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5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

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5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

It’s a bitter reality, isn’t it?

You’re dissatisfied with your job, you feel overworked and overloaded, and you’re struggling to maintain balance between your responsibilities and your passions.

You’re not alone. The majority of workers aren’t happy with their jobs, and the numbers aren’t getting any better. You aren’t suddenly discovering new meaning in your work, nor are you magically producing job satisfaction out of mid-air.

You stay in your meaningless, stress-filled job because you believe you have to. Your pressures and responsibilities don’t allow you the freedom to hit the open road and live a life of blissful nomad-ism. After all, where would you be without your health insurance, 401(k), or sick leave?

A glut of information is out there about the new entrepreneur who leaves the corporate world to start a passion-based business. Whether it’s a retail tee shirt company backing a cause, or a small business consulting firm helping companies improve their social media presence. These are wonderful success stories, and it’s worth paying some attention to the possibility that you, too, can carve your own path.

However, starting a business isn’t for everyone. Some people enjoy, even thrive in a corporate environment where opportunity exists for career growth, skills development, and where they can contribute to large-scale projects and initiatives with global reach. Breaking away from this structure isn’t even on their radar.

So how can you; the dedicated, lifelong employee, gain that same level of passion that the new entrepreneur feels? How can you learn to find meaning in your work amidst the chaos and noise of other peoples’ agendas? How can you become one of the few who are not only satisfied with their job, but also flourish and bloom within it?

I will show you just how to do that with these 5 simple tips.

 

1. Forget about building your resumé

Warren Buffett once said that taking a job only because it will look good on your resumé is like saving up sex for when you’re 70.

Witticism aside, he’s right. Why would you continually do things you don’t enjoy for the sole purpose of someday, maybe doing something you like?

All too often, people think that taking a job for the experience is a rite of passage, just like a musician paying her dues before she gets the big break.

It’s nonsense.

Instead, take an inward-facing approach when assessing a new job opportunity or re-evaluating your current job. Ask these critical questions:

  • Do I believe in this work?
  • Am I motivated to learn more?
  • Does this company’s mission align with my own?

If you’re struggling to find meaning in your job or are dissatisfied with your career direction, start by looking at yourself first. Ask questions that get to the root of why you might feel stuck. Don’t be afraid to make a change, even if that means a less “impressive” resumé.

 

5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

2. Hone in on what lights you up

You can, however, use your resumé as a tool to figure out some ways you can break out of the dissatisfaction cycle.

Look back at all of your previous work experiences and note times when you were:

  • Fulfilled
  • Unfulfilled
  • Passionate
  • Bored
  • Challenged
  • Resistant
  • Motivated
  • Distracted

You should be able to identify themes and patterns within this framework that highlight activities that best align with your personal mission and your overarching purpose. You’ll also see which types of work to reduce or eliminate. Put these experiences into two lists: Do more of and Do less of.

Once you have a “Do more of” list that suits you, further refine it by looking at each of those experiences and responsibilities through the following filters:

  • Was I truly happy when I worked on this?
  • Did this work feel meaningful to me?

Some of your experiences might end up in the middle; somewhat happy, marginally meaningful. That’s okay. The point is to enable you to understand the kind of work that lights you up; work you can rally behind and work that feels right.

You may need to look beyond the job description to answer these questions. Intangibles like values alignment and corporate culture also matter, and they may help you determine what kinds of jobs and environments best fit you.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

3. Define what you really want

Sometimes your experiences won’t shed much light on what matters to you the most. You may have followed the well-worn path of taking job after job based on how good they’d look on your resumé, and your list from above is full of experiences that left you unfulfilled, bored, and distracted.

At this point, you’ll need to dig deep to find answers. Play a little “what if” game:

  • What if money weren’t an issue? If I could do anything, what would I choose to do?
  • What if I could find work that fits my unique talents and strengths? Could I create a job description that captures them perfectly?
  • What if someone right now is doing exactly what I want to do? Who are they? Can I find them and talk to them?

By answering these questions, you’ll have a great chance of solidifying what you really want out of your job and your career. You can then take this new found awareness and apply it to your current situation. Whether you’re job hunting, evaluating a job offer, or trying to find ways to inject more meaning into your current role.

 

4. Get used to discomfort

Change happens at the intersection of discomfort and intention. It may be uncomfortable to become an active participant in your own life and make difficult choices that others may not agree with, but what’s the alternative? Do you really want to wait for a chance; a possibility you may find fulfillment somewhere out there?

Take a step back and look objectively at your life. Have you been reacting to what’s placed in front of you, or are you strategically directing the actions you take?

If you’re part of the unfulfilled and dissatisfied majority, think hard about this. Carefully examine how you categorized each of your work experiences, and pay particular attention to the themes and patterns you saw. Have you been living a predominantly passionate and challenged life? Or has yours been more unfulfilled and resistant?

You’re the only one who can change those patterns. So take the first step.

 “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey

5. Take ownership of your choices

It’s easy to get stuck on the career roller coaster. You’re caught between what other people think is best for you and what you really want to accomplish. Often, you choose the path of least resistance because you’re tired of working so hard to defend your beliefs.

Your choices are yours alone, so own them. You have the power to direct the course of your life by figuring out what you truly want and devising a strategy to take you there.

Decide that you no longer wish to settle for meaningless work. Actively design a working life that aligns your purpose with your paycheck. Become someone others look up to as a model of career fulfillment.

Are you ready to be that person or will you keep waiting for your big break? The choice is yours to make.

 

What tips would you add to this list that have helped you find what path was right for you?

Scott L. Sind is on a mission is to help burned-out employees and business owners build a life that enables them to do meaningful, rewarding work they truly love. He's the author of ActivateThought.com, where he writes about leadership, success, creativity, and professional development. Get his free Cheat Sheet for Building a Powerful Support Network for quick tips on expanding your influence.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Liara Covert

    Apr 28, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Love that this article draws attention to the importance of being brutally honest with yourself about values and priorities. For many people, this is unconscious. Many people are out of touch with why they think and feel as they do, and how to link this back to behavior patterns. Living authentically is about having the courage to clarify, explore and act based on what you love and a deeper sense of purpose. This is not obvious for everyone. Raising self – awareness is very useful and can be done in a variety of ways.

  2. Ellie

    Dec 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Great process for figuring out what matters. What matters most to me is how much money they pay me.

    I’ve created the ideal situation of independence and corporate for me. I’m a company of one I work on a project basis, which are usually 6 months. If things suck at one gig, I know its only 6 months.

    Getting to this place happened by accident rather than by deliberate thought.

