Five business lessons to remember in 2017

We all want to live our best life. The challenge is figuring out what our best life looks like. What are we really capable of achieving? I am continually reminded that regardless of someone’s title, salary, industry or size of the company, we all face similar issues to living our best life. We just handle them differently. Here I’ve pulled together a few insights to help you explore this question...

1. Speed bumps are part of life

We all hit speed bumps. Yes, all of us. Whether you are an experienced CEO, new parent or first-time business owner, there are always speed bumps or challenges. They just look different to each of us. What may be a speed bump today may become routine tomorrow. Hitting a speed bump is really not a noteworthy event. The interesting part is how we maneuver around it.

What I’ve seen as an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach is that the people who achieve and move forward understand that speed bumps are part of the process of going after what you want. One person had to be determined for four years to get a job at the company of his choice (and, yes, he had speed bumps such as a hiring freeze).

Lesson: Often, the difference is a simple shift in your perspective to reclassify challenges and keep going.

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2. Mindset wins every time

"Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right." Thank you, Henry Ford.

Winners have a different mindset that says, "I can" or "I will figure it out and make it happen". For example, I was incredibly inspired by one story of a property manager who oversaw a building that everyone labeled a disaster. The property manager refused to accept this story of mediocrity and hopelessness. He believed he could turn the building around and built a team to do just that. Before the end of the year, his building was one hundred percent occupied, and he was recognised for outstanding performance at the company’s annual conference. It’s a process, not magic.

Lesson: Your mindset makes a big difference and directly impacts what opportunities you pursue.

3. Lean away from vague goals

Here’s the bottom line: if you’re setting vague goals, you might as well not even set a goal. I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Vague goals lead to vague or no results because it’s unclear what you are doing. For example, 'we need to start a training program', 'I will write a book', or 'I want to be a better leader' are common examples of vague goals. When you are ready to be accountable and clear on what you want, you are ready to set a goal. Go ahead and declare to the world what you are going to do. And, by the way, major companies and senior team leaders set vague goals all the time so you are not alone. It’s much easier to leave things vague because it’s harder to evaluate the results.

Lesson: There is nothing vague about living your best life. Clarify what you want and go after it (and, yes, this takes time and asking good questions).

4. Focus on the why

People who achieve their goal are really clear on the 'why'. There’s a difference between setting a specific goal and setting a goal that is both meaningful and exciting to you. When you have a strong why, it gives you a renewed sense of purpose and the motivation to continue moving forward.

Why do you want to be in shape, start a business, become an author, or start a blog? Is it something you should do or something that is important to you? Ask yourself why two or three times to truly understand why a specific goal matters to you. If a goal does not resonate and connect with your values, it will be difficult to move beyond speed bumps.

Lesson: When you are clear on your why, you will wake up with a renewed sense of purpose and vigor.

5. It’s a privilege to live outside your comfort zone

100 per cent of the people I've talked to who have achieved special moments, experienced uncertainty and were outside their comfort zone - from the single dad bringing up his daughters to the first-time manager and the woman in her thirties buying real estate properties to generate passive income.

Yes, it’s scary when things are uncertain. It’s uncomfortable for all of us. But it’s part of the process for personal development. It’s a privilege because it means that growth and opportunity are right around the corner. 

Lesson: What if you were 100 per cent certain that moving outside your comfort zone and experiencing uncertainty led to personal growth? I’ve got a secret for you: it does, and it’s a privilege.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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