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Success or Survival? You Pick…

May 20, 2011

Free Person Climbing on Mountain Stock Photo

Success often is a choice, but it must be followed by self-confident action.

Every leader I know wants to be successful.  In fact, they can usually articulate the generalities and specifics of what this means easily.  However, most of these same people spend most of their time simply “surviving”. Why is this?  If it’s not a question of awareness, what is getting in our way?  The answer is simple: our actions don’t match our thoughts, ideas, or goals.

Knowing what to do is much different than doing it!  This is not just limited to business, but our personal lives as well.  Take some time, sit down alone or with your team, and ask the following three questions: 1) In our business (or life), what is the difference between success and survival? 2) Which answers best describe the current situation? And, 3) how can we change our current thinking/behavior to be more successful?  Then segment these answers into both short and long-term action items; prioritizing those activities that you have the greatest ability to change.

It sounds too simple but believe me it works.  We often are so caught up in the day to day that we lose sight of what we were trying to achieve in the first place.  Over time, our actions begin to match this mindset resulting in dissatisfaction with the status quo.  Unsurprisingly, we end up with exactly what we are working towards.  Unprofitable companies make bad bottom-line decisions. Businesses that are stalled in their growth agenda no longer make good growth decisions/investments.  Leaders frustrated with the accountability of their employees often create cultures that limit accountability, etc.

In most developed nations, especially America, success is usually a conscious choice, as is survival.  Don’t ever lose sight of this fact.  Of course, this doesn’t mean everyone’s journey is equally hard or easy – external forces do intervene.  However, if you’re unhappy with your current results, then take a step back and reflect on your actions/decisions over the past year. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll quickly identify how your business and/or you got off track and then start the process of fixing the problem.  It’s not rocket science, but a matter of doing basic self-analysis/reflection and then making logical corrections based on this information.