    The bottom line for me though is the money. There is nothing quite like seeing an offer in writing for an insane amount of money that makes you sick. Getting that first pay and seeing it in the bank, yeah, that’s what give me my thrills.

  3. Linda

    Jun 16, 2015 at 6:49 am

    The corporate world can indeed be incredibly fascinating! It has taught me sooo much and I am forever grateful for that. But you’re right, it’s easy to get a little lost in it all and it’s good advice to stay on your toes and watch out for yourself and your happiness along the way. Good stuff, Scott!

    • Liara Covert

      Apr 28, 2017 at 4:28 am

      Agree with you, Linda. Great article that highlights meaningful stuff. Appreciating something about every experience is what keeps us growing.

  4. Nicki Lee

    Jun 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    I wish I would have thought about my career choices in this way many years ago, Scott. I’m going to try actually writing a job description that captures my strengths and talents and see where that takes me! 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      That’s a great idea Nicki! I’d love to hear how it turns out 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Ellen

    May 31, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Great post Scott – I especially agree with number 5 – it wasn’t until I really took ownership of my choices and realised that I had the power myself to change the situation, rather than waiting for others, that I took the leap and left my corporate role for a more portfolio career. Even if it’s between a rock and a hard place, there’s still a choice! Thanks, Ellen

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks Ellen! For me that’s the big one as well. I decided that if I failed, at least it wouldn’t have been because I didn’t try. We all have choices, but it’s the ones we don’t take that haunt us the most.

  6. Helen McCarthy

    May 31, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Great article Scott. Like Cherryl (above) I too wish I’d had this perspective earlier in my career. Do you think there’s a generational shift towards aligning your paycheck with your purpose? That certainly appears to be my observation.

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Helen! Yes, I definitely see a shift, especially with the Millennials. There’s more emphasis these days on portfolio careers rather than single-track careers. And with more and more people staying in jobs on average of 3 years, purpose and passion have become core values for job satisfaction.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Elle

    May 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    This is the way to success Scott. Being happy = success. You touched on many areas that people forget about. Kudos for a great read.
    Elle

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Much appreciate Elle! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  8. Lawrence Berry

    May 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I think you nailed. Defining what you want and going after it with tenacity are the keys to getting what you want, but you MUST have a clear vision on what you are doing now and what you plan to do. I think it is crazy that people get jobs just so that it can look good on their resume, you must find work that you believe in a can get the most from the experience. When you are motivated in your work, you learn and do more than you ever thought you would. This would shoot you to the top faster. You are right, you have the power to take control of your choices and actions, so align what you love to do with your paycheck.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks Lawrence! I completely agree that you must have a clear vision. That’s where it all starts. Unforunately some of us have a difficult time aligning our actions and choices to our vision, which then bogs us down under the consequences of sub-optial decisions.

      I like what you said about finding work that you believe can give you a valuable experience—that’s another part of a great career strategy 🙂

  9. Valerie Leroyer

    May 30, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Hey Scott! Nice post. I like your #5: I hear lot’s of people saying that they don’t have the choice. The truth is, once we realize it, we always have a choice. And taking 100% responsibility for our choices is the first move towards success. You ask us for another tip. Tip #6: Take action NOW. Make a list of your dream jobs and start acting 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 2, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Hey Valerie – LOVE IT!! Take action now is probably the simplest yet most effective tip. One can plan forever and never take that first step.

      Thanks for adding your voice!

  10. Ann

    May 30, 2015 at 10:56 am

    #4 -I like it- learn to survive in discomforting situations because there is never going to be a perfect timing.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      So true Ann!

  11. Cherryl Chow

    May 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Hi, Scott, what a wonderfully written and inspiring article! If only I’d gotten this advice when I just got out of college! How life would’ve turned out differently. I hope that your article gets disseminated widely and as many people as possible can read and benefit from your sage advice!

    • Scott

      May 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you Cherryl! I wish I had this advice too way back when! It’s funny how easily we resign ourselves to the “easy” path because we don’t really know how to do anything else. I do hope that this inspires at least one person to jump out of their comfort zone and design a working life they love.

      Appreciate you stopping by!

  12. Lynn

    May 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Scott,

    I love the concept of aligning my paycheck with my purpose! So clearly put, and so compelling.

    Thanks for sharing your advice about how to do that.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks Lynn! I wish more people would embrace the concept—we’d all be a bit happier, don’t you think?

  13. Mike Harrington

    May 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I’m just going to say this:

    When I graduated from a top MBA program in 2012, the anxiety and fear of the future was palpable on campus.

    Most people had taken on massive debt burdens, to finance their “gamble” of improving their career prospects with another piece of paper. The MBA degree.

    I’d say 95% of them were completely bought in to the idea of having as many “gold stars” on their resumes as humanly possible. They worked themselves to the bone to land the best internships, get the highest grades and pretend to be actively involved in as many on-campus clubs and associations. I saw through the noise, as I knew my path would be different.

    I see it all about skill building, and finding that unique intersection of what turns you on as a person, with what other people value enough to pay for.

    Is it an overnight process? HELL NO. Tons of trial and error, periods of self doubt and wondering if you made the right decision.

    But, when the wins inevitably come, as they have for me, the struggle you’ve gone through makes it that much sweeter.

    And yes, this path is NOT for everyone.

    But it is for me. And it sounds like it is for you, as well. =)

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Mike you nailed it here. I, too, recently got my MBA from a top program, but for very personal reasons, the least of which was the degree itself. Many others in my cohort, though, were there for the piece of paper only, and so they could add the letters to their business cards.

      I gave up prestige a long time ago. Yes, I’ve made bad decisions when it’s come to my work, taken the wrong jobs for the wrong reasons. But you’re absolutely right when you say that when the wins do come, the struggles make them so much sweeter.

      I applaud you on the path you’ve chosen—you have a spirit and fortitude that many don’t, and those will see you a long way 🙂

  14. Sameer

    May 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Very nice post Scott. Another major imagined hurdle for not doing it is i feel afraid of the thought “What if i get bored after some days” , what do i do then! Won’t i loose the kind of stability (though boring) ….These are the kind of limiting belief(s) that hold me back.
    it would be great if you can comment about this kind of fears.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Sameer, thanks for the comment! As to the fear of getting bored, well…usually when we feel bored it’s because we’ve reached a plateau and aren’t challenged anymore by the work. I’d suggest that the best way to beat boredom is to consistently strive for new heights, keep challenging yourself, and do things that are just outside of your comfort zone. That may mean a new job or career, but it could also mean going freelance, starting a business, or if you don’t have the enterpreneurial spirit, moving into an industry you have no experience in and “starting over.”

