I think it might be.
You might not agree but I feel that the next few minutes could have a profound effect upon your life.
Why are you successful sometimes and not at others? Why do you have periods when you are you happy with your lot and at other times not? Why do you feel like everything is on track and at other times you feel your life is off the rails?
Welcome to the world of personal drivers.
If your drivers are being met you will be more successful and happier because your internal needs are being satisfied. It’s about what you need as a person but at a very deep level – it’s not about the next pay rise or holiday abroad or 10 minute mile.
So what use are they in the real world?
When you need to make a decision simply assess which of the available options best feeds your drivers and then choose that one. It’s more likely to be the right choice for you.
We enjoy doing those things that meet our drivers so we do them longer, harder and better leading to even more success.
When things aren’t going well for you or you just feel a bit cheesed off with your lot check which are of your drivers are not being fed and it will give you some idea of how to fix your situation.
Here’s the bad news though: that’s pretty much all I can give you because it’s not my field. However, I do have a couple of suggestions which should help you to at least begin discovering your drivers. Before that though here are mine (he said laying himself bare before his readers).
These caused me to like squash more than water polo; become obsessed with programming (won a nationwide prize for it!); take up bricklaying as a hobby but preferred using recycled bricks; built a successful recruitment business in the 90′s but failed to do the same again in the naughties and finally to end up as a business development consultant.
- I need to be in a place of discovery: I like new things: challenges; people; places and experiences. I can’t stand the status quo for any length of time.
- I need to be on a journey: I like it when I know where I’ve been, where I am now and where I’m going. I need to be on a mission; a man-with-a-plan.
- I need to make things that work: building something that, when it’s complete, actually does something really hits the spot for me.
- I need to renovate and improve: I like to take something that doesn’t work very well and reinvigorate it so that it does.
- I need recognition and to be valued: I’m not proud of this but I need external validation such as being paid for what I do, having my achievements recognised and affirmation that I am good at what I do. I see this a weakness in myself.
- I need to be good at what I do: If I can’t be good, or better yet great, at something I’m not interested in doing it.
- I need to leave a legacy: it’s like “Mike Ames was here”. Leaving my mark on whatever I am involved with.
Underpinning these drivers is my Foundation driver that has to be in place all the time: -
- I need familiarity and security: I absolutely have to have my back to the wall. Mrs Ames says that’s why we’re still married after 30 years when my drivers would suggest that I should have been a flighty piece. I think she’s right.
So all I can offer you is chapter 5 on needs, passions and talents in Stephen Covey’s otherwise less than inspiring book The 8th Habit of Highly Effective People. Not worth buying it for that though – borrow a copy if you can.
Alternatively, you could make a list of everything that you were successful at and enjoyed (the two usually go hand-in-hand) and another that you were terrible at and hated. Start from your earliest recollections (our drivers don’t really change) and come to the present time.
Then look for common needs being met/ignored in each list; it takes time (about 9 months in my case) but you will find them. Then you can test them out by taking situations and seeing whether your drivers were being met or not. Keep reiterating this cycle of observation and testing and eventually you will arrive at an accurate definition of what drives you. Well worth the investment of time and effort if you ask me.
Find your drivers and it will change how you make decisions and ultimately how happy and successful you’ll be.
So was it the most important post I’ve ever published I wonder?
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
To begin with I would like to thank you for your support and engagement. As with most bloggers I write to inspire, inform and amuse my readers and it is overwhelmingly important to me that you value what I produce.
For 2013 I’d like to step up a gear so if you have any business development related subjects you would like me to explore please comment on this post and I will do what I can to oblige.
I’d also like to thank my support team here at Flair Towers: Melanie who is my rock and without whom I just could not function and Kirsty who has bought fresh ideas and energy to the party – thank you both very much for your massive contribution this year.
Finally as you reflect upon the year just ending and perhaps cast some thought towards the year yet to come why not ponder on these three suggestions all of which strangely begin with the letter “F”: -
- Focus: most of us have a tendency to take on too many things and so dilute our efforts. Perhaps in 2013 we should say “no” more; drop some of our projects and put all our effort, resources and creativity into what remains. Concentrate to penetrate!
