If you follow Wimbledon, you’ll already know that Roger Federer has again won the Wimbledon Men’s finals for the 8th time, making him both the oldest Wimbledon Men’s winner for a long time – and the man who’s won the most times.
So how did he manage this?
As always, the key is the mental game – when you reach a high level of skill, the only thing that separates winning from losing is what goes on between your ears.
In fact, this is true whatever level you play at, whether it’s tennis, business, relationships, even life itself.
Yesterday morning I heard the amazing story of a young woman who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, for which she’s been receiving radiotherapy. What’s incredible about her story, is that a few years ago, her teenage son was killed in a tragic hit & run accident, and she battled through despair, depression & anger, to reach a place of real forgiveness and renewed strength.
And in front of over 500 people, she was sharing how she has won her latest mental battle against cancer – rising above the challenges she faces to once again be a person of courage, strength and hope for others.
So, back to Federer himself – he can point to his trainers, personal encouragement from his wife and others, to help him push against the odds, to win once again, when it would’ve been easier to doubt he had it in him to do this once more.
In Federer’s own words: “I’ve had some tough ones here but I always believed I could come back here again. If you believe, you can go really far in your life. I kept on dreaming and believing.”
If you know me well, you'll be aware that I can be like a Rottweiler when it comes to solving challenges. Now this has obvious benefits but there are some hidden traps that can easily sabotage my progress unless I'm being self-aware.
I don't know if it's a "man thing" or just personality (probably a mixture of both), but sometimes the old stubborn, stiff-faced focus can dominate my energy when I'm trying to overcome something.
Let me share with you a story that happened yesterday and show you something that happened in me which was new, and I trust something that you can potentially learn from in your business (and life) – especially if you're prone to becoming stubbornly defiant in the face of challenges.
So here's the story:
I was working on a coding challenge (one of my hats is in web development), and I tried my normal approach of changing something, then a different thing, then another different thing, one step at a time, to see if I could fix the problem.
Well, after 6 hours of on & off trying this approach, nothing worked.
I was frustrated, and angry with myself for having been so stubborn.
And then I sat back, and took the top down view that should've occurred five hours earlier.
I asked myself a question:
"Is there another way I can look at this problem that will help me to move things forward?"
A simple question.
I went downstairs (I work from home), had a cup if tea.
Only for 5 minutes.
And then the new approach came.
And it worked.
5 minutes to save 5 hours.
That's all it took.
There's a book with this phrase as its title (and I haven't read it yet):
Questions Are the Answers.
Quick side story: I met a guy a couple of years back at a bar in Las Vegas (and we were both totally sober by the way: I'm tee-total & he drank water) whose company is a competitor of Facebook, and he told me that he attributed his success to "ASQ's": he just Asks Short Questions. Lots of them.
We stayed up 'til 4:30am in the morning, chatting, getting to know one another. All because he asked short questions.
Back to the main story:
So, what did I learn yesterday?
1) Don't be stubborn (ha!! – requires practiceto break old habits & develop new & better ones)
2) If you are working on a problem or challenge, don't spend more than an hour on it. Some would say, and I'm working towards this: "If you can't see the solution to a problem after 15 minutes of solid effort, stop and begin to ask questions".
Sometimes the solution that emerge will involve others becoming involved in some way. Other times you will see a new strategy that was hitherto hidden.
3) Allow yourself time to stop, change your physical location. Talk to someone. Exercise. Just do something different.
If it's a small challenge, the solution might emerge that quickly.
At least, that's what happened yesterday.
Just after supper last night, I exhaled an enormous breath of exhilaration, turned to my wife and said:
"I feel like I've just climbed a mountain: it was hard work, but now I'm at the summit and the view is amazing."
Just one peak among the myriad we should all be aiming to climb.
So, if you're still shaking off the "stubborn man" mentality, I encourage you to begin a different mental process.
It will be challenging, and hard work (any change is). But the sense of reward will be significant, and will effect everything.
Start asking yourself questions. Give yourself time to look down on your challenges, and you will see change.
I have huge respect for Gary Vaynerchuk – he is about 10 years ahead of the curve in terms of online business ethics and transparency, so if you're thinking about getting started in the online game, you and you haven't caught up with his books & videos, you should switch off your TV for a couple of days & grab a pen, take some notes, and write down an action plan based on your skillsets and passions.
