As a business owner, you are bombarded with aggressive, strong and ‘manly’ messages. You have heard all of them. “You gotta have a Plan.” “Push to your Goal.” “Stay focussed on your Vision.” Articulate your Why.” Honestly, it’s enough to make your head spin, isn’t it?
I’d like to tell you why most of this is poppycock. Even better, let’s discuss a bit of the magic sauce you really want in order to tie all of this together in a less testosterone-fueled combination.
A bit of history and perspective
Remember I told you the first thing I studied was accounting and finance? When I became certified as a professional accountant, I had ‘instant’ credibility to bolster all my arguments about having a brilliant plan. What I never talked about was the hours of tediousness needed to pull one together. Nor did I mention a plan is nothing more than a bunch of estimates gathered from many different spots. Yet, when that plan was finally finished and blessed, everyone was expected to fall in line and deliver on all those numbers.
I went on to get my marketing credentials and a new word entered my lexicon. GOAL! As in every company needs a bunch of goals. Goals were the endpoint, the place we wanted to reach. And those goals taken together form the basis of the plan. Frankly, I was delighted because this spin meant I could make the tedious numbers feel easy and meaningful.
Then, when I started leading teams and actually delivering – always more than or better to plan — RESULTS, I learned a new term. Vision. A Vision is everything about your goals for the future and HOW you are going to get there. Vision is about painting the (future) picture and inspiring others to join you on the quest. I much preferred THAT concept and found it super easy to link in the goals and plan pieces.
But then one day
Someone smart decided we needed to know our Why. Why do we do what we do? Why are we in business? For most of us, the answer is pretty darn simple. Earn some money to pay the bills and keep our family safe and moving forward. But that was obviously far too pedestrian! So the someone smart came up with making a bigger impact, leaving a legacy and making the world a better place. All of which is fabulous. (And I surmise most of those people have little need for earning some money to pay the bills and keep the family safe and moving forward.)
When we all look at our world today, all of these manly terms, these testosterone-fueled concepts have had very mixed results. Whether you have a plan, a goal, a vision or a why, none of these things guarantee you the success you want. How many people do we all know who remain the best-kept secret in their industry? With and without a plan, a goal, a vision or a why. How many people do we all know who seem to do the weirdest things, totally contrary to everyone else, and seem to have an excessive amount of success?
The one thing that differentiates the best from the rest is FIRE—specifically, the intensity of the fire deep in their belly. For this purpose, think of Fire as the propulsion or expulsion of heat, energy, determination, force or grit. Neither manly nor womanly.
Fire is a powerful strength from within
Money doesn’t increase Fire. Neither does rank and privilege. And the size of teams, the complexity of plans, and the grand goals — well those NEVER increase Fire.
However, the Fire we carry deep within our core is the exact thing that does work powerfully, makes us successful, and definitely brings us the greatest joy.
Today, far too many have a tiny ember. That ember might be what’s left of many years of entitlement and privilege. Or perhaps it was once a fire that was beaten to a pulp from trying too much for too long. Unfortunately, we all get lulled into a sense of comfort and the intensity or size of the fire that became an ember matters less and less.
However, those who have a deep in the belly (or core), powerful, always burning Fire, are the ones who are ultimately successful. It doesn’t matter if you are an employee, a business leader or a business owner. That burning flame in your gut will help you move forward, help you overcome obstacles, help you figure out a better way. ALWAYS. That burning flame becomes your Plan, your Goals, your Vision, and your Why. Easily understood, and always at the ready.
The question I invite you to ponder is how intense is your own Fire? If you don’t like the answer, reach out. I have answers for building and re-building it to the intensity you’d prefer.