One of the most repeated phrases in the English language is probably, “Why can’t they run the government more like a business?” Most people think that government should handle purchases and the spending of money more like they do. Don’t spend what you don’t have.

Unlike the government, the average person in America is constrained by access to credit and income generation. Most of us live in the best place we can afford. Drive the best car we can afford. Eat the best food we can afford. But, could we be doing better, and if so, how? There are some business practices that also work pretty well in day-to-day life.

In Life, Like Business, You Adjust

If I took away everything you own, dropped you in the middle of nowhere, with only the clothes on your back  — what would happen? Within five years you would have, once again, risen back to the level you are at now. Why? Because you have traveled that road before. You know the ropes, so to speak, of how to get there.

So the question is — are you still on the journey of personal improvement or have you settled in a dead end job? As you worked your way up the experience ladder, there must have been times when it seemed you were taking one-step up and two steps down. But over time you reversed that, by learning, observing and improving both as a person and employee or business owner. Are you still doing that? Are you still adjusting?

The “Sabotage” Mentality

Some of us sabotage ourselves. We go off the diet. We know we should exercise but we don’t. But in some cases others sabotage us too, under the guise of “helping” us.  There is a very strict rule of business that says, “Never seek business advice from someone unqualified to give it.” You need to adapt the same self-talk to your life.

Never ask for help from those who can’t help you. If I want to learn to play golf I don’t look around for the best bowler. I’m not looking for unqualified support of my position, but I’m not looking for dream destruction either. If I was going to buy a house I might ask relatives about their experiences but I would also ask them about their realtor. In life and in business, always pursue the best information, from the best sources available.

Have No Fear

I had the pleasure of having coffee with one of the business professors at MSU today. He told me about meeting with some of his top students for some one-on-one conversation. His description of these students really struck a chord with me. He said they had, “No Fear.” I know when I was in college I thought I could do anything. No challenge was too much for me to overcome. Life sometimes has a way of beating that out of you — IF you allow it.

But, in life, like in business, most fear is based on two things. One, lack of knowledge and/or experience about the challenge facing you. People often find ourselves fearful of people they don’t know or circumstances they feel are out of their control. And two — unfounded fear that you don’t have what it takes to overcome that challenge. My key to facing fear is a simple anagram. FEAR – F-alse E-vidence A-ppearing R-eal. The fears we create in our own minds are almost always worse than anything life can conjuror up.

How Bad Do You Want IT??

There are whole sections of bookstores devoted entirely to motivation. “When the going gets tough — the tough get going!” “It’s never crowded on the EXTRA MILE!!” Feel inspired yet?

Slogans certainly sound good but for most people what drives them is some emotional trigger. Yes, for some it might be money and material things. But most successful people, in both life and business, have a true passion for what they do.

There is a great quote from business guru Brian Tracy, "Your success in life will be in direct proportion to what you do — after you do — what you are expected to do.”