Pick a day of the week and at some point you're likely to dream of the success you want to have. The book you're writing will sell millions of copies and you'll be whisked around to speak at conferences for high fees.
The online course you're launching will hit a nerve you've missed in the past and make a solid 6 figures on day one.
The 3 new prospects you're talking to will all sign for high value projects that really don't take you lots of time to implement. Then with those 3 in hand you'll continue down a path with lots of clients bringing in lots of funds for what amounts to few hours of work for you. Even with those few hours your clients will reap huge rewards and tell others how awesome you are.
When you read those stories here you recognize them for the dreams they are. A bit fun and fancy, but a dream still. The thing is that when confronted with no book sales, a course that your mom bought because she's your mom, and 3 clients that didn't come through it's easy to fall in to the blame game.
No one bought your book or course because they didn't understand how their life would be changed forever by the content. The clients didn't sign because they just couldn't see the good thing they were passing up.
The thing is that these thoughts aren't the mark of someone that's going to be successful. If you want to be successful you need to approach these setbacks with these 3 steps.
1. how is this my fault
First off someone relentlessly pursuing success doesn't blame others for their lack of vision. In his book Tribes Seth Godin addresses this fallacy.
There's a myth that all you need to do is outline your vision and prove it's right -- then, quite suddenly, people will line up and support you. - Tribes by Seth Godin
Again we recognize this as we read and yet we still expect it. We need to change that 'build it and they will come' mindset to a mindset that tries to figure out why the current state of events is your fault. In Tribes, Godin also addresses this.
If you hear my idea but don't believe it, that's not your fault; it's mine.
If you see my new product but don't buy it, that's my failure, not yours.
If you attend my presentation and you're bored, that's my fault too.
This is the mindset that successful people take and it's the first step as you climb to success. When that sale doesn't happen it's time to sit back and figure out what you could have done to increase the chances of it happening.
Once you have a list of what you could have done to increase the chances of success it's time to move on to the next phase in stepping in to you're next success.
It's a fallacy that you should just plan for success, you need to also plan for failure. In fact this is where planning for most projects should start, anticipating failure.
In The Obstacle is the Way this planning for failure is called a premortem.
A premortem is different. In it, we look to envision what could go wrong, what will go wrong, in advance, before we start. Far too many ambitious undertakings fail for preventable reasons. Far too many people don't have a backup plan because they refuse to consider that something might not go exactly as they wish. - The Obstacle is the Way
By anticipating failure we can expand our plan for success. That book you wanted to write may not sell because you really don't market it, so you put time in to a marketing plan for the book. Those clients you want to land may not see the value, so you spend more time up front talking to them about the value you bring to their business so that by the time you put in a proposal it's mostly just a summary of what you've already verbally agreed to.
With that premortem in hand you can put together a plan for your project. I like using Post-It notes with the top row being the months of the year and the ones below being the big tasks that need to happen inside the month. This method allows you to move things around as you make your plan for the project.
Don't just stop with the monthly plan though, break it down to weeks and individual tasks. For that book do you need to do research? Find the top 10 books you should read and then put together a plan to read a book a week and review it.
For those prospects add a reminder to your task management system to make sure that you touch base with them weekly and book the meetings you need to so you can talk value with them.
Don't just stop with the lofty goals, put a plan together and break it down to it's components. Relentless execution of one item every week will get you to the goal and that plan will increase the chances of your success.
3. Never stop learning
Finally, successful people never arrive. Pick a famous business person and you'll find that they read books and attend seminars and hire coaches. They don't just rest on their laurels of success, they continue to pursue excellence in their life. Typically it's only those that are trying to find success that don't invest in themselves because they view it not as an investment, but as an expense.
If you want to be successful set aside at least 5% of your income for training. Start with books and aim for a book a month. As you learn and your income increases keep it at 5% and start to look at conferences, and not just the cheap ones.
Save for a year to go to that 'dream' conference and have a plan when you go in to maximize your return. Find 3 awesome people that will be there and make sure you engage with them. Don't be shy, just go up and introduce yourself. Don't wait for them to ask you questions, have a bunch of questions ready to ask about what they're working on. Your genuine interest will help you stand out from the rest of the crowd that's simply trying to see how they can get a leg up via every connection they make.
If you want to really head down that path of success take these three steps. First, figure out how it's your fault. Second take that knowledge and do a premortem to plan for failure. Then put together your plan for the next project. Finally, put money aside to invest in yourself every month.
Keep following those steps with each new thing you do. You'll look back and realize that you've achieved more success than you first thought.
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