“Work hard on your job, you’ll earn a living. Work hard on yourself, you’ll earn a fortune.”
These are the thoughts of Jim Rohn, personal development guru who died this week after 46 years of speaking to audiences about business and life. Often called America’s foremost business philosopher, he grew up on an Idaho farm, met his coach at age 25 and became a millionaire by the time he was 31. In his lifetime he gave 6,000 presentations, authored 25 books & tapes, and influenced an estimated 6 million people. His claim to fame is that he made things simple and profound. You can view an interview with Jim Rohn at the end of this article
Do we really attract success just by who we are? Can self development generate our success? As entrepreneurs we get caught up in all our daily activities, things we do, clients and opportunities we pursue. We work hard often sacrificing sleep, exercise, family life, close friendships, and growing our brains. We’re so targeted on externally-focused doing, doing, doing that we’re on a gerbil wheel. Perhaps we’re focused on the wrong things. If each of us focused on being smarter, being more empathetic, having a strong foundation in values, being nourished by family and friends, then perhaps we would know more about strategy and working smarter, relating emotionally to clients which engenders true client loyalty, be less prone to making risky valueless decisions, and derive more motivation and support from those around us. Consider these factors:
Passion. You will be great and your work will seem effortless if you love what you do. Are you doing something that you would do anyway even if you weren’t being paid for it? Are you doing what you’re doing because you can’t keep from doing it, because it comes so naturally?
Authenticity. Do you walk your talk? Clients and employees always know when you’re trying to be something you’re not. Respect, trust, true power and influence have to be earned rather than demanded.
Are you a star? People always want to ‘dance with a star’ or ‘hook their wagon to your star’ or have your ‘star quality rub off’ on them. Are you an expert in your field, someone whose knowledge is unparalleled and who shares knowledge freely?
Are you an enhancer? Do you make people feel special when you’re with them? There are enhancers, diminishers and neutralizers. Only enhancers will make other people feel so good that they will be naturally attracted and bring opportunities as well.
Brain development. There is more and more proof that we build new neural pathways by focusing our brains on what we want to achieve, picturing our success, exercising the prefrontal cortex of higher level thinking to override the earlier reptilian and mammalian brains that focus on survival, reduced risk taking, and fear.
Expectations. People who always expect the best, who are always looking for the positive, find it. It’s because their mindset shapes what they see.
The work of Barbara Fredrickson over the last 20 years is very interesting. She is a positive psychologist conducting research on students who developed positive thoughts through meditation. Her research has shown that when subjects control their positive thoughts and reported a 3 to 1 ratio of positive to negative thoughts, their lives flourished. They attracted people, opportunities, and each thing built upon another leading to expanded success. Control groups who did not achieve the 3 to 1 ratio had significantly lesser results. (Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson, 2009)
In summary, if you are not developing yourself, you are doing things the hard way, fighting an uphill battle. Read some success-oriented books, listen to some tapes, work with a coach. Put in place and prioritize a professional development program. Build professional development for yourself and your employees into your 2010 strategic business plan. In business, first you sell yourself, then your company and then your product/service. If you can’t sell yourself first, then the rest never happens. Why would you deny yourself success by not attracting it?
If you’d like to see Jim Rohn in action, watch this interview with Vic Johnson. http://bit.ly/jim-rohn-video