NOTE: This is a book excerpt with minor edits from Doing The Impossible: 25 Laws For Doing The Impossible by Patrick Bet-David. Many things that we take for granted today were once considered impossible. Visionaries know that what can be imagined can be achieved. Although people cross the world today in giant jetliners, one hundred years ago the Wright brothers had to first believe that human flight was possible. On May 6, 1954, Roger Banister became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. It had never been done before and was therefore considered physically impossible. But since 1954, many runners have accomplished the same feat. Roger Banister’s legacy is that he had faith that this act was possible before anyone else dared to believe. No one ever thought that Buster Douglas would beat Mike Tyson. The odds were 42:1. Prior to the sixties, no one ever thought we would land on the moon. Back when mail was delivered via the Pony Express, who could have imagined a machine that sends mail electronically in seconds? What would this world be without washing machines, cars, cameras, the Internet, cell phones, planes, televisions, or computers? Ask yourself this: What if Armageddon happened tomorrow and everything was disintegrated except for you and ten other people? There’s nothing left. How would you build a washing machine? A car? A computer? How would you create the Internet? Do you ever pause to think about that? We don’t consider what that really means, to build the Internet from scratch. It seemed impossible to most people until it was invented. Now, imagine that it is twenty years after Armageddon and you’re trying to explain to all the young people what the world was like with cars and computers and all the things that they have never seen. Would they think you’re crazy? What if they asked you to rebuild that lost technology? Rebuilding might take a long time, but at least you would get to start out knowing for sure that such technology is possible. These are all things that we need to think about to understand that nothing in this world is impossible. The only limits are the ones that we place on ourselves. Whether it was the first automobile, the idea of electricity, or the moon landing, the believer who first imagined the impossible made it possible for others to believe it and achieve it. If the impossible throughout history has become the imaginable, and then the actual, why do we think that our dreams are impossible for us to accomplish in our own lives? Are we afraid to try for fear of failure? Isn’t refusing to try the only real guarantee of failure? Remember, you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take. The first step to achieving the impossible is having the courage to attempt it. To dare, according to the dictionary, is “to have the necessary courage or boldness for something; [to] be bold enough.” Achieving the impossible is not for the timid. It is not the safe and secure road. It means taking a leap of faith, leaving your comfort zone, and risking failure for the chance of success. There will be failures on the road to greatness. Thomas Edison had thousands of failed attempts at the light bulb before inventing the one that worked. Roger Banister said his 4:03.6 mile in 1953 “made [him] realize that the four-minute mile was not out of reach.” Part of daring to achieve the impossible is letting failure motivate you rather than discourage you. Think about some of the greatest stories of triumph and courage. Why do we love movies like Braveheart, Rocky, Gladiator, and Miracle on Ice? Yes, they are all stories of achieving the impos-sible. But more importantly, we admire the courage and perseverance of heroes who have overcome tremendous challenges. We find inspiration in those who reach for the impossible, fight against overwhelming odds, and turn past failures into stepping stones on the path to success. So before you read the rest of this book, ask yourself: Do you dare to do the impossible? Most people let the fear of failure or fear of the unknown keep them from making the decision to pursue their dreams. Fear is the most destructive emotion for personal transformation. Fear thrives on the unknown. Our imaginations run wild with possible negative scenarios. By choosing to put yourself in situations where you have to face your fear, you learn that it is far easier to face reality than the endless loop of possible challenges your mind creates. The feeling of overcoming fear in turn gives you confidence to face the next challenge. Making the decision to pursue the impossible is scary at first. You will have to face your fears and throw away your excuses. Start out by believing two important things: 1. You are capable of greatness. 2. Facing your fears to realize your dreams will be the best decision you ever make.
Recently, a list of companies that have the happiest employees was circulated online. The companies were commended on their ability to promote a healthy work environment and sustain work-life balance. Pfizer came out on top with Kaiser Permanente coming in second, followed by Texas Instruments. Looking at these lists, one wonders how these companies are able to promote such a positive productive environment for their employees.
Many would think this is due to compensation packages or other related perks. But then, is work only about earning money? Is it the most important aspect when employees join a new company? What about the other factors that play an important role in building a strong bond between the employee and the organization?
- A bond that stems from mutual appreciation and respect for the value system that both parties shape together
- A bond that is dependent on many diverse factors such as recognition, open communication, and teamwork
- A bond that strengthens over time when the employee performs well
The importance of core values is illustrated by a quote from famous author and inventor, Edward de Bono: "Effectiveness without values is a tool without a purpose."
This analogy really hits home. A purposeless tool is a worthless thing and so is a company without a campus—a culture that is formed on the basis of core principles.
Core values serve to constantly guide both the employee and the company in achieving their mutual goals, in a manner that is based on an ethical and ideological framework. Every business is different, and so are their core values. Having said that, there are some principles that are alike for all, even though they may be phrased differently.
Here are four such core values every organization should have:
1. Integrity And Ethics
Simply put, the two principles of integrity and ethics translate into doing the right thing, in an honest, fair, and responsible way. Building your entire business on the foundation of honesty and integrity goes a long way toward building a strong, trusting relationship with your employees, stakeholders, and customers.
Truthful conduct on everyone's part can create a strong, credible reputation for the company in the market, which is beneficial for everyone's interests.
Without dedicated employees, a company is nothing. Period.
Committed employees form the backbone of the entire corporation. They work together with the system in order to achieve growth and profitability.
A company has a responsibility toward its employees and, if one of its core principles is showing the utmost respect to its employees, it's likely management will have a low employee turnover rate.
Respecting all employees means respecting their individual human rights and privacy, and eliminating all kinds and forms of discrimination, whether based on religion, belief, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or physical disability. Moreover, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for all employees is an important part of giving respect to them.
Many organizations across the globe adopt an attitude whereby the entire company interacts together like a close-knit family. Such an atmosphere helps boost the confidence of employees and makes them feel like an important, even indispensable, part of the organization. This inspires feelings of commitment and a drive to do even better.
3. Innovation (Not Imitation)
Companies that focus on being ahead of their competitors and introducing new ideas in the marketplace follow the principle of "innovation, not imitation." This is crucial if a company wants to be a trendsetter and introduce new products that consumers appreciate.
Employees in such companies are encouraged to be dynamic and come up with innovative ideas that can translate into successful products for the company. Constantly imitating others won't take the business far.
The thirst to constantly improve can be achieved if one is never satisfied. Organizations that have this principle as one of their core values try to provide a dynamic platform for their employees, where they can explore their creativity and skills and further enhance themselves.
While celebrating successes is an important thing, just sitting back and getting complacent over them is unacceptable for such companies. The reason why some companies habitually do well is because they know that employees are the most valuable resource.
Nothing compares to an employee who is dedicated and willing to go the extra mile. This requires a company to cultivate an environment that promotes respect and frowns upon politics. If you want to achieve this type of work environment at your company, these four core values are a great place to start.
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