What separates the highly successful from those who are “just getting by“?
This is a question that a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs have when they are just starting out. You have read all the books and learned all the skills but your mindset and “know how” may not be quite there yet.
Here is a list of the 7 qualities that the highly successful live by.
1. They Are Actors On The Pitch Of Life, Not Spectators
The vast majority of people live in Dreamland where they wish, hope and pray that things will turn around in their favor, the highly successful are those who get up and take action! They never wait for a more favorable condition or time. They simply set out to get things done.
Nolan Bushnell (American engineer and entrepreneur) once said:
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
J.K. Rowling worked on her first ever Harry Potter novel when she was a single mother who just lived off welfare. Yet, she didn’t let that deter her. J.K. finished the book and asked publishers all over town to help get the book published. As you would expect, they rejected her and even criticized her harshly because she wasn’t a well-known author yet.
It appeared like nothing was working out for her but she kept at it. She chose to continue and to push through.
In 2014, she became the first ever billionaire author!
2. They Love What They Do
A very remarkable story that reveals this is that of Steve Jobs (American entrepreneur, marketer and inventor as well as the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc).
In 1976, when he was 21 years old, he and his friend (Steve Wozniak) started Apple Computers from the Jobs’ family garage. Apple went public on Dec 12, 1980 with a value of 1.2 billion dollars on its first day! In the next few years, Apple suffered significant design flaws that resulted in IBM suddenly surpassing Apple in sales. By 1985, Apple forced Jobs to resign from the company he co-founded!
He picked himself up quickly and started a new hardware and software enterprise he called “Next” To cut the long story short, in 1996, Apple purchased “Next” for $429 Million and eventually hired Jobs as the CEO.
Today, Steve Jobs’ is quoted to have said:
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.”
Yes indeed, you have to discover what you love to do, and be the best at it.
3. They Don’t Stop Until They Get There
I remember hearing the story of Colonel Sanders (founder of KFC) sometime ago. He drove all over America and offered his fried chicken recipe for a certain percentage of the sales. He knocked on several doors, slept in his car and carried on walking around in his white suit even though he already got 1,009 refusals! On the 1,010th time, he finally got a “yes”.
Thomas Edison on the other hand, had his teacher say to him that he was “too stupid to learn anything”, and was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive”.
As an inventor, he made 1000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.
When a reporter asked “How did it feel to fail 1000 times?” Edison replied:
“I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.”
Joe Girard said:
“The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs…. One step at a time.”
Simply put, highly successful people have a different understanding of the word “FAIL”.
To them, to fail just means “First Attempt In Learning”. So every time they seemingly fail, they consider that to be that they have only found one more way that it didn’t work and then they move on.
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”.
He went bankrupt several times before he finally built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on grounds that it would only attract riffraff.
Today, the Walt Disney Company has annual revenues of approximately $35 billion!
4. They Focus On Serving Others Rather Than Being Served
Highly successful people know that true success is about serving others with great value rather than living a self-centered life. They know that being selfish, stingy and money driven can help make you money at first but it’s not really a good plan for long-term success. They focus on serving other people and helping them even if it means giving up some of their own resources!
In most cases, successful people define their success on the basis of their positive contributions to others rather than how much money they make. Incidentally, it is practically impossible to really make a remarkable
contribution in the lives of others without making money as well. So the undiscerning are quick to assume that the successful became successful by making more money.
However, it is important to note that it is not that the successful have no care for money. It’s just that money isn’t their focus and priority in life.
5. They Have Clear Cut Visions
A very common factor among the successful is that they all have clarity and certainty about what they want and don’t want out of life. They set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals in line with their vision. They have identified their core values (what is important to them) and go all out to live in line with them. They know exactly what they want to achieve and then they chart their course towards it.
Aside from having crystal clear short and long-term goals, the successful also determine exactly what they MUST accomplish each day to bring them closer to their already defined goals. They take full advantage of the “Golden Hour” principle which takes the first hour after you wake up in the morning into consideration. It is assumed that what you do mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually during this first hour, sets the tone for the entire day.
6. They Keep Improving Themselves And What They Do
Not a single one of the success stories you would hear of out there started out successful. In fact, for many of them, they were laughed at or even scorned as they began to dream, plan and take the necessary action towards the accomplishment of their set goals. Through thick and thin, they just kept on improving themselves over and over again. It was this self-improvement over time that impacted on the quality of what they did and made them the success that they eventually became.
For instance, did you ever read that Michael Jordan and Bob Cousy were each ousted from their high school basketball teams? How does it feel to know that Michael Jordan who later in his life was addressed as the “Best Player Ever” could not be included amongst the 10-best players in a tiny Laney High School in Wilmington? At the time he was simply not good enough or else, he would have been on the team.
Michael, later in his career, went on to say:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot … and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.”
No matter what you have decided to do, be sure to see that you are consistently adding to your personal value as well as to the quality of what you do. Strive to see that you never do things of the same quality twice!
Steve Jobs once said:
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
Dare to be different.
7. They Understand The Importance Of Discipline
One other quality of highly successful people is that they understand the importance of discipline and self-control. They have come to know that it is not every route that will lead to their desired destination. Hence, they discipline themselves to follow only the route that leads their way. That is why they almost always come across others as mean people!
They constantly work at educating themselves, either formally (academically), informally (watching, listening, asking, and reading) or experientially (doing, trying)… or all three.
This also translates into their ability to maintain their focus on one thing rather than everything. Whereas the ordinary or general public would have long lost focus and concentration on what really matters.
Through discipline, highly successful people know how to pay attention on the one thing that really matters – their goals!
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave
It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.
Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:
1. Where Are You?
No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.
The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
2. Where Do You Want to Go?
When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.
There’s this saying: When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.
Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.
So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?
3. Why Do You Want It?
Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.
You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.
So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?
“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins
4. How Are You Going to Get There?
And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.
For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”
To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.
In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.
Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.
Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.
Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work
A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.
The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.
A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.
Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.
Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:
1. By being unafraid to share her own story
Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.
When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”
Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.
“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson
2. Committing to a strong value system
VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.
With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.
Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.
Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.
3. Listening with action
As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.
Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.
Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.
“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:
“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.
I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.
From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.
What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!
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