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By Ray Pons.

Have you ever seen a sports coach telling a player on the field or on the sideline or bench “Get your head in the game!”? Chances are high that you have. For any athlete if their head isn’t in the game the performance on the field, or court, or ice is sure to be lacking. Sports coaches know this. 

Great coaches have developed strong sensory abilities to discern if the athlete’s head is in the game or somewhere else. If the athlete is not fully focused on the task at hand the coach will immediately challenge them to become more focused and get her/his head back in the game. 

The same concept holds true for people in business.   

In today’s ever more competitive, demanding and turbulent business world you, the business owner, executive, manager or entrepreneur, you better be darned sure that you get your head in the game – totally, fully, completely. If your head isn’t in it success will be elusive.

Getting your head in the game begins with a positive outlook and positive belief system. Dr Stephen Covey of 7 Habits fame perhaps put it best when he said: “For minor improvements you work on behavior; for quantum leap improvements you work on paradigms, mindset.”  

It is essential, critical, that you manage your paradigms, manage your mindset, to create success first in your head that can then be leveraged to create success in the business. Control your thinking and you control your results.

If it is true that success begins first in your mind, begins first inside your head, it is essential to keep your head in the game. Keeping your head in the game begins with thinking positive thoughts. You must think positive.

Now, the skeptic suggests that positive thinking doesn’t work. Fair enough. I’m sure we all know positive thinking individuals who possess a perky, positive outlook yet they continue to struggle. Positive thinking doesn’t always work.

Having your “head in the game” with a powerful, positive outlook does not bring an iron-clad guarantee of success. But if your head isn’t in it I suggest that failure is certain. At the very least you must manage your mindset, marshal your resilience, to at least keep away from stinkin’ thinkin’.

Positive thinking doesn’t always work … but stinkin’ thinkin’ never fails.

What follows are 8 mind-games tips that will give you a strategic advantage and help you keep your head in the game.

Use the title of CEO

  1. Know yourself
  2. Take 100% Responsibility
  3. Deal in Reality
  4. Think
  5. Act
  6. Focus
  7. Balance

 1: Use the title of CEO (Chief Executive Officer)

Be bold. Think broader. Think bigger. Don’t be timid. Think CEO!

If you work in a giant conglomerate think of yourself as CEO of your area of operations. Lead without title … except the title you give yourself: CEO!

If yours is a one-man band or one-woman operation appoint yourself CEO and eagerly accept the title. Put CEO on your business card, create a CEO seal of office, buy a pricey business suit (male or female – the power suit works!) and get a tailor to sew the letters CEO onto the inside lining. Play the CEO game and play it to win. Over time you will begin to buy into a CEO mindset and conduct yourself accordingly.

2: Know Yourself 

How well do you know yourself? What do you do well?  What sets you apart?  What are your unique talents, gifts and abilities? 

Spend 5 minutes a day, every day, for the next 30 days making a list of your strengths, skills and abilities. Make a list and do not stop until the list of strengths is at least 100.  No kidding. You have more strengths than you might imagine. The first 25 or so come fairly easy. The final 25 bring blood droplets to your forehead! 

Most people will not do this task. A small percentage will. Will you?

Only a small percentage of people have the courage to be truly disciplined, completely dedicated and do all that might be helpful in getting to greatness.  YOU are one of the few. (Aren’t you?) Make the list; all 100.

Upon completion of the list create a one sentence statement that encapsulates the qualities on the list and describes who you are when you are at your very best.

Dare to draft a greatness statement.

Read this statement regularly. Frequently!  Put it on the monitor of your computer or laptop. Post a printed copy in plain sight where you spend time working. Make it visible; see it frequently.

Play the mind-game of self-subliminal influence.  Create the list and use it to create your greatness statement. It’ll get and keep your head right – right in the game.

Sounds like voodoo but it works.

 3: Take 100% Responsibility  

Successful people leave clues.  One of the biggest clues that successful people leave is “100% Responsibility”. She/he takes total responsibility for their success and happiness. Not partial responsibility but all-in, full-out, 100% responsibility.

Others may blame a whole host of outside factors for their results but not you. Others can blame the economy, politicians, competition, taxes, circumstances, genetics, and a million other items all designed to tell a clear tale that their results are not their responsibility. But not you! They throw a pity-party; poor me; it’s not my fault. This abdication of responsibility can suck the energy right out of them. But not you!

Masterful leaders don’t waste energy making excuses. They’re too busy making money, making a difference and enjoying the ride. They take total responsibility. Their mantra is “Good, bad or ugly it is my responsibility”.

Great people know that to give up responsibility is to give away their power.   Play the mind-game of “100% Responsibility”. No matter what!  Retain your power. Take 100% responsibility.

 4: Deal In Reality.  

Successful business leaders face facts.  They don’t deal in delusions.  They face reality and make decisions accordingly. 

Strengthen your resolve, reinforce your resilience and maintain a positive outlook.  But do not use mind-games for self-trickery to create a Pollyanna distortion of what’s going on. Be grounded in reality and face facts head on.

If a decision is difficult make it.

If business is booming leverage it.

If business is tough come up with a plan to get through it.

Deal in reality.

It takes courage to deal in reality, oftentimes a semi-trailer truckload of courage. FUDS come a calling (Fears, Uncertainties, Doubts and Suspicions). Recognize that courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway, (a great book by Susan Jeffers). Face your FUDS. Courage is being able to face your fears, to look your fears in the eye and not flinch.

Deal in reality, face facts and you will develop courage.  Courage can be learned and courage is contagious. The process begins when you deal in reality.

