When you ask yourself the question “What could go wrong?” does your mind go to all the bad things that could happen, or to the best possible scenario?
There are two ways to ask that question, and if you’ve been using it only to list the worst-case scenarios, you could be doing your business (and yourself) a disservice.
Hello and welcome to the final instalment in this series about success, optimism, avoiding burnout and more!
The entire article series has been taken from the Brand Builders TV episode, How to Set Yourself up for Success (Part One) with Loubna Zarrou. You may view that entire episode below, or just keep reading for the last article in this series.
What? You haven’t read articles #1 and #2? That’s easy: Just go to The Definition of Success and Work Smarter not Harder to read the foundational elements that will lead up to the helpful exercise you’ll find here.
Reintroducing Loubna Zarrou
Co-host of the Entrepreneurs Sushi Club podcast, certified and award-winning pro public speaker, strategic mentor, Women of Contribution ambassador and transformation leader, Loubna Zarrou is also an accomplished author and mentor known as The Exponential Hero.
With Loubna Zarrou, motivated entrepreneurs learn to multiply their productivity and make it fun. When you work with her, you will learn to define your unique brand of success—and then use that to work smarter, rather than harder. Ideas will be strategically implemented and you will move closer to your definition of success.
Now Loubna is going to tell us, in her own words, all about “What Could Go Wrong?”
We’re going to learn it, model it and get shit done!
Optimism is a Muscle
Optimism is one of the foundational elements of attaining success. It is a practice, so only getting this information and doing nothing won’t make a change for you. I’m committed to supporting you in facilitating that transition. That’s why participation and implementation are so important.
To get your practice of optimism started, take out your pen and paper. We’re going to play a game, making it fun so your brain doesn’t go into fight/flight/freeze mode.
As an entrepreneur, I am sure you have many projects and tasks to do. For this exercise, think about one of those projects. It might be to create an online course, write a speech or prepare for an interview. Whatever you have going on right now in your business, think about that one project.
Now think about the goals for that task. For instance, if you want to incorporate online courses into your business, your goal might be to launch those courses in two months’ time. Whatever it is for you, keep it at the forefront of your mind.
Now grab that paper or get your phone, tablet or laptop. Draw a line down the middle, so you have two columns. Thinking about that project, write all the things you can do to mess this up in the left column. This isn’t about what other people can do, but ways you can mess it up. Spend the next minute writing.
Maybe you can mess things up by sleeping too late, by procrastinating, by getting distracted, etc.
Then move to the right column. Write down everything you can do to make this project a success. You might be thinking there’s nothing you can do, but you’ve got to trust and believe that there are ways you can make this project a huge success.
An example might be hiring a VA. But it’s not about what that person will do to make it successful; it’s about what you can do.
You can come back to this list any time you want and register more things.
How Do You Interpret "What Could Go Wrong?"
Take a look at your list. What do you notice? Do you have more things written in the left or the right column? Maybe you see possibilities you hadn’t seen before. Maybe you can’t see anything and this has overwhelmed you into believing this project will never be a success.
Whatever you’re thinking and feeling right now, notice it. Take stock. Be aware of what you’re feeling because your state will determine your performance. It’s time to work on the muscle called Optimism. Be aware of where you are today in order to do that.
All the things you wrote down are things you have influence on. Someone with a pessimistic attitude toward life and world events might believe that it all happens to them. They do not believe they have influence over anything…whether that’s success or failure.
But you do have influence. All of the things you’ve written down are things you have influence over, and that’s what optimism is all about. The more you train your optimism muscle, the more you’ll be able to mobilize yourself to take action.
What Optimism Teaches Us
You might be looking at that to-do list and thinking I’m never going to be able to do this, I’m just going to give in and give up.
I don’t want you to do that because I believe you can achieve the success you want by embracing optimism.
This will not make you immune to stress or worries. It does not mean that negative things won’t happen, or that you won’t be challenged in business and in life.
What optimism teaches us is how to see what is wrong, look at the challenge and embrace it with the hope that it can turn out positively.
It’s a scientifically proven fact that optimism changes the way our minds and bodies work. It could be a healthy immune system or increased happiness and productivity. It’s that important.
Start Changing the Way you Ask, "What Could Go Wrong?"
