Anonymous Distributor

Anne Mulcahy, former chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corporation, recently shared the following business advice, which I think you’ll really enjoy: “1) Don’t waste precious time fretting about things over which you have no control. 2) Delegate the easy stuff and hold on to those things that are challenging and difficult because that is how you grow. 3) Learn from the mistakes of others, because you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself. 4) Get out of your office. Henry Ford was once asked why he made a habit of visiting his executives when problems arose rather than inviting them to his own office. ‘I go to them to save time,’ Ford explained, ‘and besides, I’ve found I can leave their office a lot quicker than I can get them to leave mine.’” And my favorite, “5) Open your ears and close your mouth. Remember, the only thing that can come out of your mouth is something you already know. Shut up and learn.”


Harvey Mackay tells this story about Mulcahy when she was asked by Fortune magazine what was the best advice she had ever received in business. She said, “It occurred at a breakfast meeting in Dallas, to which she had invited a group of business leaders.”

Mackay continued, “One of them, a plainspoken, self-made, streetwise guy, came up to Mulcahy and said: ‘When everything gets really complicated and you feel overwhelmed, think about it this way. You gotta do three things. First, get the cow out of the ditch. Second, find out how the cow got into the ditch. Third, make sure you do whatever it takes so the cow doesn’t go back into the ditch again.’” If you break that thought process down, it covers just about any situation you can think of. Think about it.


We all admire elite athletes, for many different reasons. Dr. David Yukelson from Penn State University recently published a list of key characteristics associated with mentally tough elite athletes. The attributes Yukelson describes also work well for business people, no matter what business they are in. Yukelson’s four attributes are:

“Self-belief — Having an unshakable belief in one’s ability to achieve competitive goals.
Motivated — Having an insatiable desire and internalized motivation to succeed.
Focused — Remain fully focused on the task at hand in the face of distraction.
Composed/handle pressure — Ability to regain psychological control and thrive on pressure.”

These are not easy attributes for anyone to attain. That’s why not everyone is an elite athlete. But a little practice on your part will help you be better prepared to take on the challenges that constantly arise in your own business.


There is a poem called “The Victor” about mind over matter (i.e. mental toughness), often attributed to C.W. Longenecker. What does “mental toughness” mean? Harvey Mackay defines it as: “Conditioning your mind to think confidently and being able to overcome frustration.” Some people believe that mental conditioning is as important as physical conditioning. We’ve all seen a team “rise to the occasion” and win a game that no one gave it a chance of winning. We point to our forehead and say it was “mind over matter.” A win that came about because one team believed more than the other that it could win the game. And it did. So can you. But only if you believe. Longenecker’s poem “The Victor” follows:

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win but think you can’t, it’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.
For out in the world we find success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before you ever can win the prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can!


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