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Fail Frequently, Fast and Forward

What if the one thing you avoided most, something you dreaded and feared, was the most important part of succeeding?

Most people hate the very idea of failure. They loathe thinking of themselves as coming up short, missing the mark and not succeeding. For many, just the possibility of failure is enough to convince themselves that it is not even worth trying. Isn’t always better to set the bar low, keep expectations in check and minimize the risk?

Playing it safe is a great strategy if your job requires defusing bombs or doing neurosurgery. Yet for most, the negative ramifications of failure are relatively minor. After all, wouldn’t you be willing to fall down, skin your knee and screw something up if you knew for certain that you would succeed in the end?

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4 Steps for Finding the Courage to Conquer Your Fears

What if I do this and it doesn’t turn out right? What if I screw this up? What if I mess up this sales call? What if I forget what I’m going to say in this big presentation? What if I embrace this new strategy and it doesn’t work? What if I make a fool out of myself? What if this new change in the way we are doing things means something bad for me?

“What if?” Perhaps the scariest question for many people.

They consider the possible negative outcomes. Will they feel stupid? Will they look foolish in front of their peers? Will their boss yell at them? Will they get fired? All of these are unknowns. Unknowns inspire the emotion of fear. Fear paralyzes people.

Everyone experiences fear. It is an innate emotion woven into our DNA that helps us respond to danger and protect ourselves. It is a self-defense mechanism that has evolved over thousands of years to protect the survival of the species.

While fear protected our ancestors and helped them cope with the challenges of a danger laden environment, it doesn’t serve near as noble a purpose in modern day society. Far too frequently, fear and the anxiety that tags along with it, just keeps people from taking a risk, trying something new and potentially reaping the benefits of doing so.

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What’s Luck Got to Do With It?

When you take the time to consider all of the common phrases that exist in the English language containing a reference to the work “luck”, it is little wonder that so many people possess such an overriding belief in its mystical powers.  In fact, most of us would be hard pressed to go through the day without someone making reference to the word, luck.  Each time we hear it, we nod our head and subconsciously buy-in to the all fire trap of thinking that success and luck go hand-in-hand.

When good fortune comes, we are said to be in luck.  When the bad times befall us, our luck has run out.  If lady luck smiles, good times are ahead.  If she turns her back, we might as well stay in bed because nothing is going to go right.

Society does a masterful job convincing people that the key to having the life of their dreams is all about being lucky.  While certainly luck does exist, after all people do win the lottery. A game of pure chance where there is absolutely no skill involved.  It is purely random luck.  However, the simple fact remains, most lottery winners, while lucky, will inevitably go broke.  So it would seem they are unlucky when comes to holding on to their lottery winnings.

But what about success?  What about achieving one’s goals and ambitions?  Is that like the lottery? A game of pure chance where skill, effort, determination and perseverance have absolutely no bearing.

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Want to Succeed in Life? Start Thinking Like a Two Year Old

People aren’t born to fail. Both science and our own experience has proven this to be true.

At the time each of us came into the world, we were born with everything that we would need to build an incredible life for ourselves. It was handed to us, gifted to us innately, woven into our DNA.

Many will doubt these words. They will point to all those who struggle. Those who have lived a life of unfulfilled dreams. They will cite example after example of people who have strived yet come up short, given up and settled. Certainly there is no shortage of people with dashed hopes, broken dreams and shattered souls.

Yet not one of us started out this way. We came into life full of promise, energized by the opportunities and relentlessly willing to do whatever was necessary to fulfill our greatest desires. We came into life with everything we needed to succeed.

Just think of a child, prior to the age of two. Consider their perspective, the mindset with which they move. It is the mindset of a person who possesses everything they need to succeed. Still uncertain about the validity of that statement?

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Why Timing Isn’t Everything in Your Career

How often have we heard that in order to succeed, ‘you have to be in the right place’…when?

Exactly, you have to be in the ‘right place at the right time.’  Look at how easily that statement comes to mind.  Over and over we have heard the ‘right place, right time’ myth.