      Boredom is just a mental state, and we have full control over how we react to it. I hope this helps!

      • Sameer

        May 29, 2015 at 4:57 am

        That indeed helps to understand clearly. Thanks a ton Scott

  15. Scott

    May 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    You’re right, it’s much easier for us to stick to the safe, well-worn path even if it’s boring and uninspiring. I’d much rather say “I’m so glad I tried that!” instead of “I wish I could do that.”

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting John!

  16. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    May 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Great article – I so agree with John that we need to do what excites us. Plus, I always add, makes us money.

    Thanks!
    Sue

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Sue – so true!! There is a strong correlation between earning more and enjoying what we do 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  17. Ashley

    May 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Love #1!! “Look at yourself first…” So true. Wish we could stop focusing so much on resume building, and instead, place more weight on experiences we enjoy, and benefit, from. Great post!

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks Ashley! When I interviewed people, I rarely discussed their resume. I wanted to know what made the candidates tick, what lit them up, to get a sense of who they were, their likes and dislikes, etc. Most of the time the candidate with the “strongest” resume (i.e. filled with keywords and fluffy job titles) bombed these conversational moments. Not saying there’s scientific proof of anything, just my observations 😉

  18. John Anderson

    May 28, 2015 at 10:24 am

    It always amazes me that as humans we tend to shy away from what really excites us. Thanks for laying out this plan, it is very helpful.

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Success Advice

How to Use the “Small Victories” Method to Avoid Burning Out

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Have you had a goal you begin to work toward only to run out of steam? Do you know what you need to do to get to where you want to be, but the necessary work feels overwhelming? “Small Victories” is the method to eliminate procrastination, dramatically increase productivity, and to make every part of the process not just bearable, but fun.

The journey from novice to rockstar is filled with a thousand small victories. Each victory increases your skill, your confidence, your positive expectation, and is ultimately the only way to really do something truly great.

Imagine you have a band in which everything was fun- fun to practice, fun to get together and create. The first victory was writing your first song. Afterwards, some friends come to watch you practice, and they cheer you on giving you another boost. Then you play your first show, do your first band photoshoot, and create a band website. After all this hard work, you record your first song as a band, have your first major show, your first tour, and develop the best thing so far which are your first true fans.

Each victory gives you the energy to get to the next victory

If you told the kid, it was going to take ten years of work to get to the end goal, without celebrating the small important victories in between, it would be illogical for any human to hunker down and work 10 years to get there. So how is this relevant? When starting a business or following your dream, incentivizing yourself with small victories will make you far more likely to make you continue on to your end goal. Without it, your willpower only lasts so long.

The small victories are the positive fuel to make it to the next milestone. You create small victories by finding a way to interact with people as a way to have an impact even if it’s small. For example, when people try to start businesses, often they try to get everything together before selling their first product. It could be months or years of work before they are at the level of their competition.

I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here. Charles Bukowski

Say you’re creating a bakery, it could be a year before anyone tried your first baked good if you go the traditional brick and mortar route without any small victories. This comes with great financial cost and energy. You also lose out on the opportunity to improve your craft, your products, your image and your connections with others who can take your business to greater heights.

However, if you go with the method of small victories instead, you would start by creating a cult following amongst friends and family with your decadent treats. Next, you would bake them at home and sell them at local events, farmers markets, and maybe even at local businesses. This can give you the opportunity to create a strong local and social media following well before the opening of your first actual store.

Work and effort without small victories lead to burnout

We need to build rewards along the way into our endeavors, because this provides encouragement to keep going. Each moment is a separate gift, an experience where something was fulfilled, where something was accomplished, no matter how small, and being a recluse until the grand unveiling will have so many missed opportunities along the way.

Small victories are also an opportunity to develop your skills, get feedback – positive or constructive – and considerably increase opportunities. Small victories increase your credibility by showing a track record and the trajectory you’re on by increasing your ability to attract investors and partners.

“Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories.” – Joseph M. Marshall III

The idea of celebrating small victories can be applied to any subject. In weight loss, for instance, seeing pounds melt away will give you the positive mindset to continue and even improve the choices you make to enhance your physique. Sharing your success with others will bring in the element of positive encouragement. It can also motivate others to come with you on the journey. Your small victories can inspire others to start their own journey.

What small victory did you achieve today which will bring you a step closer to your goals? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

Setting Up Your Mindset to Win: How to Achieve Success in Your Life and Career

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How did Usain Bolt become so successful? He seems superhuman, doesn’t he? Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Paul Bocuse… all these people have something special in them. They became the stars in their niche. Have you ever wondered why? No, they do not have any superhuman capacity. They are simple people, just like you and I. They, too, had flaws. Their mindset, however, is what set them apart. If you want to win in your career and in life, generally, you need the mindset of a winner. You have to think like a true champion, so you’ll overcome your flaws and emphasize your strengths.

So how do you set the mindset to win? Here are 5 suggestions to get you started:

1. When You Can’t Achieve a Goal, Get Help

Have you heard of Paul Bocuse? He was one of the most famous chefs of his time, and he was named as the chef of the century. This is a good example of the point we’re about to make. Even the best are not almighty, they have to learn from someone. Paul Bocuse learned from another famous chef. He constantly worked to improve his skills and he learned along the way.

The lesson is: you cannot do everything on your own. This is the first thing you have to do: learn and find the right person to learn from. Are there any books by the champions of your chosen niche? Get them and read them. Can you get a mentor? Of course, you can! Start connecting with people on LinkedIn. Your alumni network is a great source of mentorship opportunities, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and say that you want to learn from someone.   

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

2. Work on Your Resilience

Here’s the most important life lesson you’ll ever learn: things don’t always go as expected. When you strive towards a particular goal, the chances of failure are real. When Usain Bolt started training, he wasn’t the fastest man on Earth. He worked towards that goal and he was resilient enough to go through all the obstacles he faced. We couldn’t possibly assume that such success came easily for him.

The journey towards a successful life is not a straight line, it’s a bumpy road full of difficulties and setbacks. The average person would give up along the way, but a champion would stay resilient. It’s the mindset that makes a true difference. The good news is that the more obstacles you overcome, the more resilient you become.

3. Focus

What do you want in your career and in your life? This is not something that can go with the flow. You cannot simply live your life one random day after another and expect great things to come your way. You have to focus on particular goals and work your way up there.

Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express, has a nice tip for everyone who wants to become successful: “Dedicate yourself to a core set of values. Without them, you will never be able to find personal fulfillment, and you will never be able to lead effectively.”

Simple and straight to the point, right? So set your goals! Find that major goal you want to achieve and break it up into smaller achievements. Then, start accomplishing things on a daily basis. You need to devote your life to achieving that goal.

4. Be Bold

Steve Jobs wasn’t focused on getting an average job, achieving average results and living an average life. He had big dreams and bold goals. All successful people have something in common at the starting point, a bold dream. Being afraid to dream big is a huge mistake. Set your imagination free! What’s the biggest thing you’d like to achieve? If you believe in yourself and you start working towards that goal one day after another, you’ll unlock your true potential. You’ll realize that not many things are impossible. You can achieve much more than you believe you’re capable of.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

5. If You Fall, Get Back Up

Have you ever wondered why Richard Branson became so successful? The answer is simple: never gave up, no matter what hardships he faced. His first company didn’t make money. The test flight of Virgin Atlantic Airlines almost crashed because of a flock of birds. Virgin Cola, his soda company, failed miserably. He almost got himself killed during his trip around the world. Richard Branson has done many things, but do you know what he never did? Give up. No matter how serious the failure was, he always found the strength to get back up on his feet and carry on with life. That’s the mindset of a champion!

Never allow yourself to get disappointed from failure. Do not fall back into average just because your big dream doesn’t seem to be working. Failure is not a big deal. It’s just part of the journey, and everyone has to face it. If you carry on, you’ll find success along the way.

So you want to be a champion? You better start working towards that goal without wasting any time. The first step is changing your mindset. Hopefully, the tips above inspired you to do that.

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Success Advice

3 Important Principles You Need to Know That All Billionaires Have in Common

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I’ve always been highly interested in the similarities amongst the world’s wealthiest. Their habits, successes, mindset, and failures have fascinated me. The journey to great prosperity can seem overwhelming, but if you apply success principles to any endeavor you can quickly and efficiently overcome challenges and expand.

Michael J. Gabrielli, founder of WeRunAds, has spent hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars studying billionaires and their habits. Michael has also studied over 2000 different billionaires and from this experience he’s found three principles they all had in common.

Here are the 3 principles the billionaires all had in common:

1. Be in a rapid growth industry at the right time

Timing is so important. Billionaires know when the time is right to enter a market. Most billionaires do not enter first or second into a market because of the inherent risks involved. Many billionaires let the pioneers pave the way and then leverage the knowledge gained to innovate and optimize in order to create something that works.

The key is to find an industry that is soon to take off. Stepping in at the right time is important. Let’s take a real life example that is known all too well– the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. When he entered the scene, the idea of a social network was moderately known, but it was still not quite predicted to be the monster it is today.

Others like Friendster, Myspace, etc. had made some headway into this fledgeling industry and then Facebook entered leveraging the knowledge and expertise gained from the early pioneers. Zuckerberg saw the huge potential of social networking, took what was done previously and made it better.

He is presently worth over $66 Billion and the company has surpassed the 2 billion users mark with 1.4 billion using the platform daily. Not surprisingly, many billionaires were not the first to pioneer the industry they would later find success in. They came in at the right moment, learned from the mistakes and triumphs of their predecessors, and made a lasting final product.

Here’s a practical 3 question exercise you can do to judge if you have the right timing with your current venture:

  1. Look at your industry and say—is this brand new?
  2. Am I trying to invent something that doesn’t exist?
  3. Am I too late to the party?

2. Position yourself better

In addition to finding the right industry and getting in at the right time, billionaires position themselves in the best way. They provide the solution to the need and they think outside the box to do it. Optimal positioning is a commonality amongst billionaires. For example, during the California Gold Rush, people rushed to mine for the gold itself blinded by the promise of large profits.

However, it turned out that Sam Brannan had the better idea for how to position himself for success. He knew the chances of finding gold were risky, so instead he committed to a sure thing. He manufactured the tools that were needed by all the miners to mine gold. As each new miner migrated West, they were happily met by Brannan and his company who were ready and waiting to sell these new hopefuls the shovels and tools they’d need to strike it rich.

Digging for gold seemed to be the most profitable route, however, greater returns were yielded in the supplying of materials required to mine for gold! A good company that also illustrates this concept is Microsoft. They did not seek to create their own computer, but the software that computers would run on. Most people mistakenly think they have to “go for the gold” to attain wealth, but it’s evident in history that selling the necessary tools to the gold miners can be far more profitable.

The two questions you need to ask yourself to see how you could position yourself correctly are, “What industries will need the supplies that I could provide? And, “Am I following the trend instead of innovating?

“Big shots are only little shots that keep shooting. I can see your sun rise out of obscurity. Keep shooting” – Ikechukwu Joseph

3. Take calculated risks

Most people choose the safe bet that is secure, however, this is not common among billionaires. Billionaires take big calculated risks in order to propel themselves to higher levels of influence and success. The most important thing to note here is that while to others the risks seem big—to billionaires, they are calculated.Risk and Calculated Risk are not the same. Calculated risk is measured and well-thought-out. Risk is impulsive and immeasurable. Understanding the difference between the two is a commonality among billionaires. The world’s most prominent figures have at some point in their lives disagreed with the ordinary and took a shot at the unknown. Proper calculation and clever thinking certainly accompanied the bold moves they made in their careers.

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, is a great example of this. He had grown up in poverty and made his way out to earn a comfortable wage as an executive at a company that manufactured coffeemakers.

“Risk more than others think safe.” – Howard Schultz

He risked it all when he discovered a small coffee shop named “Starbucks” in Seattle that prompted him to quit his job and step out to create a company that was inspired by the Italian coffee culture and personal relationship people could have with their coffee.

Of the 242 people he spoke to, 217 said no to investing with him. Despite the discouragement, lack of agreement, and investment, Schultz kept pushing on. Fast forward to present time, and Starbucks’ is a massive success. Strong intuition and unshakeable belief is common among high achievers. Many successful billionaires risked their safe jobs, personal assets, and even their reputation to take calculated risks that they knew would pay off huge in the end.

The questions you need to ask yourself now are, “where can I take a calculated risk? Am I holding back when I should be going forward? What tangible steps can I take today to move forward?”

These 3 success principles are staple elements that are common among many billionaires. Now, there are more principles that you must discover and implement in order to become a billionaire. Work diligently and do all that can be done each day. Be inquisitive and study those that you wish to emulate.

Which one of these principles do you need to work on more this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome.

