“I have had lots of troubles in my life, most of which never happened.”

—Mark Twain

If I had a dollar for every time I worried about something that never occurred, I wouldn’t have Bill Gates’ fortune, but I might have a better wine cellar. 

It shouldn’t be surprising that a seasoned coach has his own coach, and I do. His name is Don. The other day, I was spooled up about the potential negative consequences of a possible business relationship, and he said, “I’d like to offer you the chance to think about and focus on the successful outcomes rather than the obstacles.” It was kinda like a Yoda moment … right between the eyes. Ah jeez, Don, you called that one right!

I don’t mountain bike in Moab as much as I used to, but to avoid broken bones and road rash, you quickly learn that your bike goes where you look. Look over the edge, and you’ll experience flight. Focus on the rock at pedal height, and you’ll hit it. I once landed in the only cactus near a steep section of trail because I focused on it rather than the path. Thirty minutes of picking needles out of my butt, plus the laughter of my so-called friends, taught me a lesson!

Business is quite the same. There’s a lot we can’t control, and having contingency plans for potential risks is good. But if you focus on the problems, you’ll get more problems.

I learned a valuable technique from Marshall Goldsmith, perhaps the most widely known executive coach. He has a daily personal accountability practice that has worked well for me. I score myself 1 to 10 on nine behaviors every night: 

Did I do my best today to:

  1. Learn?
  2. Exercise?
  3. Eat well?
  4. Be kind to my family?
  5. Be grateful?
  6. Have fun?
  7. Create intellectual property?
  8. Be intentional about marketing?
  9. Focus on successful outcomes rather than obstacles?

The earlier-referenced conversation with my coach inspired the last one.

Every successful executive I’ve worked with has found a way (i.e., a coach, technique or both) to keep themselves focused. I’ve taught a few of them my daily technique, but there are other ways as well. 

In addition, most of the successful executives I’ve worked with focus heavily on successful outcomes versus looking over the edge. Fewer broken bones and less road rash that way! 

I encourage you to adopt these two practices! If you want to talk about them, call me.