We are often more aware we have a future when a new year begins or we make a fresh start, like going back to school or launching a new venture. The rest of the time, the future is all but ignored.
Even when we think about the future, “wait and see” is a common response to “How’s this all going to turn out?” However, you aren’t a leaf passively blowing in the wind of change, but a proactive agent for your own future—when you chose to be! “Wait and see” is the passive approach few can afford. It’s already cost too many too much.
Are you a determined futurist (“If it is to be, it’s up to me”), or a wish-distracted fatalist (“I guess it wasn’t meant to be”). I can’t help you achieve the latter, but the shift to determined futurist is right up my alley and a key “What’s Your Point?” theme…
One of my most effective proactive mantras is “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” Recite this to yourself when problems or opportunities arise, and you’ll stop making excuses and dig in. This proactive strategy and others like it help you deal with unpleasant surprises like unexpected problems which should have been expected, and unexpected opportunities which should have been obvious to you—they were to others. This mantra can also get you through a start-up or into pro-active succession mode.
Applying a “wait and see” attitude to the three business essentials below can be expensive in many ways. However, a shift in attitude may be all it takes to shift three significant liabilities into constructive action: expectations, your weak spot, and excuses.
With so many things political, financial, social, and environmental in flux, “wait and see” thinking guarantees a bumpy road ahead. Avoid unpleasant surprises by using these 3 strategies before time and everything else slips away from you.
1. Establish POWERFUL EXPECTATIONS
This is akin to setting goals, but less intimidating since it’s easy to do with an attitude shift. You always have expectations, good and bad, about everything. Problems arise when these expectations are consistently negative or unconsciously set too low.
- We are often unaware of exactly what we expect when undertaking a task or adventure. Too often assumptions cloud our understanding of realistic expectations and of the potential for even greater achievement. For example, the parents of toddler Jack thought they were creating reasonable expectations for the first Christmas little Jack was aware of Santa. They took Jack to visit Santa at the mall, and Jack rhymed off the presents he expected to get from Santa. He loudly burst into tears when he discovered that Santa was not going to give him the toys that minute. Jack was inconsolable when he learned he would have to wait f-o-r-e-v-e-r (five days) for Santa to deliver them. Are your expectations grounded in fact (powerful), or will you end up in tears like Jack?
- What you don’t know, relevant professionals are paid to know, so there’s no reason for your expectations to be anything but dead on and fully achievable; therefore, powerful! Missing or misunderstood details—sometimes seemingly minor things—blow expectations out of the water. Professionals are detail oriented—your details, that is. Their job is to clarify your expectations in all contexts and enhance outcomes when possible. Set clear, exciting, powerful, written expectations before you launch into anything to make the most of everything that unfolds.
2. Confront Your Achilles’ Heel (everyone has one)
Your Achilles’ Heel represents a weak spot or significant vulnerability, physical or otherwise, often unknown to you or ignored by you, but visible to others, which can undermine strength and preparedness and lead to loss or failure. While the mythological origin of this analogy refers to a specific body part, in contexts relevant to you, your weakness may be a bad temper, shyness, or any characteristic or habit that gets in the way of you consistently acting in your own best interest. Commit to learning how to help yourself excel in spite of any of shortcomings by reinforcing your strengths.
3. Ramp Up Determination
The best way to exceed expectations is to stop making excuses. EXCUSES ARE POISON TO PROGRESS! I’ve always maintained that “many reasons, no excuses” is the best approach for consumers and professionals alike. Understand why things did not work and look for ways to improve results before this opportunity is lost and when the next opportunity arises. Spend your creativity on great excuses and you’ve accomplished nothing except wasting time and opportunity. You’ve fooled no one but yourself.
Key What’s Your Point? Theme: Be determined to meet and exceed your powerful expectations for your clients and yourself—no excuses. Expect the best. Then, use all the tools and professional expertise available to make the best even better.
© What’s Your Point? By PJ Wade TheCatalyst.com
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