New Year’s resolutions are something we could all get better at. Most people start the new year with a plan. They make dramatic changes to their schedules, diets, exercise routines, and whatever else they want to improve. However, by the end of January, they burn out. The big changes they made weren’t sustainable—too much, too fast.
It’s similar in our careers. We want to be better, but don’t know where to begin. Or, we set lofty goals and align our expectations with those goals and try to do too much upfront. Again, the result is burnout and disappointment.
That’s where inspirational leaders come in.
It’s always been these people who have something incredible to say that really resonate with me, and, in turn, ignite a change. One in particular is Harvard Psychology Professor Amy Cuddy, whose TED Talk has almost 14 million views.
While her talk is about body language, there’s more under the surface. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture: the remarkable story of human transformation. How do we go from good to great? Or, rather, not good at something to a world expert by using the right attitude, determination, and willingness to fail?
“Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.” – Amy Cuddy
Amy Cuddy’s major takeaway is, “Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.” To me, that is how we make resolutions and desired changes happen. Most of us are good at what we do, but if we looked for tiny tweaks that create big impacts, think about how much better we could be.
That’s not to say don’t think big or set stretch goals because those are important. But the path to achievement lies in understanding what you want to accomplish and making simple changes along the way to get there. Mindset is one of those changes.
My Biggest “Tiny Tweak”
When I started in sales many years ago, I was certain the definition of selling was to convince the prospect to buy my product. And that view isn’t uncommon. However, after nine months, I quit. I thought I was completely “lousy” at sales. After all, I couldn’t convince hardly anyone to buy, and I didn’t really believe in the product myself.
At some point, I got ahold of a sales tape by Fred Herman, who years ago was a huge sales guru. In 30 minutes, he taught me a whole new definition of selling that enabled me to look only for those who would want to buy my product and not to pester the rest. In a few months, that philosophy turned me into a sales superstar, a #1 Sales Manager out of 70 sales managers for seven years, VP of Sales with 650 sales reps, and today considered by some as a world expert on selling. Tiny tweaks did, in fact, lead to a big change.
A friend of mine and guru in constructing and changing company culture, David Mammano, introduced me to another inspiration: Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge. In the book is an excerpt that really drives home Amy Cuddy’s brilliance.
“I could tell you that if you would agree to read ten pages of one of these good books every single day, over time, you could not help but accumulate all the knowledge you’d ever need to be as successful as you could ever want to be. Like a penny over time, reading ten pages a day would compound, just like that, and create inside you a ten-million-dollar bank of knowledge. If you kept this up for a year, you would have read 3,650 pages—the equivalent of one or two dozen books of life-transforming material. Would your life have changed? Absolutely. No question.”
The Push I’ll Always Need
The need for motivation and inspiration to make a change will never go away. That’s why we surround ourselves with people like David, and seek out incredible sources of wisdom like Amy Cuddy and Jeff Olson.
Thank you, David (and Amy), for educating me and hopefully reminding the readers of this blog that tiny tweaks can indeed create huge change. I will continue to believe that being forever in search of small things can ensure that we get better each day. It is a formula for success that has, and always will, work.
To see how I set and achieve stretch goals, check out my online Goal Setting course here.