I’m often asked the question, “What makes the difference between the successful and unsuccessful MSPs out there in the marketplace?”
It’s a good question. After doing this for two decades and quite literally working with, talking to and having deep involvement in thousands of IT firms, I have irrefutable evidence that success has absolutely nothing to do with age, religion, education (although the ones with degrees seem to have the most difficulty), race, geographic location or other external factors – but there ARE recurring themes.
The definition of “theme” is an idea that recurs in, or pervades, a work of art or literature – but lives have recurring themes as well. There are people who have a theme of drama, attracting disasters and problems into their lives like flies to a dead bird on a hot day. There are also people who have themes of being a “golden child,” where everything they touch or get involved in turns to gold.
As we launch into this New Year, a good question for you is this: What have been the recurring themes of your life? Even better, is it time to write a new script?
What self-talk recurs in your head? I’m tired… I’m stressed… I’m overwhelmed… I can’t find good people… I can’t get anything done. What we repeatedly say to ourselves manifests itself. What problems recur? Are your clients constantly misbehaving? Are you constantly struggling to make ends meet?
All recurring themes (outcomes) have something fueling them – a series of activities or a failure of activities that continue to produce the same output.
The person who is constantly churning romantic relationships is following a theme of behavior and decisions. That’s why I don’t hire people who have a recurring theme of job-hopping, working no more than six months to a year at any one place.
THEY are doing things to produce that repeatedly, and I can practically guarantee it won’t be any different when we hire them. Some people have themes of poverty, or themes of self-destruction when things get too good.
Of course, there are themes that are positive as well. A very abbreviated list of themes for me is hard work, ambition, and being a serious student, independent, productive and a resilient problem solver. Candidly, I also have some recurring themes that are not so great that I am working on: stress eating and biting off WAY more than I can chew are a couple.
This concept of themes also ties into the idea of systems and processes, of which I’m a proponent.
I have a process for how I plan my day, my week, my month and my year. I have a process for how we plan and conduct events. I have a process for meetings…a process for dealing with a problem employee or client. The overriding theme is maximum productivity and profit.
So, as we start a New Year, I would suggest you decide in advance what themes you want to recur and eliminate those themes that are unproductive. The first step is actually noticing them and deciding not to tolerate them anymore. So much of life comes down to this: you get what you tolerate.
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