Friday 16 November 2018

Don't make excuses - make it happen!

'MAKING It Happen' was recommended to me by a friend as one of those hidden treasures that get whispered around an inner circle. It can only be bought online from and so this immediately gave it a sense of adventure. I was enthralled by the book and shortly afterwards I started to apply its principles to the benefit of my personal and business life.

The story of Mark Pollock is becoming increasingly well-known in Ireland. At the age of 22, two months before sitting his finals at Trinity College, he went blind. He had secured a wonderful job with an investment bank in London, he was rowing for Ireland, and he had a large circle of friends, when suddenly his life was changed utterly.

While the first months of Mark's blindness were spent in despair and denial, he describes in his book how he slowly rebuilt his life. In recent years he has run the Gobi Desert Marathon, the North Pole Marathon, kayaked across the Irish Sea, established his own business, and become a public speaker with a string of international clients.

While Mark's book offers insights into his suffering, the book is not about his blindness. Instead, he uses his experiences to detail how we should make things happen for ourselves. Three basic steps are highlighted in the book and these are: (1) recognise the facts, (2) take action, and (3) build a team.

A central principle running through the book is that before you can move forward you must first recognise the current reality of your situation. Whether it relates to your personal or business life, he argues that it is easy to deny the truth of your situation and while this might make you feel good in the short term, it damages enormously your chances of long-term success.

The book spends four chapters dealing with the issue of taking action. He basically divides people into those who make things happen and those who make excuses. The main thrust of the book, as is clear from the title, is to move you from being someone who offers excuses to someone who makes things happen. He also suggests that there is a correlation between the number of excuses that we use and the number of regrets that we have in life.

Another key point raised under the heading of action was the question of 'why'. Mark argues that to keep your life on course, you should consistently ask yourself why you are pursuing the goals that you are and to ensure that they still fit with what you actually want in life.

The final point may seem obvious, but many owner-managers have long since forgotten its importance - building a good team around you is critical to achieving your goals. The American concept of the lone entrepreneur battling against the odds to achieve success has never been so misplaced, as more and more research shows that businesses founded by teams are more likely to lead to success.

This book is misleading because it is an easy read and a fascinating story, while yet having the potential to leave an enormous impact upon your life. It is not focused upon business but owner-managers would do well to implement the advice offered.

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