I have been putting a lot of thought into why some people succeed and others fail. It’s easy to put success down to luck or natural talent, but while there will always be an element of that, it does not seem to be “the answer”.
There seem to be some ingredients that a lot of folks miss. Education is important, but not in the formal qualification sense but more in the continuously learning sense. We tend though to focus just on the knowledge, there is a gap there that needs to be filled and that is where I think the big gains are made.
This has been on my mind since I started talking to Melani about the Mojo Marketing Action Plan coaching and course we are about to run as the entire project came out of a desire to give our customers the best possible tools to make sure they make progress and achieve their goals.
While this is going over in my mind, my wife asked me to join her to watch the latest “The Biggest Loser” on the telly. Now, my wife loves reality TV, but I have to believe there is also a not-so-subtle hint whenever she gets me to watch something where people take exercise, eat healthily, and lose weight. Uh-huh, message received, loud and clear.
This is the third season of the show we are now enjoying. This current show is the Australian version from last year, and I am watching every day, and I am starting to see trends in the people who succeed and who fall behind. Each factor I believe is reflected in life outside of fitness and weight loss.
Here are some key reasons why people fail, learned from watching the Biggest Loser:
- Willingness – If you want to do anything unfamiliar or where you have previously failed, you need to be willing to accept advice and do what it takes. There are no silver bullets, be they diet pills or magic “million dollar copy and paste formulae”. Instead you have to do hard graft and initially see very few positive results. Not many people are willing to hear this, let alone put it into action, but it is true.
- Lack of self-belief – When you are constantly telling yourself you can’t, couldn’t, don’t deserve, or whatever, then you get what you think. You either have to believe you can, or at least suspend disbelief! Once you start making progress, no matter how small, you can start believing what you set out to do is possible for you, so the sooner you get started the sooner you get some momentum.
- Blamestorming – Constantly the contestants find all kinds of reasons for the situation they are in, or get into, but it always seems that it is only towards the end, when they have lost massive amounts of weight and gotten really healthy that they accept they were in the driving seat all along. They put the weight on, they lost it. Now if you look at the business world and around social media, how many people are using similar excuses. It’s not me, it is … fill in the blanks. Only you can do the things that are required to change your situation.
- Sheep versus Shepherd – So you need to take advice, and take advice from the right people, but all too often we see people get taken in by people who do not have your best interests at heart. Over and over the “bad guy” contestants get their team mates to ignore their coaches, take the fall, do stupid stuff, gang up, or get stabbed in the back. Part of taking responsibility is knowing when you should be lead, when you should lead, and when to say “no”. Evaluate, ask questions, weigh options, trust but verify. Another way people fail with this is friends and family who give you permission to give up, encourage you to do self destructive things, and lead you back to bad habits. Remember people resist change, even when that change is good for you.
- Execute – All the competitors on the Biggest Loser get the same advice and knowledge, but when left to their own divices many fall back into old patterns. Knowing is not enough. Having ability is not enough. That extra press up is not going to kill you. Writing one more article is not that difficult. It’s not just about duration but what you do in the time. One of my friends told me he had been writing a screenplay for the last two years, but later he admitted he had only written the outline and the first 25% of the pages in draft. How many ideas do you have waiting to be put into action? Thinking about it doesn’t get it done, you have to execute, even when it is uncomfortable. Especially when it is uncomfortable!
- Closed mind – One thing that guarantees failure before you try is to decide that an idea is unfamiliar so it can’t possibly work. Your existing approach has not worked but that is a familiar concept so we will hold on to it and reject anything else as foreign, see how that works.
- Over-competitive – A bit of healthy competition is good, it can lift the game for everyone, but sometimes it is taken to silly extremes. Last night’s episode saw a guy stab his own brother in the back for a reward. When it comes to future challenges, do you think he will get the full trust of all the other players? There is a difference between determination to succeed and needing to win at all costs, especially when it comes to the long-term game rather than the immediate battles.
Look over your successes (or lack of) and consider if any apply. I know there are times when I have given up too soon, switched and changed, blamed outside influences rather than look at my own input, etc. But on the flip side, when I have achieved what I set out to do I have had the right mind set and kept with it. Funnily enough just before writing this article I was on a client call and we worked out I had been writing for the web daily for 16 years. I might not be the world’s best writer but I have certainly stuck at it!
Critical Success Factors
- Decide now – Make the decision, KNOW what you are going to do. As Yoda says, “Do, or do not … There is no try.”
- Gather resources – Once you know what you are going to do, find out how to achieve that and gather what you need.
- Staying power – Stick with it, and know in advance that you are going to give it your best shot.
- Suck it up – When it gets tough, keep going.
- Be good enough – You don’t have to be the best, just do good. Perfection is not necessary.
- Be good – Another aspect of being good is being awesome to other people. Even the people who feel diminished by your success or hate that you are reaping rewards. Rise above it.
- Progress – It’s ok to compete with others, it is essential to compete with yourself. Motivate yourself, benchmark your own progress. Do better than your personal best, then beat that.
- Get coaches and partners – Some people manage to achieve great things in isolation, but most of us do better when coached and they have the support of team mates or partners.
As I said earlier, Melani and I have put a lot of this thinking into designing our new course to contain all the elements you need to make sure your next business, service, product or program launch is a success, but these elements are important to any project that you have in mind.