The Ingredients of Over-Achievers
My brother and I were talking yesterday. He made a statement to me, he said “Holly, you and I have a hard time comprehending that there are people out there with little-to-no ambition and no matter what you do, or try to do for them, they do not care or want to work as hard as you do to get what they want in life. They will settle for second best – by choice.” He called himself and me – “over-achievers”. We are constantly pushing, constantly looking for the next level in life, and constantly looking at how we can improve others and ourselves.
So in our discriminatory way of analyzing others, without a psychological background of any sort, we have categorized people based upon what we consider success. Now I know we are to say, well, we don’t want to judge others nor do we want to say that we consider our identity and our success based upon how hard we work and where we are in life because of our hard work, but reality is – that’s what we have done.
We know that success comes from three things:
- Hard Work
I put integrity first for a reason. You cannot own your own business or really perform any task in life and succeed without having high standards and an impeccable level of integrity. It is the basis of all we do and all we are. During my prior thirteen years of company ownership I distinctly remember two separate incidences where clients did not pay their bill. Each surprisingly were $5,000 in debt to me (that must have been my level where I felt a sense of loss of integrity.) I never got the money out of either of them. Not surprisingly the one company went out of business and the other is dissolving with a bad reputation. On the other hand – my lesson was to choose your clients wisely and always choose clients with high-levels of integrity and that have the same work ethic as you. Always give to your clients more than they would expect and establish a mutual respect.
I have a number of clients that are impressed at the amount of knowledge I have about them, their employees, and their products or services. This is not by accident, but by design. One of the main ways I stand out from my competition is by doing my homework about my clients. Now you might say, “Well Holly, everyone knows they need to understand their clients”. My answer is “no you don’t understand, I mean hours, days, weeks, months of training and discussions.” When I take on a new client I ask to go through the same product or service training they go through, also to sit with the staff or managers and learn what they do so I in turn can train or consult based upon real knowledge about their needs and their pains. The more I understand their needs, the more effective and the quicker I can get to the root of the issues. Training is not standing in front of people and talking, it’s knowing the need and solving it and following through to ensure it is implemented.
My definition of hard work is taking a project, client, product, whatever it might be and systematically and efficiently break it down and put all of your energy into it until you have accomplished the goal at hand. Now you might not have trouble motivating yourself, but when you ask someone else to pick up part of the project and they don’t follow through, this is where the frustration comes in. You expect a project to be followed through and for the rest of your staff to have as much passion and work ethic as you and you find they in turn do not. They wait for the client to respond, they wait for you to respond, they wait for other team members and never take responsibility to ensure the opportunity flourishes. You hope the employee will take action so you don’t have to run with it on your own – which is the true death of management or owning your own business. Don’t put it back on your plate. If the person you have delegated to doesn’t pick up the ball, find out their motivations, is there something missing?
Which brings me back to my conversation with my brother. My answer to him and other overachievers is to realize what you are passionate about may not be what the next person is passionate about – so evaluate closely who you put on the task or project. If you find they are not the right fit for the job, discover the reasons why. Do not let the client relationship suffer. If you find that you are not the right fit for the job, step back and make an assessment. Evaluate what motivates yourself and others to do the job for your company and for themselves.
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