This is the very first episode we did based on a listener and friend’s request. And as I tell briefly in the story she really is an amazing young woman who I have enjoyed knowing and watching her grow into the person she is and career she has developed. I’ll spare you that now but will you can find it at the end of the post. Coming up with the “10 Keys to Be More Successful” caused me to reexamine not only what has worked for me but also gave me the chance to remember why I really chose to make the changes I have. Because everyday I want to help everyone I meet “be more successful in business and in life.”
You can always listen to the podcast here and we love you for it but a great life is about choices and options so you can find me and subscribe on Spotify and Apple Podcasts as well as a host of others services.
As always we want to give you access to additional resources to help you find your success. In addition to this post you can read a longer work 10 Steps to Success Simple but Effective which compliments this piece.
For today though even though the main topic points are the same let’s look at things both visually and from the perspective of understanding how to apply each of them.
Define what is success for you not someone else!
Stop for a minute and think about what success is to you. Seriously get out a piece of paper and start a list. In fact if you have a sheet of paper divide it in 3 and make three headers.
One for “Professional Success”, One for “Personal Success”, and the Third One is “Other”. If you don’t define it you can’t know if you are on the right path. It’s too easy to look at what you have done after the fact and not give yourself enough credit for the accomplishment.
Fill each of the sections with your goals for that area of your life. Professional and Personal should be obvious, one is your business work related life and the other is your relationships and activities outside of work, such as read more books, get healthy, drink more water. Other is less defined things so it might be, call my Mom more often, be home in time to take my kid to football practice.
Under Professional Success it’s time to get critical. Take a big dark marker and line out any goal there that isn’t really yours. If you haven’t looked at it thought about it and signed up for it it’s not really your goal. It’s someone else’s. This is not permission to not do what you need to at work, blow off your boss’ pet project etc. Right now that why don’t matter, cross it off your list. That is their goal/project not yours!
Have you done it? Come on be bold. Now look at what’s left, add things you want to do and accomplish professionally. Little things are great, big things are great a mix of all sorts of things is best. Don’t hold back.
Now do the same thing for what you want to accomplish personally. Every year I write down I want to lose weight and get down to 175lbs. And every year I miss is. Mainly because I love chocolate and pizza. So I set intermittent goals. How many work outs, how long, I did the same things for subjects like reading non business books and having days away from my work to plan new projects. Also learning new things but we’ll come to that one in more detail later.
Make your list to being more successful personally. Then do the same as above. Draw a line though anything that isn’t something YOU really chose.
As for other that’s the beauty of defining your own success. Other is what ever you want! If it’s positive, will help you grow, and expand your perspective then do it and also plan to call you Mother more and spent real time with the people in your life that make you happy.
Show Up Early
Easy one folks. As the joke goes “Hold my beer” or in my case non diet soda or omnipresent cup of coffee. This is both about being prepared but also respecting others as well as valuing your time.
What are the 3 most impactful things you can do with an extra 15 minutes in each of the categories above?
Do they align with one or more of the goals you listed above? Great then get to work and use the 15 minutes of extra time in your work day to achieve your professional goals. use the 15 minutes extra you make for yourself in your personal day to work towards a personal goal. Set 45 minutes aside for yourself on Saturday and Sunday (or whatever your “days off are” ) and nail the others on your list. Or “bank” that time and get away from it all if that is one of your goals.
I had really amazing parents who gave me the ability to become who I am. I was extremely fortunate and am very appreciative. My dad told me when I was in grade school “Ask the teacher any question you want. Always be respectful but if you don’t understand, or something isn’t clear ask. If it’s still not making sense ask again. Their job is to explain it and your job is to understand the answer
Let me tell you my 6th grade teacher and a few visiting nuns thought it was the worst thing ever. The advice despite that served me well. Asking questions to gain understanding even in the age of google is still the way to. In fact that is what search engines are based off. Answering your questions. So take it back to the real world.
Try New Things
Since you already have pen and paper out let’s make another list. A list of things you want to try. Same rules as before; If it’s not something you have bought in on, cross it out. It doesn’t have to be your idea originally but if it is something you are not totally into then it doesn’t belong here.