Here’s the question I always ask: What is standing between your current reality (where you are now) and your ultimate vision (where you want to be)? Are the impediments psychological, physical, emotional or some other reason?

Until you answer what is causing the difference between your AS IS and your SHOULD BE, you will be stuck spinning your wheels in the mud and the muck of the former. This is an important question that requires a level of mental self-examination. And the answer to this question may require a lifetime of introspection. It is an important question to answer because if you know where you want to go that provides direction but examining why you are not there yet can provide momentum. (In other words, by answering the question it may get you there faster!)

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill

It’s just like following a road map. A map is useless unless you know two things, where you are, and where you want to go. What might be stopping you (or at least slowing you down) from the ultimate destination of your passion and life’s fulfilment?

I’ve asked many people about this over the years and have heard these four reasons that keep people from moving forward.

1. Lack of vision

How do you plan to get there, if you don’t know where “there” is? The most difficult undertaking in the world is to sit quietly with a blank sheet of paper and chart out your life. I know, I have many blank sheets of paper to prove it. However, I also found out that it only takes one sheet, with a few well-crafted lines of thought to give you the direction you need. But you need to start!

2. Lack of goals

So, you know where you want to go, you just don’t know how to get there. The second hardest thing in the world is to have a sheet of paper with your ultimate destination on top, and the rest blank as you ask yourself, now what or how do I get to my vision? The process of functional decomposition means breaking down the larger process into steps that are both actionable and motivational. In other words, the steps are small enough to do and you remain motivated because they are so small.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

3. You don’t believe you can get there

You want to, but there is a script running through your head telling you to go home, make some chicken soup and don’t leave the house until these foolish notions of greatness are gone. Think about it, your parents never did what you are trying to do, no one in your family has ever done it, you are far too old (or too young) to do that, you don’t have the right education…your rationalizing can go on for a lifetime! Here is my suggestion when it comes to running those self-deprecating scripts: STOP IT!

4. You are lazy

You won’t admit this to yourself, but perhaps you are just plain lazy. I’ve seen it so many times; individuals majoring in minors. Performing high fun, low payoff activities instead of the low fun, high payoff activities. (And, by the way, who ever said that a high payoff activity can’t be fun? There’s that darn script again.) As a species we are inclined to take the path of least resistance, but that path may not lead us to our vision, but you must admit, we are having a great time NOT moving toward our vision! Laziness is not “doing nothing.” It’s doing the wrong thing because that’s what you want to do, and, very often, we know it’s the wrong thing to do!

There you have the four possible things that might be holding you back from the realization of your vision. Are any of them hitting home? Answer this question before you move on:

What is standing between my current reality and my ultimate vision of success?

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How to Use the “Small Victories” Method to Avoid Burning Out

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Have you had a goal you begin to work toward only to run out of steam? Do you know what you need to do to get to where you want to be, but the necessary work feels overwhelming? “Small Victories” is the method to eliminate procrastination, dramatically increase productivity, and to make every part of the process not just bearable, but fun. (more…)

Zachariah Bourne is the Author of the upcoming book "Blissed Out". He’s a writer for Success Magazine and Huff Post and Co-Authors articles with Jacquelyn Denissoff. As a producer, songwriter and artist living in NYC, he uses music as a way to spread the message of positivity to the world. Follow him on Instagram or go check out his YouTube.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Liara Covert

    Apr 28, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Love that this article draws attention to the importance of being brutally honest with yourself about values and priorities. For many people, this is unconscious. Many people are out of touch with why they think and feel as they do, and how to link this back to behavior patterns. Living authentically is about having the courage to clarify, explore and act based on what you love and a deeper sense of purpose. This is not obvious for everyone. Raising self – awareness is very useful and can be done in a variety of ways.

  2. Ellie

    Dec 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Great process for figuring out what matters. What matters most to me is how much money they pay me.

    I’ve created the ideal situation of independence and corporate for me. I’m a company of one I work on a project basis, which are usually 6 months. If things suck at one gig, I know its only 6 months.

    Getting to this place happened by accident rather than by deliberate thought.

    The bottom line for me though is the money. There is nothing quite like seeing an offer in writing for an insane amount of money that makes you sick. Getting that first pay and seeing it in the bank, yeah, that’s what give me my thrills.

  3. Linda

    Jun 16, 2015 at 6:49 am

    The corporate world can indeed be incredibly fascinating! It has taught me sooo much and I am forever grateful for that. But you’re right, it’s easy to get a little lost in it all and it’s good advice to stay on your toes and watch out for yourself and your happiness along the way. Good stuff, Scott!

    • Liara Covert

      Apr 28, 2017 at 4:28 am

      Agree with you, Linda. Great article that highlights meaningful stuff. Appreciating something about every experience is what keeps us growing.

  4. Nicki Lee

    Jun 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    I wish I would have thought about my career choices in this way many years ago, Scott. I’m going to try actually writing a job description that captures my strengths and talents and see where that takes me! 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      That’s a great idea Nicki! I’d love to hear how it turns out 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Ellen

    May 31, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Great post Scott – I especially agree with number 5 – it wasn’t until I really took ownership of my choices and realised that I had the power myself to change the situation, rather than waiting for others, that I took the leap and left my corporate role for a more portfolio career. Even if it’s between a rock and a hard place, there’s still a choice! Thanks, Ellen

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks Ellen! For me that’s the big one as well. I decided that if I failed, at least it wouldn’t have been because I didn’t try. We all have choices, but it’s the ones we don’t take that haunt us the most.

  6. Helen McCarthy

    May 31, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Great article Scott. Like Cherryl (above) I too wish I’d had this perspective earlier in my career. Do you think there’s a generational shift towards aligning your paycheck with your purpose? That certainly appears to be my observation.

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Helen! Yes, I definitely see a shift, especially with the Millennials. There’s more emphasis these days on portfolio careers rather than single-track careers. And with more and more people staying in jobs on average of 3 years, purpose and passion have become core values for job satisfaction.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Elle

    May 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    This is the way to success Scott. Being happy = success. You touched on many areas that people forget about. Kudos for a great read.
    Elle

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Much appreciate Elle! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  8. Lawrence Berry

    May 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I think you nailed. Defining what you want and going after it with tenacity are the keys to getting what you want, but you MUST have a clear vision on what you are doing now and what you plan to do. I think it is crazy that people get jobs just so that it can look good on their resume, you must find work that you believe in a can get the most from the experience. When you are motivated in your work, you learn and do more than you ever thought you would. This would shoot you to the top faster. You are right, you have the power to take control of your choices and actions, so align what you love to do with your paycheck.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks Lawrence! I completely agree that you must have a clear vision. That’s where it all starts. Unforunately some of us have a difficult time aligning our actions and choices to our vision, which then bogs us down under the consequences of sub-optial decisions.

