Not IF but HOW…

Twice in just over a week I have been in the company of people who have re-enforced such a powerful lesson that I want to share with you.

The first occasion was with two friends who have served as members of the British Special Forces and they shared a few stories of operations they have been involved in. The thing that stood out for me was the fact that as they approached an operation they knew that there was nobody else coming to help them – whatever happened was down to them. This extreme ownership echoes of a book by US Navy Seals of the same name that has been one of my “go to” guides when working with leaders of teams.

The second occasion was last night – I am part of a Master Mind group hosted by my good friend Andy Hall ( On last night’s video call we heard from member of the group based in the US who again shared some insight into her world. She has some really Wildly Important Goals that she is focussed on and was seeking help and counsel to work through some of that.

What draws these two interactions together and the lesson I took that is ultimately so powerful as a thought process was their absolute focus was not on IF the outcome would happen but HOW to make it happen.

In life we often spend an inordinate amount of time worrying, hoping or planning for the things that matter to happen. We focus our energy on the possibility of it happening (and therefore by definition the possibility it won’t happen) and we don’t invest anywhere near enough time in making it happen.

What struck me most in both instances was a thought process that once you have a sense of certainty “It is going to happen” you can then focus your energy on HOW you make it happen. This is a really powerful switch in focus. It removes all opportunity for excuse and the fear of failure and just puts you in control of the outcome.

When you simply decide, come what may, this is going to happen you then can focus your world and all your resources on making it happen in the best way possible. The release from debating the IF means that you simply get on with making decisions that move the outcome closer.

To explain this shift in really simple terms imagine walking into your local supermarket. You know you are hungry, but you have not yet decided what you want to eat. You wonder around, maybe grab a few things and you might end up with a recipe or you might end up with a basket of stuff that is not really any closer to creating a meal.

Now imagine you walk into the same supermarket and you know exactly the meal you want to cook. Now your entire focus is on grabbing the ingredients that are needed to make that dish – there is no doubt there is simply a focus on doing what is needed to create that outcome. Yes, you might pick up a few tasty additional treats because your mental space if freed up to focus on possibilities because the IF has already been decided.

This is truly a powerful mental shift I encourage you to make. When you sit and think about your own life goals move from them being dreams or plans to be requirements and definitive. These goals are going to happen – all I need to work out is HOW.

It may seem obvious, but it is powerful, and you will be amazed how much it changes your thinking!

Haydn Bratt, Pioneer, Mindset Associates

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