Develop a Thick Skin
Anyone who knows me knows I grew up on old heavy metal. And a by product of that was 1980’s Hair metal. Not my main cup of tea. Which is Maiden, Priest, Sabbath with a dose of the “big 4” (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer) and a chaser of Motorhead.
What does any of this have to do with keys to being more successful? Everything, especially when it comes to having a thick skin. Don’t be afraid to be different, see things in a slightly different light, and to hell with what the masses are saying.
A lot of artist beat the odds in their own ways to not just stay alive but thrive. Reinvent themselves, battle their demons, and hopefully find their own peace and happiness.
Sometimes in business and life you have to break glass. That is very different than being a bull in a china shop for no reason. And when all else fails dig in and fight for what you believe in. A thick skin certainly helps you stay on task and target. As Alice Cooper put it “No More Mister Nice Guy”.
Choose your Friends Wisely
When looking at the keys to be successful this one has a massive impact. Positivity and effort build on themselves. Look at who your friends are. Look at the ones who bring you the most you, who inspire and even challenge you to accomplish your own goals. Go to your phone if those people aren’t in your favorites add them. If you haven’t texted, talk to or spent time with them lately shoot them a quick message and reconnect. Don’t forget to call your Mom sometimes too.
Ask for Help
Sometimes we tend to focus on our weaknesses, often times lamenting about them but not taking proactive action to change them to strengths. Here’s your chance to do exactly that. Look at the areas of success you defined for your self. Give each one it’s own page. Now write down the specific skill or knowledge you need to accomplish each of them. Then look at your list of friends. Name any who can help because that is their area of expertise. If not think through who would be the right coach, mentor or friend who might be the perfect person to reach out to and start to build that knowledge.
You just asked for help, tied it to your own keys to being more successful and it didn’t hurt! Pretty freaking awesome right!
Give Without the Expectation of Getting
Sometimes in life stories just resonate with us. We have heard the same concept or even the same story dozens of times before it really sticks. In this case the story was told to me by a Methodist Minister.
It was about how when he was younger his sister and her husband were really and truly struggling to pay the bills. Jay and his wife had a young family themselves and didn’t have much money but were far better off by comparison. After all they had a roof over their heads and food to eat. So they scraped together hundreds of dollars, raiding savings accounts, giving up other things they would have liked and maybe in some ways even needed. All to help his sister out with money for rent and food.
Next time they saw his sister she wasn’t much better off but she and her husband did have a fancy new set of rims and wheels on their truck. Literally the couple had spent every cent and then some on a nicety not a need to have. They were thrilled and well Jay was angry.
Why? Because he gave her the money so they would have a place to live and food to eat. Not tires for a truck whose tires were fine. He gave with the expectation of a specific outcome. He never thought to specify what they should do with the money and essentially they blew it like a sailor on shore leave.
For some reason I can still see Reverend Jay sitting there telling the story. I understood how he felt but more importantly the concept of always give with the expectation of nothing in return stuck with me.
I am not a religious guy. It’s great if you are. That’s just not me but one of the most important lessons I have applied to my professional life happened to come from a preacher. Give credit where credit is due.
Always give others your best. Don’t expect them to use what you have given them in the way you thought they should. And it’s always best to give without expecting anything in return, whether it is a thank you or piece of mind your sister’s rent is paid.
On the upside professionally speaking it feels great when you have helped others along the way and they far surpass anything you thought your few minutes of advice and expertise could inspire.
Really be yourself! It’s OK to have role models to follow, aspirations of heights you want to reach but none of them are worth having if you don’t know the person staring back at you in the mirror.
Looking back over the list and exercises so far look at all the keys to being more successful that you have listed. The one central theme to all of that is you. Real success is earned, planned, and worked towards and that is the greatest satisfaction of all.
Be Confident is an Essential Key to Being More Successful
In a lot of ways confidence is a by product of believing in yourself and having a thick skin. Part of what builds that confidence is all of the other experiences you have and are recognizing as an achievement.