How to Become a Ten

High Achievers Do it Differently

Pick any office. Go in, watch the workers for a while, and track how much gets done by each individual.

A few will never seem to get around to anything, unless forced to. Most of the employees will do what’s placed in front of them, and not much more. But a select few will quickly get their job done, do it superbly, then jump to do more. They’re the self starters.

This points out a truth we already know: some people are simply more effective than others.

Consultant Robert Middleton rates this effectiveness on a scale of one to ten. In an article titled “Attracting TENS,” he says:

“In working with clients over several years, I developed a scale that predicted their success. It wasn’t based on how good their overall business model was, or the years of training they had or degrees they had accumulated.

“It was based on the amount of base metal they turned into gold.

“The base metal was my consulting and coaching input. The gold was what they made of it. My favorite clients were those who took the “ONE” that I gave them and turned it into “TEN.”

“I would give them some ideas about speaking in public and by the next session they had researched every speaking venue in their area, had created their speaker’s package and were working on the outline for their second presentation.

“If I helped them with a networking plan, they had gone to three meetings, made five contacts and had arranged one-on-one meetings with several prospects.

“These kind of people, the TENS, don’t need to be told HOW to do anything. They just need to be told what and pointed in the right direction. They are so resourceful that they just automatically pick up ideas and turn them into plans that get implemented.

“Then there were the clients who took ten from me and came back with one.

“In a session together we would outline the structure of an article and how to write it for maximum impact. They would come to the next session with three vague bullet points, usually grammatically incorrect.”

The eager beavers who never need to be told twice (because they are incredibly easy to start) are the TENS. The goof-offs, slackers and terminally unambitious are the ONES.

Okay, those are the basics. Now… how do we use this for our benefit?

First thing I suggest — forget where your boss ranks. And your dumb brother-in-law, and that infuriating guy down in accounting. They’re not our concern today.

Instead, scary as it may be, let’s take a look at you and your own effectiveness.

We can safely assume you’re not yet a ten. Why not? Because if you WERE a ten, you wouldn’t be reading a blog about motivation. You’d be busy moving heaven and earth around… and making it look easy.

But cheer up. I’m not a ten either, except on a very good day, so let’s see what we can do to raise our scores.

Have you ever read a book on time management? (I mean, more than the first 35 pages.) If you got more than halfway through, did you implement any of the suggestions? Did they last at least a month?

I imagine you’ve dipped into multiple books and seminars on self improvement. We’ve all gone through a bunch of them, right? Well, out of all those great, exciting ideas, have you ever tried to put any of them into practice, and after a while, just stopped?

If you have, that’s the famous “hey, this is harder than I thought” syndrome. You start with some real enthusiasm, but it gradually winds down slower and slower, and soon you’re left trying to do high power, efficient stuff without any wind in your sails. Your momentum just peters out.

Well, don’t blush — this is universal (except for those few tens). Beside, we’re going to work on raising our personal effectiveness.

But no matter how much trouble you’ve had from waning enthusiasm, there is one other pattern that has impoverished your life far more seriously, although you may not even be aware of it.

I’m talking about the “I could never do THAT” response.

You know what I mean… it’s that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize the next step in your business requires you to do something that you think is way over your head.

Maybe your business needs new clients, but you’ve never been comfortable with networking and selling. And every time you try to introduce yourself, it seems like nobody listens, or you get put-offs. So now, when you think of promoting, you just feel overwhelmed — (“Hey, I tried that and I just can’t do it.”)

Or maybe you need to work up some serious publicity, but you don’t know how to put together a press release. And you’re sure nobody would be interested in your story. And besides, you don’t have time to do the detailed thinking and planning it would require. And you’re not at all sure about doing interviews, and it’s just all too big. Way too big — (so “I can’t do that.”)

Out of all the stopping that gets done in the world, 99.99% of it is caused by these feelings. Mental blocks. The “I can’t do that” feeling.

Unfortunately, mental blocks almost always feel like the truth to us. But there is a way to identify them and to get past them.

True Experience: I often send out mailings to introduce my readers to new products. Sometimes those products are less expensive, say in the $40 or $50 range.

But occasionally I send out mailings telling about a high ticket item, costing $1,000 or more. And every time I do, I’ll get a couple of emails from outraged readers complaining about price. Addressing me as though I’ve insulted them.

Now stop and think for a bit. I run a blog about stretching your thinking — learning to see bigger possibilities for yourself. And as part of that service, I give my readers a chance to consider bigger, more costly packages than they may be used to buying. I count that as part of my service in getting readers to think bigger.