I'm about to launch my first online training product on video marketing and video creation, and Gary makes it very clear that if you have skills that others want to benefit from, it's never been easier and cheaper to get started.
So how do you get started? Well, buy a couple of Gary's products, get yourself a simple WordPress website and start writing about your skills, offering free downloads in exchange for your email address, and then once you've got a few dozen, start asking them how you might be able to help. And, better still, hang out on the Warrior Forum, a superb place for finding out how to get started. If you have any questions, please do fill in your details on this page (or at the bottom, in the comments section).
Wishing you every success as you build your online empire,
You already know the score here: dedication, perseverance, persistance, consistency.
OK, end of blog post, let's just get on with it.
There is, obviously, more to be said.
When I started up in business 3 years ago, I remember thinking: "This is gonna be like when I first started teaching: at first, there will be a steep learning curve as I seek to acquire new skills, I'm not expecting to become an overnight success. I'm in this for the long haul. I know that I will have to persist if I want to succeed."
So it is with everything of real value in life, and in one sense, this extends to the entire physical realm that we're part of.
Kneed The Dough (Not Need the Dough)
Everything has to be worked, like kneeding dough to make good bread.
Now I'm not saying that there aren't some good ways to speed up the process. There are, and I will allude to what I believe is one very important "success accelerator" in a minute.
And in fact, I believe that that key is the one which unlocks all the other doors that must be opened to enter into the success journey.
But before I explore the nature of that key, I want you to understand what I personally mean by success – what are the metrics I use to determine whether or not I'm pointing my life in the "right" direction?
Two key metrics for me are summarized in these two words:
The "Superkey" for Success
If I have a sense of fulfilment in my life, and evidence of being fruitful – making a difference – then I believe that I'm travelling on the success journey. Then I'm winning.
So winning, success, is a journey into fulfilment and fruitfulness.
What about the destination then? If I believe success is a journey, where do I think I'm going?
That brings me neatly onto the "superkey" that unlocks the other doors to be passed through.
Simply put, in order to be a winner, I must have a strong sense, a vision, of why I am doing what I'm doing.
Confession time: when I fisrst started on this new journey of entrepreneurship, my far view was very blurred and foggy.
At the time, I simply want to have more time for my family, to have more fun. Actually, that could be enough as a why, but in my case, I also wanted to make a wider difference.
You know, that "legacy thing". Many of us feel this way as a way of combatting own own mortality: it's a natural desire to want to leave a mark so that long after our DNA molecules have returned to the Earth, we somehow live on in the minds and on the lips of future generations.
And I'm not knocking that one iota. I feel the same way, and have done ever since those explorative teenage years when I began to emerge from the protective shell of self-centeredness.
Back to this "superkey": how do I find my why, how do I unlock that synergy within my being that will lead to harmony in my inner and outer life, and how do I know when I've reached that sense of purpose?
In other words, how do I judge when I'm winning?
Finding Life's "Why"
You've almost certainly guessed what I'm thinking by now, and if I've done my job well, the answer will be self-evident.
To know when I am winning, I must have a clear sense of my why – my aim.
"Why am I doing what am I doing?" is the question that will help me determine my focus, and then I will be able to see more clearly my target, so I can constantly refine and trim the direction of my life to achieve that fulfilment and fruitfulness that I desire.
Pretty easy then?
Kneeding the dough requires a lot of energy, time and commitment. BUT, if I have a clear sense of why I'm doing what I'm doing, and how I'm going to proceed along the journey, then that energy, time and commitment will seem much, much easier as life's curve-balls batter me into shape.
Let the Journey Continue…
In conclusion then, you, me, everybody, in fact, must discover our unique "why journey", and even more importantly, build and become part of a tribe of others who also want to discover a clearer sense of that same journey together.
Everything else: the how and the what should stream from that greater sense of shared purpose.
Find your why.
Begin the journey.
Share that journey with others who become part of your tribe.
That's what it takes to become a winner.
Oh, and finally. notice that the dart board above has lots of holes in it. Don't give up simply because you haven't hit your target yet. The process, the journey, is a fundamentally important part of the journey towards success.
Confidence has its basis in an assurance of who you are – your identity. Martin Luther King Jr’s faith ensured that he knew who he was – his identity was thoroughly and completely wrapped up and made sure by his faith in God. You may not be in that same position – but every great leader (famous and infamous alike) has always had a sense of a higher calling on their life – some external reference point from which they were able to gauge themselves, that gave them a solid relational grounding with their own humanity and with others.
