What Is Your Magnificent Obsession?

There’s something about this time of year that has the effect of refocusing our attention on our business goals, and planning our actions for the year ahead.

For most of us, that means identifying the skills, training, and tools we’ll need, and how we’ll acquire them.

We assume that if we learn new business skills, we’ll be able to apply them profitably. And we go in search of a suitable teacher.

Trouble is, many of us don’t need any more “how to” information to succeed online in 2017. What we really need is “why do” information.

Allow me to explain …

Have you ever encountered these people who seem to be locked in preparation mode – constantly training, learning, trying different things, getting ready to play in the real world – looking forward to that fine day when they’ll have what it takes to succeed?

Maybe you’re one of them …

Each time you tentatively dip your toe in some business venture – along comes some new online marketing strategy or system (complete with home study course) that supposedly changes everything.

Whatever you happen to be doing suddenly seems wrong. So you go back to the drawing board, and head off in another direction.

If that’s you, perhaps you need to be thinking more about why you’re doing what you’re doing than how you’re doing it.

Success Is Not So Much a Question of Knowledge and Skills and Tools, As It Is a Question of Courage, and Conviction, and Faith …

Is it possible, the question “How do I do it?” is an indirect expression of your doubts, fears and insecurities about the goals you’ve chosen to pursue, rather than a true desire to know?

Do you really believe that if you simply follow the visible footsteps someone else took to achieve a certain goal, you’re guaranteed to duplicate their success?

What you don’t see is the internal demons the person who went before you overcame, and which you’ll need to overcome as well. The first time you encounter them, and don’t find an answer to them in the “how to” manual, you’re lost. You’ve embarked on a journey toward someone else’s goal. How could you not have if you expect each step to be known before the journey begins?

When the going gets tough, as it inevitably will – when reality fails to fit neatly into the theoretical world of “how to” information – what then? What reason do you have to stretch yourself into uncharted waters to find the answers you need?

The Profit Motive Alone Is Not Enough to Give You the Energy, Determination, and Creativity You Need to Succeed…

I believe you were put on this earth for a purpose. Inside you are unique talents, and unique ways of expressing them. And there are unique needs that you can fill better than anyone else.

When you surrender yourself to this realization, everything changes. Work becomes play … an end in itself – a magnificent obsession – and no challenge can rob you of your enthusiasm.


Where before, you found yourself on a constant merry-go-round of insecurity … paralyzed by feelings of inadequacy … compelled to remain perpetually “in school” before pursuing your dreams … approaching them tentatively … now you boldly push forward with affirmative actions that take you unfailingly toward your goals. Failure is no longer an option. It’s impossible for you to entertain. And you become unstoppable!

When you’re one of the few people on this planet able to tap into your magnificent obsession, you’re immediately qualified for unbridled success. You instantly graduate from the imitative to the creative. You no longer need to look outside of yourself for validation.

So How Do You Find and Harness Your Magnificent Obsession?

The first step is to get totally clear on the reasoning behind your actions. This demands silence, solitude, and some honest soul searching. It means tearing off your social mask for a little while, and directing your attention inward.

Only then will you get a true sense of how important the “whys” of your business really are. All worthwhile endeavors demand struggle. The best way to prevail against your competitors is to have stronger “whys” than they do. As Nietzsche said, “He who has a strong enough why can endure any how”. This applies to business as well.


So ask yourself honestly  …

Why did I start doing what I’m doing? Why am I still doing what I’m doing? And why should I keep doing what I’m doing? These questions can be applied to all aspects of your business: to marketing, to product development, to customer service – or to your business as a whole.

When you get clear on the answers, they can empower you … energize you … magnetize your very being. When they do, there’s no barrier that can stand between you and the achievement of your life’s purpose. It becomes your magnificent obsession.

Of course, you may discover your “whys” leave you cold and uninspired. That’s OK. It happens. The sooner you get in touch with that the better. And the sooner you can make the necessary changes.

Let me give you a real world example of the power of this idea …

The Secret Weapon Behind One of the World’s Most Profitable and Successful Businesses …

Johnson & Johnson is one of the most consistently profitable companies on earth, but take a look at its guiding principles to see where the profit motive falls on its list of priorities.


We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses, and patients, to mothers and all others who use our products and services. In meeting their needs everything we do must be of high quality. We must constantly strive to reduce our costs in order to maintain reasonable prices. Customers’ orders must be serviced promptly and accurately. Our suppliers and distributors must have an opportunity to make a profit.

We are responsible to our employees, the men and women who work with us throughout the world. Everyone must be considered as an individual. We must respect their dignity and recognize their merit. They must have a sense of security in their jobs. Compensation must be fair and adequate, and working conditions clean, orderly and safe. Employees must feel free to make suggestions and complaints.

There must be equal opportunity for employment, development and advancement for those qualified. We must provide competent management, and their actions must be just and ethical.

We are responsible for the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well. We must be good citizens – support good works and charities, and bear our fair share of taxes. We must encourage civic improvements and better health and education. We must maintain in good order the property we are privileged to use, protecting the environment and natural resources.

Our final responsibility is to our stockholders. Business must make a sound profit. We must experiment with new ideas. Research must be carried on, innovative ideas developed and mistakes paid for. New equipment must be purchased, new facilities provided, and new products launched. Reserves must be credited to provide for adverse times. When we operate according to these principles, the stockholders should realize a fair return.

– General Robert Wood Johnson


Do you think this careful attention to why they do things the way they do them had anything to do with J&J’s handling of the Tylenol crisis in the 80s?

Even though it was clear the company was not at fault when 6 people died of cyanide poisoning after ingesting Tylenol capsules that had been tampered with, J&J took immediate responsibility.

The company recalled the product – pulling 31 million bottles off drug store shelves at a cost of $100 million – and addressed the problem head on by introducing tamper-proof packaging at untold additional expense.

It would have been very easy for J&J to do what most companies do when faced with a crisis of reputation — simply launch a PR campaign defending it. They could have saved $100 million by doing so.

Nobody knows what the outcome would have been if J&J had taken that route. But what we do know is that when they stayed focused on the most important reasons why its founding fathers established the business, sales of Tylenol bounced back … J&J’s share price ballooned in the years following the crisis  … and the company enjoys an unusual and enduring position of trust in the hearts and minds of consumers to this day.

I don’t think you can put a price on that. Especially today, when most businesses are fixated on how they can profit … and oblivious as to why they should.

What do you think?

What’s the bigger key to success, “how you do something” or “why you do it”?

Until next time, Good Selling!