How To Make Sure Your Thinking Isn’t Holding You Back

Hey…welcome to another edition of my PGsTips for business success.

Now they say the only certainties in life are birth, death, and taxes! In fact, the only constant that we can really rely on is CHANGE. Despite our meticulous planning, it is inevitable that unforeseen events or other circumstances will crop up occasionally and have an impact on our business. Sometimes these are positive yet sometimes they may present challenges to the status quo.

People regularly tell me that I always seem to see the positive in every situation. So, for today’s tip, I thought I’d share with you something I learnt about 20 years ago.  Let’s look at how to ensure you always have the right mental attitude to cope with each change. Let’s start by setting a standard of behaviour and drawing a line in the sand. The question to ask yourself is – am I operating above or below this line?


A good example of “Below The Line” thinking is when we perceive that something has “gone wrong”. We can be too quick to BLAME others – “It’s the government’s fault”, “It’s the change in the value of sterling”. “This supplier’s sudden price rise”, have all “messed up” my business. “I need to make business change” etc. Another below-the-line behaviour is to make EXCUSES. “I’ll miss my sales target this month due to the change in the exchange rate.”, “My internet connection was really dodgy so I didn’t finish my proposal in time”, “I can’t pay you on time as I have had a client cancel on me.”

NOTE: Do be aware of those excuses masquerading as “reasons” – a reason, more often than not, is simply a better-sounding word for an excuse!

DENIAL is not only a river in Egypt (sorry, I couldn’t resist it!) Refusal to acknowledge that the problem exists is another brilliant avoidance technique. However, as this renders us incapable of fixing the problem, it is not actually a helpful strategy!

People who regularly operate “below the line” might as well stay in BED! (Blame, Excuses, and Denial)


People who think above the line take OWNERSHIP of the problem and won’t wait for someone else to fix it. They acknowledge its existence and accept that they will work hard to overcome it. They make themselves ACCOUNTABLE for their actions and regularly test themselves against their plans to ensure that they have carried out their commitments. They also hold themselves RESPONSIBLE for the outcome of everything that happens in their business. They ensure that they obtained the right results and, if not, they go back and rework the problem, and ask for help, until they find a solution.

Anyone who regularly operate “above the line” use their OAR (Ownership, Accountability, Responsibility) to paddle quickly through challenges and steer through all unforeseen situations ensuring they always find a way of arriving at their end goal. And claim the business success they are hoping for.


Persons working “above the line” have an attitude of VICTORY phrases such as “I made this happen”, “I refused to allow this situation to derail my plans.” “Despite everything, I prevailed!” are typical of the VICTOR. In fact, many successful entrepreneurs actively enjoy solving problems as they know that overcoming an inevitable “bump in the road” takes them ever closer to achieving their goal.

Persons operating “below the line” often have the attitude of a VICTIM. “Someone else caused this”, “It always happens to me”, “I couldn’t do anything about it” are all phrases where an unfortunate situation has been imposed on the victim. They perceive, incorrectly, that they are powerless and that they had no choice; they are a victim. This is not only detrimental to their business success but also, more often than not, to their life as a whole.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have our off days and, occasionally, we do feel under the weather. However, this article is about creating and nurturing a prevailing mental attitude that will keep you positively looking for solutions at all times.


  1. Make a commitment to operate Above The Line. As well as making a mental note, write a note to yourself and pin it up on the wall, somewhere you’ll see it every morning.
  2. Then, why not buddy up with a family member, friend or business associate and agree that you will support each other and hold each other to account? Look out for positive and victorious language and congratulate each other when you spot it. We all dip occasionally, so don’t scold “below the line” language but rather suggest a positive alternative, maybe with a cheeky grin – if you turn this into a game and a bit of fun between you, it’s amazing how quickly operating above the line will turn into a habit!

Until the next time, have a great day.

Phillip Gibbs Signature

For more business change that leads to business success, advice check out my other #PGsTips Blog Posts

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