I am a big believer of successful people using their platform to encourage and inspire others and to help build up others, especially more leaders. One question my former students, parents, and professionals in general always ask me is what my suggested recipe or blueprint for success is. Honestly, I can give you 40 or even 100 steps I and some amazing mentors and trailblazers I look up to follow to strive daily toward success, but there is no such thing as cookie cutter success. What works for one person may not work just as seamlessly for the next person. Although we will all take our own paths, find our own way, and create our own story, there are some facts of life that I do try to instill in those I mentor and now I am sharing them with you. No, it’s not an exact “method” of success, but I guarantee you if you embrace these 5 keys of success and back it up with a strong work ethic and willingness to always learn you will be a force to be reckoned with.
You will become what you think. I cannot stress enough that if you don’t think you are worthy of winning and being successful, and if you don’t see your vision coming into fruition, it simply won’t. Henry Ford’s quote, “Whether you believe you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,” is spot on here! You must know in your mind and spirit that you have the ability to become who you desire to be. Yes, success is a mindset. Once you deem yourself worthy and think success you will begin winning. A successful mindset will cause you to shun negativity, walk in positivity, and compel greatness to come to you. Having a focused mental awareness of your potential and path is the first step to preparing yourself for the prosperous realities that are coming your way.
I know my push for continued education is no secret at this point! However, I want to encourage you to think beyond the classroom and seek real life experiences and diligently seek to learn everything about your field that you possibly can. Learning comes in all forms, formal and non-formal. I will never put down a strong work ethic, but I firmly believe that tired, overworked, non-strategical professionals struggle to put their best foot forward. WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER. The more you know, the more effective leader and doer you will be. Yes, you are brilliant already, but truly successful people are humble enough to never shut the door on gaining more knowledge from a variety of sources to best continue doing what they love and moving in purpose. Pour into YOU! If you want an insurance policy on your success read more, study more, seek mentors, and surround yourself with a team who challenges you because they have skill sets you don’t.
Some people never succeed because fear holds them back. What if I fail? What if I run out of money? What if I receive horrible reviews? What if I let my team down? What if my product is not good enough? What will others think of this venture? These are just a few questions that bombard your mind when you subscribe to fear. I get it! But, if you’re going to bet on anyone or anything, shouldn’t you bet on yourself? All businesses, books, career elevation, projects, products, services, etc require taking a risk. They all have the potential to fail. In fact, many super wealthy and super successful business owners and CEOs will tell you that they have failed dozens of times. I know I have – MANY times! Even when making a calculated risk after running all the numbers, understanding all of the variables, choosing the best team, and providing your best work you can still fail or have an outcome that does not reach your high expectations. You will fail, you will make mistakes, and you will learn. And, through it all, most importantly, you will grow! Each upset will make you smarter, more polished, more efficient, and braver with a thicker skin. As uncomfortable as failure is it sharpens you as a professional and makes you a better leader. Again, trust me, I am living it! But, the leader I am now is super-charged and unstoppable because of my many risks! TAKE YOUR RISKS. Plural. If you have 25 ideas the one that sounds the most difficult to achieve and maybe even unrealistic could be the one that changes your entire life. Success is not a destination, it truly is a journey and that journey should be full of taking risks and leaps of faith.
Decide Don’t Delay
The best leaders know how to make good decisions with a sense of urgency. None of us want to be rushed into deciding important matters, but sometimes when a window of opportunity opens up it has a time limit. And, tomorrow is not promised so today matters! Some people lack success because they always have excuses for why they can’t act now. Raising children, family issues, economic trends, available resources, and uncertain outcomes are all valid reasons to be concerned but they are not reasons that justify stalling as from experience all successful individuals will tell you the timing will never be just right. So, when you have to choose a new hire, shake up an existing team, invest, propose, partner, mold, create or whatever is required of you to do to reach your desires-JUST DO IT! Move with a purpose, decide with confidence, and implement with passion.
Perhaps one of the most important keys to success is the ability to persist. Success is not easy; it is literally a roller coaster. If you can’t persist when times get tough, your success will never come, or it will be short lived. When life throws you a curve ball and your vision is in jeopardy persist by:
Asking for help: Bring in someone who is better equipped to handle the situation that you are struggling with and learn;
Trying and trying again: Get back up as this could be a trial and error moment. Keep adjusting and adapting until it works; and
Moving on: When one door closes, another one will open! If one aspect of your plan continuously fails don’t shut down your entire operation. Ascertain what works and find other ways to thrive and still reach your end goal.
While some may wish there was some magical list of steps to success that was guaranteed, successful people and leaders don’t. Through the ride of life, those experiences, both good and bad, mold us! And, we all have to find our way and because success is a journey I am still creating my own path as well. My thoughts, my willingness to learn, my fearless attitude, willingness to move, and my perseverance have definitely proven to be contributing factors to my success story! Determine the factors in your story!
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” - Lao Tzu