The way you view the world affects the way you respond to it—and the way it responds to you.
If you’re finding yourself creating a smokescreen of busyness, or running around like a headless chicken trying to get it all done, then you might be losing focus. It’s time to get back to the reason you’re in business in the first place. It’s time to enjoy what you’re doing, and to have an impact with meaningful action, rather than with busy work.
I can help you to experience success without all the busyness, without the overwhelm or the burnouts. In fact, that’s my specialty.
I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook, to browse The Exponential Hero website and Facebook page, to subscribe to my YouTube channel and to peruse the selection of books I’ve authored. I hope you see that my goal—my definition of success—is to help you realise your own, and then reach it.
And do you know where else I’d like to connect? In the Brand Builders Club. It’s a place where entrepreneurs and professionals from all over the world meet to exchange feedback, ideas, experiences, hold each other accountable…and publish episodes on Brand Builders TV. You can join without obligation, so you have nothing to lose. Maybe I’ll see you there?
Until then, remember to define what success means to you, know that happiness comes before success, that optimism makes all the difference, and that we can always remind each other to stay positive, for the best possible results.
What Could Go Wrong?: A Whole New Perspective
Sammy here! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article series by Loubna Zarrou, and that you’re now thinking about all the ways you can define success, work smarter instead of harder, and focus on all the things that could go right.
Of course, please follow the links that Loubna shared above for Brand Builders TV. But I'll ask you to also consider the difference you could make with One Drop. Not sure what that means? Check out Ripple Fest for more information.
Welcome back, to the second in a series of three articles about success, optimism and strategies to help you work smarter, not harder. In this series, Loubna Zarrou, The Action Accelerator and The Exponential Hero, is teaching us that happiness comes before success, that working behind a smokescreen of busyness is only going to result in burnout, and that optimism is a main component of success (however you define that).
If you haven’t already read instalment #1, please do so at The Definition of Success, with Loubna Zarrou. Then you will have the foundation for moving into this instalment, all about how Loubna not only avoided burnout, but how she became a model for enjoying her work.
If you’d like to watch the entire Brand Builders TV episode (How to Set Yourself up for Success, Part One) from which this content has been extracted, please do so here. Or simply keep reading to experience Loubna’s wisdom in her own words.
Before we proceed, let’s learn a bit more about Loubna, and then we’ll dive right in!
More About Loubna Zarrou
Loubna Zarrou is a multi-award-winning author of numerous books, and you will find her working online as The Exponential Hero. She is a strategic mentor who is also a certified, awarded professional speaker and co-host of the Entrepreneurs Sushi Club podcast.
Loubna works with motivated entrepreneurs, teaching them to work smarter, not harder. She helps each one to define success, and to then implement their ideas strategically. Loubna Zarrou uses a number of proven strategies to teach entrepreneurs how to multiply their productivity—and have fun doing it. As a transformational leader and ambassador for Women of Contribution, she is making great strides in helping people to realise success without burning out in the process.
I’ll bet you want to hear what else Loubna has to say, so here she is, in her very own words.Let’s learn it, model it and get shit done!
Working Harder is Not the Answer
Positivity did not come naturally to me. We all have a negative device. We remember negative things better than anything else. I had to train this. I used to think the only way I could be successful is to work hard, focus on all the things that could go wrong and concentrate on those things I’m not good at.
Little did I know that would mean working really hard, giving it lots of effort, to maybe make a little bit of improvement. That was not success to me. For me, success is making a positive impact.
My "Work Smarter not Harder" Wakeup Call
I’m reminded of an event that was the biggest wakeup call in my life, many years ago. I was raised to believe that success can only be achieved through hard work. My father said to me I would have to work twice as hard because I’m a minority in this country. He said I needed to prove that I was worthy of being here.
That’s what I carried with me for many, many years. Now we know that if you keep that up, you’re likely to end up in a burnout.
My wakeup call was seeing one of my colleagues enter burnout. This person was the deputy director at one of my jobs. She was one of my mentors. I wanted to model her because I loved how she showed up and the impact she wanted to have. She had drive and energy in the work we did.
One day, the director told us she wouldn’t be coming back to the office. That was bad enough, but when he told us she’d been diagnosed with a burnout (which kept her home for nine months), it was a horror scenario for me.
