Several years ago, I went to a goals seminar to get control of my life. The following Monday, I got to work early and made a list of things to do. By 8:30 a.m., after several phone calls, faxes, emails, interruptions, and an emergency conference with a jobsite superintendent, I hadn’t done one thing on my list! At 4 p.m., my best customer called and invited me to play golf the next morning to sign a big contract. I didn’t have time to play golf with my best customer. I had forgotten my focus. I couldn’t even remember my priorities.
A business that works always is “on purpose” and “on target,” according to your priorities. It gives you what you want. What will make your business on purpose for you? I want my business to make a profit and allow me time to enjoy the five Fs: family, friends, faith, finances and fun. What do you want?
Prioritize and commit
A business owner told me he wanted to take more time off. After we discussed this goal, I asked him to be more specific. He said, “I would like to have at least four hours off on Sundays.” Everyone is in a different place. But, to get what you want, start by being specific about how you’ll balance your business life and personal life. Make a commitment, “I will leave the office at 4:45 p.m.,” or “I will not check emails or voice mail between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.,” or “I won’t get involved in decisions my project managers are authorized to make.” Stick to your priorities and what you want your business to do for you. Resolve every day to focus on your personal and business priorities; make progress toward achieving your balanced life goals; and refuse to postpone your life and family for business pressures.
Get started living
What’s the best time to start living differently? ASAP – the best time is now. Trying new ideas and doing new and different things daily is difficult. But, forgetting old comfortable ways of living is even harder. Each day of your life involves difficult demands and tradeoffs. To be on target, you must be ruthless about your decisions, choices, commitments and priorities.
Accept responsibility. The following responses to circumstances have become the norm in today’s society: “It’s not my fault,” “It’s just not fair,” or “It’s not my job.” When winners take on a job, they get it done, period, no excuses and no rules or reasons why not. Need I say more?
Accept reality. Sitting and waiting for “it” to change is counterproductive to living on purpose. Accept your current situation as it is. You can’t change the past. However, you can change your future, starting now. Make the best of what you’ve got, and make tomorrow even better. Start making those slow, but steady, changes in how you manage your life.
Accept risk. Most successful businesses were started by individuals with a clearly defined vision, purpose and goals. The definition of an entrepreneur is one who “assumes the risk” in a business in expectation of gaining a profit. Step up and step out in both your professional live and personal life. Take a risk, and act like an entrepreneur.
Failure is the key to success
As a youngster, my dad often took me snow skiing to the local mountains. I’ll never forget his instructions as I watched the expert skiers schussing down the slopes with perfect parallel turns. He’d say, “You’ll never get better standing, watching and wishing you could ski like them.” With that, I would take off and swish down the mountain as fast as I could. My goal was to fall down on every run. This way I knew I was pushing it to the max. You don’t get better, if you don’t fall down often. You get better when you try new tricks and techniques. Have you ever noticed in life that successful people always get up when they fall down? And, the really successful ones fall down a lot.
Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you
Have you ever noticed successful people who have their lives in order also are more active, involved and generous with charity, church and volunteer organizations? They find time to make giving a top priority in their lives. The fact is that your success is an outcome of how much you do for others. Your deeds have lasting impacts, not your stuff, power, position or busy schedule. Successful people make more time to serve others. Becoming a success is directly proportional to what you give. It’s a fine line; some people give to get, but that won’t work for most.
What you get is a result of what you give
Giving is the outward expression of your inner commitment, character and dedication. There is a direct conduit between your heart and your wallet. A banker once told me that the first line he looks at on a loan applicant’s tax return is “contributions.” He tells me he can usually judge a person’s true integrity by looking at that one entry. People who donate money generously on a regular basis can be trusted. People who don’t find time or money to give to others are self-centered and can’t get everything in life they want. People who don’t give are the only ones who complain about giving. Give giving a try. I guarantee you will get more in return than you ever give.
George Hedley is a licensed, professional business coach; popular professional speaker; and best-selling author. Contact him at
or 800-851-8553, or visit www.HardhatPresentations.com.