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Am I stubborn or determined?

Don’t ask Helen because I am sure she is wrong. I don’t know about you, but this is something which, in a playful way, gets discussed at various times. The answer is irrelevant.

When it comes to growing a business, are you ambitious, competitive, or greedy? Are you purely and simply relentlessly pursuing money and the lifestyle that it can buy for you? I would say that for most people in business, it is not about the money. There is something else. Once you have enough and perhaps a little more for by, just in case, I think the drive comes from something deeper inside you.

Now, would a psychologist have a field day with most entrepreneurs? Undoubtedly, and me included. I’ll not worry about that just now. What drives you? Something to think about.

So, let’s take it as read that we have a drive that comes from who knows where. What next? I am sure there are plenty of people with drive who do not achieve their goals in life or who do not build the business that they wanted. What makes the difference between those that do and those that don’t.

Consider this. You can stubbornly pursue you goals. Maybe your goal is to accumulate wealth, maybe it’s something else. You can be determined to succeed. You may be ambitious, competitive, and driven. But none of these will necessarily get you to where you want to be.

Now disagree with me if you like, but I think that what you need are two things. Firstly, you need to actually set goals. More about that another time. Secondly you need perseverance. Now, I like this word because it embodies all the positive aspects of the words above. But it includes so much more.

I was watching a webinar yesterday. Some of you will know that we are members of BNI and we are actually now represented on three chapters, Highland (Inverness), Moray (Elgin) and Tuath (An online chapter serving the Highland and Islands, including all the Northern and Western Isles). You can google them to find our more.

Anyway, in each chapter, as part of BNI we meet weekly with up to 50 local business owners (that’s about 100 businesses in total across the Highlands and Islands) to see how we can help each other in business, and it has been very successful for us. However, BNI also provides online training and access to some incredible and inspiring speakers.

The one I was watching yesterday was Lance Allred, the first deaf basketball player in a national league in the USA. He was speaking about perseverance and it really made me think. He was saying that perseverance embodies many principles but there were three that stood out for me.

Accountability means taking ownership for your own actions, all of them, and accepting the failures and the successes and moving on.

Compassion is the understanding that everyone, even the people you think don’t like you, are doing the best they can with the resources that they have. Don’t attribute motives to their actions. If they seem to be running you down it is only their way of dealing with their own shortcomings. Accept that and move on.

However, I think the most telling of my top three was adaptability. You don’t stubbornly pursue one end, you don’t compete for that one thing thoughtlessly, you adapt. They say that the only constant in life is change and you have to navigate your way across the shifting sands of life. Your goals may therefore need to adapt, or not, and your route may need to adapt, or not. But adaptability means being ready and flexible enough to embrace the changing circumstances that affect your journey through life.

Set your goals, monitor progress and be ready to adapt.

Alan Long

The Long Partnership

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