It's March -- we're a mere 60 days into the new year. Are you taking it strong to the hoop on your way to winning your own version of the National Championship? Or are you experiencing a different kind of "March Madness" -- fizzling out on your New Year's resolutions? Did you start off strong in January, then find yourself backsliding into another long, dark frustrating February? Has your thought, "THIS is gonna be MY YEAR!" faded into "The economy sucks, so what's the use?" Have you given up on landing a Bill Gates-type high net worth client? Forgotten about that promotion and raise already? Finding that deep dish pepperoni pizza irresistible so you can stuff your feelings of failure? Buying lottery tickets? Placing a big bet on the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series again this year?
Wanna talk about it? John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach who knew a thing or two about winning on his way to a record 10 NCAA titles, offers this bit of wisdom: "Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming." If you want to break down the game film of your "best life," it's simply a series of choices you make: Committing to do your best from morning to night makes a successful day. Put together seven of these days and you've had a successful week. Four of those and it's a successful month; multiply it by twelve and you've had a great year -- string those together and, WOW -- what a life! If you find you've already given up on making this your "championship season," let's start from those choices you make -- what is it that keeps you from giving your best effort every day?
First of all, determine if you are in the right profession. In my opinion there are three criteria for a successful career:
• You love what you do. In fact, you love it so much you'd do it for free if you could find a way. Then it's not like work -- it's endlessly interesting, engaging ... and FUN!
• You love who you do it with. You seem to enjoy (and hopefully learn from) everyone you come in contact with, whether they are bosses, peers, subordinates, customers/clients, even the folks in the mailroom. Going to work feels a lot like getting together with friends and family.
• You are compensated adequately to support your lifestyle of choice. Everybody says they want to make more money. Are you happy with what you make? Would you leave your current situation just to make more money if you knew you'd have to sacrifice the joy or camaraderie from the first two above?
If you can't honestly answer YES to the three items above it's time for you to reevaluate why you chose to do the work you do.
Was it based upon someone else's opinion of what you were supposed to do? For example, my father encouraged me to go to law school after I finished my undergraduate degree. I had no inclination to do so, and screwed up my LSAT test to insure I wouldn't be headed for the bar exam. That's what HE wanted for me, not what I wanted for myself, even if I didn't know what career suited me. (Glad I figured it out by age 40 ...)
Did you just drift into your career rather than choosing it? That's what the majority of people do, and that's why so many people don't excel. It's not that you can't make it through to retirement in this type of situation -- I just question the quality of your experience at a place where you'll be spending the majority of your life. I guess you could say that drudgery is the product of unconsciousness. Forty years of drudgery -- is that what you signed up for?
Was everybody else doing it? Did all of your friends go to a certain school on a predetermined career path designed for maximum security even if there was a lack of excitement for you? Were you swept up early in, "I should get a profession going. Even if I don't love it, I can learn to love the lifestyle that the money will bring." Kinda like marrying someone for money rather than love, isn't it? (My dad used to kid me: "Marry a rich one!" because he didn't. I definitely followed in his footsteps on that one ...)
All of the above can contribute to broken resolutions -- your inability to sustain motivation and focus to have a record year. But let's say you're convinced you're in the right profession but just seem to flounder year after year. If so, here are five daily "success skills" you can choose to commit to. You've most likely heard about them before but said to yourself, "Nah -- I don't need that kind of motivational mumbo-jumbo."
1. Mission Statement Per Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich, create "a statement of chief definite aim" in writing -- then commit it to memory and recite it aloud daily.
2. Affirmations "Attitudinal push-ups." Forget Stuart Smalley -- begin your morning by telling yourself you ARE smart enough, good enough and worthy of giving your very best.
3. Goal review You've set your goals based upon your Mission Statement -- now you've created a list of specific, measurable quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily behaviors to fulfill it.
4. Schedule Time management is based upon your goals -- you've scheduled your days' activities in an efficient manner so you will be effective in their execution.
5. Visualization You spend 5 - 10 minutes picturing the successful achievement of your goals. Great athletes continually see themselves holding the Championship trophy -- if it's good enough for them ...
All of my clients (typically people who are already doing well and want to do even better) are required to do these five disciplines daily as part of my coaching program. (In case you're wondering, yes -- I do this for myself each and every morning, including weekends. I like to say that success never takes a day off.) This may seem like a lot to take on -- a little overwhelming at first glance. If I can switch sports for a moment, Vince Lombardi's quote rings true: "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."
Question: Can you commit the 15 - 20 minutes a day to practice these success skills, or are you happy with where you're at?
The ultimate winner of the Final Four Tournament will be this year's NCAA National Champions. All of their players made the commitment to work on their game every day so they could triumph amid March Madness -- will you?
Success Skills Coach Jim Rohrbach, "The Personal Fitness Trainer for Your Business," coaches Financial Advisors around the US by phone to help them grow their clientele. To set up a Free Consultation with Jim, go to www.SuccessSkills.com