This is what we in my organization call The Eight Commandments, because you need to live by these if you want to work with us – if you want to succeed in something.
1. HAVE A GREAT ATTITUDE
It is astounding what impact having an overtly positive attitude and enthusiastic approach can have. Despite the huge amount of literature and evidence of the effect of having a Positive Mental Attitude (like living a longer and happier life to say the least!), it never ceases to amaze me how many people are overtly pessimistic.
“Opportunity is found only by those who are looking for it”
By having a great attitude you become acutely aware and constantly search for opportunities that come your way, which make you much more likely to act with purpose and derive a positive response.
Great attitudes radiate from the inside out and can be incredibly infectious. We all know people who walk into a room and instantly have a presence and receive a warm welcome before they’ve even uttered a word. So why would we not want to make the concious choice to be that person?
2. MAINTAIN THAT ATTITUDE
After your positive attitude has finally won the battle over pessimism, it is still a little early to celebrate. How you maintain your attitude in the face of adversity is a crucial part of having a great attitude, and until then, the war is far from over.
One of the best techniques that I have learnt to accomplish this, is the ability to forget. Rather than dwelling and stagnating on the negatives, you can make the concious choice to forget about it and move on, take a fresh perspective and start to look on the brighter side of life.
Agreeably this may be an oversimplification, however often people’s attitudes are negatively effected by factors which are outside of their control. Personally, if you have no influence in the situation, then why worry. If the situation is independent of your actions, then it is irrelevant, so choose your response and ignore it and maintain a positive attitude.
3. BE ON TIME
Being on time may seem like a small point, but in reality, it carries much more weight than you may think.
Here is a simple test: Think of someone you know who is always punctual.
From the connotations of punctuality, you automatically think of them as being dependable, more organised and much more reliable. Whether as a manager, an employee or as a friend – these are all attributes we would all like to be associated with.
Being on time also ensures you are always on the front foot. It enables you to be more productive and prevents keeping your counter party waiting, which is not only impolite but may lead to slight resentment on their part. Yet if the other party arrives late, from a psychological point of view, as they made you wait, they are more likely to be sympathetic and patient with you in return. So, in either case, being on time is clearly beneficial.
[Although the example is given for a physical meeting, in the digital age, this same principle applies to email and phone communication - so always remember to respond promptly to emails and messages.]
4. BE PREPARED
As the old proverb goes - “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”.
Although we may have the ability to ‘wing’ our way through many situations, whether it be a business presentation, interview, (or if you are a student) even just a seminar, if given the option, preparing in advance is always advisable. Early preparation not only gives you peace of mind and clarity of thought, but it enables you to maximise the benefit from any opportunity or interaction.
In the example of a business meeting, by doing your research and having a solid understanding of your client’s business and personal situation, you can carefully adapt and personalise your pitch to make a much bigger impact and help maneuver yourself into the pathway of greater opportunities.
Equipping yourself with the knowledge beforehand is like coming to a poker table with pocket aces – although it does not guarantee that you will win, you are much better informed on how to react. Failing to prepare on the other hand, is like betting blind – whether you win or lose it is entirely out of your control.
Do you really want to leave your future aspirations to chance?
5. 100% EFFORT (WHATEVER IT TAKES)
Always put in 100% into everything you do.
We all know when we do something without giving it our all – it even feels tiresome as you do it. Refraining from giving it your all will count against you everywhere in life, but especially in sales. A half hearted smile will lose you the pitch before you have even opened your mouth, yet a beaming face and good eye contact can win you a long term relationship as well as the transaction you were after.
Whether it’s academia or work or even your personal life, you can only reap what you sow - So if you do not put in 100% effort, do not expect to get anything more out.
6. WORK YOUR TERRITORY CORRECTLY
In Direct Marketing, your territory is the area that you will be pitching during the day, where understanding the demographics of your clients enables you to tailor your pitch and approach, which is crucial for a successful sale.
However this same concept is universally applicable. By understanding the dynamics of your place of work, education, or social scenario, you can better ‘tweak’ your actions, behaviours and approaches to be most appropriate for the given situation.
Although we all may know we need to adapt our persona to different environments, we need to consider how often we strategically make this change to maximise the opportunity, by taking the best action.
An additional benefit of understanding and working your territory correctly, is the prevention of social ‘faux pas’ and reputational damage. We have all witnessed the uncontrollable drunk at the all important first work social, so let’s make sure we do not make the same mistake.
7. KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
Despite being a startlingly simple and obvious statement – it is one of the most crucial, yet most commonly neglected steps.
Having a clear understanding of your goals and expectations in any given situation enable you to act with purpose, with an appreciation for what you need to achieve to become fully satisfied for any given task.
Without clarity of what you value and want to achieve, you may find your path diverts away from what is truly important to you. The ‘side-effects’ of not doing this, is an incongruency is what you hope to achieve in the long term, and the path you are setting yourself on in the short term.
This harmonic imbalance of short term actions with long term goals is prevalent in careers and is why I personally believe it is vital to make the right choices when you start your career.
Knowing why you are there and understanding how it plays its part in your greater goal is also another mechanism to help protect your attitude. It enables you to justify and rationalise any obstacles you need to overcome and helps you to maintain motivation to continue onwards towards your goal.
“If your goal is bigger than any obstacles you come up against – you can never lose sight of your objective.”
8. TAKE CONTROL
Taking control is the final step and focusses on concious decisions and actions so you are an actor in determining your own success. Some may consider ‘seeing what happens’ puts you on a level footing with everyone else, but in reality, failing to take a proactive stance means you are leaving your fate to chance.
”Act or be acted upon”
Taking a passive approach to your life and career is relative to being a buoy in the ocean. You are constantly being buffeted around by external factors such as the wind and the tide, with an uncertainty and lack of control over where you will end up.
Taking control requires you to have a goal or destiny in mind (Step 7), but allows you to take positive actions to drive your own success and create the waves of change needed to reach your final destination.