Someone sent me an email the other day. Supposedly
General Colin Powell's Rules for Success. Now, I don't
know whether they really are or not, but as I read them, I
thought they really should be called "15 Rules For Success
In Your Home Business". So, here they are:
Rule 1 - It isn't as bad as you think, it will look
better in the morning
If there's one experience universal to ALL
home-business owners, particularly those running a
business on the internet, it's the occasional feeling that
you're just spinning your wheels, and not getting
anywhere. The number of people who give up on their
businesses just as they approach the brink of success is
staggering. So hang in there and remind yourself, when
things look bleak, that tomorrow is another day, things
really aren't as bad as they seem and things really WILL
look better in the morning.
Rule 2 - Get mad, then get over it
OK, I concede this is more general advice than
home-business advice but it applies in your home business
just as it does anywhere else. Resentment and unexpressed
anger really don't hurt anyone but the person feeling
resentful and angry. Have you ever noticed how completely
unproductive you are when burdened by resentment and
anger? So feel it, express it (constructively) and then
move on. As the man said, "get over it".
Rule 3 - Avoid having your ego so close to your
position that when your position falls your ego goes with
Over the course of my career I have, from time to time,
met people whose identity and sense of self-worth is so
enmeshed in what they do for a living that they literally
don't have an identity outside of their work. Because they
rely on an external source for their self-esteem and
confidence, they find it necessary to continually and
relentlessly bolster their personal positions, often at
the expense of others, often resorting to political
maneuvring in the workplace to maintain and improve their
These people are the 'empire builders' you sometimes
find in organizations. They jealously guard their power
base all the while gathering unto themselves more and more
responsibility, beyond the point of being able to do
everything they take on.
Because their identity and sense of self-worth depends
upon their position within their organization, what
happens when their position disappears, such as in a
corporate downsizing? It freefalls.
Don't let this happen to you. Remember that you are
something separate and distinct from your business. Sure,
you can be proud and pleased with your accomplishments but
don't define yourself through them. Your self-worth is
something that comes from inside your human self, not your
Ironically, keeping a professional detachment is more
likely to secure the ultimate success of your business.
Detachment brings perspective, objectivity and clarity,
which helps you make better quality decisions.
Rule 4 - It can be done
Don't allow self-imposed limitations to restrict what
you can and will do. You can do anything if you set your
mind to it. Well, of course, it must be something that is
within your power - you can't just set your mind on
growing a third arm, for example.
But for anything that is within human power and
capability, the saying "where there's a will is a way" is
Get into the discipline of planning your life and where
you want it to go. By setting goals and planning the steps
that will help you reach them, you can achieve literally
anything your heart desires.
Rule 5 - Be careful what you choose, you may get it
Following on from this, it should go without saying
that what you set for your goals is something you truly
want because if you do practice the discipline of goal
setting you will surely get it.
Rule 6 - Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of
a good decision
Keep your eye on the prize and don't be distracted by
what's happening on the sidelines. Sure, you may not have
entered the marathon had you known there were going to be
1,000 other runners but does that mean entering the
marathon was a bad idea? No.
Make your decisions based on quality information and
what's in the best interests of your business. If someone
else comes along who represents competition for your
business, don't be put off your game. Just run your own
race. There's ALWAYS a way to distinguish yourself from
Rule 7 - You can't make someone else's choices. You
shouldn't let someone else make yours
IGNORE your mother when she tells you you're crazy for
chucking in your nice SAFE secure little job to start your
own business. Follow your dream, no-one else's.
Rule 8 - Check small things
Like the fine print in contracts. Like the URL in that
sales letter you've just put the finishing touches on.
Like your spelling and punctuation. In other words, pay
attention to detail.
Rule 9 - Share credit
You've heard the saying, "no man is an island". No
woman is either. Remember and acknowledge the people who
have helped and continue to help you get where you want to
go. Acknowledge the achievements of others.
Rule 10 - Remain calm, be careful
Frenzy and recklessness are hardly the prescription for
long-term success in your business. In the face of
unexpected challenges, unexplained downturns in business
or failure to achieve the results expected, recognize that
these are just part of the thrust and parry of business
life and use a calm, methodical approach to the problem.
Don't just react blindly or chuck away all your hard
work and try something completely different unless a
thorough, calm and careful investigation convinces you
that you are completely off-beam.
Calmly analyze your situation and use your intelligence
to correct the situation. Sometimes a one degree turn of
the wheel is all that is required to get back on course,
not a completely new rudder.
Rule 11 - Have a vision, be demanding
This rule goes hand in hand with rules 4 and 5. In
order to set goals and plan ways to achieve them you must
first set your vision. Think big, be brave. There is
nothing you can't achieve so make sure your efforts are
going to be for something truly worthwhile.
Rule 12 - Don't take counsel of your fears or
All of us have moments of self-doubt or even fear when
embarking on a journey to an unknown destination. If what
you have planned for yourself brings with it feelings of
anxiety, nervousness, even fear, pay attention to them but
don't take their counsel.
They are symptoms of grand thinking, of stretching
beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. As the book
says, feel the fear and do it anyway.
Rule 13 - Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier
This rule is closely related to rule 1. Believe that
things will work out, that they will look better in the
morning, that everything's going to be OK. Repeat the
words to yourself as a mantra if you must but instill a
spirit of indomitable optimism in your outlook and you
will attract success into your life.
Rule 14 - Sometimes being responsible means pissing
You can't please all of the people all of the time so
don't waste your time or energy even trying. You have a
responsibility to the ultimate success of your business
and to your own personal success. If that means you
occasionally have to say no to people to stay true to your
objectives, do it. If it means you have to alienate some
people because they don't personally agree with what you
are doing, that's their problem.
In other words, stay focused on your plan. If others
don't like it or agree with it, too bad.
Rule 15 - You never know what you can get away with
unless you try
If you don't ask you don't get. And if you don't take
you don't get. Leave nothing on the table. If an
opportunity comes along, take it. It may not come again.
And remember, in chaos there is opportunity. While
everyone else is running around like chooks with their
heads cut off, you just bring up the rear and clean up on
all the opportunities that are just lying there for the
taking among the chicken scratch.
Hindsight truly is 20/20, no doubt about it. Perhaps,
like me, you're thinking that if you'd known then what you
know now, you would have gone a lot further a lot faster.
But as with any form of progress, it's the journey, not
the destination, that provides the education and creates
the experience and, through it, wisdom. And that's
something no book can teach you and money can't buy.
Elena Fawkner is editor of
A Home-Based Business
Online ... practical ideas, resources and strategies
for your home-based or online business.