Wednesday, August 30, 2023

7 Keys To Focusing Only On Challenges You Can Control

frustrated-business-challengesMy consulting clients tell me the business challenges these days are greater than ever before, with the recent pandemic and current global political unrest. Rather than let all these drive you insane, I always try to recommend some practical strategies to make you stronger and more focused in your outlook. I’m fully convinced that success is all about you rather than the market.

In this context, I was impressed with the insights provided in a new book, “Stay Sane In An Insane World,” by peak performance coach Greg Harden. While Greg’s background and anecdotes come primarily from the world of professional sports, I’m convinced that the strategies he espouses apply equally well to the current rapidly changing business environment.

Here is my business interpretation of his seven key strategies to remember in controlling the controllables and thriving in a chaotic world:

  1. Become the greatest expert on yourself. We all have strengths and weaknesses. In business, these cover the gamut from vision, creativity, innovation, to sales, financial management, and negotiation. Listen to your team, mentors, and customers to recognize real successes and failures, and surround yourself with people who can fill in the gaps.

    Self-awareness involves the ability to see ourselves clearly, recognize how others see us, and understand how we fit into society and the world. People who have high self-awareness tend to have a deeper understanding of others as well as business issues.

  2. Focus only on controlling the controllables. In business, as in life, there are some things you can control and others you can't. You can't control government spending, for example, or global politics. Allocate your time and resources to customer expectations and competitor challenges. Celebrate even small wins to keep yourself motivated.

    It's important to make a conscious effort to let go of things you can’t control and prevent them from affecting your day-to-day work. Some business leaders can’t let go of any challenge, feeling the ultimate responsibility for solving every problem brought to them.

  3. Practice, train, and rehearse giving 100 percent. If you make this your mindset, then on your absolutely worst day, you’re still going to be better than the average person on their best day. In my experience as a startup investor, I have become convinced that the biggest reason for business failure is giving up too early. Always dig a level deeper.

    A key prerequisite to success by giving the max is setting specific and challenging goals. Research indicates this alone leads to higher performance much of the time. The more specific and challenging your goals, the higher your motivation toward hitting them.

  4. Commit, improve, and maintain your life balance. Poor work-life balance will leave you and your team working more hours but being less productive. Make your mantra one of job satisfaction and delivering customer value, rather than avoiding failure today. That requires a variety of activities and rest. Take time to charge your batteries regularly.

    In reality, maintaining a life balance requires a focus on others, as well as yourself. Think about what you can do to make life better for others that you care about, and you will find your own life enriched, as well as improving your ability to tackle business problems.

  5. Stop being afraid of taking any business risk. Some fear of risk-taking is healthy, and will help you evaluate business situations more effectively before you jump into unfamiliar territory. Build your confidence with successes that come from taking small risks. Start with smaller opportunities, where if you were to fail, the loss would be less significant.

  6. Practice self-confidence and trusting yourself. Self-confidence is not something you are born with — it's something you build over time, especially as the leader of a business. Confidence, like a muscle, grows stronger with increased use, and celebrating small wins will give you a real boost in your confidence. Practice by trusting your own insights.

  7. Become the very best friend to yourself always. Being your own best friend means non-judgmentally listening to your own views during business challenges. It doesn’t mean not listening to team members and mentors, but it does mean rationalizing these inputs with your own emotions and motivations and being comfortable with the resulting action.

Remember that progress and results are all about your mindset and your actions – not the world around you or anyone else. I recommend that you start today to take control of your own destiny in business with these seven strategies. You will feel and see the progress the next time you face your toughest competitor or unpredictable customer challenge with confidence and win.

Marty Zwilling

*** First published on on 08/16/2023 ***



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