Two hundred years ago the average age of companies was measured in generations. The average age of companies today is running at 30 years, and futurists predict that within the next 20 years the average age of companies will be just 5 years. These statistics carry profound ramifications for each one of us because the working life of the average individual is 50 years!

For the first time in modern business history, each of us is being forced to face up to the reality that we are, in effect, in business for ourselves. Although we sell time, the value placed upon the time we sell is determined by the quality of our product – our knowledge! The more effective we are at applying our knowledge, the higher the value the market will place on our time!

The quality of your knowledge product though is not, in isolation, sufficient because your potential customers are all companies and these are, by their very nature, made up of teams of people – teams of people with diversified knowledge and skills. Therefore, the true measure of how valuable your product is relates directly to how effective you are at delivering direct results through making meaningful contributions to the team within which you operate.

From an age where we were told what to do, and we did it, we have moved into an environment where we often have to assess for ourselves what needs to be done – and then we have to figure out what we are best at doing in order to make the contribution that needs to be made. This reality means that we have to take responsibility for ourselves and pay careful attention to compiling, and continuously revising, our personal business plan. No company will, today, plan your career – you have to do that for yourself!

This is where the true challenge lies, because to plan our lives, to formulate our business plan, we have to have clarity as to who we are – we have to understand ourselves. Sure, we all want to be happy, healthy, and loved, but our minds are so turbulent and our bodies under such stress as a result, that we fail to pay attention to that one part of our being that acts as the cement for everything else and helps us identify our purpose and direction in life – our soul.

The first step in understanding yourself is to understand the connectivity between the three aspects of who you are – your body, your mind, and your soul:

  • Your Body is the collection of molecules that enables you to experience the world. It includes the sensory equipment that connects you to your environment (hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting and smelling) and the motor system that enables you to act (your vocal apparatus, hands and feet). Each day your sensory experiences are influenced by the ever-changing chemistry and electricity of your nervous system, which in turn influences every cell and organ in your body. In this way, your experiences affect you biologically.
  • Your Mind is a field of thoughts, engaging in a continuous conversation about what has happened, what is happening and what might happen to you. In response to your perpetual experiences you form opinions, discriminations, evaluations and judgements, coloured by emotional reactions. Your thoughts, memories, desires and feelings are various expressions of your mind.
  • Your Soul is the silent witness to your mind and body. Your body is changing – look at a photograph of yourself from ten years ago and see how different it is to what you look like today. Your mind is changing – your beliefs about yourself and the world are different today compared to earlier times in your life. Quietly your soul observes all this, providing continuity to your identity and providing you with the stability you need to maintain balance.

When your observing soul, thought-generating mind and physical body are aligned, you are most likely to translate your intentions into choices that result in the outcome you desire. It is a decision from the soul that allows you to move through the door of change in such a way that you have absolutely no intention of retreating. This resolve we know as commitment – a commitment to ourselves!

In order to take responsibility for your life and career you have to make a commitment to yourself to do so. Commitment though, implies action – action that has to be practiced continuously. Through this continuously practiced action you form good habits that put you on autopilot in controlling your life. There are, however, three guiding principles you will have to adopt:

1. What you think, you become. Deep in your soul you suspect that you have not yet realised your full potential and are worthy of a lot more. You have to be honest with yourself and get your mind to start analysing these suspicions because it is the conscious mind that will release your free will and enable you to start writing a better ‘next chapter’ in spite of everything that has happened in your life to date. The primary requirement, however, is that you have to be willing to do things differently in order to realise different outcomes.

2. Release Your Past. We all have issues we have to deal with but spending years of time and energy trying to get to the bottom of the ‘problem’ that caused the issue in the first place is not the most successful strategy. It is possible to clearly understand why you are unhappy, but still not be happier. It is possible to know why you have made bad choices in the past, but this knowledge may not enable you to make better ones today. The most important principle is to let go of the past and commit to change. For our lives to change, we have to change!

3. Unlearning. Most people live their lives as conditioned as Pavlovian dogs, reacting in predictable ways to the situations, circumstances and people they encounter. Because there is security in doing the same things over and over, people stay in relationships that are not good for them, hold onto jobs that allow limited scope for self-expression and maintain daily routines that numb them to the opportunities that unfold around them all the time. Whether you like it or not, you are a creature of habit and if you are not getting what you want out of life you had better start identifying, and releasing, inhibiting habits! In their place form habits that will form you into the person you have always known you could be!

It is action that will take you where you want to go in life – not affirmations. Successful people do not continuously tell themselves "I am a powerful person!" – they prove their worth to themselves by taking action.

The challenge is here and now. You have no choice other than to take control of your life and career because nobody else is going to do it for you – they are just as confused as you are! Determine what knowledge you need to acquire, find out how and where to acquire it, go out and acquire it, and then apply it! Make yourself into the best product you can be in your specific field of expertise!

Coaching Tip:
Make the commitment now to…

– Determine what knowledge you need.

– Go all out to build that new knowledge

– Be true to yourself by applying the newfound knowledge!

Remember that internal misjudgments are six times more likely to cause business failure than external factors. Success in business, as in life, is all about getting the fundamentals right … and the actions you take!

Makes you think, doesn’t it!

With Smiles,