“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” ―Sean Covey
Since starting my own business, I've become slightly obsessed with what makes successful business owners different. Why do they manage to achieve what so many others don't?
Most people's gut response to this question is that they're just more able somehow. They're more intelligent, or perhaps they had better opportunities than the rest of us... or better contacts.
Now, while for some, these may have been contributing factors there are too many success stories out there who had none of these things. People who failed at their exams in school, who came from working class backgrounds, but who now run highly successful businesses.
So what is it? Why do some succeed and others fall by the wayside?
I've come to see that it's entirely down to our behaviours. Those success stories that we look up to haven't achieved their success because of WHO they are, they've achieved it because of what they've DONE - and more importantly, what they've done repeatedly.
Habit One: Stay Focused
There's a certain trait that I see time and time again in the clients that I work with. I think it's the trait that makes us want to have our own business in the first place - but it's also what holds a lot of people back from truly making progress.
You're full of ideas (like all. the. time, right?!) and you're always keen to embrace new opportunities and new adventures. So here's what happens...
You sit down and write out your goals for your business. Perhaps you're going to launch a new course.
As you're writing your goals, you're also listening to one of your favourite podcasts and the host is interviewing a well known speaker in your industry. They're talking about how they got into speaking and you start to think... 'wow, that sounds great. Perhaps I should look into speaking opportunities. And so that's what you do for the rest of the day... maybe even the rest of the week..'
While researching speaking opportunities you stumble upon an article about live events and another spark goes off in your mind. Live events would be PERFECT for your audience! If you really focus, you could probably plan one in the next couple of months!
And off you go down another rabbit hole... 3 months go by and you haven't actually spoken anywhere, you're not quite ready with your live event and that online course you'd planned is no further on than when you wrote it down as a goal.
Sound a bit like you?
Here's the thing - having ideas is wonderful! It's a sign that you're creative and passionate. Trying to ACT on all of those ideas as soon as you have them is a recipe for disaster because you'll never focus on one thing for long enough to actually complete it - let alone succeed with it.
Imagine you're an olympic swimmer. You're not going to achieve your dream of gold by jumping in the pool once, swimming a length and then getting out and going to play tennis... You need to get in that pool every single day. There'll be days when you feel too tired, there'll be days when the pool feels too cold, there'll be days when your whole body aches and all you want to do is snuggle on the sofa with a book and a boxset.
But if you want that gold, you gotta focus, friend. Put your blinkers on, keep your eye on the prize and stay the course to the end.
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Habit Two: Make the Decision
I'm not going to lie. When I started my business I felt completely overwhelmed. I had no idea where to start and so I did the only thing a sensible newbie business owner can do.... I Googled it.
And Google answered! Boy howdie did Google answer. Here's what the big G said...
You've got to start with a website.
The very first thing you need is a logo!
Don't even bother doing anything before you've been guest posting for at least 6 months..
If you didn't start growing your email list about a year ago, you may as well give up now!
All the cool kids are podcasting
Can you even AFFORD to start a business?
For the love of everything, WHAT ARE YOUR BRAND COLOURS???
There's no point even starting a business these days - you want to get yourself into Network Marketing/Bitcoin/Insert current trend here...
Ugh, it was intense. And frankly, I was still none the wiser. Google had told me to do ALL THE THINGS first, so what was a girl to do?
Well, I chose to get help as it happens. I went and got myself a coach - someone who could chat to me about my specific circumstances, goals and skills. Someone who could help to take me out of frozen indecision and move me into action.
Now, I'm not saying a coach has to be the answer for you (although if you're leaning that way, let's chat!) - but what I am saying is, don't let indecision keep YOU frozen.
Honestly, 90% of the time you'll look back at the decision you were struggling with and realise it was completely inconsequential.
Please don't waste a month of your time because you can't decide if your logo should be a picture of a tree or a picture of a cat.
Please don't waste a month of your time because you can't decide if you should be focusing on Facebook or Twitter.
Please don't waste a month of your time because you can't decide if your business should be called 'Hats are Us' or 'Hats! Hats! Hats!'
(Side note - please don't call your business either of those names - they're both horrible! )
Just make a decision.
It'll either be the right one - in which case, YAY!
Or it'll be the wrong one and you'll learn from it - in which case YAY!
The only way you don't win here, is if you don't make the damn decision.
Habit Three: Be Consistent
Ok this one's kinda meta because what I'm basically saying here is, get into the habit of forming good habits.
Consistency is so important across all areas of your business and if you can form habits in those areas then you'll be in a really good place.
Look at planning, for example...
Listen, EVERYONE knows that they should plan, right? I mean you could ask anyone 'hey, did you know that it's super helpful if you make a plan for your business' and I'm pretty sure that no one is going to come back saying 'wow - no! I'd never realised that' (unless they were doing it sarcastically of course... as I typed this, I realised it was the EXACT response my husband would give...)
But if you went and asked the same group of people how often they actually DO plan for their business, you just know that a whole bunch of them won't be doing it...and hardly anyone will be doing it consistently.
Because it takes a bit of organisation and time. Like anything, knowing that something is a good idea doesn't necessarily mean that you'll automatically do it.
I KNOW that I should do more exercise and stop snacking at nights - but do I do it? Rarely.
If you can identify those things which you know will be good for your business, but which you struggle to do consistently, then you can actively decide to turn them into habits. It takes a bit of will power and some ... ahem... planning, but you can 100% do it - and when you do, your business will be all the better for it.
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