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Define your goal – and believe in it
Define your goal – and believe in it

The power of vision and certainty

When it comes to success, there are two magic ingredients – employed by legendary statesmen and titans of industry – that will transform your leadership style and help you achieve your goals. DAVID BROWN reports.

All great leaders, from George Washington to Martin Luther King Jr, Winston Churchill to Steve Jobs, have an elusive quality that defines their success.

It’s something that lifts those around them and takes their cause to the upper reaches of achievement.

A sure thing

We often mistake this quality for charisma or confidence but it goes much deeper than that. These leaders have a belief that carries them through adversity and past the failures of those who doubt.

Churchill is a classic case in point; despite the odds, he believed Britain would win over Germany during World War Two.

Even after every European ally had fallen and Britain was left alone, protected only by the narrow English Channel, Churchill was fervent in his belief that Britain would be victorious.

This belief provided the people of England with the confidence to withstand attack and eventually win through.

George Washington also faced seemingly insurmountable odds.

Heavily outnumbered in most encounters and using a ragtag group of militia to oppose the strongest military in the world, Washington was able to inspire confidence not only in his soldiers but in the leaders and politicians who would go on to form Western society’s first true democracy.

The victories of the American revolutionary forces stemmed from Washington’s belief that they would be victorious.

A shared quality of these leaders, and those business leaders who have grown their companies to incredible heights, has been certainty – a deep, unyielding belief that what they are doing is the right thing and that they will succeed no matter what.

Look at any successful business of the last 100 years and you’ll find a leader standing with certainty, one who has a vision and a certainty to match.

This level of certainty transfers to small business as well.

Seeing the goal clearly
"How do you measure up on the certainty scale? Do you have a clear vision of what you hope to offer the world? Those who are certain are not ‘me too’ operators; their belief is in something that many others fail to believe in"

Look around at the businesses in your city that are successful and you will find they are led by people with a vision and a level of certainty in that vision.

The success of these entities will be directly related to the certainty they have that they are offering something worth having and that people will want it.

How do you measure up on the certainty scale? Do you have a clear vision of what you hope to offer the world?

Those who are certain are not ‘me too’ operators; their belief is in something that many others fail to believe in.

It’s not hard to believe that world is round today but it took some certainty 600 years ago when everyone else thought it was flat.

Sadly, there are business owners who are willing to believe only in what the mainstream believes. As a result, they try to be all things to all people, playing it safely down the middle where the majority of customers sit. These businesses are so careful to avoid offence that they become vanilla, indistinguishable from those around them on anything other than price.

As this is where the majority of the competition sits, everyone is left fighting for scraps.

In politics, we see figures like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gaining support because they don’t water down their message to appeal to everyone.

Love them or hate them, they have carved out their own powerful place – and gained plenty of followers – by not competing for the centre ground.

There’s profit on the fringes where the audience is often ignored but where the competition is thinner. If you play in this area, you will find yourself outside the needs of the majority but with a profitable audience you can have all to yourself.

Are you being all things to all people? Is there a profitable fringe to your business that could be explored? Are you positioning yourself where others can’t or won’t go but where there is an untapped market waiting to be heard?

Elon Musk has become successful because of his willingness to go into markets where others fear to tread. Are you SpaceX or Chrysler?

Think about it for a few minutes and it becomes clear – doing what everyone else does won’t bring you different results.

A unique vision combined with an uncompromising certainty will win through in the end.

David Brown

Contributor • Retail Edge Consultants

David Brown is co-founder and business mentor with Retail Edge Consultants. Learn more:

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