Courage is key to leadership – it’s the ability to take the risk when others would shrink back from taking the risk.
Compare for a minute King Saul’s response to his inauguration as king (he hid!!) with David the Shepherd boy’s fearless courage in the face of the real opposition in the character of Goliath, and you’ll see two distinct reactions to the call and challenge to be courageous in the face of great uncertainty.
Great leaders give courage in others as a consequence of their actions.
They can cause a hitherto timid and uncertain team to rally around their cause as a consequence of their inspiring courage.
A great leader will develop and communicate clearly what their vision is to others to such an extent that they will foster trust in the team that they lead – even when the exact methods for achieving the goals set out in that vision may not yet be apparent.
You own experience can only get you so far – being coachable and teachable are essential for a leader to grow in areas of their life that would otherwise remain dormant. Coaching is essential to real growth for any leader, and is often responsible for breakthrough developments in personal self-awareness and its consequent positive influence on the relationships involved.
Character can only be developed by constant doing & reviewing in the context of the above four steps. Talent should never be seen as the master of a leader’s developing character, but should be subservient to the leader’s ability to harness and ring-fence what talent’s potential for over-reaching.
If you’d like to get more information on leadership, visit the Leadership Development page on this site – and please do add your insights below to extend these brief reflections!
I’ve just been on a leadership development teleseminar with Jay Kubassek, and during the call, he quoted the often-mentioned statement, attributed to Thomas Edison:
"Genius is 99% perspiration & 1% Inspiration".
Jay outlined the key difference between those who create sustainablesuccess , and those who don’t. In other words, what is the missing 1% – the ‘X Factor’?
Jay has been working hard over the last 4 years to create an incredible community of entrepreneurs, which now includes members in over 190 countries around the globe. And it was only recently, he admits, that he really found that missing 1%, that intangible ingredient that lies behind his motivation to work so hard.
That missing 1%, the almost magic ingredient, is to be found only when you can answer the question to "What is your Why?, in other words, why do you do what you do…?
This goes deeper than cashflow, holidays or wealth, and is a fundamental question we each need to ask ourselves.
We all exist in tribes; it’s part of being a human being
A tribe consists of a group of people 20-100 in size, where there is a common culture
The culture (or worldview/paradigm) determines how the world occurs to that tribe, with subsequent actions congruent with the tribe’s values
There are 5 levels of tribe:
Stage 5: Life is great & we can change the world (~2% of tribes)
Stage 4: We are great (~22% of tribes)
Stage 3: I am great, (and you’re not) (~48% of tribes)
Stage 2: My life sucks (~25% of tribes)
Stage 1: Life sucks (adversarial gangs) (~2% of tribes)
Stage 5 tribes change the world (eg Truth & Reconciliation Committee)
Stage 4 tribes can do great things, because they recognize the value of each other’s contributions & want to collaborate
Stage 3 tribes are individualistic, each member wanting to fulfill their own, individualisitc goals, resulting in internal political backbiting and lack of real progress
Stage 2 tribes are "dumbed down" by their perception of the world that it’s drab, dull and nothing much good can happen.
Stage 1 tribes exist in gangs and prisons. To move someone forward, into stage 2 (yes, you have to move them just one stage forward at a time), there must be a grafting in to a new tribe, as in Stage 1, the challenge to move the whole tribe forward to Stage 2 as an entity, is probably beyond most (though not impossible).
How Tribal Leadership Can Move Towards Stage 5
Tribes can only hear one level above & below where they are. Leaders’ roles within a tribe are to nudge people to one level above where they are now, but they must use the language of the level where the tribal member is at the moment, and help them reframe the way they see the world through a process of change.
True tribal leaders create "triadic relationships" – they extend the reach of their tribes, introducing new tribes to one another, connecting different people together with the belief that when tribal interconnectivity occurs, the world begins to really change.
What kind of impact does your tribe make on the world? Can you begin to change the culture of your tribe? If you aren’t in a position of leadership yet, you can bring the understanding of tribes to your team (aka tribal!) leader; perhaps share this areticle with them, and point them to David Logan’s website: Culture Sync, where you can find free resources and tools to help move your tribe forward. [Membership signup required, but it’s free -and that’s not an affiliate link, in case you were wondering!]
