You read in a lot of places that success is really all just about wanting it, about working hard, and that anyone can do it. That all sounds a bit too good to be true right? And it is not very concrete as an instruction either is it? You are looking for something concrete and simple you can follow that will lead you to the kind of success you have dreamed about. You want a step by step pattern of what to do in order to be rich, famous, happily married or all of those things – not just a little bit of moral support and encouragement.
However the sad truth is that you are just not going to find that. The reason for this being that everyone measures success differently. I can not tell you how to be successful in a step by step guide as I do not know what your career is or your goal is. For me the secrets to success in the gym have always been to push myself beyond failure at every opportunity, to throw technique out of the window if it means I can do more reps, and to make sure that every set leaves me hurting. However if I told you that was the secret to success and you were a dentist trying to prevent your divorce these things probably would not do you much good. Even if you happened to be a bodybuilder and that was relevant, then you might find that what worked for me does not necessarily work for you and you are better off using good technique and form and stopping before failure.
And all that motivation stuff does work and is true. The main secret to success is simply to turn it up a gear, to get really focussed, and to put fear to one side. To do this though you will need a plan that’s unique to you, your situation and your ambitions. First then, decide what it is that you want to achieve in your life and what you want to achieve right now. Next – and this is possibly one of the biggest secrets – devote some quite time to thinking about how to go about achieving it. That means shutting yourself away for an hour or a whole day or however long it takes, and coming up with a plan or a strategy. Only you can do this, but you need to think about the things that are actually stopping you from achieving that aim and figure how to get around them. Identifying your goals, then creating a detailed plan on how to achieve them, then following through; those are the strategies that all successful people need to use, regardless of their goals.
Firstly look at your current situation and think about how you want to improve it. Are you looking to get the girl/guy or get the promotion? If it is the former then all you genuinely need is planning and then the guts to go through with it. Maybe you need to reinvent yourself, maybe you need to get them alone, maybe you need to develop a friendship first. This is just planning followed by drive and motivation.
But let’s assume you want to succeed in your career, as that’s the area that a lot of people really do want to succeed in. Now take yourself to one side to do your thinking and planning as we discussed. Here you need to think about your current job and whether it can take you where you want to go. Does it have the right progression opportunities? And then – how can you begin to progress that way?
The answer to this will probably be a lot of hard work. So you need to ask yourself, are you willing to take the time and effort to do the hard work and to put in the years necessary to climb to the top of your corporation? At the same time, is that the position that appeals most to you in the world? And it needs to be the one that appeals to you the most otherwise you’ll be rich but not truly successful. Imagine your dream job, and if it is not in the industry you are currently in – you need leave your job. It sounds harsh but the truly successful people do not limit themselves. That’s their other habit – complete self belief and incredible ambition. Look at Arnie – not content with being Mr Olympia multiple times in a row, or with being the highest paid actor of his time, he then had to go and become the governor of one of the most influential states in the whole world. So that means you do not have to stay at a Supermarket firm – even if you do end up as the manager of several stores or the head of HR. It is not really successful in the same way.
And the other strategy of successful people is relevant here – which is to do something they love. In other words, if you have always loved painting then try to pursue becoming a painter rather than going after another profession. And do not only love your profession, but feel passionate about it. The reason for this is not only that you will obviously enjoy your toil more, but also because it will mean that you work much harder as a result. If you are really doing the right job, then at the end of the day when you stop working on it you’ll be at a loss for what to do and will probably want to go back work in your spare time. ‘Do something you truly love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. Successful people then feel passionately about what they do.
But of course you might be scared to quit your current job and give up and you might see this as a risk. What if you can not find another job? Well the solution of course is to look for other jobs, or start your own business whichever suits you better, while at work. You do not need to give up your work just so long as you have the motivation and commitment to really go for your new plan (remember successful people stick to their plans). This still might seem a bit scary to you as you’ll still eventually be giving up a job and people do not really like change. However you need to be aware that successful people take risks. Without risks you’ll have no returns, so do not be held back by fear. See it as a challenge and failure as a learning curve – your family and those who depend on you should support you in this.
What was that about starting your own business? Well there is a good chance that what you want to do might not even exist yet as an industry (now you are being ambitious!) and there is also a good chance that if it does it’ll be highly competitive and take a long time for you to get anywhere with. The answer in these scenarios then is to set up your own business and to start making money as an entrepreneur. This is true success too as you’ll be starting from scratch and building an empire while doing it exactly the way you want to create your vision. At the same time this will give you all of the profit so that you’re not essentially coming up with great ideas for someone else to benefit from. Here’s the next strategy of a successful person then – to make their own opportunities and go it alone when necessary. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come along, change your circumstances yourself so that the opportunity is there.
That does not mean you completely disregard other people though. You still need other people in order to truly build an empire and in order to learn from those with more experience. So don’t shun the advice of others and leap head first into business on your own. Instead learn from the best in the field, learn from other established parties, listen to your friends and enlist the help of others. Surround yourself with success then and some should rub off on you. For example then you might want to get experience working for a company that operates in your industry. Offer to shadow for free for a week or something and look at how they operate. Think about how they could be better and take these things on board. Then read the biographies of people who have been majorly successful that inspire you. Next tell your friends and family and ask for their advice (you want honest but positive people, don’t spend too much time with negative or ‘toxic’ influences). Then make a note of talented and skilled people you meet – you might one day want to hire them or work with them. Network with people in other companies and enter joint ventures and cross promotion and find other ways you can help each other. If you enjoy an experience working with someone and find it useful, then never let yourself lose their contact details.
But in order to get your new business venture off the ground initially and to get it to the point where you can start entering into joint ventures and partnerships you’ll already need to be fairly successful. In order for your actual business plan to work you need to have something to offer that can not be found elsewhere. You need to find a cheaper way to supply the product or service, think of a new product, service or investment or just do it the best. In other words you need to be creative and you need to be either the original or the best.
This is the part that people will find difficult – coming up with that initial killer idea, and obviously it is not something you can just cause to happen on demand. Everyone wants a brilliant idea that they can use to be successful but they don’t make proactive plans to make it happen. If you commit serious time to coming up with a business plan in your chosen field – over the course of days or a week – then you should be able to come up with something concrete and workable whoever you are. Getting the recommended experience can help this too. And if you don’t? Start the normal business first, and then tweak it as you go – the killer idea or thing that sets you apart will come later.
Finally you need to believe in yourself. Yes it is the ‘abstract’ advice again, but at the end of the day it is absolutely integral to your success. If you believe in yourself and genuinely believe you’ll be successful it will change how you hold yourself, what you wear and how confident you come across which people will automatically notice. You’ll attract other people to you who are confident (like attracts like) and have the same focus on success and you’ll rub off on each other. And if you genuinely believe in your own success then you’ll be more likely to devote the time to your plan, to feel more passionately, and to take the risks necessary. Everything else will follow suit.
So the major strategies of successful people are these:
• Decide on a clear goal
• Take time to make a detailed plan of action to achieve that goal
• Commit to this plan and put in the work necessary to see it through
• Do not limit yourself – have endless ambition
• Be passionate about what you do
• Do not be held back by fear – thrive on challenge and believe in your plan and yourself. Take risks. Gamble what you have for your new plan.
• Do things for yourself – create opportunities
• Learn from successful people and surround yourself with other successful people
• Be creative
• Be original or be the best
• Believe in yourself and in your plan
Now all of these tips are aimed mostly at being successful in your work and in your career. However they’ll all also work for making you successful in other areas of your life. As stated at the start of this article – if you want to.