How to Eliminate the Word FAIL From Your Vocabulary

Do you ever wonder why some people succeed at almost every challenge they take on, while others never seem to be able to get out of the starting blocks?

There are four major reasons why people FAIL – and they very neatly spell out the word itself.

  • The F in FAIL stands for lacking Focus.

Your chances of success are magnified exponentially if you have the ability to focus. Yet, in research we undertook a couple of years ago, we found that focus was the trait most online entrepreneurs struggled with.

It’s like watching a movie on TV. If you give it your undivided attention, you’ll be able to follow the plot, understand the characters, and ultimately enjoy the film. If, on the other hand, you keep jumping up to talk to your pals on the phone, cook a meal, or clean the room, you’re likely to miss some important things that are happening on screen. And it is highly likely that once you’ve lost track of what’s going on, you’ll reach for the remote and watch something else instead.

It’s not that the film wasn’t good. It might have been a real blockbuster. But if you don’t focus, one of two things – or both – will happen. You’ll lose the plot and/or you’ll simply lose interest.

The same is true in business.

Dwaine was a waiter in a popular New York deli. He had been trying to launch his online business for three years, but was making less from that part-time business in a month than he was making in tips in a single day.

After reading Focus: The Real Reason for the Failure of Online Businesses, he put into practice some of the advice in the book and saw an amazing change in his productivity. Within two months, he had reduced the number of hours he was working on his part-time business – yet the profits had grown tenfold. And that trend continued. After 11 months, Dwaine quit his day job to concentrate all his energies on his business.

“The mistake I was making was obvious,” says Dwaine. “I was spending lots of time on my new business, but I wasn’t focusing. I was just playing with it. Once I learned how to focus, everything changed overnight. The transformation was amazing. My only regret is that I didn’t learn how to focus sooner.”

  • The A in FAIL stands for not taking Action.

You may have dreams of success, but unless you take action it is unlikely that anything will ever come of those dreams.

Nearly 90 years ago, Frederick Terman, a Stanford professor, had a dream. He wanted to create a thriving industrial region with the University as its epicenter.

Few bought into his crazy vision, but he didn’t let that prevent him from taking action. Every year, he would take his students on field trips – to San Francisco to see the pioneering work being done by Philco Farnsworth with television or to Redwood City where Charlie Litton was working with vacuum tubes.

Professor Terman’s passion rubbed off on two of his students. A few years after they graduated, he helped them set up a business in a one-car garage. He even provided them with an idea for their first product. Within a few weeks, they’d made their first sale to Disney.

That fledgling company grew at a massive rate over the next few decades, and is now a household name: Hewlett-Packard.

If it hadn’t been for the action taken by Professor Terman back in the 1920s and 30s, it is safe to say that Hewlett-Packard would not exist, and that Palo Alto would not be the hotbed of technological innovation that it is today.

The professor had a dream, and he took that extra crucial step. He took action!

  • The I in FAIL stands for not seeking out Ideas.

Without ideas, you’re at a creative standstill. This is particularly true when it comes to business.

Luckily, there are some terrific sources for ideas – and you’re reading one right now. The ETR daily newsletter not only gives you a dose of positive motivation each day, it also provides you with a non-stop flow of great ideas to pursue.

But remember the A in FAIL. Because even with the best ideas, nothing happens if you don’t act on them.

  • Finally, we come to the L in FAIL – which stands for not having Longevity.

You need to be willing to pursue your good ideas over the long term, and not just give up when you hit the first hurdle. This is true whether your goal is to start a business, get fit, or make any other meaningful changes in your life. If you don’t have staying power, your dreams are likely to fall by the wayside before they come to fruition.

So whenever you feel like failure is staring you in the face, think of the word FAIL itself, and remember what each of those four letters represents: lacking Focus, not taking Action, not seeking out great Ideas, and not having Longevity.

Here’s to completely eliminating FAIL from your vocabulary so you can succeed at almost anything you set your mind to.

[Ed. Note: Online marketing expert Paul Smithson is the creator of the XSitePro website-building program.]

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Paul Smithson

Paul Smithson is the founder of Intellimon and the driving force behind the best-selling XSitePro web site development tool, and the soon to be released XHeaderPro. Since graduating in Business Strategy and Direct Marketing from two of Europe's leading business schools, Paul has set up five multi-million dollar companies, one of which is now owned by the BBC. His areas of expertise include business strategy, e-commerce, on-line and off-line marketing, software development, and maximizing the potential of on-line businesses.