Nelson Mandela was a prisoner at Robben Island for 18 years. In 1982, he was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison. Despite the terrible conditions that he lived in at Robben Island, change was not easy. He writes, “I have always found change difficult, and leaving Robben Island, however grim it had been at times, was no exception.” Change is difficult for all of us at times. We get comfortable with where we are in life. We get used to the idea of our current situation. But complacency robs us of our fullest potential. It tells us that we are fine. Complacency says, “You could make more money and be more successful, but it is probably not worth the stress.” And so, we maintain our current situation. Looking back on the past year, where have you grown complacent? What would have been different had you pushed ahead for change?
Are you waiting for the perfect time to make your move? Perhaps you are considering starting a new business. Maybe you want to expand your current business into a new market or launch a new product. Or maybe you desire to find a better job. Whatever it is, the timing will never be perfect. Stop waiting. Don’t procrastinate another day. Take some time and decide whether you should make a change or not. If the answer is yes, then make your plans and set a definite timeline for completion. No, you should not quit your job today. But start doing the things you need to do so you can quit your job tomorrow, next week, or next month. Still having trouble committing? Be careful asking others their opinions. Instead, seek out a mentor or coach to help you work through the issue to make the best decision for you.
Many businesses struggle to build cash reserves. But maintaining a healthy cash balance is vital to the health of your business. There are many advantages to having extra cash. First, you can avoid a short-term cash crunch. With enough cash reserves, you do not have to fret over making the next payroll. Second, having extra cash will allow your company to seize opportunities that it might otherwise have to pass on. Opportunities like buying out a competitor or expanding into a new market. How do you build up your cash reserves? Just like you build your personal savings. Set aside a little every month. Make a habit of reviewing your net profits and cash balance monthly and setting aside a percentage into a separate account. Then, leave it alone. Don’t touch this cash until absolutely necessary. And keep saving until you have six monthly operating capital in cash.
I often tell my clients success begets success. It’s like Jim Collins’ metaphor of the flywheel. It takes a lot of effort to get the flywheel moving. But once it starts, it keeps moving faster and easier. The problem successful people run into is believing that they can be successful in multiple industries. An entrepreneur starts a business and becomes very successful. So, they decide to start a new business in a completely different industry. And they do this while continuing to run their first business. Because in their heart of hearts, they know that their success is due solely to their business skills. Even if that is the case, the skills that brought on their success may not transfer to a new industry. Instead, stay focused on what brought on your success. Many other opportunities will come your way. Do not assume you will always hit a home run.
Everyone experiences failure in life. But not everyone accepts a failure as the end of the road. Sam Walton was the founder of a highly successful retail chain. But he experienced failures, too. He just chose not to quit whenever he failed. Early in Sam Walton’s career, he franchised the Ben Franklin store in Newport, Arkansas. It was a terrible store. But he set a goal to become the most profitable Ben Franklin in Arkansas within five years. And through his hard work, he accomplished his goal. Unfortunately, Sam Walton had only signed a 5-year lease for the property. Now that the store was profitable, the landlord wanted the store and would not renew the lease. So, in the midst of accomplishing his goal, Sam Walton had to walk away from the Newport store. And that could have been the end of the Sam Walton story. But it wasn’t.
I think most people would like to believe that the ultra-successful received some good fortune at an early age that the rest of us will never have access to. This belief creates a mindset that success will never happen to them. From this mindset, one expects to fail rather than to succeed. And the excuse for not succeeding is always the same. You simply did not have the opportunities given to those more fortunate. In reality, I believe the opposite to be true. We all have opportunities to grow and become successful, but not everyone recognizes them. Because these opportunities look like obstacles blocking our path. Some see the obstacles and know that they can be overcome with a little diligence and hard work. This creates the daily opportunities that those with a failure mindset will never see.
When you look ahead, do you see problems or opportunities? How you judge the obstacles that will invariably lie in your road to success will greatly affect your ability to accomplish your goals and dreams. See obstacles for what they truly are: opportunities to improve yourself and to guide you along your path. Do not be discouraged. Remember that everyone faces obstacles. Recognize that not everybody keeps moving forward in the face of adversity. Resolve to be mentally strong and to keep working toward your goals. Keep moving forward. Only through constant vigilance will you ever achieve the extraordinary.