In my years of working with businesses small and large to accelerate growth, I see one recurring theme among those that fail to meet their goals: the downward slide starts when commitment fades.
Wavering commitment is the biggest barrier to success that my clients encounter, but it doesn’t need to derail you.
Everyone Starts Strong
Whether the goal is improving customer experience, increasing sales or cultivating a devotional brand, the initiative typically begins in a halo of energy and enthusiasm. People are enchanted by the possibilities, so they dive head-first into the program with visions of radical success and glowing accolades when they emerge on the other side.
Then reality sets in. Change is hard. Not everyone agrees. People are busy and schedules are full. Things cost more than planned, other priorities take precedence, life intervenes. In fact, given the world we live in, it’s a wonder when things actually get done!
The difference between those who power through and those who give up is one simple thing: commitment.
Look at your own business. I’m sure there are plenty of things you’d like to accomplish this year. Are you on track or spinning your wheels? Have you stopped and started without really getting ahead? Are you trying to do too much, going an inch deep and a mile wide instead of focusing clearly on a few realistic goals?
If you’re like me and many people I know, you have probably abandoned more than a few projects before completion. That’s OK, sometimes things just don’t work out.
And sometimes we quit too soon.
What’s Really Important
If you want to smash through your biggest barrier to success you need to decide what’s really important and what’s not. What is non-negotiable in order to advance your objectives? What’s optional? What’s a waste of time?
There’s a saying about “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” It perfectly captures the essence of futile effort, a cycle that ensnares promising business leaders every day. Working on the wrong things is an avoidance tactic. It lets you feel busy without addressing the tough choices that precede real progress.
People can spend an entire career rearranging deck chairs, searching for the perfect configuration on a sinking ship. That’s not the legacy you want. Leaders commit to change, even when it’s difficult and the odds don’t look good. They don’t worry about superficial items or obstacles, they concern themselves with the work to be done. Most of all, they stay committed to things that matter.
Make a Choice
Commitment is a choice. We all have the option to waver when the wind blows against us, or stand tall because we know we must. Every day, every hour, you decide how to spend your time. What are you working on today? Will it get you closer to your goals?
I know you’re busy. You have lots of people and projects competing for your attention. Your boss (if you have one) or your board may not share your priorities. Your colleagues or partners may not share your convictions. You can choose to persuade them, take a different path, give up or power through.
The choice you make will shape the future of your business.
Opting out when you encounter a little resistance – or even worse, because you’re distracted – is a guaranteed path to failure. If you do not want to leave a trail of unfinished projects in your wake, pare down your list. Work only on things that matter, and do it with gusto. Say no to things that don’t move you forward. Share your passion and commitment for things that do.
Decide what deserves your commitment, then reaffirm that decision every day as you choose where to invest your time, energy and budget. All those little choices add up to the big sum that is your legacy.
What is your’s going to be?
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