      I like what you said about finding work that you believe can give you a valuable experience—that’s another part of a great career strategy 🙂

  9. Valerie Leroyer

    May 30, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Hey Scott! Nice post. I like your #5: I hear lot’s of people saying that they don’t have the choice. The truth is, once we realize it, we always have a choice. And taking 100% responsibility for our choices is the first move towards success. You ask us for another tip. Tip #6: Take action NOW. Make a list of your dream jobs and start acting 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 2, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Hey Valerie – LOVE IT!! Take action now is probably the simplest yet most effective tip. One can plan forever and never take that first step.

      Thanks for adding your voice!

  10. Ann

    May 30, 2015 at 10:56 am

    #4 -I like it- learn to survive in discomforting situations because there is never going to be a perfect timing.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      So true Ann!

  11. Cherryl Chow

    May 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Hi, Scott, what a wonderfully written and inspiring article! If only I’d gotten this advice when I just got out of college! How life would’ve turned out differently. I hope that your article gets disseminated widely and as many people as possible can read and benefit from your sage advice!

    • Scott

      May 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you Cherryl! I wish I had this advice too way back when! It’s funny how easily we resign ourselves to the “easy” path because we don’t really know how to do anything else. I do hope that this inspires at least one person to jump out of their comfort zone and design a working life they love.

      Appreciate you stopping by!

  12. Lynn

    May 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Scott,

    I love the concept of aligning my paycheck with my purpose! So clearly put, and so compelling.

    Thanks for sharing your advice about how to do that.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks Lynn! I wish more people would embrace the concept—we’d all be a bit happier, don’t you think?

  13. Mike Harrington

    May 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I’m just going to say this:

    When I graduated from a top MBA program in 2012, the anxiety and fear of the future was palpable on campus.

    Most people had taken on massive debt burdens, to finance their “gamble” of improving their career prospects with another piece of paper. The MBA degree.

    I’d say 95% of them were completely bought in to the idea of having as many “gold stars” on their resumes as humanly possible. They worked themselves to the bone to land the best internships, get the highest grades and pretend to be actively involved in as many on-campus clubs and associations. I saw through the noise, as I knew my path would be different.

    I see it all about skill building, and finding that unique intersection of what turns you on as a person, with what other people value enough to pay for.

    Is it an overnight process? HELL NO. Tons of trial and error, periods of self doubt and wondering if you made the right decision.

    But, when the wins inevitably come, as they have for me, the struggle you’ve gone through makes it that much sweeter.

    And yes, this path is NOT for everyone.

    But it is for me. And it sounds like it is for you, as well. =)

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Mike you nailed it here. I, too, recently got my MBA from a top program, but for very personal reasons, the least of which was the degree itself. Many others in my cohort, though, were there for the piece of paper only, and so they could add the letters to their business cards.

      I gave up prestige a long time ago. Yes, I’ve made bad decisions when it’s come to my work, taken the wrong jobs for the wrong reasons. But you’re absolutely right when you say that when the wins do come, the struggles make them so much sweeter.

      I applaud you on the path you’ve chosen—you have a spirit and fortitude that many don’t, and those will see you a long way 🙂

  14. Sameer

    May 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Very nice post Scott. Another major imagined hurdle for not doing it is i feel afraid of the thought “What if i get bored after some days” , what do i do then! Won’t i loose the kind of stability (though boring) ….These are the kind of limiting belief(s) that hold me back.
    it would be great if you can comment about this kind of fears.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Sameer, thanks for the comment! As to the fear of getting bored, well…usually when we feel bored it’s because we’ve reached a plateau and aren’t challenged anymore by the work. I’d suggest that the best way to beat boredom is to consistently strive for new heights, keep challenging yourself, and do things that are just outside of your comfort zone. That may mean a new job or career, but it could also mean going freelance, starting a business, or if you don’t have the enterpreneurial spirit, moving into an industry you have no experience in and “starting over.”

      Boredom is just a mental state, and we have full control over how we react to it. I hope this helps!

      • Sameer

        May 29, 2015 at 4:57 am

        That indeed helps to understand clearly. Thanks a ton Scott

  15. Scott

    May 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    You’re right, it’s much easier for us to stick to the safe, well-worn path even if it’s boring and uninspiring. I’d much rather say “I’m so glad I tried that!” instead of “I wish I could do that.”

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting John!

  16. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    May 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Great article – I so agree with John that we need to do what excites us. Plus, I always add, makes us money.

    Thanks!
    Sue

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Sue – so true!! There is a strong correlation between earning more and enjoying what we do 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  17. Ashley

    May 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Love #1!! “Look at yourself first…” So true. Wish we could stop focusing so much on resume building, and instead, place more weight on experiences we enjoy, and benefit, from. Great post!

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks Ashley! When I interviewed people, I rarely discussed their resume. I wanted to know what made the candidates tick, what lit them up, to get a sense of who they were, their likes and dislikes, etc. Most of the time the candidate with the “strongest” resume (i.e. filled with keywords and fluffy job titles) bombed these conversational moments. Not saying there’s scientific proof of anything, just my observations 😉

  18. John Anderson

    May 28, 2015 at 10:24 am

    It always amazes me that as humans we tend to shy away from what really excites us. Thanks for laying out this plan, it is very helpful.

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Success Advice

How to Use the “Small Victories” Method to Avoid Burning Out

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Have you had a goal you begin to work toward only to run out of steam? Do you know what you need to do to get to where you want to be, but the necessary work feels overwhelming? “Small Victories” is the method to eliminate procrastination, dramatically increase productivity, and to make every part of the process not just bearable, but fun.

The journey from novice to rockstar is filled with a thousand small victories. Each victory increases your skill, your confidence, your positive expectation, and is ultimately the only way to really do something truly great.

Imagine you have a band in which everything was fun- fun to practice, fun to get together and create. The first victory was writing your first song. Afterwards, some friends come to watch you practice, and they cheer you on giving you another boost. Then you play your first show, do your first band photoshoot, and create a band website. After all this hard work, you record your first song as a band, have your first major show, your first tour, and develop the best thing so far which are your first true fans.

Each victory gives you the energy to get to the next victory

If you told the kid, it was going to take ten years of work to get to the end goal, without celebrating the small important victories in between, it would be illogical for any human to hunker down and work 10 years to get there. So how is this relevant? When starting a business or following your dream, incentivizing yourself with small victories will make you far more likely to make you continue on to your end goal. Without it, your willpower only lasts so long.