When I get one of those letters complaining about high price, I know two things. First, my sales letter was extremely effective. It got them wanting the product I recommended. Second, I know that their desire for that product ran headfirst into their mental limits and triggered severe frustration. A mental block: (“I can’t have THAT. That’s too expensive for me. I don’t have that much money.”)

On the one hand, it’s good to remember that with every reply you email to me (and to others), you reveal more about yourself than you realize. (One more good reason to stop and think before you fire off a flame to somebody.) I’ve done one or two impulsive flames myself (and always, always regretted them), so I know how easy it is to write before you think.

On the other hand, you can learn to recognize these blocking reactions for what they are: automatic (non-thinking) reactions. And once you recognize them, you’ll be able to choose a response that’s more appropriate than frustration, anger, resentment or helplessness.

Any feeling that tells you:

No, I can’t have that
No, I can’t do that
No, that’s not for me
No, that’s too difficult
No, I’m just not that kind of person
No, my spouse (parent, children, neighbors) would laugh
No, I’m too young (old, fat, plain, tall, unqualified)

Notice a pattern here? They all tell you no, don’t they? So what can we conclude about blocking patterns? They’re there to stop you, to keep you inside your Known Zone. Of course they’re trying to keep you safe, in a simple-minded kind of way, but it IS possible to learn a new way of working with those feelings.

Last year I enrolled in an online class that required several intensive hours of work per week. About two or three weeks into the class, I started feeling strong agitation.

There was just too much work, I told myself. I was too busy for all this nonsense, I said. Besides, it wasn’t really important to get it done, or so I tried to convince myself.

I experienced continuing waves of resentment, anger, frustration, urges to just quit.

Fortunately, I know the tricks our minds play to keep us inside the fence of our Known Zone, so as soon as I noticed the patterns, I reframed them by assigning new values to the feelings.

I constantly reminded myself that the discomfort meant that I was outside my comfort zone (Known Zone) and was out in the discomfort zone where I was supposed to be.

Outside your comfort zone = discomfort zone = feeling pressure. Great! That’s exactly where you go to grow.

Everything was going exactly according to plan. I was able to put up with the turbulent emotions because I wanted what the class offered, and I had already decided to pay the price.

And that’s how you recognize the mental limits that block your progress. You watch for signs of discomfort. And when they appear, you constantly remind yourself that this is what you planned from the start.

So what bearing does this have on personal effectiveness?

Simple — the only thing keeping us from moving quickly from task to task like those highly effective tens is a constant cascade of feelings telling us that we can’t do, we can’t have, we can’t accomplish, and that being burdened with all that extra work just isn’t appropriate to us.

Okay, we’ve learned to recognize the symptom of a mental block. Feelings of agitation and frustration weighing us down or holding us back.

Now how do we get past them?

This is going to sound TOO simple, but here it is. You stop looking at the wall blocking you and start looking past it. Way past it.

Although this sounds simple, I guarantee if you’re spending a lot of time worrying about anything, you’re not doing what I just said. You’ve still got your eyes on the problem. You still believe the problem is “true” and that it absolutely cannot be beaten.

To get past a problem like that, you’ve got to stop using logic. You need illogic here.

If your business needs $10,000 or your doors will close, stop trying to figure it out. You’ve been figuring for months and it’s gotten you nowhere.

Instead, get relaxed, settle your mind, then claim the $10,000 you need. Say things like, “I have no idea where the money is coming from, but I see it in my hands on such-and-such a day. It’s here. I see it in my mind’s eye, and I trust that I receive it, exactly as I see in my mind.”

Now, so far this is more or less standard visualization and affirmation technique. But that’s not where the real power lies. This step is where you plant the seed and define the results you expect.

But the real power comes a little later.

When you wake up at two or three in the morning obsessing, or you can’t eat dinner because your stomach is all clenched up, and you’re having a panic attack because you DON’T know where that money is coming from, this is when you bear down and assert your belief.

When you’re in the midst of fear and uncertainty and panic, and you insist on the right to hold that image in your head, no matter what, and you defend your right to believe, no matter how illogical it may be — that’s where the real power is. That’s when you earn the right to receive what you visualize.

Some people call this mental toughness, and it CAN be developed.

Resisting your fear and lethargy, persisting through the doubt, the hesitation and the uncertainty, that’s where all the power is, and that’s also where you learn to become more personally effective.

In fact, that’s what eventually turns you into a ten.

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