The author of this highly rated article is Ian Rheeder.
In 2003 Ian qualified as a Chartered Marketer (CM), the highest professional marketing qualification recognised both in South Africa and Europe.
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“Success boils down to three major things. What are they?”
Every morning losers wake up. They sense they need to do something about it, or the winners will crush them. Every morning winners wake up edgy of their own success. They know that the losers are right behind them. It doesn’t matter whether you are a loser or a winner, you better understand how to become, and stay successful.
Background to the human race
Interestingly, all human action is goal directed; however most humans don’t take control of this, but allow nature to unconsciously direct their energy in the most primeval ways. In an unthinking manner, we are hardwired for two things: The feeling of importance and the preservation of our gene pool. Without this you would not be here to read this article! With this backdrop, why not rather get to grips with what you really want and consciously go out and get it yourself? Why rely on the lotto, your lucky-stars, the fall of the dice or the basic human ego drive, which the masses rely upon for their survival? As success is a personal thing, find out what will make you uniquely flourish, and do it. Tip: Happiness is purely goal directed engagement, or as Gardiner Morse put it “The thrill of the hunt is more enjoyable than the pleasure of the feast.” (HBR, Jan 2006, “Decisions and Desire”).
Success Exposed: Focus, Energy and Activities
Upon arriving at the fork in the road, Mr. Marketa asked the wicked witch which direction to take. “Where are you going?” the witch replied, ” I don’t know” he said, “Well then, it doesn’t matter which road you take!”
So what things will make you and your strategy successful? Let’s do a quick exercise: If you were forced to choose either ‘Focus’ or ‘Energy’ to reach the below target, which one would you choose?
Having asked this question to many audiences, they simultaneously shout out focus! Which is half correct, but ‘faith without works is dead’! Tell the audience to then switch out the lights and just ‘focus’ nothing changes out there! (Short-arrow in diagram). So why do so many people choose focus above energy, well I suppose it’s the same reason “Think and grow rich” bestsellers sell so well – we’re all looking for a shortcut. What none of the books tell us is how much guts, determination and persistence success requires. We’re always looking for the elevator, but in reality, there’s only a stairwell. Vultures have incredible focus, but are always hanging around for something to die. Why not go out and ‘kill’ something yourself.
- Short-arrow is just ‘focus’ – an absolute disaster, yet very common amongst senior management. “Pie-in-the-sky” vultures staring at a 40-page strategic plan on the desk.
- The squiggly line is just ‘energy’ – you’ll eventually find the Easter egg, but would have wasted a lot of energy in duplication of effort.
- But with the synergistic effect of focus & energy combined (long-arrow) you’re very efficiently bang-on-target (i.e. David vs. Goliath)!
Real life example: The captain of a sinking ship commands, “Half of you move to starboard and meditate, the rest of you get in the lifeboats!”
Lesson: Don’t just focus, do something too – meditate and get in the lifeboat! A great strategic plan, not implemented, is only ‘meditation’. Michael Porter warns that ‘activities’ are the miracle bridges between Strategy and Implementation, and it’s estimated that about 80% of focused plans are not implemented. An average plan implemented well, is far better than a brilliant plan left on your desk.
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer.” Nolan Bushnell, Founder of Atari Computers
|Writing a Strategic Plan doesn’t make you a leader any more than standing in a Grand Prix pit makes you a racing driver. You must climb in and do something!|
3-things that will make you & your strategy successful:
Focus and Energy are intertwined; your To-do-list is the bridge between Focus & Energy.
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” John F. Kennedy
“The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny… it is the light that guides your way.” – Heraclitus (540-480 B.C.)
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rogers
Energy is the capacity for doing work! Keep fit and make sure your inner-landscape is free of guilt and resentments. The fastest way to ignite your energy is to goal set.
3) To-do-list: the bridge between Focus & Energy
“The distance isn’t important; it is only the first step that is difficult.” Marie de Vichy-Chamron
Everything is created twice. The first time is the vision in your head, and the second is in reality. However, something magical happens when you write down your goals – it’s as if reality is happening already, exciting and energising us into action! An activities list ensures our vision is logically and systematically tackled in bite sizes – it’s also rewarding and motivating ticking off completed tasks.
Medical scientists have now proven that our brain craves reward-after-reward. So, what is your cheese in the maze called life? Whatever it is, get focused, energised, and do it!