Incentivization only improves performance for simple tasks that have a simple series of procedures to reach the desired outcome.
Many of these procedures are increasingly being performed by computers
For high-level activities,
when the outcome is incentivized.
Therefore, for businesses (in fact, any institution where there are people working on complex, high-level tasks) performing complex skills and working on creative solutions to challenges, another model is needed, otherwise the business suffers.
Cutting edge companies who realise this are now working on more effective ways to enhance performance, which enhance the following core outcomes:
is enhanced through creative time-out (eg, Google engineers are allowed 20% of their work-time for working on their own projects, which have produced Google News, Gmail, & Orchid, to name but a few)
So Where Does This Leave Performance-related Pay
In my view: On the scrap heap. Incentivization doesn’t work for the complex decisions and high-level thinking that are now the norm not the exception, for the majority of the workforce in any organisation.
For this large majority, performance-related pay harms the desired-outcome of enhanced productivity.
So why is still the default position for many businesses? Perhaps the answer is because in those organisations, they haven’t heard or realised that the "default" paradigm (expressed or just assumed) doesn’t work any more.
So why does this ‘default’ position exist at all?
At heart, every business, every organisation, every individual, has within them, a belief about how things are, whether or not they have been articulated.
In my next post, I’ll unpack more of why this is the case, and, if you don’t like the way things are, what you can do to change this "default future".
Jonathan Miller is not only smart, he’s also an entrepreneur who has incredible belief and certainty that what he’s got is worth at least $1million.
Now, this is despite the derision he receives from already-made-it millionaires (and billionaires for that matter).
What else can we say about him?
He’s smart – he has a background in Venture Capitalist deals, and he’s not going to be pushed by the self-confident prodding of his interviewers
He’s fearless in the face of opposition. This guy has got GUTS, and lots of them. When the other sharks bear their teeth in the room, he bares his back
He doesn’t back down in the face of offers which he knows aren’t in his company’s best interests, even when those offers seem lucrative (ie, he doesn’t sell out just for a quick buck)
He goes on the offensive when attacked for what he believes in
He is motivated by what he knows will bring him ultimate satisfaction, and it’s not money. This is absolutely crucial, as many business owners short-sell themselves on what they could achieve if they’d only stuck to their "big why"
He knows how to negotiate and do a deal. Notice how he ends up negotiating a very good result with the one shark left in the pack, because he senses that this shark will bite his bait, and wants what he has got to offer.
Here’s a recent update on Jonathan’s business:
(Block your ears for the 15 second interruption infomercial from a double-glazing (yes, really!!!!) company at the beginning of the video!)
I’m writing this less than an hour after England won against Slovenia in the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
So, how did England do?
The short answer is: it doesn’t matter, because they won.
Now, I know all you footie fans out there who are serious about the game (I admit, I’m not particularly), will have something to say with what I’ve just written.
After all, it’s how you show up in the game that counts too. I watched England play on a big screen (3 big screen as it happens!) in a Bristol church. The atmosphere was pretty electric.
England played a great game. They were professional, competitive, seized opportunities whenever and wherever they could, and weren’t phazed by Slovenia’s offensive rushes. (OK, if you’re a *real* football fan, I know you might disagree, but that’s OK 😛 )
In essense, they didn’t just play a good game, they played to win.
Winning the game is what it’s all about for them.
And we all shook the roof of the church building good and proper when they scored.
We didn’t need to for their sakes; the England team were too far way.
But we cheered because we became part of the winning side.
FOr the England side, winning isn’t about scoring goals, it’s so much about playing your game in a peak state, so that the magic happens.
And we all cheered because that’s what we want for our lives.
But I bet there were some people in that building who have let go of that dream of the magic happening for them.
I bet some people were cheering vicariously.
So you and I have a choice. We can live just to cheer on the winning team. Or we can become winners.
All the players have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of this game. It’s not just something they do anymore. It’s who they are. Playing the game to win has become part of them, inseparably.
But the twist in the tail is that it’s just a game.
So, is life the same?
In a real sense it is.
We are born. We dream of accomplishing something of significance for our lives. Some of us fulfill that dream. We realise our desire.
What about you – how do you play this game of life? What does it mean to you? Are you playing to win? Add your comment below.