Who motivates the motivator?


Building a company is not only tough from a business and commercial perspective it’s also really tough emotionally. I spend a lot of my time listening to entrepreneurs and it’s really interesting to hear about their journey, the trials and tribulations. The things that keep them awake at night – cash, staff issues, customer challenges, raising finance, building a great team, staying one step ahead of competition. The great entrepreneurial leaders I meet are the ones who keep positive and absolutely determined and enthusiastic about their vision. When they get kicked they get back up again and keep going for more….why is this? Well I think it’s because:

1. They are on a mission and there is no stopping them – clarity of purpose

2.They are passionate about what they want to achieve

3. They have got something to prove to themselves and very often others

4. They have no choice – their life and livelihood/family/personal assets are inextricably linked to business success

5. They have a clear exit point and/or their personal intentions are hard-wired to professional success

Whilst they keep up the smiling face in public, very often these individuals get ground down by the noise of their surroundings, people whingeing,  earache from all angles, staff issues, the internal saboteurs who’s only purpose in life is to stir up mischief. Against all the odds these great entrepreneurial leaders just keep going with positive words of encouragement to staff and customers they serve.

Every so often the emotional tanks of these guys are emptied. So who motivates the motivator? My recommendation is surround yourself with positive people avoid the negative individuals who infect your motivation and drain you of your energy. A mentor or someone you find inspiring helps to fill the tank, restores your energy and brings a sense of sanity.

Some people refer to coping strategies and this feels like a good way of thinking about dealing with the inevitable challenges that come with trying to build a great business. Think about your own coping strategies – as well as your mentor consider – a new hobby, reading, going to the gym, having a few pints with your mates, speaking to your peers….a form of escape that pumps you back up!

It’s important that the motivator maintains his or her motivation!

Faith is important for entrepreneurs


The life of an entrepreneur is full of ups and downs. The high’s are fantastic and the feeling of jubilation when you move closer to your intentions provides a clear sense of accomplishment – it delivers the impetus to keep pushing on. It’s a great place to be because motivation and energy helps to build an important ingredient for success – momentum.

However, we all know, building a business can likened to a roller coaster ride, the journey very rarely proceeds along a smooth path. Obstacles are just part of the game, these force us to create diversions and look for alternative ways of getting to our destination.

Constantly being forced to deal with the need to explore alternative roads to the end point can have a wearing effect on  mindset. The danger is when it stimulates negative self talk – what’s the point in doing this? Is it really worth it?  Many entrepreneurs will have at some point internally deliberated these issues. Only you can answer these questions, only you can decide whether to keep going or not.

The power of autosuggestion brought to us many years ago is a vital antidote. Autosuggestion is a psychological technique  developed by  Emile Coue in the late 19th century. It’s an important tool in conditioning our mind to achieve our goals. It can be as destructive and constructive. At the heart of autosuggestion lies conditioning ourselves, through our senses to achieve what we want.

Through observational research, I have come up with other practical tools to help at critical points where emotional support is vital for the entrepreneur. The reality is, it can be easier to give up than to carry on – winners in all walks of life dig deep, maintain focus and continue with their mission, they accept setbacks are just part of the game.  The old adage when the going gets tough the tough get going is one you should reflect on when these feelings kick in.

Mental toughness differentiates winners from losers, your sense of purpose ebbs away when you listen to negative self talk, phrases such as why am I doing this? are symptomatic of the condition, in turn it weakens the endurance of the mind thereby resulting in I give up. Successful people have an insatiable desire and internalised motivation to succeed – you have really got to want it!

Having faith in what your are trying to achieve is a vital ingredient for success. If you dont believe then dont expect others to. It’s important to condition your mind to becoming resilient. Without faith and mental toughness the reality is, winning becomes more difficult. When things are not going your way, embrace the principles of R.A.F

Rewind – and go back to your vision, picture success and hold this image in your mind. Quiet contemplation is vital to aiding this process. This activity will move you out of the negative state and refresh your mind then get you back “on purpose”

Accept – that things will not always go your way. Avoid long drawn out dissections of why things turned out the way they did. Coming runner up is sometimes a wake up call for us. Accept the position and move on otherwise negative self talk will hinder progression.

Have Faith in yourself and your ability to achieve what you want out of your business. When you develop faith, bouncing back when things go wrong is far easier. By having faith you convince your mind that anything is possible

Practice, practice and practice this philosophy and see your success improve dramatically.


Getting Your Head In Gear – Ideal Performing State


The ideal performing state is the point when your mind is perfectly aligned to the task you need to undertake  – it’s a positive state of readiness that manifests itself into high levels of personal confidence. It is vital that we get our mind and body into the ideal performing state before we take on any challenging situations. All actions  flow from our state of mind, so it is important to condition our thoughts to the outcome we want. By doing this, we programme our self to deliver a highly tuned and positive performance. Any successful person will tell you that before they embark on a major goal – they think things through!