Why is this myth so dangerous?  It is dangerous because it conditions a person’s mindset in a way that they believe that success is more about circumstance than substance.  It is about having the good fortune to be in the right place when success comes knocking on the door.

As a result of this limiting belief, far too many people wait for success to happen to them rather than to going out and creating it for themselves.

Imagine being on the ground floor of a rapidly growing internet company.  A company that was about to take the industry by storm.  A company that was preparing for a public offering that was set to make early employees into multi-millionaires.  Think what you could do with your new found financial freedom.  Think of the places you could travel to.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could just find ourselves in that right place at the right time?

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The Secret No One Told You About Success

What is it that makes someone great? Is it some innate ability? Some unique skill set that they were gifted with? Is greatness something that is bestowed upon some but not others? Is the ability to be great at something, at anything, woven into the DNA of a select few?

When we look at those people who have achieved greatness, we see the relative ease at which they are able to execute upon a given skill. Listen to Warren Buffett dole out investment advice. Watch a video of Eric Clapton as he rips through a blues guitar lick or Michael Jordan dunking a basketball. The gap is so big between what these people are capable of and what we can do, it is easy to convince ourselves that they must have some innate ability, some naturally granted level of talent that we simply don’t possess. That’s why they are able to excel, why they can be great and we can’t – right?

Wrong!

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It’s the Mindset That Matters

Throughout history there are countless stories of people who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve success.  What is it that caused these people to persist where others gave up?  Why were they able to stay focused and motivated despite all the setbacks?  Why did they so steadfastly believe that it was possible when everyone around them was telling them it wasn’t going to work out?

What caused these people to beat the odds?  Was it luck or circumstances?  Perhaps, it was something much more fundamental.  Something internal that caused them to “think” differently.  Perhaps, it was the mindset that they possessed that mattered most.

Over the last two decades, researchers in the field of psychological science have found that human beings operate under two distinctly different mindsets.  The first is a fixed or limited mindset.  The second is a growth or unlimited mindset.

Through extensive research, scientists have found that the electrical activity in the brain and the portions of the brain that are activated are markedly different depending upon which of these two mindsets a person is operating under.

In a study that was conducted at Michigan State University, test subjects with limited mindsets and those with unlimited mindsets were given a challenging problem to solve. This is what they found:  Read more

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A Few Words About High Payoff Activities

When one takes the time to examine any employee role in virtually any organization, it becomes readily apparent that we are a society that values multi-tasking.  It is not uncommon for an employee to have thirty or more responsibilities that relate to them successfully completing their respective job.  Employees are expected to do everything from activities that directly impact the profitability of the organization to responding to interoffice emails.  However, not all of these tasks are of equal importance.

The first fact is that employees tend to initially focus on completing those tasks that are most within their comfort zones and easiest to complete.  Despite the fact that the easiest and most comfortable tasks are invariably those that provide the lowest degree of benefit to organizational profitability and productivity.

The second fact is, as leaders we value those employees who provide us with the highest return on their time.  In other words, those employees who focus on completing the most important tasks first.  Therefore, developing an employee team built upon individuals who not only understand but are also experts on executing these “High Payoff Activities” should represent a leader’s number one objective.  Interestingly enough, for virtually any role within an organization, an individual will only have approximately seven “true” High Payoff Activities.

To reconcile these two facts, successful leaders must focus on accomplishing three critical goals:

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Health Care: Dynamic Times Require Dynamic Leadership

With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, the health insurance industry entered a new and different era—one defined by unanswered questions, ambiguities, and a murky view of the future.

What will this new law mean to the industry?  Attorneys and insurance company executives are poring over the 1,024-page legislation to determine exactly what they need to do to comply. The law, while long and detailed, does not necessarily spell out exactly how the execution of each new rule will take place, or how the interaction between health insurance companies, medical providers, and members will shake out.

One thing is certain: Things are going to change.

The law calls for health care exchanges and new kinds of insurance options, which by definition will result in increased competition between insurers.  Theoretically, more competition will reduce health care plan pricing.  Therefore, insurance company leaders understand that they will have to drive cost out of their operations and become more nimble and efficient.  In an industry as heavily regulated as health care, however, “nimble” is a concept most companies struggle to imagine.

