No conversation about the power of a successful mindset, particularly in the Jamaican context, is complete without talking about Proven’s Co-Founder and CEO, Chris Williams.
Chris has achieved success time and time again. He did it as CEO of the National Commercial Bank and continues this legacy by consistently leading Proven to double-digit net profit growth in the billions. His success is so laudable that he has been nominated to receive the Observer Business Leader Award, a most prestigious honour reserved for the highest performing CEOs in Jamaica. He is a man that is not led only by his convictions, but the results he attains.
When asked what has led to his success so far, Chris chalks it up to one thing: training his mind. He believes that the mind is the most powerful tool a person has in their arsenal and it is the one thing that determines your success.
We spend in our youth, convinced that we need to be born with an innate ability to do things, and if we don’t have that ability, then that’s the end of the road for us. The truth is, there are the Usain Bolts and the Lebron James of the world, who are born with natural talent. But even if you don’t fall into that category, you can still train your mind to deliver the results you desire. In our hour-long chat, Chris shared a few specific areas to focus on to achieve just that. Let’s take a look at them.
“For everything you do, have a goal.”
Chris is a big believer in having SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) goals for every area of his life. His own goal for appearing on Digicel Business Masterclass is to beat Gary Peart’s viewing numbers from the last masterclass. Ha!
On a serious note, he encourages others to train their mind to seek success in every endeavour. Even if they don’t achieve it, they’ll get the best possible outcome by working towards something, rather than just being there for being there’s sake.
“In life, you either win or you learn. You never lose.”
Every car is built with shocks. No matter how fancy, beautiful or well-designed they are, they are built with shocks to absorb the impact of a blow. Why? Because no matter how good you are, you are still going to meet bumps along the road.
Your attitude in life is your built-in shock absorber. No matter how intelligent you are or how good you become, mistakes will happen. For whatever reason, you will not attain what you set out to achieve. When that happens, you have to be able to bounce back.
While Chris has had setbacks in life – to the point where he’s had to sell his matrimonial home to keep his business running and pay his bills – he always comes back stronger. His mindset is that he doesn’t fail, he’s just learned a valuable lesson.
“Be down to earth, practical, and frank about who you are.”
One of the key tenets of a success mindset is emotional intelligence – you must be self-aware. Being frank and honest with yourself about who you are, what your strengths and what you want to attain in life are the only way you can get there.
Once you’ve identified these strengths and weaknesses, you can determine how to handle them. One thing I’ve learned, which I shared with Chris in the session, is to “focus on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses, which can be very useful in business.
However, Chris recommends that if there are areas of weaknesses that you want to improve, particularly if they are crucial to the goals you want to achieve, then you need to take on little challenges that force you to improve on these areas.
“You can’t drive a car looking in the rearview mirror.”
What’s gone is gone. If you spend your time celebrating past successes, you never get to focus on what’s next.
Chris never allows himself to get complacent. He’s always focused on the upcoming challenge. When asked what motivates him to keep going, he says he stays motivated by his stretch goal. What’s that? Growing to the level of his previous employer, NCB.
Despite his current level of success, making 4-5 billion dollars in profit with Proven, he still has a way to go to achieve his ultimate dream – being one of the top five performers in the finance market in the region, making somewhere between 15-20 billion in profit.
He encouraged viewers to keep focusing on the future by always having a to-do list, because as the old adage says, Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”
“Don’t waste time with excuses.”
Earlier in his career, Chris remembers going to his boss, Group CEO of NCB, Patrick Hylton, to explain why he hadn’t achieved the targets they had set. In the midst of lamenting about all the reasons he failed, Mr. Hylton fell asleep. He was simply not interested. Instead, he told Chris not to waste his time giving excuses and to simply assess what went wrong, learn from it and keep moving.
That’s the philosophy Chris lives by today. He believes you must hold yourself accountable and take responsibility for your actions, and not just blame it on external factors. The only way to improve upon your previous performance is to zone in on what you did wrong and learn from it.
“Inspire and be inspired by others.”
Successful people tend to leave breadcrumbs – little nuggets of wisdom along their journey that you can use to inform your own path to success. Chris is a firm believer in following the breadcrumbs. He prefers listening to motivational speakers, because these help him train his mind.
On the flip side, he believes in giving back as much as he gets by mentoring others, and believes that mentorship can have as much of an impact on the mentor as it does on the mentee. In fact, it is from a conversation with a mentee while at NCB, who asked him why he was encouraging others to become entrepreneurs but not doing it himself, why he made the decision to start Proven.
Even though the live session is over, Chris still needs help beating Gary with views on YouTube LOL. So if you haven’t watched this episode yet, watch it here . As for Gary Peart, CEO of Mayberry Investments, here are the takeaways from that interview