6 Steps To Business Success

This week I climbed through a roof hatch in an elementary school in eastern North Carolina.  On top, I found a flat, ballasted single ply roof that badly needed replacing.  The school district had retained Bill Bilger with Bilger Engineering to create a bid package to add pitch to this roof and add a metal standing seam roof.  They were tying into another metal roof that was over 20 years old.  Across the street was a metal roof I had done for them 16 years earlier.  I was surrounded by metal roofs and that was exciting to me.  As I stood on this roof, I reflected how blessed I have been to still get excited about being in the metal roofing market.

In a previous article I talked about the four (4) S’s of a person’s life and/or a business life that we all experience.  To refresh your memory they are: Survival, Stability, Success, and Significance.  Stop for a moment — Relax your mind — What moments come to mind?  Are you comfortable with the amount of “significant” moments that populate your thoughts, or, are your thoughts cluttered with details about survival, stability, and success? Are you excited about what you are doing now, or just in the survival mode?

I challenge you to GET EXCITED!!!! about your life and business career.

When we are young, we see ourselves as growing up to be firemen, cowboys, nurses, doctors, or others individuals who seem to lead exciting lives.  At that time in our lives, “exciting” is a word that we may not understand, but its meaning is the center of our young universe.  As we grow older and start to mature in worldly things, we put our thoughts on things like “responsibility” and ‘reason”.  When we actually enter the work force, responsibility completely overshadows our “exciting” days of our recent past.  We are taught that we should work hard to support ourselves and our families at a job where we can make enough money to enjoy basics like food and shelter (survival stage), while having enough left over to do some fun things on weekends and vacations (stability stage).  What happened to the “exciting” thoughts that dominated our lives a few years back?  Do we have no choice but to take the job that will support us and our families, even if it is not very exciting or interesting?  NO!!!!

When I was growing up, my father always told me to find something in life that excited me and then pursue it diligently.  I have been in the metal roofing business since 1973 and can say that I have always maintained a genuine excitement about the industry.  I have survived, become somewhat stable, attained a certain level of success, and hopefully have added a certain degree of significance to the industry.  Throughout my career, I have identified six (6) personal characteristics that have helped me to achieve all four S’s.  They are as follows:

1. Expect Success

Expect to succeed in everything you do.  That is not to say that you will always, or even most of the time, succeed.  It is to say, though, that you should enter every venture expecting to be successful.  Be as prepared as possible and see yourself accomplishing the task, project, or career.  It is extremely difficult to accomplish positive results if you are thinking of negative results.  “See” the ball clearing the water; the customer signing the contract; you and your spouse on the beach in St. Thomas.  Your chances of actually being successful increases exponentially with your positive attitude about its achievement.  Remember, success is a path and not a destination.  If you do not reach the level you expected, learn from the experience.  That in itself is being successful.

2. No Exit Plan

Never create an exit plan!  Only think about how you will accomplish your plan and what positive actions you will take.  As soon as you let an exit plan enter into your thinking, your mind tends to drift to that exit strategy whenever the going gets tough.  Concentrate all your energy on how you will succeed and how you will feel after your new success.  You have the ultimate choice on your actions.  If you spend your time and energy moving toward your exit plan, there will not be enough left over to insure success.

3. Set Your Own Bar

Determine what you want to accomplish – and the level of that accomplishment – based on your own feelings and expectations.  Set your own limits, and judge yourself on your own standards.  Unfortunately, the world imposes certain limits and minimums (financial ratios, hours worked, borrowing capacity, credit score, etc.), but you should view those as merely necessary to reach your own, and more important, limits.  Look inside yourself and set your own personal goals based on what you truly know you can do.  Do not let others establish those goals for you.  Believe in yourself and know that you can succeed in anything that you can believe in (a simple thought so eloquently expressed by Napoleon Hill many years ago).  Set your bar high and soar to clear it.

4. Don’t Ever Give Up

As the late Jimmy Valvano said in 1993, “Don’t ever, ever give up”.  It is always easy to blame others, the weather, lack of money, bad luck and many other excuses for not getting the results we expect.  The main reason for most failures, however, is just plain “giving up”.  It seems much easier to just stop when the tough times come (and they always come), but the truly successful person that is striving to make a significant difference does not give in to the seduction of failure.  If a dream is important to you – don’t ever give up on its fulfillment.

5. Develop Great People Skills

While this characteristic may seem rather mundane compared to the others, it may well be the most important.  Whatever your dreams and aspirations in life, you will have to be able to effectively communicate with and work in cooperation with other people.  We all need to be able to help each other in our individual quests for success.  To be able to give and receive the most help, you need to understand others points of views, while at the same time expressing your point of view in a non-threatening manner.  It is a skill that can be learned and it can definitely always be improved upon.  Practicing this characteristic is where you just might find the most significant moments.

6. Listen to Your “Force”:

I am a Christian and believe that there is a Divine spirit that flows through all mankind.  While you may have a different belief of where this “force” within you comes from, you all know that it exists.  It is deep within us all and is always there to guide us, if we are open to asking.  Find a quiet place.  Get quiet.  Relax your mind.  Listen to this internal “force”.  From the Star Wars movie; “Episode I. The Phantom Menace”, Luke Skywalker is told to “Concentrate on the moment.  Feel, don’t think.  Use your instincts”.  From Proverbs 3:5-6, New King James Version, we are told to “Trust in the Lord . . . and he shall direct your paths”.  The “force” is within us all.  Embrace it, listen to it, and you will find a direction and peace that will transcend all worldly problems.  It is something that is truly exciting.

It is always your choice.  You can choose to feel that you are doomed to take a life path that is dictated by circumstances and conditions beyond your control.  Or, you have the ability to find a career path, spouse, hobbies, and beliefs that you are truly excited about.  OK, now, GET EXCITED!!!