Getting Focused on Your Success
Date : September 2017
By : John Oddy, Ascentis Accountancy LLP
On our board, we discuss business issues, but we also share the more personal, underlying hopes and doubts which can exert a powerful influence on how we, and therefore our businesses, perform.
Most of us feel as business owners that we can identify the most important aspects of our business. Those factors which are critical to our success. The things that really drive our businesses forward. Or put another way, if we don’t do these things well, we will not be successful in achieving our targets. No matter how hard we work – we just don’t seem to make much progress. I am sure you can recall that feeling?
Less of us feel we know exactly what to do about these aspects of our business. But we usually know if we have a skills gap, and can identify routes to fill that space. (Joining a TAB board being one of them.)
But most business owners acknowledge that the ability to stay focused on these critical success factors is their limiting factor.
I have gleaned insights on this dilemma by applying the concepts within Steve Peter’s, “The Chimp Paradox”, to my approach to running my business.
Why do we seem to somehow sabotage ourselves? Why do we seem to welcome distractions with open arms when we are fully aware that the business plan should be our priority? The answer is in the struggle for control between our rational, or human, brain, and our limbic, or emotional – ‘Chimp’ brain.
It is not only important to understand this challenge (many members around the table had read the book, but that did not mean they had the personal focus they wanted), but more importantly in doing something about it.
Whether we try and fail, or try and succeed, it will be hard, often painful. “We are left with a choice between the pain of regret, or the pain of discipline.”
We all know, as we probably already experience this regularly that we look back over days, months and years – and regret the things we have not done. We regret squandered time, we regret the under achievement, the missed opportunity, the critical things not done in favor other less important tasks – often referred to as “stuff.”
And for many then comes guilt and frustration. For some comes a lack of self-belief and low self-esteem. Painful indeed.
The alternative is the pain of discipline. Having to create systems and processes which organize your ‘time choices’ and focus most time on what’s most important. These systems such as creating a clear vision of your personal success, time management techniques such as bullet journaling and daily “Not to Do” lists, are relatively easy to put in place. But sticking to them seems to be relatively difficult. Until the Chimp brain and the Human brain are aligned and learn to communicate the inner battle seems to continue.
But there is hope beyond the pain. Sticking to your personal priorities, whatever system works for you, leads to success, growth, enhanced work life balance and improved customer experiences. It leads to making a difference. In doing this you create the opportunity to look back on what you have actually achieved. To see the difference you have made to customers and employees, and most importantly to family and friends.
Over time as your helpful constructive personal processes become habits, the pain of discipline diminishes. As you look back over days, months and years – you’ll feel pride in time well spent. In the milestones achieved, in the opportunities seized, the critical things put in place.
So, which would you chose? The pain of regret, or the pain of discipline?