If you are like me then you will always be looking for ways to be better, in many areas of your life. I work at my professional role, my home life, my relationships and my health. If I want to improve anything it requires change, and as we all know change is tough!
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein
It is no big surprise to anyone that wanting to make changes, and being successful at those changes are a world apart! As anyone who has failed in their attempts to quit smoking, or lose weight can tell you. I would go so far as to say that most of us will fail at implementing change most of the time, BUT if we truly want to get better we need to find a way!
Effecting change in your life, whether it is as simple as committing to more exercise or as complex as making a career change or starting a business, is hard!
I think that there are three principles to apply if you want to be successful at implementing change in your life.
- Consciously create new routines … the mere act of creating routines will work with your brain, not against it.
- Keep it simple … take the “eating an elephant” approach, one bite at a time.
- Have a plan … not just a goal, but a plan with action items to help you reach that goal.
As an example, let’s consider that you want to improve your fitness with a modified exercise routine. You may feel part of the answer is to join a gym, so you need to have a plan. If you joined a gym previously (maybe multiple times) and it didn’t work, then why is it going to work this time? You need to do something differently! Maybe going with a workout buddy or a personal trainer will keep you motivated? Maybe setting aside a specific time of day that will work better for you will work … first thing in the morning works best for me. The important thing is to have a plan, learn from past mistakes and modify the plan to give yourself a better chance of success.
It is easier to make small changes and create new routines, than to make BIG changes in your life in one go. If you can make multiple small changes over time that together add up to meeting your goal, then you will be far more likely to succeed.
Perhaps instead of joining that gym you could start by finding a time of day in which you can exercise. There is a lot of exercise that can be done without a gym, and the most important thing is to start. Once you have some success you might have a new plan that involves the gym!
Another typical situation where change is needed is the sales person who wants to improve their performance. To achieve different results requires change, and here are 10 Steps a salesperson might take to effect that change!
- Write down a plan, incorporating all of these points. Writing things down makes them more real!
- Change up your look … buy some new clothes, make yourself “feel good” about how you look. If you “feel” different that is a part of the change.
- Add a little time to your workday … another half hour or hour a day, focused on productive activity. It could mean getting a little earlier or catching a slightly later bus home.
- Emulate the activities of the most productive salespeople in your company and industry. What do they do that makes them successful?
- Network with successful people. Positive role models will create a positive attitude.
- Get out more … more client calls, more networking, more meetings with people that can help you.
- Work on your time management skills … use a calendar religiously, use To Do lists, keep good notes, maximize your work time with work activities (less chit chat, more work).
- Set yourself mini-goals to achieve your greater goal. e..g. Number of client calls a week, number of face to face meetings, number of self-development courses/webinars/books etc.
- Invest in your self-development. If you company offers materials take 100% advantage, if not (and even if they do) then spend a few dollars yourself to invest in YOUR career. (Look into the CPSA … Canadian Professional Sales Association)
- Adopt the attitude that YOU are responsible for your own success.
The salesperson who really wants success will chip away at this plan until they achieve success, but many will find it too hard and revert back to their “comfort zone”.
“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want.” Richard Yates
It is important that when we “fail” to achieve the change we want, we don’t just give up and go back. The right answer is to adjust the plan and try again.
“Fall down seven times. Stand up eight!” Japanese proverb.
Change becomes easier when we see success from our efforts. By having smaller goals, and making incremental changes you will see small successes and use them for motivation.
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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