The small victories are the positive fuel to make it to the next milestone. You create small victories by finding a way to interact with people as a way to have an impact even if it’s small. For example, when people try to start businesses, often they try to get everything together before selling their first product. It could be months or years of work before they are at the level of their competition.

I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here. Charles Bukowski

Say you’re creating a bakery, it could be a year before anyone tried your first baked good if you go the traditional brick and mortar route without any small victories. This comes with great financial cost and energy. You also lose out on the opportunity to improve your craft, your products, your image and your connections with others who can take your business to greater heights.

However, if you go with the method of small victories instead, you would start by creating a cult following amongst friends and family with your decadent treats. Next, you would bake them at home and sell them at local events, farmers markets, and maybe even at local businesses. This can give you the opportunity to create a strong local and social media following well before the opening of your first actual store.

Work and effort without small victories lead to burnout

We need to build rewards along the way into our endeavors, because this provides encouragement to keep going. Each moment is a separate gift, an experience where something was fulfilled, where something was accomplished, no matter how small, and being a recluse until the grand unveiling will have so many missed opportunities along the way.

Small victories are also an opportunity to develop your skills, get feedback – positive or constructive – and considerably increase opportunities. Small victories increase your credibility by showing a track record and the trajectory you’re on by increasing your ability to attract investors and partners.

“Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories.” – Joseph M. Marshall III

The idea of celebrating small victories can be applied to any subject. In weight loss, for instance, seeing pounds melt away will give you the positive mindset to continue and even improve the choices you make to enhance your physique. Sharing your success with others will bring in the element of positive encouragement. It can also motivate others to come with you on the journey. Your small victories can inspire others to start their own journey.

What small victory did you achieve today which will bring you a step closer to your goals? Let us know below!

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Setting Up Your Mindset to Win: How to Achieve Success in Your Life and Career

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How did Usain Bolt become so successful? He seems superhuman, doesn’t he? Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Paul Bocuse… all these people have something special in them. They became the stars in their niche. Have you ever wondered why? No, they do not have any superhuman capacity. They are simple people, just like you and I. They, too, had flaws. Their mindset, however, is what set them apart. If you want to win in your career and in life, generally, you need the mindset of a winner. You have to think like a true champion, so you’ll overcome your flaws and emphasize your strengths.

So how do you set the mindset to win? Here are 5 suggestions to get you started:

1. When You Can’t Achieve a Goal, Get Help

Have you heard of Paul Bocuse? He was one of the most famous chefs of his time, and he was named as the chef of the century. This is a good example of the point we’re about to make. Even the best are not almighty, they have to learn from someone. Paul Bocuse learned from another famous chef. He constantly worked to improve his skills and he learned along the way.

The lesson is: you cannot do everything on your own. This is the first thing you have to do: learn and find the right person to learn from. Are there any books by the champions of your chosen niche? Get them and read them. Can you get a mentor? Of course, you can! Start connecting with people on LinkedIn. Your alumni network is a great source of mentorship opportunities, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and say that you want to learn from someone.   

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

2. Work on Your Resilience

Here’s the most important life lesson you’ll ever learn: things don’t always go as expected. When you strive towards a particular goal, the chances of failure are real. When Usain Bolt started training, he wasn’t the fastest man on Earth. He worked towards that goal and he was resilient enough to go through all the obstacles he faced. We couldn’t possibly assume that such success came easily for him.

The journey towards a successful life is not a straight line, it’s a bumpy road full of difficulties and setbacks. The average person would give up along the way, but a champion would stay resilient. It’s the mindset that makes a true difference. The good news is that the more obstacles you overcome, the more resilient you become.

3. Focus

What do you want in your career and in your life? This is not something that can go with the flow. You cannot simply live your life one random day after another and expect great things to come your way. You have to focus on particular goals and work your way up there.

Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express, has a nice tip for everyone who wants to become successful: “Dedicate yourself to a core set of values. Without them, you will never be able to find personal fulfillment, and you will never be able to lead effectively.”

Simple and straight to the point, right? So set your goals! Find that major goal you want to achieve and break it up into smaller achievements. Then, start accomplishing things on a daily basis. You need to devote your life to achieving that goal.

4. Be Bold

Steve Jobs wasn’t focused on getting an average job, achieving average results and living an average life. He had big dreams and bold goals. All successful people have something in common at the starting point, a bold dream. Being afraid to dream big is a huge mistake. Set your imagination free! What’s the biggest thing you’d like to achieve? If you believe in yourself and you start working towards that goal one day after another, you’ll unlock your true potential. You’ll realize that not many things are impossible. You can achieve much more than you believe you’re capable of.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

5. If You Fall, Get Back Up

Have you ever wondered why Richard Branson became so successful? The answer is simple: never gave up, no matter what hardships he faced. His first company didn’t make money. The test flight of Virgin Atlantic Airlines almost crashed because of a flock of birds. Virgin Cola, his soda company, failed miserably. He almost got himself killed during his trip around the world. Richard Branson has done many things, but do you know what he never did? Give up. No matter how serious the failure was, he always found the strength to get back up on his feet and carry on with life. That’s the mindset of a champion!

Never allow yourself to get disappointed from failure. Do not fall back into average just because your big dream doesn’t seem to be working. Failure is not a big deal. It’s just part of the journey, and everyone has to face it. If you carry on, you’ll find success along the way.

So you want to be a champion? You better start working towards that goal without wasting any time. The first step is changing your mindset. Hopefully, the tips above inspired you to do that.

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3 Important Principles You Need to Know That All Billionaires Have in Common

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I’ve always been highly interested in the similarities amongst the world’s wealthiest. Their habits, successes, mindset, and failures have fascinated me. The journey to great prosperity can seem overwhelming, but if you apply success principles to any endeavor you can quickly and efficiently overcome challenges and expand.

Michael J. Gabrielli, founder of WeRunAds, has spent hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars studying billionaires and their habits. Michael has also studied over 2000 different billionaires and from this experience he’s found three principles they all had in common.

Here are the 3 principles the billionaires all had in common:

1. Be in a rapid growth industry at the right time

Timing is so important. Billionaires know when the time is right to enter a market. Most billionaires do not enter first or second into a market because of the inherent risks involved. Many billionaires let the pioneers pave the way and then leverage the knowledge gained to innovate and optimize in order to create something that works.

The key is to find an industry that is soon to take off. Stepping in at the right time is important. Let’s take a real life example that is known all too well– the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. When he entered the scene, the idea of a social network was moderately known, but it was still not quite predicted to be the monster it is today.