 

Regulations Stifle Creativity…

By definition, regulations stifle creativity, keeping employees from thinking about better and more efficient ways to do their jobs.  Health insurance company employees traditionally have not been encouraged to think like entrepreneurs and look for solutions. Instead, they stick to the defined processes they know well and follow the rules to the letter.

This mindset creates a dichotomy in today’s health insurance environment.  Company leaders need people who can see the big picture, identify better and more efficient ways to operate, and implement these solutions quickly.  Furthermore, they need employees who can readily embrace change and rapidly adapt to new systems and processes.  However, many of today’s employees are deeply rooted in past behaviors, making them highly resistant to change.  They’re simply not ready, nor equipped for the sweeping changes on the horizon, whatever these changes may be.

 

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Ultimate Responsibility – Life’s Single Greatest Equalizer

There are certain fundamental truths that regardless of circumstance seem to stand the test of time. One of these is the fact that victims never win.

Excuses, rationalization, blame and finger pointing are the foundational cornerstones of a victim mindset. These are the single greatest killers to a life of promise and success. Nothing limits a person more than the thought that it is someone else’s fault, there is nothing they can do or that they are powerless to change things.

Certainly bad things will happen in life. Circumstances will create challenges. People will say and do things that will hurt us. At one time or another, in one form or another, these things will happen to everyone. It is the unfortunate reality of life.

Spending too much time vacillating, pondering or beating one’s self up over the bad things that happen will get a person nowhere. It will just make them unhappy. Bad things happen to everyone, not just us, accept that, it is the truth.

Close to two thousand years ago the Greek philosopher, Epictetus wrote,

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

Throughout history there are thousands of examples of great things that come from very bad situations simply because someone reacted to them differently.

Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine because more than half a million people every year were becoming paralyzed and dying from the virus. Out of bad things came something that has saved millions of lives.

Mary Kay Ash started a billion dollar company because she was passed over for a promotion by her boss. She decided that rather than be a victim, she wanted to control her own destiny and she created a company that has helped hundreds of thousands of people do the same. Out of Mary Kay’s “misfortune”, came her success.

John Hetrick invented the airbag after being in an auto accident with his wife and seven year old daughter. More than fifteen thousand lives were saved by this device in just the first twenty years after it was installed in automobiles. Out of John’s trouble, came his inspiration to help save others.

These are but a few examples of the countless times that people have taken their ‘bad luck’, ‘misfortune’, or setbacks and leveraged it as an opportunity to benefit the greater good. The only reason they were able to do so is because they took ownership for their situation, rather than justifying, rationalizing, or making an excuse as to ‘how bad they have it’ or ‘why it always happens to them’.

The sad reality is that most of the people we will meet in life will not think this way. Rather, they will have spent a great deal of time perfecting their ability to find a reason why something won’t work, why it can’t be done, why it is somebody else’s fault. They will have become masters of making excuses, rationalizations and pointing fingers.

However, here is the challenge. Whenever someone makes an excuse, rationalizes why something can’t happen or points a finger at someone else, they have just relinquished all of their power, they have put themselves into a victim mode of thinking. Rest assured, victim thinkers never win. It is impossible because you can’t build anything on a foundation of victim thinking. Conversely, empires have been built by people who were willing to take Ultimate Responsibility.

The good news is, there are only three things that people really need to take Ultimate Responsibility for in life to accomplish everything that they want. The first is the goals that they want to pursue. The second is who they need to become in order to accomplish those goals. The third is the challenges that they encounter in the pursuit of those goals. By taking Ultimate Responsibility of these three things, regardless of what happens, good or bad, they will always be in control of their own destiny.

From a leadership perspective, the concept of Ultimate Responsibility must be one of the essential cornerstones of a peak performing team culture. It fundamentally changes the way people think, the way they interpret, the way they act and react. It is, without fail, one of the most important things we teach at 2logical.

Ultimate Responsibility is truly life’s single greatest equalizer.