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Start the year with winning expectations

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference. — Tom Brokaw

Opinion by Phillip Chichoni

When Dynamos or Manchester United players walk onto the soccer pitch, they have only one expectation: to win. And win they do, most of the time.

If there’s any big truth about life, it’s that it usually lives up to (or down to) your expectations. When you get up in the morning thinking that something wonderful will happen, you will probably be right. The same applies when you begin the New Year with great expectations.

New Year resolutions are quickly broken and forgotten because they are not backed by deep passion and desire; they are usually just cases of bad habits that one wants to drop or new ones that one feels the need to adopt.

On the contrary, success is a result of a deep desire to win with clearly defined goals. A clear goal will drive your actions; forcing you to prioritise your daily actions and doing first those things that move you closer to your highest goal and purpose in life. Just look at champion sports people; everything they do — from the food they eat, the training they do and the rest they take — it’s all aligned to their goal of winning.

Last Monday the Discovery television channel showed a whole day’s programme on the greatest inventions of the last century.

Most of the most successful inventors had two things in common; they noticed problems affecting people and decided to create solutions. they also had a selfless desire to help others without expecting much in return.

Examples include Henry Ford, who developed the mass assembly system to make motor vehicles affordable to ordinary people; Wattle, who developed the jet engine after noticing the limitations and high cost of the propeller engine on aeroplanes and Charles Strite, who invented the pop-up toaster after seeing restaurants and families serving burnt toast.

Of course, these people went on to make a lot of money after commercialising their inventions, but their main goal was to solve some pressing problems affecting many people.

They wanted to make a difference and not just a buck, a factor which distinguishes entrepreneurs from ordinary business owners and managers.

Our goal as entrepreneurs should be to make a difference in the lives of people, while also using innovation and ingenuity to build successful businesses that add value to us as the owners, our employees and our families.

This means the business has to grow in order to create real value. Businesses that do not grow are actually declining and destroying value. In the end, the owners will leave nothing for their children, their employees’ families and the world.

As we work towards achieving our goals, let us remember to plan to play for winning and not for losing or drawing. Aim to stand out among competitors this year and get out of mediocrity.

When our goals are clear and backed by passion, our daily actions will be focused on seeing them fulfilled. We will not waste time on activities that add no value or thinking of what to do. the goals will push our daily actions. Philosopher Aristotle once said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Our character, basically, is a composite of our habits. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey wrote the following maxim: “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

Habits are powerful factors in our lives. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character and produce our effectiveness or ineffectiveness. If we develop winning habits, we will definitely achieve greatness this year.

If you need help in developing your strategies and business plans in order to win, download the free resources and articles available at my newly revamped and re-loaded website shown below. And don’t forget to tell other entrepreneurs to develop winning expectations, positive attitudes are contagious. I wish you all the best in growing your business in 2013.

Plan to stay in control
Some entrepreneurs will spend the first few days of the new business year reviewing their performance of the past year and mapping fresh strategies for 2013.

That is how they stay in control of their businesses and refuse to blame factors outside their control for failure.
Instead, they know that failure comes before success and will endeavour to play better in the next game.

Those who do not plan how to win will always blame external forces and circumstances beyond their control for their underperformance. Others will wait for some things to happen first: the elections, easing of the global recession or getting a donation from the government.

Winners don’t wait, they act. Because they expect to win, they will plan and do all it takes in order to make sure they do win.

  • Phillip Chichoni is a strategic business planning consultant who works with entrepreneurs and growing businesses. You may contact him by email on, or visit

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