In my last entry, I detailed the story of fighting a bull shark during my family’s recent vacation. That story made me remember another fishing trip I took with my dad. As we set out for our spot, deep in the Atlantic Ocean, I remember hearing a lot of captains’ chatter on the radio. Because the water was choppy, they said we wouldn’t catch any fish. Our captain calmly reassured us that anytime you leave the shore, there’s lots of noise. The same is true in your businesses. When you set out to do something new, there’s always going to be a chorus of naysayers. Join me as I look at how to succeed despite the noise.
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Just like the radio chatter I heard as we left the shore, business owners are bombarded with “noise” every time we make a decision. Oftentimes, that noise comes in a variety of forms and from many different sources. However, if you’re prepared to hear the noise when making decisions, you can limit its impact. Therefore, knowing the different types of noise you’re most likely to hear is an important part of understanding how to succeed despite the noise.
One of the most common things you’ll encounter is unexpected negativity. When faced with having to depart from your original plan, it can be jarring to hear so much negativity. You may encounter this from friends, family, or even team members. I have a client who recently had to change directions in his business. To his surprise, one of his most veteran team members has become the problem. This particular team member is creating a negative influence on all of the new employees. Now, this client is not only having to change directions with his business but he’s being faced with a choice of how he will deal with this team member as well.
Another type of noise that you might face is the idea that your new goals are either an idol or simply idle talk. How to succeed at a given task or objective often comes down to your determination. Now, nothing should be given “idol” status in your life. God should be the only focal point of our worship. However, your determination to achieve your goals should be such that nobody could ever say you’re just speaking idle words when you explain your new direction. Ultimately, you know where your ambition lies. Don’t let others persuade you to believe that you’re idolizing a goal or that you’re simply talking about “pie in the sky” ambitions.
While I was on vacation, I was reading The Reality of Change: Mastering Positive Change is Key to Extraordinary Leadership and Optimal Business Outcomes by Fred Johnson and Paul Metler. This book was given to me by a close friend who told me that, with where my business is—with the speaking engagements, podcasts, blogs, and books that I’ve added to my business—my vision had become a little cloudy. You see, I’ve been adding the systems and processes, changing direction, and clarifying the vision of my business for the past five years. Just as I’ve spoken about, I’m actively working to get my businesses from the turmoil phase to the auto-pilot phase in the business cycle. Now, I see that there is change on the horizon and, candidly, I’m not sure I’m ready for it. But in this book, I found an illustration that really spoke to me.
One of my favorite things to do when I visit southern Georgia is to go crabbing. I’ll find a bridge crossing over some brackish or saltwater and drop a few baskets in. The baskets are designed to lie flat on the ocean floor and there’s a place to tie some bait (usually a stinky fish head or chicken leg). When the crabs smell the bait, they climb into the basket and are trapped by the one-way door. Well, once you’ve caught the crabs, you empty them from the basket and place them into your crab bucket. That bucket is where the next type of noise occurs.
Every now and then, one of the crabs will try to climb out of the bucket. However, they never make it out because, inevitably, one of the other crabs will grab them and pull them back into the bucket. How to succeed despite the noise often means not allowing others to pull you back down when you’re about to break out.
Still another type of noise is personal criticism. I often use the quote by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” You see, your own mindset is such a crucial part of how to succeed despite the noise. There’s going to be enough outside noise. You don’t need to create internal noise by listening to your naysayers. Once you begin to believe what they’ve said about you, then that’s what your reality will be.
One of my favorite songs is The Sound of Silence. I know that it’s originally a Simon & Garfunkel song but I really enjoy the version by the band, Disturbed. I’ve been playing it on the piano a lot recently and it’s just a beautiful piece of music. However, the sound of silence can be deafening when it comes to your journey to reach your new dream. You’re not going to have very many cheerleaders “Hoo-Ra-Rah’ing” you on your way to victory.
Being a business owner is often a very lonely profession. Knowing how to handle that loneliness and that silence is yet another key component of how to succeed.
