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The Psychology of Turning Ordinary Business into Extraordinary Business

- by Simon Rickett

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How we think controls everything we do. There is no getting away from the fact that what we experience in our lives, impacts our behaviour in some way or another. Don’t worry I’m not about to start harping on or discuss those inner demons or anything like that so you can carry on reading! I’m just going to identify some practical methods that can really change your behaviour patterns as an entrepreneur. By using these strategies you will be able to "Turn Ordinary Business into Extraordinary Business" I want to start with a little story that happened to me a fair few years ago, that has stuck with me throughout everything I do. I use to work at a college lecturing Psychology, and in order for our team to improve our students results our head of department had arranged for a Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) expert to come and talk to us. The purpose of the session was to identify the role Lecturers play in developing students to achieve their goals. I remember the session like it was yesterday! The department I was in contained a real mixed bunch, ranging in age from 24 - 65, all with different experiences, some had been lecturing for years some had just started! What was apparent was that the older, more cynical members of the group did not really want to be there. They couldn’t see how the session was going to benefit them and their students in any way shape or form. NLP is all about successful experiences and how by reinforcing those successful experiences we can educate ourselves in self awareness and effective communication. Two members of the group really stood out for me, both male, mid 40’s, lectured for years and worked with many students. Over the years they had developed the attitude that it was a lecturers responsibility to inform their students what their capabilities were. • Do you agree with this? • If you were a lecturer would you feel it was your role to tell your students what they could or couldn’t do?
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They took the approach that if a student came to them and said they wanted to do a certain subject or pursue a certain career that it was their responsibility to say NO YOU CAN’T DO THAT, YOU WILL NEVER SUCCEED. I found this pretty hard to stomach and the session turned into quite a heated discussion. I wanted to know why on earth they thought they could dampen someone ambitions in one foul swoop. As lecturers we have a responsibility to assist learning and encourage development not stop it dead in its tracks. The session moved on and we were asked to do a variety of tasks one that really stood out for me was that we were asked to stand at one end of the room and imagine a line running from one end of the room to the other. We were then told to envisage this line was a time line. At the end of it was where you wanted to be in 10 years time. Once this image was clear in our mind, we were instructed to walk up the time line, identifying at every stage exactly what you needed to do to achieve that goal of where you wanted to be. The purpose of the exercise was really to get us to focus on our goal and exactly what needed to be done to reach it. At this point no one knew what each other had imagined. One by one we revealed exactly what we had thought about. One of men I mentioned answered with: • ‘To be still at the college and doing what I am doing now’ • The other man said something almost identical! Well for me that explained a few things! They had stop setting themselves targets, they had no ambition to improve or develop. But what really bugged me the most was the fact that because they had lost that drive this was now rubbing off on the students they were lecturing. When it came to me, and I was asked what I had pictured, I responded with: I want a Ferrari, well its not the Ferrari I want but the self fulfillment that means I have achieved everything I wanted to do that might put me in a position to afford one. And guess what, a sarcastic laugh filled the room. I don’t need to tell you who were the instigators!

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I came out of that session thinking 2 things: 1. I’m going to show you. I'm not going to have you or anyone else insinuate that I can’t achieve something. 2. How many more people are affected by the negative experiences both themselves and others have experienced. Soon after this meeting I handed in my notice and decided that if I was going to achieve my dreams, I would need to do this by working for myself. Lecturing for me had been the natural progression after working my way through the educational system however I realised that now was the time to go it alone. I had to face up to some facts and ask myself, how much of my time do I actually want to be: - Responding to others' expectations, needs and desires? - In control or being controlled by others? Since then I have had some good times and some bloody terrible times, however what has kept me going is my inner drive and thoughts that I need to keep developing to achieve that self fulfillment. Yes it would have been easy at times to walk away. Not everything has always worked for me, there is no guarantee that things going forwards will work either, but by having a mindset that allows me to changes things and improve things until it works is what it is all about. There is no hiding from the fact that we have been in the worst recession for many years, and we have all suffered in some way or another. I have family members who have had no work because they work in the construction industry, contacts from the print trade who are really struggling as businesses cut back on their print spend. However what I have seen is many once confident individuals proud of what they have achieved previously sit back and let the inevitable happen. They have accepted that the recession has ruined their business and there is nothing they can do about it. To me it isn’t about their business, it is about them as individuals, businesses come and go, some work, some don’t, yes we can all plan for those rainy days but sometimes all the planning in the world can’t stop things going wrong.

