A famous definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.” It’s a trap that’s easy enough to fall into in any field, especially when it comes to leadership. If what you’re doing isn’t working and you want to avoid insanity, the first thing you should do is look to those who have gone before you.
Robert Ringer says, “The shortest route to success in any field of endeavor, and life in general, is to seek the company of those who have more wisdom than you.” (Million Dollar Habits, 17). Echoing this idea, Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller Williams Realty, reminds us that “…success leaves clues…”. (The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, 36).
How much time are you spending trying to solve your business challenges by getting creative rather than copying the success of someone else? There is a fundamental law in the universe that says: Actions have consequences. If you do the “right” thing, you can get what you want. If you take the wrong action, you lose.
Because actions have consequences, successful people eagerly look for models to copy. They read amazing books. They attend inspiring classes. They participate in masterminds. And they approach all of these efforts from a posture of openness and acceptance: How can I learn from the success of others? How can I copy the actions of others that will lead to success?
By contrast, delusional people attempt to have amazing results without checking out the successful strategies of others. They run headlong into a new endeavor with creativity instead of curiosity. They hope to have success without exploring the successful. They avoid REALITY. Keith Cunningham, in The Road Less Stupid reminds us, “Running the wrong direction enthusiastically is stupid.” (11) It’s important to remember that your effort does not determine your success. Your effort, coupled with the right strategy, does.
To take action on this simple, yet profound, concept, consider the following:
- Identify your goal or challenge.
- Search for someone who has conquered or is conquering a similar challenge — this could be a colleague, a coach, a speaker or an author.
- Ask for help, if necessary, and spend time with your new mentor.
- Track your progress.
The foolish among us attempt to get better solely on their hard work and creative juices. The successful research, copy, and implement.