Getting into the ideal performing state takes practice and as we move towards our goals we need to be constantly aware of the need to get into the zone. It maybe an interview for a new job or promotion, a big pitch, a marathon run or a speech you have to deliver – whatever the challenge you must connect thought and action to get the best result. Getting your head in gear means following some mind practices:

  • Visualise and define very clearly what a great performance looks like for you
  • Work through the start, middle and ending of the task you are going to perform
  • Look in the mirror and tell yourself that the performance will be fantastic
  • Be sure to have practiced and rehearsed – winners don’t wing it
  • Breathing can help immensely – sit upright and still, close your eyes, take a deep breath and count to seven – slowly release and count to eleven. Repeat for a couple of minutes
  • Concentrate on the task at hand and avoid having your mind cluttered with other thoughts

Your ability to access the ideal performing state will increase your success rate. Keep practicing in the mind gym and watch yourself grow in confidence. Success becomes a habit! Getting your head in gear

Smart Operator – High Growth Individuals


Recent economic challenges have placed serious pressure on people to think very differently. Business as usual is not an option, its time for something completely different. Cuts in public and private sector budgets have taken their toll – redundancies, lost revenue, projects going on hold…the story goes on. So what’s the answer? Manage decline and depression or look for the opportunities. As one delegate at an event I spoke at the other week put it….”recession, I have decided not to participate”. A very refreshing approach and outlook, the very opposite to the doom and gloom the media encourages us to embrace.

The answer is to practice and develop the Smart Operator Mindset – this ultimately leads to the creation of the high growth individual. We should draw parallels from the world of enterprise and create our own personal business plan, one that maps out a destination with the prioritized tasks to get us there. Here are some pointers for the Smart Operator Mindset:

1. Smart Proposition – define your unique talents, what you love doing, what you want, what gets out of bed. Aligning a future to a basic purpose really does help to accelerate the way forward.

2. Smart Vision – write down your personal intentions for 6 months, 1 year, and 2-years. Base this on your Smart Proposition. Include earnings and other components that make up the life you want

3. Smart Plan – remember a vision without tactics is hallucination. List the things you need to do and get on with it. The right path will emerge when activity is initiated.  Avoid procrastination. Set yourself KPI’s to check whether you are on track.

4. Smart Brand – you are selling yourself, so work out what mental imprints you want to leave on those you meet. Be memorable, deliver on your promises and become the master of your trade. This is what you will become known for.

5. Smart Collaborator – work out who you need to engage and team up with. Alliances and partnerships are a critical part of the Smart Operators DNA.

6. Smart Communicator – master the art of getting messages across, think win-win and live in the world of your audience. Clarity and concise messages that considers both your needs and those of others lead to positive relationships that go somewhere.

7. Smart Connector – work out a plan for finding, reaching and locking into to those individuals and organisations that are important to your personal progression. The connectors and influencers could include suppliers, banks, associates, partners, customers, other departments.

Practice makes perfect, another cliché that I hate, but its true. As Malcolm Gladwell said it takes 10,000 hours to become successful, so that means blood, sweat and tears, I still don’t think there are any short cuts to getting want you want. A combination of being really good at what you love doing, combined with taking ownership of your life fused with determination and persistence help pave the way forward. The Smart Operator Mindset is a framework for you to hang your thinking on.


Ways to a winning mindset……


The Success Factor mindset principles I have been working on are starting to take shape. The guiding philosophies are based around ten themes, they include:

1. Embrace change – life becomes more interesting and exciting

2. Know what you want –its the reason for getting out of bed

3. Take action – nail those opportunities when they appear

4. Think the right way – we become what we think about

5. Team up – a spirit of collaboration / co-operation

6. Lead yourself – life owes you nothing don’t be a victim

7. Build a great reputation – bad ones spread like a virus

8. Be a great connector – relationships are golden nuggets

9. Ignite the creative spark to gain the edge – it gets you noticed

10.No traffic jam on the extra mile – a competitive world demands it

When we live our lives to these principles it delivers:

  • A strong sense of personal and professional direction
  • Accelerated personal performance
  • Confidence in pursing our intentions
  • Enhanced self belief
  • Builds personal energy and that of those around you
  • Helps to define the reason for our existence

Its work in progress but getting there.

Business Balls Up – Ten Easy Steps


How often do we lose the plot with our businesses? It is so easy for confidence to take a turn for the worst. Here are my top ten tips for making a complete cock-up of your business:

1. Let your ego take over when things are going well. Your head will get so big getting through the door becomes a challenge

2.Lose sight of the short-term issues such as cash and the customers world

3.Dont bother to look to the market horizon, just convince yourself everything will stay the same

4.Empty the till every year when you make profit and fill your pockets with the dividends – an investment in Spanish property seems like a great idea.

