The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of. – Pascal
Success comes from within. First you must know what you want and second you must believe in your dream and in your ability to achieve it. Your thoughts create reality.
The Universe is designed to materialize everything you focus on. When you are laser clear about what you want, opportunities will show up in your life, allowing you to follow your dream. This is why you must remain clear about want you want and remain focused on your pursuits. This is also where you must develop self-leadership. You must have the ability to follow your dreams. You must have the ability to take action.
To illustrate this point, I will share with you a story of a man who inspired me in my life and career. When this man was 17 years old, he decided to become an army officer. He enrolled in West Point Academy and graduated 21st. out of 39, not an impressive performance.
After graduation, he became a farmer and tried his luck in the real estate business. He failed at both businesses. With few options, he worked as a clerk in the family store that was run by his brothers. When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted as an officer. During the war the young man demonstrated extreme bravery and valor. Something set him apart from others and he began to rise up in the ranks.
This young man eventually became the commander of all the Northern armies, and after the war became the President of the United States. His name was Ulysses S. Grant. He demonstrated one quality all leaders have, the quality that made him stand out amidst the other Generals and the quality that convinced Abraham Lincoln to place his trust in him. He was able to take action.
When other Generals were waiting until all the elements were in place and everything was perfect, Grant was out winning battles.
The same applies to your life and your business. You can wait forever for everything to be just right and never accomplish anything. Those who accomplish great things are the ones who set their sights on something and refuse accept “no” for an answer. The ability to take action is what separates the great from the mediocre. If you want to remain mediocre all your life, make excuses to not take action. It is very easy not to take action when things get tough.
When Sebastian Coe was in training for the Olympic Games, he trained in all weather conditions, including snow-storms and rain. One winter day, when the weather was particularly bad, Sebastian ran up a huge mountain, followed by his coach in a car. When he reached the summit, the coach offered to drive him down and take him home. Sebastian replied that he would repeat the ascent, adding two hours to his workout, under the most adverse weather conditions.
This attitude led him to win the Olympic gold in two events, breaking a world record in each. Sebastian had a vision and a plan. He also had strategies for success, and the discipline to follow through, no matter what.
If you want to excel beyond your wildest dreams, you must create a habit of setting objectives and holding your own feet to the fire to accomplish those objectives.
A secret to achieving your goals is to break down each major objective into smaller tasks and then set action quotas rather than production quotas. How many times have you said to yourself “I am going to do X number of transactions this month” or “I am going to make X number of dollars this year” only to find yourself halfway to the deadline with nothing but frustration?
Focus on the activity that will get you to your result, rather than the final result. The final result will come if you do what it takes to get it. You will find the process of getting there easier if you focus on the here and now and what you have to do right now to get to that result. As you walk the path towards your dream, focus on those things you have control over. For example, you want to do 15 transactions this month. To accomplish that, ask yourself the following questions:
- How many people will I need to meet to accomplish 15 transactions?
- How many appointments will I need to schedule to take that many applications?
- How many contacts will I have to make to be able to talk to that many people?
- How will I make those contacts?
- What forms of marketing will I use to make those contacts?
- What improvement can I make to my systems so that I can increase the number of sales in a month?
Imagine this, if you made 25 new contacts every day, working only 5 days a week you would have made 125 contacts that week. Because there are 52 weeks in a year, you would have made 6,500 contacts for the year, and if 3% resulted in transactions, you would have completed 195 transactions for the year. WOW!! You must make contacts.
You Are In Charge of Your Time.
One of the most critical life strategies involves managing your time properly. If you consider your life as a business of living, your success is measured by how happy you feel. It is impossible to feel happy in a chaotic and disorganized life. You need to find the time to rest, to work, to contemplate and to socialize. You need to carve out some time for yourself.
If you are focusing on your business, all successful business people are committed to making constant and never-ending improvements in all aspects of their business. They are always learning and they are always improving the skills they need to achieve greater results. They take courses and network with other successful business people. They seek mentors.
Successful people appreciate the value and practice of good time management – or rather priority management because time itself cannot be managed. I keep track of my priorities in any given moment. Because I am focused on my goals, I rarely deviate from my priorities. Throughout the day, I ask myself the questions, “What is the highest and best use of my time right now?” and “What in this moment is powerful and positive and leading me towards what I want?”
Based on the answers to these questions, I discard activities and things that are not leading me to my goals. I also first address those tasks I do not enjoy doing and would like to postpone. After I complete those tasks, I do those things I really enjoy doing. This way I always end my day on a positive note, feeling really great. Lately I have been in the fortunate position of delegating the necessary but not enjoyable tasks to my assistant.
