To do your best work you need to focus. You need to master your craft. To be the best in your market, the best in your region, the best in the world requires a mental discipline few possess. I’ve always been competitive. I want to win. Even in hobbies, I’ve always enjoyed the preparation for competition on the track. Although I reached international status at 800m as a young man before retiring at 27, I was a better athlete when I returned to the track at 47. I was clearly slower but relatively speaking, my achievement in my fifties of world ranked #2 indoors at 400m was down to a better mental attitude. At 54 I’m preparing in my spare time to win the national masters 400m title in Boston (I’ll be 55 at the meet, the joys of a new age group). Six days a week, I run at 6 am or 8pm, train in a gym, sometimes outdoors, mainly indoors, often joined by fellow world class masters athletes. The mental discipline required to put yourself on the line at 54 may seem weird to some people (Tip: a very understanding wife really helps). It certainly keeps me physically and metally strong. And the mental side at this age includes recovering from injuries. In 2013 I suffered a broken left angle, a badly strained right achilles, both hamstrings were badly strained and finally I had a 6 week rest with a strained calf muscle!

Now I’m not saying this is the only way to mentally prepare for winning in business! But it is surprising how your mental state of mind, your grit and your competitive spirit will be tested every day in business. Winning in business isn’t about a magic moment on a Friday afternoon. It’s much more about a relentless desire to succeed on all the little things. Of course it always helps to have a big audacious goal. To inspire a refocus on your efforts to master your craft, to be the best at whatever you want to be the best at, I’m asking you to consider a few business actvities. I’m suggesting some standards to test your mental desire to win.

  1. Strategic Plans – Put your heart and soul into assessing what your company can be. Be realistic, but don’t sell yourself short. Search for the position in the market you can monopolize. Aspire to be remarkable.
  2. Products and Services – It’s not about being sophisticated or complicated. It’s not about comprehensiveness. It’s about delivering desirable outcomes for customers. It’s about delivering that result time and time again. Build marketing into your product. Make it worthy of being remarked.
  3. Marketing – Stop building mediocre content. Produce content that moves people. Share real value. Show some passion for something. Stand for something. Tell your story in your way. No one else can.
  4. Selling – To sell effectively needs courage, deep preparation and relentless curiosity (By the way product knowledge is a given: really comprehensive knowledge of your products). Today, selling is about diagnosis. It’s about finding the right problem to solve. It requires insight, a real understanding of the customer’s situation. You need to understand that you can’t help everyone. You’re trying to find the specific tribe you can help!
  5. Talent – It’s not about money. It’s about attracting the right people to your story. People who share your desire to reach your audacious goal. It’s not only about attracting brilliant technical people. Yes, even really important support people, accountants, administrators want to join a winner. People join organizations and stay for three main reasons. The desire to master their craft, the joy of being left to do their own thing, within reason and the knowledge that their role has a purpose within the big picture. (Drive, Daniel Pink)
And even in the mundane stuff that exists in businesses, you can see successful companies playing the mental game. Preparing for meetings, knowing what questions the meeting is supposed to be answering, solid agenda items and of course clear steps, driving success forward. Entrepreneurship is a mental game. Never forget it. Bring your best game to the party. Winning is fun!
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