- Failure: a fear of failure holds us back and stops us from reaching our potential. How about in 2013 we take a few more risks and on those occasions when we fail use the experience to learn and grow. As Thomas Edison said “I failed my way to success”.
- Friends: a relationship is based upon trust, affinity and value whether it is with your friends or your business stakeholders so why not begin to think of the latter like the former? Treat you business contacts 90% the same as you would your friends and see what happens.
Well that’s me done for 2012. Once again thank you for your help, support and engagement and I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year and may your God go with you.
This is probably my shortest blog ever. Hope you like it and keen to know if you agree.
When you see a “Blocked” number on your phone do you answer it?
I think most pessimists don’t whereas most optimists do. I invariably do because I always believe it’s going to be somebody with good news, a great opportunity or something interesting to say!
Do you agree?
I don’t mean to be unkind or even judgemental it’s just that in reality most people you come across in business are just average.
When you think about it this has to be true. An average is effectively the most common value (technically I know that’s not the case before any of you swots point it out) so most people are it.
But who cares about statistics; the plain fact of the matter is most people have average intelligence, commitment to the job, creative talents, attention to detail, belief in quality, organisational skills and attitude towards risk.
So here’s the good bit: if you want to stand out you only need to be a little better than average. I’ll concede you can’t do much about your IQ but the rest is entirely down to you.
Just being a little bit better at a number of things creates a large cumulative difference between you and the next guy so what are you waiting for?
Success is about being above average and being above average is a choice not a privilege.
I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who has supported me this year through doing business with me, providing me with help and advice and collaborating on-line and in person. I am very grateful for everything you have done and only hope that I have at least given the same in return but hopefully a little more.
One last thought before we all leave 2011 for good.
The New Year is bound to bring new challenges especially with the economy the way it is. We are bombarded daily with gloomy predictions of double-dips, growing unemployment and much harsher trading conditions.
Well, my advice is to ignore it all, tighten your belts as much as you can and sell more. Seriously, whatever you’re selling I can practically guarantee you have a tiny percentage of the overall market share which means enormous potential for growth.
Even when you have knocked out the time-wasters, messers and tight-wads there is still more than enough to go around but make sure you go out to them and don’t wait for them to come to you. Added to that you really are better than your competitors so all you have to do is demonstrate this to the right people and you’re in – that’s called selling.
So there you have it: in 2012 sell more and market less – you know it makes sense.
Once again thank you for your support and I sincerely hope we can do more “stuff” in 2012.
Have a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Regards … Mike
This was prompted by a conversation with my grown up children over the weekend and is for anyone who has young children of their own – not a privilege I now share.
We were all invited over to dinner by some very old friends whose children grew up with ours. We were talking about childhood memories when my eldest son said that one of his fondest memories was me reading to them before bedtime; particularly The Hobbit.
As it turns out my other two children felt the same and yet to me it was just another thing to do before I could sit down and watch TV. Shame on me!
I am so glad I read to them but realise now, when it’s too late, that I should have done it more and that it was a gift I was giving them (and myself) and not a chore.
For those of you with small children my advice is get a book on the go and revel in time that everybody will value both now and in the years to come.
Just a thought.
- You can’t make rain. Obvious I know but frequently ignored by the rainmakers themselves. They’re, fakes; frauds even. You can dance about waving your arms in the air and making a big show as much as you like but not a drop will fall. Sacrifice some innocent livestock – nada. Even hiring a light aircraft and flying around sprinkling silver iodide into the atmosphere is not guaranteed.
- Raining on my parade. When it does rain it is less than a pleasant experience: grey, cold, wet – uuuggghhh. All it conjures up for me is BBQ’s in the garage, playing scrabble in a caravan somewhere in Wales, Wales, and a lots on umbrellas on wedding photos. Nobody ever says “we are planning a picnic for the weekend, oh I do hope it rains”.
- You have no control. Even if your ludicrous rainmaking activities happen to coincide with a nasty ridge of low-pressure hitting your region and it rains you have no control over it at all. How much, where and for how long rests with Dyeus and not with you dear readers.
The word rainmaker really does lack any redeeming features and I urge you to stop using it forthwith. But what to use instead?
Let me introduce you to the word firestarter – now that’s a word I can deal with. Let me share: -
- Everybody loves fire. It makes us feel warm and cheerful, we can cook things on it (so long as it isn’t raining of course) and it’s great for sitting around and telling salty-sea-dog tales well into the night.