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To me it is about setting your targets within and asking yourself the questions, what can I do to improve? What can I do to change? Are you going to lay down and let life deal this hand, or are you going to create the hand you want! Whatever happens throughout life, especially the negative events forms a part of the make up of who we are. Think back how many times someone has said to you, or you have even said to yourself: • • • • • • • Are you sure that is a good idea? You can’t do that? That is a bit to risky I wonder what other people will think I think I will leave it I don’t like change I’m not sure that is the best idea you have ever had?

With all these negative thoughts is it surprising that 9 times out of 10 we stop doing the things we always wanted and start accepting that this is just the way it is! How many of us have actually achieved our dreams as a kid? I remember mine changing all the time I could sit back now and say actually: • • • • I didn't make it into the NBA, I never flew planes, I never became a Doctor, I didn't achieve what I wanted so I might as well take what I can!

What a loud of rubbish, I kept going changing my goals, trying to find that one thing I was going to excel at. THE POINT IS IF I HAD LISTENED TO SOMONE SAYING “NO YOU CANT DO THAT, I WOULD HAVE STOPPED THIER AND THEN, I WOULDN’T HAVE CARRIED ON” Me playing in the NBA, was I serious? From the age of 8 - 16 I trained every day with that ambition at the forefront of my mind. The reality is I didn't even make it onto the plane to America to play high school basketball. Yes I was gutted, but I kept going and moved onto something else.
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Put yourself on that time line, look forward 10 years and really focus on exactly where you want to be. Don’t take the cop out of setting a target that has been influenced by others or your own negative experiences, set a target that you want to achieve. Use the box below to write it down....

From now on remember that target every day and start working towards to it. Chances are it will change, that’s business things do change, but when they do, are you going to sit back and accept it and let the inevitable happen or are you going to change with it.

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Change does not mean you have failed! Don’t be scared to try things new, so what if they don’t work! I’m not saying go out tomorrow and start doing the most wackiest and stupidest things, you need to learn from others around you and use that in order to develop. Lets use this scenario... Picture yourself going into the Bank to borrow £50,000 to set up a business. Your heart is beating 100 beats per minute you’re slightly nervous but also excited at the same time. When you get there you meet a friend in the waiting area who you haven’t seen for years. You start talking and you find out that they are sat there to close down a bank account for the exact same type of business that you are about to go and ask for £50k for. What would you think at this time? Write down your thoughts here...

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There are no right or wrong answers to what you have written. However the majority of successful entrepreneurs would have been thinking things like: • • • • I wonder if they have any customers they can pass this way? I need to find out why things didn't work? What would they do different next time? What was their best selling product or service?

There are always opportunities in every situation we are faced with. Turning your business from an Ordinary Business into Extraordinary Business is all about capitalising on these opportunities. Learning from others.

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Next time you find yourself about to put the negative part of your brain into action, why not actually ask yourself... WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? WHAT CAN I CHANGE? Henry Ford was the American founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of modern assembly lines used in mass production. Do you know how long it took him to get this car into production? How many times he didn't quite make the grade? He could have given up at any point! We all know he didn't and instead changed the whole face of the car industry. Who else is there: • A certain Bill Gates - go and read his autobiography and find out all about the trials and tribulations he went through to get to where he is today. • The same applies to Richard Branson The list is endless, all the great entrepreneurs of past and present have all gone through similar experiences. What has made them successful is that they have all kept going and made the changes they needed to move forwards. A few key points for you to consider: • Do your best, only you really know if you have done that. Don’t settle with the attitude, I will do enough to get by • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, so what if it goes wrong! The key is that you learn from them • If you need to change, you haven’t failed, your moving forwards!

I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. Michael Jordon

To summarise: - If you want to turn your business from an ordinary business into an extraordinary business, only you can do it
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- You will only do it, if you actually truly believe in what you are doing - Don’t be afraid to change, admit your failings and move on - Use every experience as a stepping stone to success When you walk into work tomorrow, stop and think what can I change to improve? I just hope it isn’t followed by a reason why it can’t be done, anything can be done if you truly believe in what you are doing!

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