I’m driven by impact and making a difference, so the idea of staying home and doing nothing for nine months to recharge and recuperate was the most horrific thing imaginable for me.
I still remember being in that moment as if it were yesterday. I decided there had to be other ways to achieve what I wanted to achieve—without sacrificing and without working so hard it would be a detriment to my health and social relationships.
My Colleague's Burnout Would not be Mine
That triggered me to discovery. I read and studied everything I could find on personal development. I experimented with different strategies and with various ways of working to achieve success (and “have it all”) as I defined it.
After much trial and error, experiments, falling and getting up again…I found myself in a new situation. On a daily basis, people noticed that I only did what I enjoyed doing. They would ask, “Why are you so relaxed? You have a deadline coming up.” Or, “You have an event happening tomorrow that you’ve organized. How can you be so relaxed?” “I’d be running around like a headless chicken.”
Well, that’s not how I want to work. That’s not how I want to show up. That’s not how I want to achieve the success I want.
People started asking me to teach them how to work like that.
You too can Work Smarter, not Harder
Have Loubna’s words struck a chord with you? They have with me. I suffered a massive burnout myself. I was working in my business every day, for too many hours, to the detriment of my relationships and my health. I had to quit in order to save myself.
I never want you to have to go through that. As motivated entrepreneurs, we tend to get sucked into “doing it all.” We think we can attain massive success by doing more. And then something comes along to teach us otherwise.
You can avoid that altogether by adhering to Loubna’s advice. You don’t have to be running around like a headless chicken in order to make a difference. In most cases, it’s far more productive to sit back, take it all in and think strategically. Often, the answer is easier than we think.
Now, for the next and final instalment in this series. Head over to What Could Go Wrong? where Loubna will take you through a quick exercise to identify those things you have control over…so you can compound your optimism and your success.
The Brand Builders Club is filled with entrepreneurs who have experienced burnout, as well as those who have some great advice for avoiding it. If you’re not already a member, you simply must visit The Brand Builders Club page and learn more about becoming a Lite Member. There’s no obligation, and no risk.
Or join a Thinkubator straight away. There, your business will get the opportunity to spend some time in the hot seat, you will gather advice and feedback, you will network and make connections, and you will learn about new strategies for building your business.
Don’t waste another minute careening toward burnout. Start learning to work smarter, not harder. You deserve better, and so do your clients.
The definition of success is a fluid, highly relative thing, and it’s dependent on one very important factor. If you’d like to learn what that is, keep on reading to experience another ground-breaking series based on a revolutionary Brand Builders TV episode by Loubna Zarrou.
As with all the Brand Builders TV series, you will have insider access to deep-dive topics, tips and wisdom, brought to you by thought leaders from within the Brand Builders Club. What you learn will move you forward with ease and flow, in all areas of life and business.
This particular three-part series has been taken directly from Loubna Zarrou’s BBTV episode, How to Set Yourself up for Success (Part One). You may choose to view the entire video here, or just keep reading to meet Loubna and experience part one of the series, written in her own words.
Meet Loubna Zarrou
Loubna Zarrou is a strategic mentor working with action-driven entrepreneurs on a mission to work smarter and positively impact lives. Known as The Action Accelerator and The Exponential Hero, she is helping entrepreneurs to uncover their definition of success, then take their ideas and implement them strategically.
A multi-award-winning certified professional speaker, international bestselling author, co-host of the Entrepreneurs Sushi Club podcast, Women of Contribution Ambassador and transformational leader, Loubna Zarrou is helping entrepreneurs to lift the smokescreen of busyness. Through her proven strategies, Loubna is teaching them to double productivity whilst having fun.
So without further ado, let’s hear what Loubna has to say about the definition of success, in her own words.Let’s learn it, model it and get shit done!
What is Your Definition of Success?
Hello and welcome! My name is Loubna, and I have a question for you.
How do you feel at the end of the day when you look at your to-do list? Do you feel you haven’t made any progress, frustrated because you didn’t get to do what you set out to get done that day?
You’re probably already feeling very tired, but the only way you’re going to get anything done is to work more and longer—at least that’s what you think.
