By Ismail Abdur-Rahman, CEO iVIBES
Somebody call a doctor! Better yet, call the World Health Organization! Quick! There's an epidemic spreading worldwide, and we have to put an end to it before more lives are destroyed. It doesn't have one of those hard-to-pronounce names, either. In fact, you already know what it is.
The funny thing is that most people are great at talking the walk. You know the type: they talk a great game and make all kinds of declarations and promises, but their results....well, let's just say that results say a lot about the individual.
If you write down your near-term goals, goals for the new year, start a vision board or use any of the well-known techniques for planning for success, you have only done half of what you need to do to be successful. I'm not knocking vision boards; they're a great tool, but a vision without a grind is a hallucination. In other words, you're just lying to yourself about your goals if your actions don't back it up.
There are undoubtedly lots of things you might need to do in order to achieve your ambitions. You might need to develop a new skill or learn some new information in order to push yourself closer to reaching your goals. Perhaps you need to tweak your network of professional contacts in order to benefit from people who are already where you aspire to be. However, the most important thing you will need to do is develop a passion for success, the kind of passion that keeps you up past midnight, still grinding; the kind of passion that causes you to leap out of bed only a couple of hours later because you are compelled to maximize every minute of your day towards the achievement of your goals. Once you have developed this type of passion for success, you need to make a firm commitment to doing everything necessary to achieve it. Yes, that means that you have to go all out, until you fall out, if you want to achieve success because, save for a few odd occurrences, no one is going to hand you success in a neatly gift-wrapped box.
'A' Game - All Day, Every Day
Some people never seem to get ahead because they are honestly terrible at spotting opportunities and exploiting them before the window of opportunity closes for them. And because you can't actually predict when a good opportunity will present itself, you need to be vigilant about seeking them out, and you have to be prepared to take advantage of them when you do find them. In other words, you need to bring your 'A' game - every day, all day. This is especially true if you're an entrepreneur. You are your brand, so you can't afford to get caught slipping (or sleeping). If your elevator pitch isn't on point and ready to roll off your tongue at the drop of a hat, you might miss an opportunity to attract an investor or a strategic partner. Sure, it takes a lot of energy to always be 'on', but if you truly have a passion for success, it won't feel like work. Besides, your brand message has to be consistent - people have to know what they are getting when they engage you and your brand.
I'm not sure if you follow rugby, but let me give you an example from rugby to underscore my point. The All Blacks, the New Zealand national rugby union team, is arguably the most dominant team in the sport. They have a 77% winning percentage in international competition, and they boast a winning record against every opponent - the only international team that can make such a claim. Why do they dominate the game? Is it their coaches? Possibly, but not likely. Players? Well, you can't win without players, but the players themselves are not the reason for the team's dominance. The key is passion.
Before every match, the team performs the haka - a traditional Maori war dance that was historically performed by warriors prior to battle to intimidate their opponents. It has the same impact on the All Blacks' rugby opponents, too. However, it serves a more important function for the team - it ignites their passion and gets them focused on the task at hand, ensuring that they will have the requisite intensity for bringing their 'A' game. Even the non-Polynesian All Blacks players get hyped up during the haka.
Doing the haka doesn't guarantee victory, but it sure makes the team hard to beat.
I turn away lots of clients because I can usually tell at some time during our initial meeting that while they're talking a good game, they haven't made a full commitment to achieving their goals. Some people have million dollar dreams and a minimum wage work ethic - a combination that will never culminate in ultimate success. Let's face it, you can't achieve 100% of your goals by putting forth 70% of the effort required. Your chances of success will be a lot better if you put in 120% of your effort, but you have to have the mental fortitude and stamina to make it happen.
For most people, success is a marathon, not a sprint. Take a moment to have a real conversation with yourself and ask yourself if you are passionate enough about achieving your goals that you are willing to do everything it takes to achieve them. If not, you'd better have a good Plan B as a backup. Chances are, you'll end up working for someone who only had an 'A' game because quitting was not an option.