Do you settle for less than you can be? Some of you can honestly say yes to this and back up your answer through an increased joy in your quality of life or business success; Both financially and productively. Some of you are also saying yes but your “feel good” attitude towards your answer is short lived when you look at the details of how your life can truly be. It’s not about a “unicorns and rainbows” way of thinking or the benefits of positive thinking, although that can undoubtedly help. It’s about being so authentic to your natural talents and are delegating your non-talents so well that you refuse to accept anything less than the best.
The top performers, naturally, don’t settle. They are unreasonable in their expectations, regardless of what the culture says. They force life to work with them on their terms, not the other way around. They know what they are good at and what they like to do and they refuse to allow themselves to get into work or roles, or relationships for that matter, that force them to be unhappy being something they are not.
Just after college I went to work for Johnson and Johnson as a surgical sales representative. I was struggling as a sales person. It wasn’t that I wasn’t a good sales person, or that I wasn’t smart or hard working enough, but that the sales process I had been taught wasn’t a good fit for my natural drivers and talents. My motivations weren’t the same as most of the other sales reps. One day I was telling my sales manager, Rick Gilson, how unsatisfied I was with my own results. Rick told me something that day that seemed rather insignificant at the time, but later his words would take on a life of their own. Rick said, “You get what you accept.”
Anthony Robbins, in Awaken the Giant Within, recalls the point in his life when he stopped accepting what he got. “I remember feeling like my life didn’t matter, as if the events of the world were controlling me. I also remember the moment my life changed, the moment I finally said, ‘I’ve had it! I know I’m much more than I’m demonstrating mentally, emotionally and physically in my life.’ I made a decision in that moment which was to alter my life forever. I decided to change virtually ever aspect of my life. I decided I would never again settle for less than I could be.”
Not only is this a great example of someone who decided to stop accepting what he got, but it also shows the importance of realizing that you are actually in control. When Tony realized that he was in control of his success and destiny his belief switched from believing that the world controlled him, to believing that he controlled him. He realized he was in the driver’s seat.
I firmly believe that it is the individuals who must take ownership of this changing paradigm first and foremost. In today’s intellectual economy, companies need to realize that no one rides a bus anymore. Today, top performers don’t want a bus ticket, they want a company car – and they want to drive it themselves.
A significant part of achieving much higher performance levels is realizing that you don’t have to settle. We don’t live under a totalitarian regime. You are not forced into one role or one job for life. You are free to do whatever you want, wherever you want, and as more organizations become enlightened and start to realize that top performers want to lead their own lives, they too will allow you to control more of your own destiny within the company.
So, if you are unhappy with where you are in life, just remember – you get what you accept. As for me, Rick’s words will always play an important part in my life, but in some ways he probably regrets them because when I did take them to heart I realized that I was being inauthentic and once I decided to stop accepting that – I quit.