- You can make fire at will. All you need are decent conditions (hurricanes are out), the right tools and equipment (all easy to find and lots of options) and the right techniques (there are several and you can learn them). How similar to business development is that?
- You have choices. Having done the skilled bit and got a fire going you can either build it yourself, draft in a few others to keep it going or hand it over to somebody else to look after. Once again, how BD can you get?
So banish that horrible and totally inappropriate word rainmaker and replace it with the terribly apt and totally brilliant word firestarter. When you have done that why not slip out, get the right tools and equipment, learn the techniques and become one yourself.
Let me leave you with a clip of the great Ray Mears showing us all how it’s done.
The other week I was in Birmingham and found myself with a couple of hours between meetings. Normally I go to Starbucks, log on, tune in and work through. Not that day. Instead I went to the Birmingham Museum and Art gallery (I’m not kidding, we do have one with posh pictures and everything) and spent a very pleasant couple of hours looking at the museum’s impressive collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
Did the world stop? No. Am I any further back in my plans? Au contraire. Did I thoroughly enjoy myself, lift my spirits and create a very pleasant memory? Yes, a thousand times yes.
Sometimes life can be just one long guilt trip don’t you think? If it isn’t work it’s the kids, the husband/wife/partner, the parents, the house or any number of other draws on our limited reserve of time. Quite rightly we do our duty and slog on like the little heroes we are. Slog on – I think that’s a grim old term. It makes me think of coal mines and 19th century factories uuuggghhh. There must be more to life than “getting things done” all the time.
So what has that to do with a me mooching around an art gallery? Well I was indulging (that is exactly the right word) myself in some Oasis Time. A little welcome relief in a desert of duty.
Oasis Time is time for you. It has to be accompanied by a small voice at the back of your head saying “we don’t have the time/money for this”, “we need to get things done” or some such gibberish. It’s the same voice your mom used when you mooted the idea of hitch-hiking around South East Asia on your own. Well intentioned but to be soundly ignored.
Oasis Time is indulgent. It’s all about you and making you feel good. It’s something that justifies all the hard work, all the sacrifice and makes you feel alive and in most cases it’s free.
Playing golf in the week, going for a walk in the park at lunchtime, reading the paper instead of doing the ironing, spending half an hour browsing through Waterstone’s history section and so on. All Oasis Time. All for you.
I’m not saying you should shirk your duties or that you should let the side down – far from it. I find that after some Oasis Time (referred to at Flair Towers as Mikey Time) I am more creative, have more energy and get more done. That’s right folks, taking time out for yourself is actually good for the firm and for your loved ones.
So when can you land-grab some Oasis Time of your own and what would it be, I wonder? As the saying goes “very few people say on their death beds that they wish they had spent more time at the office” or as my friend Wendy Merricks puts it – if you want it, have it.
I couldn’t agree more.
Nothing to do with work but I always like to recommend anybody that does a good job and these people did a fantastic job at my 50th birthday party on Saturday so here goes.
Rob Chapman – table magician who kept the guests entertained as they arrived. He really was brilliant. I watched him close up and couldn’t see the sleight of hand that made the tricks into magic. Also at the end he did a card trick just for me that I swear must have been real magic and yes, I was sober at the time.
Arden Pig Company – did the BBQ and considering it was for 120 people it was all served on time and was absolutely delicious. It is the second gig they have done for us, the other being a pig roast, and both were perfect.
Shakers – ran the Tikki bar and were exceptionally good. The pre-event administration was exceptionally good with nothing being too much trouble and on the night the cocktailiers were very entertaining. An excellent team I thought.
Oceans 3 casinos – arrived after the steel band left and ran a really good show. We had black-jack and roulette but I think they offer other kit as well. Everybody was issued with chips and then the winners each received a prize. Great fun! www.oceans3casinos.com.
The Steel Band – it being a Caribbean party and all. They kept the whole thing going during the early part of the evening – all very Caribbean even if the weather was not. www.steelpansoloist.co.uk.
All round great event I thought and precisely what I wanted thanks to Mrs Ames and some very thirsty guests – it made being 50 almost OK! A bit sluggish yesterday morning though.