Others like Friendster, Myspace, etc. had made some headway into this fledgeling industry and then Facebook entered leveraging the knowledge and expertise gained from the early pioneers. Zuckerberg saw the huge potential of social networking, took what was done previously and made it better.

He is presently worth over $66 Billion and the company has surpassed the 2 billion users mark with 1.4 billion using the platform daily. Not surprisingly, many billionaires were not the first to pioneer the industry they would later find success in. They came in at the right moment, learned from the mistakes and triumphs of their predecessors, and made a lasting final product.

Here’s a practical 3 question exercise you can do to judge if you have the right timing with your current venture:

  1. Look at your industry and say—is this brand new?
  2. Am I trying to invent something that doesn’t exist?
  3. Am I too late to the party?

2. Position yourself better

In addition to finding the right industry and getting in at the right time, billionaires position themselves in the best way. They provide the solution to the need and they think outside the box to do it. Optimal positioning is a commonality amongst billionaires. For example, during the California Gold Rush, people rushed to mine for the gold itself blinded by the promise of large profits.

However, it turned out that Sam Brannan had the better idea for how to position himself for success. He knew the chances of finding gold were risky, so instead he committed to a sure thing. He manufactured the tools that were needed by all the miners to mine gold. As each new miner migrated West, they were happily met by Brannan and his company who were ready and waiting to sell these new hopefuls the shovels and tools they’d need to strike it rich.

Digging for gold seemed to be the most profitable route, however, greater returns were yielded in the supplying of materials required to mine for gold! A good company that also illustrates this concept is Microsoft. They did not seek to create their own computer, but the software that computers would run on. Most people mistakenly think they have to “go for the gold” to attain wealth, but it’s evident in history that selling the necessary tools to the gold miners can be far more profitable.

The two questions you need to ask yourself to see how you could position yourself correctly are, “What industries will need the supplies that I could provide? And, “Am I following the trend instead of innovating?

“Big shots are only little shots that keep shooting. I can see your sun rise out of obscurity. Keep shooting” – Ikechukwu Joseph

3. Take calculated risks

Most people choose the safe bet that is secure, however, this is not common among billionaires. Billionaires take big calculated risks in order to propel themselves to higher levels of influence and success. The most important thing to note here is that while to others the risks seem big—to billionaires, they are calculated.Risk and Calculated Risk are not the same. Calculated risk is measured and well-thought-out. Risk is impulsive and immeasurable. Understanding the difference between the two is a commonality among billionaires. The world’s most prominent figures have at some point in their lives disagreed with the ordinary and took a shot at the unknown. Proper calculation and clever thinking certainly accompanied the bold moves they made in their careers.

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, is a great example of this. He had grown up in poverty and made his way out to earn a comfortable wage as an executive at a company that manufactured coffeemakers.

“Risk more than others think safe.” – Howard Schultz

He risked it all when he discovered a small coffee shop named “Starbucks” in Seattle that prompted him to quit his job and step out to create a company that was inspired by the Italian coffee culture and personal relationship people could have with their coffee.

Of the 242 people he spoke to, 217 said no to investing with him. Despite the discouragement, lack of agreement, and investment, Schultz kept pushing on. Fast forward to present time, and Starbucks’ is a massive success. Strong intuition and unshakeable belief is common among high achievers. Many successful billionaires risked their safe jobs, personal assets, and even their reputation to take calculated risks that they knew would pay off huge in the end.

The questions you need to ask yourself now are, “where can I take a calculated risk? Am I holding back when I should be going forward? What tangible steps can I take today to move forward?”

These 3 success principles are staple elements that are common among many billionaires. Now, there are more principles that you must discover and implement in order to become a billionaire. Work diligently and do all that can be done each day. Be inquisitive and study those that you wish to emulate.

Which one of these principles do you need to work on more this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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personal success
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome.

Here’s the question I always ask: What is standing between your current reality (where you are now) and your ultimate vision (where you want to be)? Are the impediments psychological, physical, emotional or some other reason?

Until you answer what is causing the difference between your AS IS and your SHOULD BE, you will be stuck spinning your wheels in the mud and the muck of the former. This is an important question that requires a level of mental self-examination. And the answer to this question may require a lifetime of introspection. It is an important question to answer because if you know where you want to go that provides direction but examining why you are not there yet can provide momentum. (In other words, by answering the question it may get you there faster!)

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill

It’s just like following a road map. A map is useless unless you know two things, where you are, and where you want to go. What might be stopping you (or at least slowing you down) from the ultimate destination of your passion and life’s fulfilment?

I’ve asked many people about this over the years and have heard these four reasons that keep people from moving forward.

1. Lack of vision

How do you plan to get there, if you don’t know where “there” is? The most difficult undertaking in the world is to sit quietly with a blank sheet of paper and chart out your life. I know, I have many blank sheets of paper to prove it. However, I also found out that it only takes one sheet, with a few well-crafted lines of thought to give you the direction you need. But you need to start!

2. Lack of goals

So, you know where you want to go, you just don’t know how to get there. The second hardest thing in the world is to have a sheet of paper with your ultimate destination on top, and the rest blank as you ask yourself, now what or how do I get to my vision? The process of functional decomposition means breaking down the larger process into steps that are both actionable and motivational. In other words, the steps are small enough to do and you remain motivated because they are so small.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

3. You don’t believe you can get there

You want to, but there is a script running through your head telling you to go home, make some chicken soup and don’t leave the house until these foolish notions of greatness are gone. Think about it, your parents never did what you are trying to do, no one in your family has ever done it, you are far too old (or too young) to do that, you don’t have the right education…your rationalizing can go on for a lifetime! Here is my suggestion when it comes to running those self-deprecating scripts: STOP IT!

4. You are lazy

You won’t admit this to yourself, but perhaps you are just plain lazy. I’ve seen it so many times; individuals majoring in minors. Performing high fun, low payoff activities instead of the low fun, high payoff activities. (And, by the way, who ever said that a high payoff activity can’t be fun? There’s that darn script again.) As a species we are inclined to take the path of least resistance, but that path may not lead us to our vision, but you must admit, we are having a great time NOT moving toward our vision! Laziness is not “doing nothing.” It’s doing the wrong thing because that’s what you want to do, and, very often, we know it’s the wrong thing to do!

There you have the four possible things that might be holding you back from the realization of your vision. Are any of them hitting home? Answer this question before you move on:

What is standing between my current reality and my ultimate vision of success?

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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