How to succeed with this small change in focus

Alex Mathers


Growing any kind of business can be bloody hard. You will make mistakes, doubt yourself and experience setbacks.

I’ve seen all of this on the front line as an illustrator trying to make a living at it. But I’m still here to tell the tale.

If there’s one vital trait for succeeding on your own — that is to be resilient — to be able to continually pick yourself up if you fall.

I’ve seen a lot of people who decided to start their own business or write a new book or start a new painting, who simply stopped. They never completed it.

What happened?

They just couldn’t find the motivation to keep going because they weren’t seeing enough improvement, at least in their eyes.

Most people sabotage their progress by letting the insignificant become significant at the expense of winning.

Less significant things like…

  • Dealing with crap clients.
  • Trying to plan everything.
  • Worrying about money over doing things that earn more.

Succeeding is shifting your focus from the inconsequential stuff to what helps you win.

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” — Vince Lombardi

There are three parts to following a ‘winning’ philosophy:

1. Make note of your wins

Despite all the talk of needing to fail often, there are only so many failures we can take; so little progress we can see before we give up.

You will not be motivated if you do not strive for — and take note of — your wins.

Of course, you need to win in the first place, but often it’s about how you frame things. A lot of us don’t pay attention to our successes, especially the small ones.

We’re usually too focused on what isn’t working.

Whenever I remember to do so, in the last few moments before I fall asleep at night, I make a note in my mind of all the successes I’ve had during the day, including the tiny ones.

This never fails to lift me up, setting me up with good thoughts into the next day.