I’ve met some very capable, bright people in my time. They’ve been light years ahead of their peers in terms of their abilities and sheer intelligence. Yet many of them were thoroughly beaten in business by their peers. Because they simply didn’t have the right attitude about the business. Or about life in general, come to think of it.
This is great news for many of us! It shows that even people of average ability can be highly successful in business. So long as they think the right way. Attitude is a better predictor of success than IQ.
I certainly don’t consider myself to be anything above average intelligence. I didn’t go to university. I’m not a natural student. I get bored too easily.
But I have a very, very positive attitude. I’ve had it for decades. Nothing can make anything more than a temporary dent in my attitude.
Trust me, I’ve had some horrendous things happen to me and my family. Things that could easily have been turned into excuses to give up, and spiral down into accepting defeat. I’ll tell you about these things one day, when I’m ready.
My positive attitude kept me on track. Turned these things into just huge, but temporary, speed bumps. Kept reminding me of my core belief - that hard work focused on the right areas can make anything happen. Anything at all.
So here’s the thing – you can choose to change your attitude at any time. It really is a choice. But you have to actively make that choice. And only you can make it.
Two of the many MSPs I’m working with right now are a great example of both ends of a positive attitude.
The first – let’s call him Dan – has an amazing attitude. He genuinely believes and agrees with me that his business can thrive without him personally having to be there. Today it doesn’t. Today, Dan is essential to the business. But he can see a vision of the near future where his staff run the business better than he does.
He believes that he will attract new clients through great marketing. He believes he will sell them lots of monthly recurring revenue services. And that his staff will service them brilliantly.
He knows this is a ton of hard work to make this happen. And there’ll be some tears along the way. But the outcome, of a business that gives him more than enough cash and time to live the lifestyle he really wants, is worth it.
My other client – let’s call him Dave – has a very similar sized business to Dan, yet is the complete opposite. His mind is closed. He believes marketing doesn’t work. That no-one’s buying right now anyway. That clients want the smallest bill possible. And they’ll only deal with him personally.
Despite the plethora of evidence that’s surrounding him, his attitude is that “business is rubbish and it’s not going to change”. Like most business owners, he’s trapped in a prison of his own design. But he’s not bothering to look for the key to unlock the door and escape.
Dave’s a lot of hard work, as you can imagine! I persevere with him because he’s a nice guy and I think he genuinely wants to change. Sometimes we need fun challenges in our workdays!
But which of those two do you think is mostly likely to succeed? If I was betting, I would put 100% of my money onto Dan.
Someone with the right attitude takes personal responsibility for their business and its performance. Even over factors that are out of their direct control. They always have a plan. Or know where to turn to pull a plan together.
They set challenging goals. They’re disciplined and focused. And they’re highly motivated, because they understand that everyone who seems to be an overnight success has actually toiled away in the dark for years.
Someone with the wrong attitude blames others for their lack of progress. They see problems in every answer. They drift without direction. They can work hard, but on the wrong things. They’re hooked in by shiny shortcuts that don’t add real long-term value.
It’s a choice. Which attitude are you choosing?
Here are some practical things that can help you make the right choice.
First, why not audit your attitude? This can be done by journaling, the process of writing down how you feel every day. You must be brutally honest with yourself. Journaling can be as simple as writing a Word document or using a blank notepad. Personally, I like using the Five Minute Journal, as this sets a structure for your daily journaling.
To affect the way you think, you can use your journal to focus on the positive things that happen to you every day. No matter what bad things, there are always good things. Always.
I call this an attitude of gratitude. It’s something I do with my 10-year-old daughter every night before bed. We review the good things that have happened to us during the day. She’s so used to this now, it’s created a habit of her focusing on the positives. This is a great thing.
Something else you can do with your journal is reflect on how your attitude affects your behaviour. And how your behaviour holds back your business.
The things you do or don’t do on a daily basis add up, over days, weeks, months, and years, into results. This is the compound effect. And it can work to give you success, or hold you back from achieving it.
I know this might sound a bit hippy. But you know how when you’re on a plane, before take-off, they tell you that if there’s an emergency and the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling, you must put on your mask before helping someone else?
This is the same thing. You have to look after you before you can look after the business. And the best way you can look after yourself is by setting the right attitude.