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Paul Greiner

Busting a Performance-Killing Myth: “I’ll Do My Best”

“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.” -Yoda

In the world of performance, the world of action, the world of results, something either gets done or it doesn’t. When it all boils down, whether you “did your best” or not, no matter how hard you “tried”, even if you did everything you knew to do, you either did it or not.

The key here is the mindset- the approach you take in the first place, and the way you relate to your end results.

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Magic, Comfort and The Worst-Case Scenario

I do a lot of talking about “going for it”, about taking risks, doing new things, about letting go of the familiar and mediocre to create something new that you actually love to be engaged in. As you can imagine, this idea engenders a lot of resistance. We are attached to the familiar, to comfort and (a false sense of) certainty.

We say we want magic in life and in business, that we want an extraordinary experience and exceptional results- and at the same time, we spend our time and effort trying to be more comfortable, more certain. I say these things are directly at odds. Perhaps a little exercise will help loosen you up, help you take a leap and spend your time creating what you say you really want. Let’s just see what happens.

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Stand Out and Deliver

What is it about you and your business that stands out?

Most of us “know” that it is important to differentiate ourselves from the competition to create a competitive advantage- and yet in the activity of handling our day to day workload (and given the fact that we’re often “too close” to our own work to see it clearly), we often fail to really clarify, for ourselves and certainly our potential clients, what separates us from the pack. We fail to powerfully address the question, “Why work with/ buy from US (versus “them”)?”

Consider that there is a flow of resources, whether money, prospective clients or anything else. That is, picture what you want as being like a river, and what you want to build is a gate/ semi-dam structure that diverts some of that flow to you. Differentiation is that gate. What is it that would have potential clients flow naturally to you?

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Create a Game You Love to Play

It is well known and oft-cited that 90% of new businesses fail within their first year and, of those that make it through those first 12 months, 90% of them fail within the next two years. What is less acknowledged , seemingly accepted as “just the way it is”, and just as concerning for me is that many more businesses fail to fulfill on their original intention: to provide the owner with a great life and the opportunity to contribute to his family, community and the world.

We create businesses to serve our lives, and soon our lives are serving our businesses.

Well, here’s the news: it doesn’t actually have to be that way.

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Designing vs Doing

Imagine that you’re setting out to design and build your dream house. Are you going to put some time, thought and effort into it or are you going to just grab some boards, a hammer and nails, and throw something up in a few hours? That’s a no-brainer, right? I mean, can you imagine it: “There we go… oops, company’s coming over, I’d better throw together a living room… hmmm, we’re getting kind of hungry- time to put up a kitchen…”

Yet, that’s how many of us build our businesses… We leap excitedly into action, and then get caught up in a seemingly inescapable cycle of reaction, always left dealing with the next emergency, putting out the biggest fire or chasing after the next big thing. And for each situation, we respond with action, with “doing”. Doing something, doing more, doing better, doing it differently.

What if some other way is possible? The world of architecture shows us that it is.

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There’s Always SOMETHING (and so what?)

Have you noticed that, in business and in life, there’s always something to deal with? That’s just the nature of the game, so to speak, right? Call them what you will- problems, breakdowns, challenges, situations, opportunities, etc.- as long as you’re alive, and certainly if you’ve taken on working with others (and how can you not), there will always be things to deal with.

The question for today is, HOW do you deal with those things? And I don’t mean what do you do, because that (hopefully) will be different from situation to situation. Rather, how do you relate to what there is to deal with; what is your relationship to what’s happening and how do you let it affect you? I say that it’s who you are about what’s happening- or how you relate to it- not the situation itself, that has the real impact on both your effectiveness in dealing with it and your experience of life overall.

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It’s Not About YOU

Fundamentally, business is about service, about providing someone else with something of value. Whether we actively provide that something to those others (sales and/or delivery) or we work inside an organization serving some other function required for the effective delivery of that something, the whole point is to provide value.

In a culture preoccupied, if not obsessed, with attainment, achievement and status- with getting stuff- it seems difficult to keep the whole providing and service thing in our awareness. I mean, here in the U.S. anyway, our country was actually founded (at least partly) on the principle of the “pursuit of happiness”. Did you ever notice that if you have to pursue something, it inherently means that you don’t have it- or even have direct access to it? So here we are, in life and in business, pursuing and chasing happiness- and blaming others and external circumstances when we don’t “get it”. Hell, even when we get the “stuff” we want (the car, the promotion, the sale, etc.), notice how it (experience-wise) provides nothing more than a very temporary sense of gratification? Then it’s on to the next “thing”, and on and on we go…

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What You’re Tolerating is Killing Your Business (and YOU)

Question: Are you kicking ass at what you’re doing and loving every minute of it?

A couple months ago, when I asked myself that question, the answer was a clear- and resounding- “no”.

That is no longer the case.

If you are interested in that, in exceptional performance coupled with extraordinary and deep satisfaction, this may be of interest to you. If you’re not, or think that it’s a pipe dream, or not possible for you, you may just want to skip this and get back to whatever it was that you were doing.


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Doing What You Have To Do

Most of us have had the experience of working in a job, position or situation that we don’t like- maybe even hate- and stay in because we just have to. Whether for our own financial needs, supporting a family, or perceived external obligation or pressure, we keep at it simply because we must. In many of these cases, though not all, the misery seems at least somewhat tempered by some goal, some possible future outcome that we are looking or waiting or hoping or striving for: getting our entrepreneurial endeavor underway and successful, getting some promotion or raise, going back to school, marrying rich, retiring, etc. It seems that in these current times of seemingly constant economic (and cultural) turmoil, even more of us are experiencing this than ever before.

Recently I spoke with a young professional who is in just this type of situation. He’s suffering through his current work while looking to create a new business and direction, and besides just not being personally satisfied, his performance is (predictably) suffering as well.  The question presenting itself seems to be, how do I deal effectively with my current circumstances while building toward the future I’m committed to?

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