Several years ago I was appointed Chief Pilot for a freight airline. We were incurring a high rate of “ramp strikes” – propellers or wing tips striking something on the ramp. Damage! Delays – a mortal sin in the freight business! Management’s patience was wearing thin!

In discussions with many pilots I detected a mindset of “Trying not to make mistakes”. This amounts to focusing on failure rather than success. Gradually we were able to help them shift their thinking. When they focused on a successful result of each mission performance improved dramatically!

Marcel Schwantes is a regular contributor to Inc. magazine. Recently he posted this wonderful brief article featuring the legendary Steve Jobs. As you know, Jobs founded Apple and was arguably one of the most successful businessmen in the world.

Did he get there by doing everything right? Hardly! Steve jobs failed more times than most people try. He attributes his success to his willingness to try. Put a new product on the market. Ask for the order. Ask for someone’s help. In the linked brief interview (1:42) Jobs describes asking for Bill Hewlett’s help when he was 12 years old.

Similarly Micky Mantle, one of baseball’s highest scorers, struck out more times than most players swing the bat. Why did he succeed? Because he swung the bat!

So step up! Ask the question! Swing the bat! Start a business! Take action! Most importantly, believe you’ll succeed! Sometimes you won’t – ask, swing, start again. A famous Japanese proverb: “Fall down 7 times, stand up 8!”.

My friend, coach and mentor Eric Lofholm asks nearly every day, “Are you taking enough action?” That’s a great “gut check”. Sometimes my answer has to be, “No I’m not”!

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