How was your day yesterday, did you achieve what you set out to do or did the events of the day over take you and stop you being as efficient as you originally set out to be?
Success in life or business is about solving problems and sticking to a plan. Yes many of us have ideas for success, but how many of us have fallen by the wayside as day to day events impact upon us and drive us off course?
If you have an idea and see how it can be implemented write your plan and stay the course before someone else makes your idea their reality.
Wouldn't it be great to have a crystal ball? Some way to see into the future and learn if you just made a genius decision or a big mistake?
We could all use that.
The tech industry is filled with stories of people striking it rich, but even more people have missed opportunities that could have brought them millions, or even billions, of dollars.
Of course, many of the individuals who missed out on an opportunity or two have also made millions and billions of dollars on other opportunities. You win some, you lose some!
Atari founder Nolan Bushnell turned down the opportunity to invest $50,000 in seed money in Apple. At Atari, Bushnell was one of Steve Jobs' first bosses.
Had Bushnell said yes, he would have owned a third of Apple, a company that is today valued at about $800 billion.
Joe Green took his dad's advice and said no to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg's college roommate, Joe Green, turned down an offer to help Zuckerberg start Facebook.
When the two were at Harvard, they created a website called Facemash, which got the pair in trouble with the university. When Zuckerberg asked Green to help him with Facebook, Green's dad discouraged his son from doing another project with him.
Had Green joined the company in those early days, he would have gotten about a 5% stake, he thinks, which today would be worth about $40billion!
Now these opportunities don’t come along every day or if ever, but success comes to those who take time to see what others don’t and go for it.
If we now take a taxi we may use Uber
If we are looking for accommodation on a city break, we may ignore hotels we have used in the past to use Airbnb
When we watch our favourite television programme we don’t have to wait a week to see the result of the latest cliff hanger, we can binge watch using Netflix.
What each of these organisations have in common is they had visionaries who stepped back looked at how the world is evolving and the technology available and had an idea to change the way we live. When did you last step back to see what you could do differently to be more successful?
If you have an idea, here are six things you can do now to make them happen:
Information overload and stress are impacting on us all. The phone rings, your inbox fills, colleagues seek advice and clients want your time.
The clock whirls and the day flies into the weekend and we prepare for the week ahead, to do what we have always done.
If this is to change, we need to break the cycle of normality and create time in our day to look at how our world is evolving and dream about how we can adapt to this and exploit the opportunities these changes will bring.
I’d urge you all to try and allocate some dream time each week, where you can research what’s changing in your world and the world of your clients. You can then sit back and visualise what you can do to be more successful.
This time can be taking a walk, during your exercise or even sitting down and enjoying a cup of tea and a bun.
The secret to success is inspiration and application and no one can tell when a great idea comes so it’s a sensible thing to do to have a small ideas book that you can keep in your pocket and write down your ideas as they happen. This ensures when you do sit down and think about the future your ideas are not lost and disappear into the ether, lost to you until you curse your bad luck, when a similar idea is carried out by someonelse!
By now you’re thinking it’s easy saying make time for ideas and success but how do I create this time?
Well a useful tool is used by many successful entrepreneurs and I call it the power of 3.
This is a simple but impactful technique which if used regularly can become part of your planning DNA and help you get more done and save time for the things you enjoy doing.
Get yourself a pen and paper and every morning write down the three most important things you need to achieve that day. It can be business or personal.
Take ten minutes and reflect on what really must be done.
Write down what it is as a descriptive sentence not just a word or phrase. Make it real in your own words using plain English.
Then write down why you have to do this. If it can wait or does not need to be done then relegate it from today’s top three.
When you have your top three you have your plan for the day, and it’s time for action.
Try it, and you will see that it works; you will even find that if you are focused on achieving the top three things that really matter each day you get more done. Because you know why they are important you can manage your stress and focus on what really matters.
According to research businesses waste up to 20% of their payroll costs on bad meetings. The Dutch even have a word for it called vergaderziekte which means ‘meeting sickness’
How many meetings do you attend that have no clear purpose, are badly chaired and decide nothing?
Attending bad meetings means you are haemorrhaging energy and time as you sit through dull, rudderless sessions just because you feel you have to be there or someone wants you to attend.
If you want to claim back your precious time to focus on the future and to develop your ideas then challenge yourself and anyone who asks you to attend a meeting.
Ask yourself, why am I attending, what will I gain and what can I contribute?
If the answers are negative then politely decline and focus on what really matters.
Part of stepping back from bad meetings is also avoiding negative people. The time and energy vampires, who feed on your precious hours and whose negativity and lack of support can suck out your enthusiasm to stop your ideas happening.
Avoid the vampires and seek out those with passion, drive and the desire to succeed. Create a network of likeminded people who believe in you and your ideas and you will soon see progress.
If you have to have a meeting make sure it is at least with people who can get things done.
Those that succeed and those that change the way we do things are those who lift their eyes up from the day to day activity and learn why we can do things differently I’d urge you all to heed the words of Steve Jobs founder of Apple
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.”
Make sure you are constantly learning, try and see what others don’t, identify what you want to do about it and why and then create a plan to make it happen.
John Joe McGinley Glassagh Consulting March 2016