A book, "The Leadership Challenge," was recently written that told the story of U.S. Army Major General John H. Stanford. Although Stanford flunked sixth grade, he got into college on a ROTC scholarship. He also served in Korea and Vietnam and ultimately became the superintendent of the Seattle Public Schools and took public education to a new level.
In the book, Stanford is quoted as saying:
"The secret to success [in life] is to stay in love. Staying in love gives you the fire to ignite other people, to see inside other people, to have greater desire to get things done than other people. A person who is not really in love doesn't really feel the kind of excitement that helps them get ahead and to lead others and to achieve. I don't know any other fire, any other thing in life that is more exhilarating and is more positive feeling than love is."
In other words, the secret to success is to stay in love. And to stay in love with your business so it will be more successful, here are a few things you should be doing:
- Select businesses and product/service lines wisely. If you're choosing a new business to begin or choosing a new product/service line to launch (and all other things are equal), select the one you're the most passionate about, the one you truly love. Starting anything is very hard work; but if you love it, you'll have that extra fire that will help you succeed. Many people choose businesses and product/service lines only from a revenue or profit potential. However, if you choose based on what you love, you can get your clients/customers to love it, too. And as they say, the money will follow.
- Designate your "likes" and "dislikes." To stay in love, you should be working on the parts of your business you love doing, not what you "like" doing and definitely not what you "dislike" doing. For example, if you're handling customer service problems, and you really don't like it, then stop! More than likely, you're not doing a good job at it anyway, and it's killing your energy which prevents you from performing great on the things you do love. Of course, this is easier said than done; as entrepreneurs, we need to wear many hats. However, if you fall out of love, the consequences will be terrible. So, make a list of three things you love doing and three things you don't. Then, make a genuine effort to stop doing the things you don't love doing (don't just ignore them though; find someone else who can do them).
- Hire individuals you like. Of course, we all (ultimately) want the best employees, but what if that person is really annoying? I'm sure we've all had either an annoying co-worker or employee at some point, and these individuals negatively affect organizations. When you come to work daily, you want to be excited about seeing your team. And when you lose that excitement, your love of the business fades and so will your employees' love and eventually, your success.
- Speak with others about your business. We've all heard the saying, "The grass is greener on the other side." As an entrepreneur, you probably sometimes think that other people have it easier than you. In actuality, everybody thinks everybody else's life is easier, and your life as a business owner is likely pretty good. So, talk to others about their jobs and businesses. You'll hear many people complaining about their bosses, their clients/customers, their employees, etc. Doing this will make you see that you do have it better than you think, and that will help you stay in love with your business.
Love is a very powerful emotion, and it gives us massive energy and allows us to fight well after when most people would have given up. And it's just what you need to be successful.
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