
a thought without accepting it.”
Worth dwelling on for a moment…
Interesting that the great philosopher doesn’t meantion
how much a person knows… which might be the traditional view of
an educated mind.
The best I know have this mental ability, as he describes it.
To be able to really listen and consider another opinion, idea or
point of view, without immediately reacting with their own view.
(internally or externally).
To truly consider another viewpoint from all angles,
without accepting it, leads to great benefits in business and life.
I have a client who jokes with me about a guy he knows…
Every-time they meet, my client asks him how he is, and every-time the guy
replies “Busy! Busy! No time to do anything.”
But what’s interesting is that my client has seen him in his work
environment ‘being busy’ – and he’s usually not doing the obvious
things that need to be done – but is instead doing the easy things that are
not as important, just to be busy!
So in that spirit, here’s 2 powerful quotes for you:
1. “I’m very busy doing things I don’t need to do
in order to avoid doing anything I’m actually
supposed to be doing.”