5.Allow underperforming staff to carry on underperforming – just convince yourself that things will get better. No need for a one to one home truth chat – that may just seem like confrontation.

6.Convince yourself that your website, social media and other marketing activities will do the trick for winning new business. Spend less time in customer face to face meetings and keep on sending the emails. Avoid picking up the phone because customers will knock on your door

7.Make price your competitive advantage and keep lowering them to win the business.

8.Avoid investing in personal development – embrace the mindset that all that stuff is for tree huggers

9.Ignore the opinions and views of staff/colleagues views and stop communicating – you know best.

10.Monthly management accounts and KPI’s will sort themselves out – leave it to luck and avoid driving the bottom line. People should only be expected to work 9-5 its important for their work life balance, after all its your duty to keep everyone in a job.

I could go on. Of course I am not guilty of anyone of these easy steps because I know it all. What was point 1 again? How familiar does this sound? We all should take a reality check and take stock of whats going on in our business and marketplace. Self awareness and humility are a pretty important component of leadership – so is saying things as they are. The minute you try to please everyone you please nobody.

The Power of Focus


The ability to remain focused is a key ingredient for anyone who aspires to achieving more. All too often we can be side tracked by ideas or pet projects that don’t contribute in any way to the personal intentions we have chosen to pursue. When presented with set backs or difficult situations that require attention it can be easier to default to tasks that are hassle free or easier to fulfil.

Pet projects often come in the way of achieving what we want. Always remind yourself of:

“Must do” – what are the activities vital to accomplishing your intentions? Implementation must involve doing the things that directly align to your ambitions and desires. By keeping a journal or completing a daily to do list you remain focused on the critical essentials. Such simplicity ensures clarity remains the priority. Your direction becomes very clear and success prevails

“Nice to do”- most of us will be clear on what is required for success. However, all too often we get distracted by more enjoyable activities, equally we can we tempted to pursue things that require less effort.  Pursing nice to do projects will move you away from what you set out to achieve, they divert energy and you lose focus. Continuous attention on the wrong things will lead to ineffective performance. You will delay the process of success or as a worst case never get to the destination. Too many people become very easily distracted and forget what is important.

Be aware of what you are doing, keeping asking yourself – is what I am doing going to give me what I want? – Such consciousness allows you to do away with non value added activities. Time is the most precious commodity for anyone who wants to achieve more. Thinking in the must do nice to do way will help you to do the right things at the right time. Momentum results from focusing on the activities critical to success. Don’t be distracted.


Stepping out into the unknown


My research over the last few years has focused on the whole arena of success and as mentioned in other blogs so many people I know want more from life. However they just cant define clearly what more looks like. This desire for achievement and fulfillment but not knowing what it is, can be motivationally debilitating – even after long periods of reflection our goals just seem so fuzzy that personal clarity moves even further away.

I think we live our life in chapters and each phase of our existence is characterised by three key mlilestones:

1. Arrive – new horizons

2. Stay – enjoy the time

3. Move on  – time to try something new

But where is it we want to arrive at or move on to? Sometimes we just have to step out into the unknown and see what new opportunities present themselves, who we meet, the places we visit and the experiences we feel. It is this stepping into the unknown that can be quite a scary period. For those who have lost their jobs or businesses that have failed to realise their potential – there are times when we just have to believe that the next big opportunity is around the corner – but believe it with conviction. This conditions our mind to tune into the next stage of our life, one that provides us with a sense of purpose.

Don’t spend the rest of your life trying to find what you are looking for. A vision and strategy are very important but sometimes you just have to step into the dark – using the first draft of the plan as your guide. Its like a voyage of discovery – you know that there is something out there, not sure what it is but without taking action and exploring you will never find it. Would Christopher Columbus have brought the Americas into the forefront of Western attention without leaving the port – does a Paratrooper get his wings without jumping eight times (day and night) out of an aeroplane? Would Amy Johnson have made the contribution to aviation without taxing her plane on to the runway? Woven throughout the fabric of each of these remarkable people is – bravery and courage, and pushing our ambitions one step beyond.

When we want to achieve something or we are looking to move to the next chapter of our life – just go for it, explore, discover, and keep an open mind. Stepping out into the dark means that sometimes you have give it a whirl because fortune often favours the brave. Time is ticking away so give it a go – leave the port or depart from the airfield.


Life is too short to go unrecognised…


All too often we impose self-limiting beliefs on ourselves – this means we don’t achieve the things we really want because we lack confidence to go for it ! We almost become a prisoner of our own mind. I often hear people say “I wish I would have…”, I had this great idea but…….” I could have done….”. We must use our mortality as a motivator for what we do tomorrow. Don’t have regrets, pursue the passion you have, talk about the things you have done, not the things you keep telling others you are going to do! Deeds not words. Take action as this will help you to build credibility – I must admit I do get tired and weary of people that just talk – lets see more doing!