S M A L L - B U S I N E S S - P R O B L E M - N U M B E R - 7

Motivating yourself and your staff when times are difficult

The successful businessman's personality ideally has four components, (a) to plan ahead into the future, to (b) work hard, and for (c) long hours, and (d) to deal with people.

If you can make sound decisions, and plan ahead well, you are a long way towards business success. In business you can and should seek advice from experts. But after you have consulted all the experts, collected all the facts, the final decisions remain yours.

We have touched upon the elements of decision-making and planning in various places throughout this course. It is worth your while to reread these parts from time to time, and to practice what they suggest.

But with decision-making and planning, which is so central to business performance, we wish to look at them from your personal point of view as well. After all, it is, or will become, your business. Your personality, your personal modes of thinking, determines how your business will perform. And especially when times are tough and your moods are "dark", can you keep going and survive the difficult times?

Personal decision making and planning

  • Planning towards your goals

Say you walked down the street today. A friend saw you, and called out, "Where are you going?" You may reply that you were going home, or to your office, or to a club. But you will not reply. "I want to go home, and to my office, and to the club. So I'm strolling around to see where I come out."

This would be a ridiculous reply. It is ridiculous because you always decide where you want to go. Then you take the shortest or the most pleasant route there.

Yet many people stroll aimlessly along life's highway. They vaguely know where they want to arrive at in sound health. But they don't know the order of importance of these different destinations. Nor do they know the routes, so that they don't know how to get there. Nor have they studied themselves, to see whether they are equipped for the journey. These aimless wanderers never come home. Many are victims of being controlled by others and the will or whims or their associates or partners. A recommended reading is the book by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, called Pulling Your Own Strings

  • A better way

There is a better way to reach your goals. Mr. Henry J. Kaiser put it well.

Kaiser started life as a poor boy with little education. But he had a bright positive self-image, and he worked himself up to become one of America's richest men. He controlled dozens of companies. On his death, he left an estate worth several hundred million dollars. This is how Mr. Kaiser explained his success recipe.

    • First, know yourself, and decide what you want to make out of your life. Then write down your goals, and a plan to reach them.

    • Second, use the latent powers and hidden energies of your soul and subconscious mind.

    • Finally, WORK. Put your action plan into determined action.

These are the words of a man who single-handedly made himself into one of the world's super rich. Modern psychology shows the wisdom of his words. If you know what you want, and you can summon the energy to plan and act on your goals, all of them are within your reach. Let us study Mr. Kaiser's formula for success.

  • Know your wonderful self

Almost 2,500 years ago there lived, in Athens, a man named Socrates. He was very ugly, and walked barefoot around the city, instructing the people in moral wisdom. He was, in fact, one of the greatest moral teachers the world has ever seen. He told the people of Athens that the first step, the biggest step, to wisdom is in the words: KNOW YOURSELF.

This remains as true today as it was 2,500 years ago. Man must forever seek to know himself. There is no final answer. It is a process that fills a lifetime. Here are three things that you should try to know all about yourself.

    • Know your strengths. Find out what your own positive qualities are. Everyone has good qualities, personal plus points. Think about yourself and learn what your strengths are, then use them

      Do not fool yourself by thinking that you have none or very few. Sometimes they are hidden, buried deep down below a layer of negative images. Dig them out. Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a scientist, who has written books about how a good self-image helps a person says, "I have, during my many years as a plastic surgeon and human being met so many people who buried their finest qualities." He has met, says Dr. Maltz, warmhearted human men who felt forced to prove that they were masculine by never showing their feelings. There were women so ashamed of single scar on their faces that they never dared to show their basic kindliness. There were people so unhappy with their jobs that they forgot to use their creative talents to sing, or draw, or write.All this is not necessary. Find out what your plus points are, and build on them. To obtain this book by Dr.Maltz called Psycho-Cybernetics visit this link Psycho-Cybernetics.

    • Know your weaknesses. We all have our weak spots, physical and mental. Find out what yours are, and see if you cannot do anything about them. If you can, do something. But if you can't, accept them, and learn to live with them. Wishing them away, or feeling sorry for yourself will get you nowhere.

      Mr. Richard Nixon, former president of the United States of America, learnt to do this at university. He tried to play football, but played so badly that he was never selected for the team. He accepted this, and was content just to cheer his team from the pavilion. About this someone wrote: "Nixon's acceptance of his limitations won the admiration of his football coach and lifted the morale of the team."

      No one is perfect at everything. Prof Albert Einstein did poorly at school and was bad at sport. He accepted his weakness, and spent time on his strong point. This was mathematics. He became the greatest mathematician the world has ever seen.

      Napoleon Bonaparte was not worried about his height, although he was many inches shorter than most women of his time. A famous president of the United States, Mr. Franklin D Roosevelt, had polio and could not walk unaided.

      Another president, Mr. Abraham Lincoln, was considered extremely ugly and children often cried when they saw him. It did not worry Mr. Lincoln he even joked about it. An opponent once called him " a two-face". "That is not true," replied Mr. Lincoln. "If I had two faces, do thou think I would wear this one?"

      So, take your cue from these great men. Accept those weaknesses that you cannot change. But, remember, only those that you cannot change.
    • Know your own purposes. The word success is used so frequently that one may think it has one meaning only, like the words, rock, or water. But this is not true. Success means a different thing to every person. For some, like the bully and tyrant, success lies in getting power over people. To others, success equals money and the things money can buy. Some people, like poets and painters, feel successful when they are creating something artistic. Others, such as scientists and thinkers, find success when they uncover the laws of nature.