 5: Think.

Voluminous books have been written on the power of thought and each and every business leader knows the importance of thinking. Success demands solid thinking. It’s common sense. Yet all of us can often need reminding that common sense is not commonly practiced. So …

You are paid to think. That is worth restating: You are paid to think.

This doesn’t mean that after engaging in an hour of intense meaningful thinking someone will miraculously appear and pop a hundred bucks in your lap. You are paid to think but you are not usually paid to think when you think. The money shows up later.

Regrettably many business people intellectually know the importance of “Think” while practically getting caught up in “busy being busy”. Activity trumps think. They get caught up in a multitude of “urgent” activities, low-value items and “stuff” from clients and customers, staff, suppliers, competitors, family, friends leaving precious little or no time to think. Thinking time gets pushed off the agenda or never even makes the to-do list as it is crowded out by the multitude “urgent” demands of clutter and low-value trivial many; busy, but far from effective.

Have you ever been too busy driving to take time out to get gas?

Don’t be stuck in busy. Avoid the seduction of “busy-ness”. Don’t get caught up in the thick of thin things.

Keep your head in the game and invest time every day to slow down, reflect and think.

6: Act. 

No one ever built a reputation based on what they were going to do.

The road to a blisteringly hot place is paved with good intentions. Intentions accomplish squat! Actions lead to success. 

As a strong business leader you must know, embrace and practice item #5 “Think”  while  also recognizing that “Think” without “Act” is useless. Gail Boardman expresses it well: “You can’t aim a duck to death”.

Think will point the boat. Act will set it sailing.

Act and you generate energy.  Act and you create impetus. Act and you may make progress toward your goals. Notice the statement “may make progress”.

When you act you always get results. But you may not always make progress. Act and monitor. If you act and the results are good keep doing what you’re doing. If you act and the results are not good change the act.

Action may not always move you forward but rarely if ever will it move you back. Act!

7: Focus.

You have no doubt heard the phrase “knowledge is power”. Knowledge is not usually enough to take a business to great. Greatness demands wisdom and wisdom is knowledge with focus.

Your business will grow great when the leader maintains focus. Greatness people are ordinary people with focus.

With clarity of focus you can direct your attention to areas that matter most. Instead of majoring in minor things you are better able to concentrate on high value, high impact things that generate the greatest returns. It’s the 80/20 rule in action.

Everyone knows the 80/20 rule (80% of results come from 20% of effort). Successful business leaders not only know the 80/20 rule they live the 80/20 rule. They know it and they apply it. 

Achieve focus. Get and keep your head in the game by answering the following questions:

What are the high return activities of our business?

What are the 80% results that come from the 20% of activities?

Where do we get the greatest ROI with the least amount of effort?

Where do our biggest gains come from?

Do not dissipate your power by trying to do too many things all at once. Focus. Maintain focus and help your business grow in quantum leap possibilities.

8: Balance. 

The Flying Wallendas, famous for death defying feats of tightrope walking, they know very well the critical importance of balance. Balance is equally critical for you.

Every day you walk the risky high wire of competition, contest and conflict. It’s a jungle out there. Business was never easy but it sure does seem harder today than ever before. And the harder it gets the easier it is to lose your balance.

Without balance you can become a prisoner of the very business that was supposed to set you free.  Without balance you can unwittingly become a victim of your success.  Without balance you experience stress, anxiety and turmoil and can become distanced from the people that matter most. Don’t make that mistake. 

Too many business people are energetically climbing the ladder of success only to get to the top of the ladder and realize that it’s leaning up against the wrong wall!

Don’t let it happen to you. Have a solid work ethic, put in a disciplined work-week but balance your corporate dedication with an equal dedication to your personal life.

Spend time with your spouse, partner or significant other. Continue to romance and nurture love, affection and desire. As a powerful business leader it is OK to have a great sex life.

Spend time with family. Kids couldn’t care less about “quality time” they want “quantity time”. Give them sufficient quantity time and God willing some of it will become quality and leave a lasting, lingering memory.

Spend time for yourself. Get away and have fun. It is not selfish. It is essential to re-charge, relax and boost the battery. Burn-out serves nobody.

Spend time with friends, faith, be a sound citizen, volunteer, serve. Achieve balance. 

In Summary:

Get your head in the game!

Apply these 8 mind-games to help you and your business succeed.

1. Use the title of CE

2. Know yourself

3. Take 100% Responsibility

4. Deal in Reality

5. Think

6. Act

7. Focus

8. Balance

Success is simple.

Finding your way to success is not easy, far from easy, but it is simple. It isn’t complicated.

As Jim Rohn, Motivational Speaker, Performance Expert and Author was fond of saying: “Success is the refined study of the obvious. Results come down to a few simple concepts that are applied or not applied on a daily basis and lead to success and thriving or failure and frustration.”

Success is indeed simple. Genuine success in business and in life usually isn’t tricky, complicated or convoluted. It is the application of common sense principles that are not commonly practiced.

Many make finding success harder than it needs to be because of stinkin’ thinkin’ tendencies resulting in bad habits, flawed follow through and disappointment. Use these 8 mind-games to get and keep your head in the game and take you and your business to greatness.

To your success!

About the author:

Ray Pons is a Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and Author on issues of Business Growth, Strategic Thinking and Leadership.

He is the author of “Finding My Way” published by BPS Books and an eBook “Small Business Success” published by Millennium Dimensions.

To contact Ray:            

Voice : 905.713.7815

Email : [email protected] ;   [email protected]

Websites : www.RayPons.com ; www.thegrowthcoach.ca