That’s right, watching the market, timing your buys and sells of shares, locking in interest rates at the right time as well as buying the right assets in a well-designed portfolio are all really important, but not as important as getting YOU right.
Sure, we are all put on this earth with different abilities but what was delivered at birth isn’t the determining factor for success in your career, your business, your investments and even your life generally, which includes your family goals.
Characteristics of success
Malcolm Gladwell, in a book called Outliers says being bright and working hard are not the common characteristics of success. Putting in 10,000 hours of hard work, having a great network, being driven by a plan and a whole host of other determinants explain the best performers in many different fields of endeavour from businesses to investment to the arts.
Edward de Bono says the successful are lateral thinkers whose thoughts are “outside the square”, which means they out-compete their rivals.
Think about those investors who had a set plan that was based on buying blue chip, top 20 stocks at the end of every quarter.
They could have bought Macquarie under $20, CBA in the $20s, ANZ under $15 and so on. They would have bought in a once-in-a-lifetime situation.
But how do people get it right? How do they act like an outlier? A decision to be different and not like the pack is often at the core.
I talked to my business partner about our Switzer Business Coaching operation last week and asked her what kinds of people always sign up for the program. A part of understanding my business to create the right marketing program is for me to get customer and colleague feedback as often as possible.
She told me that having the right turnover was important for budding customers. Knowing that there was something wrong in their business, which was stopping them from growing it successfully and it was not fixable by them. And finally, and she said this was the most important factor — the people had to be into self-improvement. They went to seminars, read books and did things like listening to podcasts or watching DVDs to help them succeed.
Leadership is key
John Maxwell, one of the great leadership writers and thinkers, says leadership is at the core of success. Think Winston Churchill, great captains of sporting teams, wonderful coaches and inspirational business leaders. These people have made themselves strong and so other people have wanted to follow them.
Maxwell says you have to lead yourself first. How do you that? He reckons he was knocked out when a mentor asked him: “What’s your plan for self-improvement?” He did not have one and most of us don’t but it’s the starting point for the road to success for business, a career, investing and getting your life act together.
And you don’t have to be a born leader. Maxwell, in his book 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership argues: “You don’t learn leadership in a day but daily”.
Just like your business, when it comes to important areas such as your career or your investing, do a SWOT analysis. Work out your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Then make sure you capitalise off your strengths and make your weaknesses irrelevant.
This might mean seeking expert help. You might need a personal trainer, a dietician, a financial adviser, a business coach or mentor, a network or even something spiritual. We’re all different and can need different inputs to make a great output.
Create a winning plan and continue monitoring it and measure how you are tracking. The old sayings — “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” and “what gets measured gets done” — are all spot on.
Confronting the brutal truth will reveal the greatest threat to success — YOU!
Do you want to win?
Another common characteristic of the successful is that they write their goals down, so they see them all of the time. We can easily slip back into old, bad, unsuccessful habits. As Tom O’Toole, the great Aussie baker and business speaker, insists: “What’s not written down is not on the planet!”
The great US women’s tennis player, Chris Evert, has been credited with a wonderful self-assessment: “There were times when deep down I wanted to win so badly I could actually will it to happen. I think most of my career was based on desire.”
If the answer is yes, then follow this great advice an old guy once gave me: “Work out what you want. Find out its price. Pay the price.”
Small business owners who go broke or investors who lose money or employees who don’t get promoted don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan!
Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
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