Updated: Apr 18
The question I get asked more than any other is “How can I put myself in the best possible position for…?”
Sales professional trying to close a deal, a leader trying to ensure the entire team is delivering results, a recruiter trying to put a candidate in a role, an athlete competing in a sporting event, interviewees looking for jobs or promotions, etc.; there is always a good, better and best possible position to be in.
In business as in life, putting yourself in the best possible position is the key to success.
Realize this: you have the ability to control it.
1. Set a clear goal and don't settle for mediocrity
You can’t be in the best position if you are unclear on what you are trying to accomplish. Create your goal, write it down and remind yourself of it every day. Every person who is successfully meeting their goals will tell you that they are very intentional about what they want to achieve. It often requires getting smaller goals that turn into the ultimate goal and it is usually met with several failures along the way.
One of my personal examples is, as a runner who wanted to run a marathon, putting myself in the best possible position depended first and foremost on my goal. Was my goal to run a marathon just to cross the finish line; achieving a specific overall time; qualifying for Boston – all different goals which would require different actions to be able to achieve it. Determining your goal is the first step – and settling for something less than you’re capable of never puts you in the best possible position. My first marathon goal was to cross the finish line, then my goal changed to personal best times. Now, my goal is to qualify for Boston. And btw, I’ve failed at it in the past and I am making the necessary adjustments
2. Commit and share
Once you’ve defined your goal, commit to it. Wrap your head around the fact that it’s not going to be easy and often it may not be enjoyable, but it will be rewarding in the end. Own it, 100%. Tell your friends, family and colleagues that you are committed to this goal and share your progress. Sharing your successes publicly may sound a bit narcissistic, but there’s a good reason to boast about your achievements. Studies have shown that publicly sharing your progress can actually help motivate you to accomplish your goals. Basic human nature says that we are social beings with a need for positive reinforcement. Getting a “great job” or “excellent” from our peers, family, etc. is highly motivational. Also, avoiding “looking bad” so to speak is also highly motivational. So, put it out there, share it widely and often and go for it. Here’s a great little inspirational book to help you commit and share by Simon Sinek, Together is Better.
3. Care: really care about others who are impacted or involved
People who consistently find themselves in the best possible position are the ones who truly care about everyone in the story. If you care as much about the impact your goals and actions have on others and are also grateful for the challenges along the way, you will find that everything hard becomes easier. We have a mantra at Butler Street that says: “if we solve our customers problems, we solve our own”. We know that caring about our customers and their outcomes more than anything else, will drive us to our goals. Read any biography of successful people; they all focus on helping others; books abound regarding this key component of success that so many people overlook. Some of my favorites are: The Go-Giver by Burg and Mann and Give and Take by Adam Grant.
4. Take Action!
There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, ‘Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,’ and an optimist who says, ‘Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine any way.’ Either way, nothing happens.”
— Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia
It’s certainly not enough to set a goal, tell others, and to care; you must take action. Back to the marathon example; let’s say I’ve decided that I want to run a personal best time, I tell my friends, family and colleagues and I build a plan to train in hours that won’t negatively impact my work or my relationships and my training food plan will help everyone in my family get healthier … but I never actually begin to put the plan in motion; I never lace up those shoes and hit the road. Getting started is hard. Often it is rooted in fear – fear of failure. Write down the worst things that could happen if you take action and fail. Then, write down what you would need to do to get back to exactly the same place you are in today. You’ll find that no matter how crazy bad you could fail, it’s simply not that difficult to get right back into the same spot you are today. Look at failure as a stepping stone not a roadblock. Learn from it, make the adjustments and move forward.
And now would be a really good time to read Mike Jacoutot’s book Become the Only Choice. The Four Cornerstones of Success will certainly help you take action and put yourself in the best possible position!
Your Must Do List:
Write down your goal: one thing you’d like to be in the best possible position for and set a clear goal that isn’t mediocre.
Find an accountability partner; someone that you can share your goal with and ask for their help – PS – they’ll tell you if your goal is mediocre. Then cast a wider net in sharing your goals with others. You’ll be shocked at the number of mentors and supporters you’ll gain.
Identify how achieving this goal will impact others in your life. If you can't make it a positive outcome for them, go back to step #1 and adjust your goal.
Take action. Ask yourself every day, “what have I done today – no matter how big or small – that will help me achieve my goal?
You’ll find yourself in the best possible position to achieve all of your personal and professional goals.
Extra Credit: Read! Get inspired by others who follow these 4 steps!
Butler Street solutions help put you in the best possible position. We have a system of reinforcing activities that helps companies and their people grow. We’d love to be your accountability partner and get you to your goals! Let's get started.