Creating a breakthrough is often a hot topic towards the end of the year or beginning of the next year. That’s because most of us focus on the calendar year as the time to make resolutions. When, in truth, we need more than an annual review of our situation. We need to reflect more regularly, plan, course-correct, and implement our vision to create truly transformative events in our lives.
I would venture to say most people are capable of breaking through to the next level of success, BUT have no idea how to do it systematically, and most people don’t have the tools, strategies or passion to make it happen.
So, are you ready to have a breakthrough? Do you know how to make it happen? I do … so if you are interested, read on.
There are 3 types of breakthroughs I will discuss in this article. Personal breakthroughs, business breakthroughs and industry breakthroughs.
Breakthroughs in Business and Personal Life
I’ve experienced a handful of breakthroughs in my life. Personal examples are what happened after walking barefoot on hot coals with Tony Robbins at a weekend workshop. Although a memorable experience, walking across hot coals created a shift in my then-current thinking, but life after this event went unsupported, and the weekend workshop only became a bragging right. I experienced another breakthrough after completion of my MBA at University of Southern California. Completing my MBA had a lasting, positive impact on my life – it changed my life forever, as it launched me into the career I still have 28 years later, but it was more successful as I got continuing support from mentors and advisers. The key take-away is that you need support following any breakthrough event to provide for sustained success.
“Creating Your Breakthrough Year” was the subject of a talk I delivered in late October at the largest industry convention for landscapers, in Louisville, Kentucky. At the beginning of my talk, I made a disclaimer. I told people that while I understood how to create breakthroughs — in other words the science and technology of it — I hadn’t created a breakthrough in my business for a long time, and that perhaps they shouldn’t listen to a word I was going to tell them, as my qualifications in delivering this talk may be in question.
Well, I delivered an excellent talk (judging by the evaluation forms), and one week later I had a pretty significant business breakthrough – I added $75,000 to my personal income, breaking me out of a rut I had been in for a long time.
So, now that I have regained my position of authority and legitimacy, let me tell you how to create a breakthrough for yourself:
First, identify the desired outcome/result. Identify what you envision vs. your current situation. Oftentimes, we have to “let go” of “our story” about the way we are (based on our past), and we need to adopt a “new story” about the way it will be (based on our future).
Second, find or develop a passion for changing.
Third, find a coach/mentor/partner to help see you through the breakthrough, and to support your new behavior/mindset until it becomes your ingrained.
Fourth, obtain new tools e.g., new products/services, a new mindset, reinvigorated passion, etc. as a catalytic mechanism.
Finally, go out to make change happen, because it won’t happen to you.
Football Coach Vince Lombardi said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”
To create your personal breakthrough, set a sight on a monster goal, but be prepared to change it. Develop and implement your strategy with your coach/mentor/partner and manage your emotional, mental, and spiritual states in order to cement the change.
You can use this breakthrough process onto any area of your life i.e., business, health, fitness, finances, spirituality, character, etc.
Breakthroughs in Business and Industry
Breakthroughs in business and industry – examples include Amazon, Uber, Airbnb and the list goes on – occur by identifying the choke points (constraints) in an industry and disrupting the conventional paradigm. Revolutionizing an industry is not for the mere mortal. But, these types of breakthroughs can have an exponential effect – think 10x – on your business.
While we can’t all be like Steve Jobs, who not only created Apple, the most valuable company in the world and one of the most well-known global brands, but transformed six industries – personal computers, animated movies, music distribution/delivery, digital publishing, phones and tablet computing. And, of course we can’t be like those in history who have created entire industries like Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, John D. Rockefeller, etc.
But, we can look for important problems that customers really have but can’t readily articulate. And, we can look for trends, like those that come from technological digitization of everything, or societal shifts like those from millennial interests and tastes. And, when we find them, we can look and ask for help from other smart thinking, innovative people who want to capitalize on these transformational trends early before the mainstream catches on.
The greatest management theorist of all time Peter F. Drucker said, “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation. Everything else is just a cost.”
I have often said, “Grow or Die!” But, now I’m thinking, “Breakthrough or Survive”.