      Your idea of success is almost as unique to you as your fingerprints are. Ask yourself what will make you feel most alive, most happy, and you will know what success means to you. Then act on this. Forget what others say or think, their ideas of what is good for you are likely to be wrong. Select your own stars, and follow them with vigor.

Planned Action Towards Success

We have now looked at ways of putting the first sentence of Mr. Henry J. Kaiser's success recipe to use. Remember, the sentence was: "Know yourself, and decide what you want to make out of your life."

Let us now look at his second sentence: "Then write down your goals, and a plan to reach them." And, while we are at it, we will also look at his last sentence: "Finally, work and put your action plan into determined action."

Mr. Kaiser's recipe is the result of his own experience. It worked for him. Scientists have found that it will also work for you.

In the paragraphs that follow, we will look at the most modern ways of applying the Kaiser formula. We will do it under three headings. These are desire, confidence, and knowledge.

  • Desire

The very first thing in the series of forces that impels animals and human beings to action is to feel a need for something and desire it.

The horse will not walk to the drinking trough before he feels a need for water. You will not study for an examination before you desire further qualifications. Desire is the first step to action.

Desire comes from deep down inside of you. One of the world's most famous psychologists, Prof. Abraham Maslow, studied the origins of needs. Prof. Maslow says that each cell in a human body gives out signals about its needs. The signals reach the servomechanism in the subconscious, which sends them to the conscious mind in the form of desires.

We do not have to think up our desires. They reach us as a matter of course from the little computer in our subconscious. When your body needs salt, you feel a desire for salt in your food. You do not have to calculate how much salt you need. It is done for you in your subconscious.

Scientists have also discovered that desires impel people to action if certain conditions are met. They have coded these into a step-by-step program. To explain the program, let us imagine that you desire more money. We will now see how you should handle this desire to motivate you towards action.

  • Clearly define your goal. Tell yourself exactly how much money it is you desire. Be as clear as possible about it. Do not tell yourself that you want lots of money but rather set a definite goal; $100,000 in cash assets, or $30,000 per year.

  • Clearly define what you will give you in return. For example, you may decide that your contribution may be your ability to sell things to people, your technical knowledge of bookkeeping, your ability to speak fluently, write well, think up new ideas, save costs by planning. Or simply your ability to work hard. You do not need a special talent.

  • Set yourself a date. Decide that you want to possess the $100,000 or earn the $30,000 per year, in 6 months time, or 2 years from today.. Any date will do but make it definite.

  • Draw up an action plan. This is the most important step. Draw up a definite plan of action to reach your goal. Make the plan as concrete as possible, for example, set goals month by month for each month up to the final date. And start immediately after your plan is complete. Your plan need not be as detailed as a builder's blueprint. In human affairs, no forward planning can ever be final, or complete. We must revise and change as we go along. But be clear about your initial steps, and fill in more details when you can.

  • Put the above steps in writing. Write down on a piece of paper how much money you want, when, what you will offer in return, and exactly how you plan to do it. Put this paper in a private file. Add notes to it as new thoughts occur. Anticipate problems, and outline ways of solving them. See to it that your written plan grows as your thoughts become more.

  • Re-read this daily. Read this written memo twice every day, once on rising every morning, and once before going to bed every night. Read it carefully, and jot down additional points.

You must follow the steps given above exactly as they are given. The six steps have been tested, and found invaluable. There are good reasons, which you do not have to bother about, or why they work. Many thousands of ordinary men and women have proved to themselves the value of this magic six-step formula.

The formula will work on any desire you may have; your desire to start and own a solid business, your desire to write a book, build a new house, achieve a trip overseas, save your marriage, get promotion on your job. Set your goal and go for it. For more information on goals setting, read this book, Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want -- Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible

Now Stop reading and select a strong desire from among the many that you have. Apply the first five steps to them. Allow ample time to number 2, "Clearly define what you will give in return." and the most to number 4, "Draw up an action plan." Keep thinking after you have finished number 5, "Writing down your plan", and change the plan if necessary. Take at least a day or two on the whole plan. Do not read below until you have formed a six-step plan to fulfill one of your desires. Please Stop Reading NOW.


Your chances of reaching a goal are much better if you believe that you can reach it. Confidence is the second step in motivating yourself. We live in a world where we often feel that things are too much to cope with, where we feel that we cannot do the things we would like to do. It is not easy to be confident about things.

But you have already seen how you inject confidence into yourself. Use the principles of psycho-cybernetics to charge your battery. It will reward you over and over for the effort.

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Relevant knowledge

You will reach your goals much faster if you use as much specialized information and knowledge as possible.

Learn as much as you can about the goal you have set yourself and the business. If your goals to succeed are in selling, read books about sales techniques, oberve successful salesmen in action, find out the common mistakes in selling, find out which products and services are in current demand. Become an expert yourself by drawing on facts from expert sources. Think about your information, organize it into useful headings, and write it down.

Let us say you have decided to use the techniques in these notes to help you to achieve three goals in your life or business.

Open a file on each goal. File away newspaper clippings and articles and notes from your own research. Look at each file regularly, say three times each week. Check on your progress. Collect information on the main sources of investigation, and fill in the gaps in your knowledge as they appear.

You will find it easier to remember the facts for your file, because it is your private file. Of course you don't have to remember all of it, because it is there in your file to consult whenever you feel the need to.

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