For anyone who wishes to enhance their mindset in order to improve themselves and their business, below I have included my top 5 tips to keep you in the right frame of mind – focused and engaged. Ready to achieve!

You may be surprised to know that personal and professional development hasn’t always been ‘my thing!’ In fact, until a few years ago I didn’t know very much about it at all! This may explain why I didn’t feel fulfilled, either personally or professionally and why I wasn’t reaching my full potential. I, like so many others, felt I was putting in all of the effort and hard work without reaping any of the rewards! The daily grind and seventeen plus hour days became the norm, as did a recurring and nagging question, “Why am I doing this?” Worryingly, I had no answer! I was unhappy with my job and ultimately unhappy with myself and the way things were going.

The big shift came for me when I understood the problem. The problem being, I hadn’t appreciated that in order to be successful I needed to change my mindset. If I wanted to be truly content I had to stop drifting along on a day to day, week to week basis. I needed to think deeper and develop a clearer, longer term plan. I needed to take responsibility for my life!

So, with this said, here’s my top 5 tips for how to improve your mindset and focus, ensuring you get the most out of what it is you’re are doing and more importantly, the very best out of you, your time and your life.

  1. Take the time to stop and think

One of the first things I discovered was that I needed to take a time-out. Sometimes life can get in the way and we can’t see the forest through the trees. It was essential that I stopped for a moment and really thought about what it was I wanted to do and where I wanted my life and my business career to go.

If you don’t have a clear vision for you and your company going forward and you’re not able to concisely explain to someone what you do, why you do it and where you and your business will be in ‘x’ amount of time, then it is important that you work on this and put in place a structured plan for achieving your desired outcome.

Without this it will make it increasingly difficult to know ‘how’ you are going to do it and this can lead to a great deal of wasted time and energy on activities that don’t take you closer to your end goal. Stephen R Covey makes this clear with his quote “The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” If you take this approach you’ll utilise your time effectively – Just like when driving to a new destination, or teeing off in golf, it’s always a lot easier and more enjoyable when you know where you’re aiming.

For some, this time may seem like a luxury you cannot afford. However, by doing this and really zeroing in on your ‘why’, you will find a renewed passion and purpose. Think about how you can begin to make your calendar work for you, not the other way around. This will not only improve your job satisfaction as you will feel like you have more time, it will also increase your focused productivity and therefore your peak capacity. Remember, don’t just be busy….be productive.

  1. Awareness – Know your strengths and weaknesses

I found this one to be really useful.

By understanding what my strengths, weaknesses and core skills were, as well as any areas of opportunities I had available to me, I was able to see where and how I could effectively use my strengths in order to provide me with the biggest return for my time and investment.

It will also allow you to identify your own Unique Selling Point – once you know what you are effective at you can develop a plan for utilising these skills and become a Key Person of Influence within your field of business and market yourself as such. This is vitally important. I was fortunate to spend a few days in Cleveland earlier this year with the world’s top direct response marketer Dan Kennedy. One of the key take aways for me was that positioning yourself is key to success, Dan calls it the ‘Power to Prescribe’. Positioning is about controlled perception and how influential you are within your market.

So, what are your U.S.Ps and how are you going to become a K.P.I?

Again, by doing this you are able to highlight areas of strength and weakness and focus in on how you can better offer your business/service to your consumers. This should instill an increased confidence and a greater feeling of control over what you do and have to offer. Whilst tasks that do not t your skillset can then be delegated out to the appropriate person with the required skillset in order to achieve peak productivity and performance for you and all involved in your business – work in your areas of strength!

  1. Be Intentional & Hold Yourself Accountable – Remember That You Are In Control!

Time is our most valuable commodity and we need to make sure we’re getting the most out of it and this is where time blocking comes in. Look to block out time within your week to work solely on tasks that will bring you the greatest return in progressing you towards your objectives. Sunday evenings can be a good time to look through your calendar for the week. Doing this not only makes you become more aware of the things that are leading you towards your objective and where you need to spend your time. But, perhaps more tellingly, the things that are pulling you away and where you need to avoid or delegate.

The 80:20 Principle or Pareto Principle is extremely important (something I will write about in a later issue).

  1. Analyse and Evaluate

They say that life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it – a ratio that also applies to how we learn from life’s events.

Taking the time to evaluate can ensure that going forward we adapt and make the necessary changes in order to improve. Also, remember, there is no such thing as a wasted or negative experience as long as we take the time gain a valuable insight from it. By encouraging ourselves and also your team to embrace this mindset it creates an environment of creativity, productivity, accountability and greater participation. Make sure you’re not missing the important 90%.

Yes, life can be hectic, but the best analysis comes right after the event, not two weeks later!

  1. Getting a good Inner Circle around you – It’s better than doing it alone!

This will be the most valuable thing you can do! Find a great inner circle of like-minded individuals who have the same drive, determination and will to succeed as you do. Being a business owner can be a lonely place and we all want to bounce ideas off of others but we need to make sure we bounce our ideas off the right people. Without an inner circle we run the risk of sharing our thoughts and ideas with those who simply don’t understand where it is we are coming from and what we are trying to achieve and this can be detrimental to your progress.

If you choose your inner circle carefully it can also offer you a wider array of ideas, a wealth of knowledge and experience, a vastly different vantage point all of which will enable you to better plan the growth of yourself and your business.

An inner circle should also include: new connections, ongoing advice and feedback, avoidance of potential potholes (utilising others’ experience and knowledge) and plans are analysed, and evaluated. Most importantly, when things seem tough it will provide you with a strong foundation to keep you focused, on track and motivated.

If implemented effectively, we are able to regain control of ourselves and our time. It refocuses our purpose and prevents thoughts of negativity and self-doubt from creeping in, both of which are drains to our energy and success. Most importantly, through improving ourselves we are substantially more effective and productive within our business. We are also a lot happier and engaged creating a positive environment for us and our team, all of which assists you in what we are trying to achieve.

Remember, it’s only work if you’d rather be doing something else!