Maybe the thought of “success is not for me” has crossed your mind. I’m here to tell you that you’re not the only one. Loads of people think that to be successful you need to work longer and harder.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: you don’t have to.
I mentor entrepreneurs to gain clarity, focus and momentum with lightening speed. I’m passionate about busting the myth that hard work is the only way to gain success. Working harder and longer only leads to fatigue, prolonged stress and other nasty, negative things. We don’t want that.
In this series, I’m going to share with you some of the foundational elements to set yourself up for success. These elements are rooted in science and have been part of my daily practice for many, many years.
For you to get the most of our time together, make sure you have pen and paper ready…and participate! Because the more you participate, the more you’ll get out of this training.
It All Starts with Your Definition of Success
How to set yourself up for success? It starts with a very important question: What does success mean to you?
If you don’t know what success is, then how can you know when you achieve it? It might mean always doing your best. It might mean achieving anything you set your mind to. Or maybe it’s learning something new every day. I also know people who define success as making a lot of money.
Whatever success means to you, take out your pen and paper and write it down, so you’ll have it at the front of your mind as we go through this training.
Think about something you’ve gone through. It should be a moment that was very difficult for you. Think about how you felt and what you experienced in that moment. Your state of mind is very important in terms of impact on how you work and the quality of the work you produce.
Think back to that moment when you felt anxious, frustrated or overwhelmed. Did you get a lot done in that state? Probably not, because when you experience negative emotions and feelings, the part of your brain called the amygdala takes over. That’s the part in the back of your head, and it regulates your fight/flight/freeze response.
When the amygdala is activated, you have less access to other parts of your brain. More specifically, less access to the prefrontal cortex, or the CEO of your brain, responsible for planning, memory and problem-solving.
Negativity grasps attention and resources—resources you need to use for the things you want to work on. The state we’re in is really important.
Happiness is Success
One of the things I learned years ago whilst studying the science of happiness is that we are successful when we feel happy. Not the other way around (happy when we feel successful), which is something that society has believed for a very long time.
If we are more hopeful, resilient, optimistic…we’re more likely to tackle any challenge, task or to-do list.
Who do you think will be more likely to achieve success? A pessimist? Or an optimist?
And what do you think about being a pessimist or an optimist? Do you think it’s fixed—that you’re born a certain way and you have to deal with it? Or is it changeable? Can you be taught to be more optimistic?
There is no right or wrong answer. This is just about what you believe at this moment in time.
The good news is that optimism is learnable. It’s not fixed at all. We can become more optimistic. It is something we can train.
What is Optimism?
You might be wondering how do we interpret optimism? Most people I talk to believe it’s about thinking the glass is half-full instead of half-empty.
Yes, but, if we look at it from a scientific perspective, optimism is about how we interpret the world, events and what happens in our surroundings. That is the perspective I want you to take on for our time together.
Grab your pen and paper again.
To what extent are you currently confident that you can apply optimism in your business? Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10. Think about that.
Optimism is not a fixed state. It’s more of a strategy; an outlook you can learn to enhance, whether in life or business.
We can do this by challenging our automatic negative thoughts. Every one of us has anywhere from 60,000 to 90,000 thoughts a day. The majority of those thoughts are negative.
Also, they are, for the most part, the same thoughts we had yesterday.
It’s good that these thoughts are automatic because you don’t want to have to relearn how to drive your car or breathe every day. That would take up too much of our brains’ resources.
So there’s a positive side to these automatic thoughts. But many of those automatic negative thoughts are keeping you stuck, where you are today. If you want to achieve success (however you define it), you need to change. You need to challenge some of these negative thoughts.
Optimism is essentially a mindset. The way we think and choose to give attention to our thoughts decides how positivity shows up in our lives.
Reaching Your Definition of Success
Wow! Just reading Loubna’s words makes me feel more optimistic in this moment. How about you? Are you starting to see circumstances in a different light?
This is just the beginning—it only gets better. Next, Loubna is going to talk about her wake-up call and how she avoided burnout in Work Smarter not Harder.
So join us, won’t you?
And if you want more of this type of advice, please do subscribe to the Brand Builders TV YouTube channel for many, many more episodes from experts within the Brand Builders Club. And if you like and follow the Brand Builders TV Facebook page, you can stay up-to-date on what’s coming next so you can participate live!