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A positive self-image leads to success.

Abraham Lincoln twice failed in business ventures, and he lost two senate races and was defeated in attempts at becoming elector, house representative, speaker of the house, and vice president. To top it all off, Lincoln had a skeleton in his closet that could ruin a contemporary politician's career: He had had a previous nervous breakdown in 1836.

There were probably times when he questioned himself, yet Abraham Lincoln achieved the goals he set because he believed in himself. The same principle applies to success in business. A manager must identify departmental and personal goals, map out the steps to those goals, and believe that they can be achieved. Goals, when earnestly pursued, give people reasons to do certain activities and avoid others. They provide direction and channel energies.

It is easy to spot a person who has a clear set of goals. He or she exudes a sense of purpose and determination, has abundant energy, and is willing to put more time and effort into a task. Being goal oriented helps an individual become more positive, optimistic, and assertive.

Like a lake, a manager without goals is stagnant and spread out. On the other hand, a goal-oriented manager is like a river carving through mountains. The river has movement. It is exciting, and it picks up pieces of earth along its journey, just as a goal-oriented manager uses everything he or she has learned to achieve his or her goal.

In recent years many studies have focused on productivity. One finding repeatedly confirmed is that people who continually pursue and monitor their career goals are more productive than people who just work to pay the bills. Pride in and ownership of one's choices are important ingredients in career satisfaction and success. The uninspired worker goes home at the end of the day, having gained nothing more than a few dollars and a lot of aggravation.

Studies have shown that offering incentives to employees increases productivity. Incentives give employees goals to strive for. Part of choosing a goal involves comparing payoffs. This proves the WIIFM principle: What's In It For Me? The greater the rewards, the higher the drive to attain them. So, if a manager wants his or her staff to help achieve a departmental goal, the manager should offer staff members something that may help them achieve their goals.

Time reported on a national survey conducted a few years ago on goal setting. If found that only 3 percent of those surveyed had written personal goals while 97 percent of the respondents either had no goals at all or had only thought about them. Interestingly, the 3 percent who had written goals were found to have accomplished more. Almost every speaker, writer, and educator on the topic of success agrees that committing goals to paper is a necessary step toward attaining them.

Values. Unfortunately, society is externally oriented. Books are judged by their covers, people by their wealth or beauty, and jeans by their designers. Superficial values are taught and used to judge others. These values do not foster the development of inner strength. Yet a goal-oriented manager needs to possess inner strength to stay true to the goal. The same principle applies to psychotherapy. Before a client can start on the path to being well-adjusted, his or her basic values must be explored and clarified.

Building a successful career is like building a house. The foundation must be strong. Only when the foundation is strong enough can anything be built on top of it. If the foundation is weak, the house could crumble in a storm, just as a manager without the inner strength to achieve his or her goals honestly will take short cuts and wind up hurting himself or herself.

Don't assume. More often than not, it is assumptions that limit people's perception of their options. Negative assumptions set up internal obstacles that automatically defeat the manager. For example, managers often assume that they will not be able to get senior management support for a certain project. Such negative assumptions become self-fulfilling prophecies. When a manager assumes that he or she cannot do something, then he or she generally acts in a way that guarantees failure.

In her film, You Pack Your Own Chute, Dr. Eden Ryl used the equation A leads to B to conceptualize the relationship between assumptions and behaviors. "A" stands for assumption, and "B" stands for behavior. If a manager assumes that he or she is capable of a certain behavior and only that behavior, then his or her actions are limited by that assumption. Until the manager expands his or her view of self, achieving higher goals will be difficult.

Think positively. Positive thinking works. People who are serious about succeeding must believe in their ability to risk becoming their own biggest obstacle. Self-confidence is the food that feeds personal growth. It is an indispensable part of achievement. Self-confidence stems from an awareness of intrinsic worth. People are blessed with an incredible amount of potential, most of which is untapped.

Self-confidence works best when based on self-respect and not on comparisons with others. Comparing oneself to others just makes a person feel either pompous or bitter, neither of which is desirable. Self-confidence has to exist in a vacuum. It feeds on the knowledge gained from discovering one's inner potential.

This discovery leads to a realistic awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses. Once a person has a realistic view of his or her abilities, his or her assumptions become more like educated guesses. He or she becomes more daring and eventually achieves goals. After each achievement, a manager should reevaluate himself or herself. Each new feather in a manager's cap makes him or her feel capable of accomplishing more. The effect gains momentum and grows like a snowball rolling downhill. In this way, greatness is achieved in small steps.

Anthony J. Alessandra, PhD, is a speaker on sales, service, and communications. For more information, contact Alessandra and Associates, PO Box 2767, La Jolla, CA 92038, 800/222-4383.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Managing
Author:Alessandra, Anthony
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Column
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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