Over the last 20 years of consulting, measuring, and training customer service and workplace performance, I’ve had the great privilege of meeting and working with a large number of high performing individuals. They were the inspiration for my last book, Win at Work: Navigate the Nasties, Get Things Done and Get Ahead and they are a continual source of inspiration.
The Success Differentiator
If I had to pick one characteristic that differentiates these high performers from the rest of the world, it’s their ability, willingness, and courage to turn their gaze inward and look to themselves first when facing challenges or adversity. It’s a pattern that repeats itself over and over again.
Where the average salesperson will lament that he (she) is having a bad month and look for someone or something to blame, the high achieving salesperson will ask himself “What can I do to get a better result?” While the average employee may blame their company, the workload, or the work environment for their unhappiness, the high achiever asks themselves, “What can I do to make this a more enjoyable place?” Similarly, where the average Customer Service Representative may blame cranky or unreasonable customers for their difficult encounters, the high achievers will continually look for tools and techniques for creating more positive outcomes.
Look for Solutions – Not Blame
This same pattern is also pervasive in our personal lives. Most people facing financial struggles are quick to blame the economy, the government, their employers, or even just fate. High achievers try to identify their own shortcomings, then look for solutions. “How can I change my lifestyle, my habits, to improve my situation? What can I do differently? How can I learn from others?” Think about the hundreds of thousands of litigation lawyers employed around the world enabling people to blame and sue others for an unending litany of scrapes, falls, bumps, bruises, hot coffee spilled on laps, and any other mishap that might occur. High achievers aren’t on their client lists. Because high achievers accept that sometimes stuff happens. They simply pick themselves up and move on.
Want to be successful in life? Stop pointing your fingers outward and start directing them inward instead. Look in the mirror and accept the role you play in your own situations. Look for solutions instead of dwelling on problems. And when you fall – which you will – pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue on your journey – this time a little bit wiser.