Head in the sand or action junkie ….what’s your mantra?

I recently read the book “100 Things What’s on Your List” by Sebastian Terry.  I was attracted to the cover initially because I saw the Camp Quality symbol and I have volunteered with Camp Quality in the past and I was intrigued by the concept of having a 100 goals to achieve (plus the good looking Aussie on the front cover didn’t hurt either)! Within a few chapters, I was addicted.  This guy essentially has taken the exact opposite approach to most – at 28 years of age instead of settling down, building a career, buying a house and accumulating assets – he has embarked on a journey of taking action – the where/who/how considerations all thrown out the window, with a commitment to just making things happen.

I’ve always loved and lived by this concept in business – successful people take more action.

So often I hear “you’re so lucky” or “luck plays a huge part in success” and that annoys me.  In my experience, it isn’t luck that allows people to achieve great success and happiness in their lives.  It is their ability to create and commit to doing things (taking action) that allow them to achieve this.  It isn’t by accident that success happens for some and not others.

For example, working in recruitment is a hard job to crack and it is only a rare percentage who become really successful at it.  There is a lot of ups and downs, lots of rejection, lots of being outside your comfort zone and dealing with people, emotions and circumstances outside your control.  Being successful in this industry takes incredible persistence and a strong commitment to action.

Over the years I have seen more fail than succeed and there have been two clearly defining factors – coachability & commitment to action.

One Senior Consultant who worked for me was textbook ‘perfect’ for a Consultant role – she had completed the training with a national recruitment firm, had worked in corporate HR, was degree qualified, was extremely polished in presentation and communication and had the knowledge and experience about the market.  After her first year she billed $250K – a solid performance back in 2005.  I have to say most Recruitment Managers and Consultants would be content with this performance and hope to increase the following year by 10-15%.  To me however, she had all the attributes of being a much higher performing consultant – significantly better than the average.  What was holding her back from being in the top quartile of recruiters?

On closer examination, observation and discussions – we identified that there were a few factors.  She disliked prospecting for new business and felt that clients didn’t want to hear from her (that she was being annoying), her communication lacked a specific agenda (often waffled) and thirdly there wasn’t the burning desire to be or do anymore (where was the benefit?).

Overcoming these areas of improvement required a significant commitment by both of us.  It meant we were going to be treading new ground by pushing her outside her comfort zone where she currently was and it was a nice place to be and was genuinely producing good results.  The sweet spot was finding out what was going to motivate her to push ahead (see previous blog staff mojo….how to plant the seeds of motivation).  The transformation over the course of the next twelve months was amazing. This Consultant truly realised her potential and moved from a competent well performing consultant to a trusted advisor that clients honestly saw as an extension of their business. The financial results followed with her billing $430K the following year – which allowed her to achieve some of her tangible goals, but it was the intangible benefits that she didn’t expect that really inspired her.  Being an expert, mentoring others to achieve similar results, her professional learning and growth, the recognition and delivering better results for her clients.

It was a methodology that I took forward with many Consultants and of course it didn’t produce the same results every time.  However, when those two factors were present – coachability and commitment to action – the results, confidence and satisfaction skyrocketed.

This discovery taught me over the years that most people fall into one of two categories – either you’re a head in the sand person and like to be average or like Sebastian Terry you like to test the limits, take more action and be outside your comfort zone.  This exclusive club of action junkies know the benefits far outweigh the complacency of being mediocre. The challenge of course is making the commitment to action – once you get a taste of what’s possible, you rarely turn back.


successful people take more action