In addition to all of the various “noise” we’ve discussed, there’s the fear of failure and having an identity that’s based on performance. Depending on where you’re at in your business and in life, trying something new can be terrifying. If you’re nearing retirement, failure could be extremely costly. Likewise, if you’re the type that ties their identity to their success, failure could have disastrous mental and emotional implications. We all hear the noise. What you need to know is how to succeed even when the noise is deafening.
So, you know the noise is inevitable. You can’t stop the noise from happening. It’s just there. But what you do when the noise is coming from all directions will determine your success. When my dad and I set out on our fishing adventure, all I heard was noise. The other captains all but guaranteed that we wouldn’t catch a fish. But we went through with our trip. We arrived at our destination and I’ve got to tell you, that was one of the best fishing trips I’ve ever had. We caught all kinds of fish from wahoo to mahi-mahi, and practically filled the boat. So, how you proceed in the midst of the noise is a critical factor in how to succeed.
On October 29, 1941, Winston Churchill gave an address to Harrow School. In this address, Churchill said, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” So, never give in, folks. When you’ve set a goal, only you can determine how to succeed. However, here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Let’s say your dream is to, one day, own a beach house. Where do you want your beach house to be? Is it in Florida? Georgia? The Gulf of Mexico? Maybe it’s in Texas or California. Wherever it may be, visualize it. Then, visualize the color of your beach house. When we were in Florida, I saw a beach house that was painted coral. It was this beautiful reddish-pink hue with white storm shutters and a white tin roof. It had an outdoor shower, pool, a parking garage underneath the house, and even an elevator.
When we went inside, there were tile floors that looked like old barn wood. It had granite countertops, new appliances, and three air-conditioning units. This is the type of detail that you should have when you visualize your goals. The more detailed your visualization, the more likely you are to make it a reality. So, let’s apply this to your business.
Where do you see your business in three years? How many employees do you have? What percentage of the market share do you control? How many clients do you serve? Ultimately, you’re the business owner so, what’s important to you? Why is it important? In fact, I recently watched a great video of Simon Sinek called Start With Why. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to watch the video and understand the importance of “why.” Find whatever it is that’s important to you, know why it’s important, and visualize it in great detail.
Most of the time, business isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. It’s endurance-driven. Therefore, it’s imperative that you know what captures your heart. I’m reminded of the old Rocky films. There were always these intense training montages in the films and they’d be set to songs like Eye of the Tiger. But, in the end, Rocky was always able to triumph because he had a purpose. As his trainer, Mickey said, “You’ve got heart, kid!” Rocky was always fighting for something bigger than himself. It’s what captured his heart and gave him the will to endure. This can be applied in your business as well. Once you know what captures your heart, nothing can stop you but you.
How can you increase awareness of the change taking place or of the goal that you now have? It’s been said that you can improve your odds of accomplishing your goals by sharing them with others. Think about it. We have the mental capacity to do many things, and before they’re ever done, we think about them. This applies to good and bad.
However, as you reach your goals, beware of the “I’ve arrived,” mentality. Leonard Sweet tells us, “Nothing fails like success. It freezes you in patterns that brought you success twelve months before but that will bring you failure today.” You see, I’ve worked with many business owners who are constantly going back and forth between the growth and turmoil phases of the business cycle. They’re stuck. They keep doing the same things that prevent them from breaking through the turmoil and reaching the auto-pilot phase. Now, I’ve had a few of them tell me that they’ve been there for 20+ years, but I gently tell them why that’s not true.
Friends, when you set your goal and start on the journey toward it, you will hear some noise. You have to block it out. That’s how to succeed despite the noise. Once you’ve blocked it out, visualize the success of your dreams. Take a moment and remember that this is an endurance race. Share your goals with others. They might make some noise or they could cheer you on, but if you’re chasing a dream that captures your heart, you’ll succeed.
Hey, life can be hard. We all have struggles, but life is good. Listening to the noise can be frustrating, but if you remember that it’s just noise, you can make succeeding despite the noise, at least, financially simple.
If you have questions about this or any other business topic, reach out to us. The team at Financially Simple has helped hundreds of business owners work toward their goals.