Your Ultimate Time Thieves
- Meetings and Appointments. Your appointments and meetings should always be scheduled and serve a purpose. I do not allow people to drop in or phone me without an appointment. I have someone who takes all my incoming calls. I schedule a specific part of the day for taking phone calls. This gave me control over how much time I was spending on the phone, and gave me a chance to work uninterrupted.
- E – Mail. Don’t waste your precious time on junk mail. If possible have someone else sort your e – mail.
- Facebook is one of the greatest time thieves. It creates an illusion of being connected with people in the absence of a real connection. It is one of the major time thieves.
- Organize your papers. Keep a filing cabinet. I always have only one file on my desk at any given time. I start a new project only when I am done with the old one. At the end of the day, I clean off my desk so that the next day I can start afresh.
- Lack of Planning. Keep a list of your priorities and keep focused on the important tasks that will lead you toward the achievement of these priorities. Identify tasks that are “stackable” – tasks that can be done together, such as listening to a training tape while you are exercising.
- Break down complicated tasks into smaller pieces. Have a strategy to complete them in order. Develop systems to keep track of your tasks, otherwise may find yourself wasting huge amounts of time.
- Lack of Focus. Do what is most important and work on it until it is done. Keep focused on your priorities. Avoid distractions such as the Internet, television, and the telephone.
- Negative people. Negative people are the greatest time and energy thieves. They rob us of valuable time and positive energy and infuse us with problems and negative attitudes. I stay away from negative people. The loan business is a tough business that requires self-confidence and positive attitudes. If you are drained of positive energy, you will lose self-confidence and you will create subconscious alarm signals in the minds of your prospects.
Time Management Strategy
Effective time management is critically important to success in business and in personal life. To allocate my time effectively I categorize tasks and activities according to two scales, their importance and their urgency. Urgent tasks require immediate attention. They press upon us, they require action. A ringing telephone is urgent. Urgent tasks are sometimes pleasant, easy and fun to do. We always react to urgent matters but so often they are unimportant. Importance has to do with results. If something is important, it contributes to our mission, values and high priority goals.
A lot of business people are constantly in a reactive mode. They spend most of their time reacting to things that are urgent, assuming they are also important. But the reality is that the urgency of these matters is often based on the priorities and expectations of others. These individuals are not in control of their lives or their businesses. Other people are. Not having a clear idea of what is important; they are easily diverted into responding to the urgent. Often they are overwhelmed and the only relief they find is in escaping to unimportant and routine activities. These people manage their lives by crisis – an ineffective, inefficient and unresourceful state. They lose the time that could be spent on more productive activities.
The most important matters for success in our businesses may not be urgent. The best long-term outcomes often result when we are proactive, when we seize opportunities to make things happen.
Effective business people spend most of their time on activities that are important and not urgent. These include recognizing new opportunities, relationship-building, developing new business strategies and planning. Effective people are not problem minded; they are opportunity minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems. They think preventatively and have systems in place to address emergencies, but spend the majority of their time on activities that will get them to their goals.
I encourage you to examine your schedules and objectively evaluate how much of your time you are spending in a reactive mode, and how much time do you devote to business building activities. Ask yourself, “What is the one thing I’m not doing now that if I it did on regular basis would make a big difference in my business?”
When I asked myself this question, I was able to see where I had to make changes to fill my days with truly profitable activities.
Here are some suggestions on how start managing your time more effectively:
- Identify a business activity that is important and not urgent which you have been neglecting in your life, the one if you did well, would have a significant impact on your business. Write it down and commit to implement it.
- Organize your next week. Write down your goals for the week, and then develop the goals to a specific action plan. At the end of the week, evaluate how well your plan translated your deep values and purposes into your daily life.
- Make your schedule one week at a time.
- Commit yourself to start organizing on a weekly basis and set up a regular time to do it.
- Under no circumstances should you make same-day appointments. You should know your final schedule one day in advance.
- No matter who you are, there are only 24 hours in a day. Make each hour productive.
- Without a schedule you are running your business reactively versus proactively.
- You should have a written set schedule every office morning which should include: working on existing files, prospecting , lead follow up, calling past clients and working on files before going home.
- Working on existing files should be considered working on the past. Prospecting for new business should be considered working on your future. To be productive you need to spend more time working on your future.
- Don’t let anyone interrupt your schedule
- If you don’t have a mission statement, set aside time to completely separate yourself from your daily activities and begin to work on it. This is the foundation for your business, the criterion by which you measure everything you do in your business.
Be Grateful – Your Key Life Strategy for Success
Be grateful for what you have. Even if the going gets rough, there are things to be grateful for. Take a moment each day to find a reason to feel grateful. It could be something as simple as being grateful for being alive. You are here today and you have made it so far. That in itself is a measure of success. Give yourself a pat on the back. When you wake up in the morning, take few moments to consider all the things to feel grateful for. Your lens of perception will change and the day ahead will become much more enjoyable.