5 April 2020
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Failure to cop objective criticism is at the heart of failed people

Here’s a question for any of you out there who agree with me that the secret of success for many business growers, great wealth builders and general high achievers is firstly, to be able to cop objective feedback and second to go searching for the right company, the insightful coach or the super experienced coach.

As someone who has noticed that the successful in business, sport and life are those who generally are committed to self-improvement, I was knocked out by a guy who came up to me after I finished a speech at the Kooyong Tennis Club this week.

This very pleasant bloke thanked me for my speech saying he noted with interest that we (our family) had a business coach. He said his experience with a coach largely explains a lot of his success with his business but he said he and his wife had taken coaching to what, I guess, is a logical extreme.

“We go to a marriage counsellor,” he admitted but he did so with no sign of embarrassment. “A lot of our friends ponder whether we are having problems and that’s why we are in counselling but the opposite is the case. “We are happy because of our marriage ‘coach’!”

He quoted back at me stuff I always say - that if you want to improve your tennis or golf, you’d seek out a coach and if you wanted to get wealthier, you might go for a financial planner (a Switzer advisor, naturally!). So in something really important like marriage, where business success and family happiness are often intertwined, why wouldn’t you get a competitive edge?

This to me was real ‘outside the square’ stuff that even my hero, Edward ‘lateral thinking’ DeBono would be proud of.  And it got me thinking about all the people I know, both in and out of business, who won’t cop objective feedback.

When you think about the divorce rate that’s greater than 40% in the USA, one can easily argue that maybe that institution called marriage needs a lot of help.

Jim Rohn, the US business thinker made famous the observation that just about all of what you want in life is just outside your comfort zone. This is so spot on and I reckon many of us would find going to a marriage counsellor before you had a problem, just too far out there. It’s something only the brave would consider an option, but it underlines what you need to do if you want success.

Feedback has been the stock and trade for life success coaches like Tony Robbins. When you think about it, the doctor who has the courage to tell you that you’ll die if you keep eating and drinking too much, is merely telling you what you need to hear to make your life, business, wealth, happiness and so on better.

Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement, but this impact can be either positive or negative,” says John Hattie and Helen Timperley in a piece for SAGE journals.

But wait there’s more.

“The evidence shows that although feedback is among the major influences, the type of feedback and the way it is given can be differentially effective.”

So maybe the dual goal for all of us should be first, have the guts to recognise what is outside our comfort zone and second, go find the coach who can get through to you to embrace change for the good.

Robbins, who has dedicated his life to understanding people who are unhappy with their results has laid down some pretty solid guidelines to changing outcomes, which are easily seen in some of his best quotes, like these:

  • “Your past does not equal your future.”
  • If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.
  • The path to success is to take massive, determined action.
  • Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.
  • “Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.”

The day you decide to be committed to major things — getting outside your comfort zone, taking on your demons, allowing experts to tell you what you don’t want to hear, will be the day you start to get major results in major things.

The best advice I can give anyone who is unhappy with their results is to use the business planning technique.  Start by doing a SWOT on you. Understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Then promise yourself to leverage off your strengths and make your weaknesses and threats irrelevant by changing you and/or recruiting experts to help you change.

The listing of your weaknesses and drawing up a plan to change them, so they don’t impede your success, is the critical first step to success.

See you and your life as being really important and don’t stop until you have taken your potential to the max. To do so, however, means you will have to get outside your comfort zone and look for experts to help you make it happen.

And finally, you have to really want success, deep down, and your actions will prove that this is the case.

Let me repeat Robbins and add something: “The path to success is to take massive, determined action to get outside your comfort zone and learning to cop criticism is an important starting point.”

If you can’t see yourself doing this and you really want success, then go to a psychotherapist to help you get what you think you really want.

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