Are you still waiting to get lucky? Knock it off!
A couple of weeks ago we began exploring what makes for “lucky” entrepreneurs. It’s time to finish the job by delving into other characteristics that make people look lucky when what they really are is focused, committed, and courageous.
Trait #4: They remain fluid and open-minded enough to take in and act on feedback from the market.
Back in college, I came across a snarky commentary that’s stuck with me for years: “My mind’s made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.”
Decisiveness gets you a lot further than dithering. However, blind adherence to your initial strategy in the face of feedback telling you to change course – now – is a great way to shoot yourself in the foot.
Once again, it’s a question of finding a tipping point – in this case, where committed perseverance slips over into counterproductive obstinacy – and making sure you stay on the near side of said point.
Put another way, successful business builders stay focused on the desired end result instead of becoming married to what Mike Dooley calls “the cursed hows.” If, after careful consideration, they acknowledge that the method they’ve chosen to create a particular outcome continues to hit snags, they’re willing to adapt and adjust what they’re doing to incorporate feedback they’ve received from the market (or, as Dooley would put it, the Universe).
Trait #5: They play to win, rather than to not lose.
Playing to win requires an abundance approach to life and business: a mindset and a way of acting that assumes you can successfully attain what you want. If you play to not lose, on the other hand, you’re implicitly coming from a position of scarcity where your primary goal is really to minimize losses.
How can you tell if you’re playing to not lose? Here are some verbal give-aways:
- “I’m doing okay”
- “It’s not so bad”
- “It’s different for me/my industry/my situation”
- “Yes, but…” (certainly one of the most versatile self-sabotaging phrases ever invented)
“Luck” = focus + courage + persistence.
And let’s not forget the behavioral clues. You may very well be playing to not lose if you:
- settle for less than you really want
- set your sights low to begin with
- find it more emotionally comfortable to not even try than to try and not make your goal
- worry about being “greedy” or “selfish”
- discount prices — not as part of a strategic marketing promotion, but simply because you’re afraid that’s the only way you’ll get the business
- allow a client to keep demanding more services without paying for them
- focus on what you stand to lose if things don’t work out instead of what you stand to gain if they do
- take on any and all clients who meet your most important qualifying criterion, i.e., have a pulse
- let “helpful others” scare you and undermine your confidence with their own scarcity-based predictions of gloom
- consistently talk yourself out of investing money in your business
- believe that “you should be grateful for what you’ve got”
(Just a quick clarification on that last one: Gratitude is a powerful creative and energetic force, and I’m definitely NOT saying to ignore, pooh-pooh, or fail to express gratitude for everything you already have. What I’m cautioning against is buying in to the back-story implicit in that admonition, which demands to know, “Who are you to deserve even more than what you already have?”)
So how do you handle it if you realize you are, indeed, playing to not lose? Here are some tactics to apply:
- Enlist an accountability buddy who will bolster your courage and kick you in the butt as needed when you feel yourself faltering.
- Don’t set such lofty goals for yourself that, instead of just pushing the envelope, you rupture it. The idea is to set a goal that’s powerfully motivating for you and somewhat scary. You’ll still grow and accomplish more (because you’re getting outside your comfort zone), but you won’t be overwhelmed by the hugeness of the challenge. For example, you might consider pushing yourself to increase your annual revenues by 50% by the end of this year, rather than seeking to triple them in the same time period.
- Practice playing to win in small arenas to build up your courage muscles.
- Remind yourself of the concept of “sacred selfishness”: When you honor yourself by expecting to receive good monetary value for the value you provide, you make it possible to continue doing the good work that you do.
- Practice – in advance and out loud – your response to a request for a discount. “We can certainly discuss a discount. Which particular part of the services I’ve outlined are you willing to do without?”
- Stay alert for “scope creep” in projects. You might elect to throw in, at no additional charge, the first request; it’s one way to over-deliver. However, at the second request, set a clear boundary. “That’s outside the scope of what we initially contracted for. I can certainly draw up a proposal for the additional services and get that to you within 48 hours.”
- Get into a habit of “both/and” when it comes to acknowledging what you already have as well as what you don’t yet have: “Yes, I am both grateful for the success I’ve already had and looking forward to more.”
So….How are you reacting to these ideas? Do you feel powerful? Overwhelmed? Light? Heavy? All of the above?
Perhaps that mash-up of reactions is a sign that you could use some outside input to help you figure out what particular tactics will work best to increase your “luck”. I may be able to help with that.
My specialty is showing stuck entrepreneurs how to find their courage and clarity. To find out if that’s something I can do for you, we can invest a few minutes on the phone asking and answering some questions (kind of like a business first date). At the end of our get-acquainted call – which is easy to set up here – we’ll both be confident in whatever conclusion we reach about working together.
It’s time to start making your own luck. Go for it!
(BTW, thanks to tuchodi for posting the wishbone image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in personal power and tagged effectiveness. Bookmark the permalink.
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