In Beliefs, Change, Leaders

“You must make your mark on this earth, and, if you have never done so, it is simply because you neglected to use the powers you have, or you have neglected to develop them.” – John Henry Patterson

I’ve written about belief previously in this space (here, for example), and about the reality that if you believe you have the ability to change your world, you do – and that if you don’t believe it, you don’t. So it isn’t anything new. But it feels more important than ever.

I stopped counting how many business leaders I met with in the past two weeks who spoke about their situation as though there was nothing at all that could be done to change it. Everything in their world is completely beyond their control, so they might as well just throw up their hands and quit trying.

Which is why it was so refreshing to meet someone with the opposite belief system a few days ago. She looked at all the same problems (competition, employee issues, the government) and did not think it’s all beyond her control. She thought that if she just had the right tools or ideas or process, she could solve those things. So she went looking for those tools & ideas & processes.

Belief matters because it drives your behavior. If you think you can’t control anything about your future, then you won’t try very hard to control your future because, hey, what’s the point? If you think you aren’t able to attract quality customers, then you probably won’t spend a lot of energy pursuing any, and you’ll probably accept customers that aren’t the right fit (they’re the only ones you can get, after all). If you think you can attract quality customers, then you’ll work hard to get them, and you won’t settle for the ones who shouldn’t be there.

That’s just one example, but it applies to everything. For all the work we do on processes and people and everything else, if our beliefs aren’t right then we’ll never get much more than we’ve got right now. So listen to yourself speak. Listen to those around you. Ask yourself how you view the world. Are you just a passenger, or are the controls right in front of you? No matter what you believe is the answer to that question, you’re correct. And you’ll spend the rest of your life proving it.


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