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frame of referenceRecently my family were eating dinner while watching Biggest Loser Australia  (actually, we were eating pizza for dinner while watching Biggest Loser, which feels rather naughty, us eating pizza while watching them sweat off the kilos).  On Biggest Loser, Shannan Ponton (Blue Trainer) was talking about one of the men, Craig, who had been struggling during a team challenge to pull a train.

Craig had been putting in everything he had, trying as hard as he could, and he fell over.  Got back up and kept going, only to fall again.  And get up again.  Shannan said “I was amazed.  Craig just kept on getting up and trying again.  He has no frame of reference for success, in the past he’s always given up.”

Often, it’s the same in business. We have no frame of reference for success.  We don’t know what it is, how it feels or even how to do success.

Frame of Reference?  What’s that?

First of all, what is a ‘Frame of Reference’?  Put very simply, it’s having a past experience for what you’re doing now.  You’ve done it before, you can do it again.  Your mind remembers what it feels like and knows it.  If you have no frame of reference then you’re in the dark, you’re doing the unknown.

Sure, we all have to do something for the first time.  Usually we have some form of frame of reference, even if it’s just seeing someone else do it and copying them.  With something as intangible as ‘success’ though, you can’t see it.  You don’t see the mental strength and tenacity that is required to keep getting up and trying again.

Same frame, different story

Depending on your background, you may have a frame of reference in a different field or endeavour, where you can draw on those resources.  “I did this with X and never gave up; I can do that with Y”.

In Craig’s case, he had never kept going like this, in the face of repeated difficulties.  What is so amazing is that he had his mind set so firmly on the end goal – pulling that train over the line – that he created his own frame of reference.

Maybe he drew it from someone else; maybe he drew on a childhood experience.  We don’t know.  What we do know is that a man who had never before kept pushing on in the face of repeated struggles was able to find the mental strength and sheer guts to keep on getting up.

Ok, so you’re not pulling a train

Well, maybe you are.  Maybe your business feels like you’re trying to pull a train.  Or at least about as impossible.  You’ve never done this before.  Never marketed.  Never had to collect late payments.  Never had to build a website, send out sales emails, do bookkeeping or find a wholesaler.

There was a time you didn’t know how to walk either.  And you had absolutely no frame of reference for being independently mobile.

When you were a baby, you didn’t know what it felt like to be able to move yourself.  To pick up one foot after another and walk.  You tried what you didn’t know.  Because you saw other people doing it.  You copied; you used their frame of reference.

You’ve got what it takes

You have some form of a frame of reference in business.  It’s quite possibly not related to business.  So what?  It doesn’t matter.

Have you ever tried something new and succeeded?  Then you have a frame of reference for successfully learning new things.

Have you ever in your life tried something, failed, and tried again until you succeeded?  Yes?  Then you have a frame of reference for determination and success.

What frame of reference do you need?

What are you struggling with right now?  Not the specifics of the issue, but the thinking behind it.  When have you had to do this before and succeeded?

Grab hold of that frame of reference and use it.  You’ve done it before, you can do it again.

Craig did it.  You can too.