I was recently asked what I believed were the secrets to success. To be honest, it’s not really a secret; simply something that most people don’t know yet. The more successful you become, the more ‘secrets’ you will learn from other successful people. Here are my tips to success in no particular order of importance. They are all necessary.
KNOWLEDGE. Know what your dream is and what the success of it looks, feels, smells, tastes, sounds like. Really know it. Not just a vague idea of what you might like. Have a clear ‘What’, ‘With Who’, ‘By When’ detailed understanding of it – inside and out; as if you were already doing it… as if you’ve already done it and you’re simply going through the motions one more time. Don’t wait for your dream to come one day; be it now. Also know yourself. It’s important to find out as much about yourself as possible. Invest in getting to know who you are from an objective perspective – other people, not just peers. For instance, I’m INFP. If you don’t know what that is, hit Google and find out. Then find out who you are.
FOCUS. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted. Commit to it and commit everything. The closer you get to your success, the more attractive to distraction you become. Ask yourself – is this other thing/person/place going to help me achieve my dream? If not, think really hard about letting it go. At the beginning of the year I made myself (as did a few of my friends) a pie chart of how much certain priorities will be part of my life in the coming 12 months. It really shows you what is important to you and helps you focus when the distractions appear. For me if it’s not on that list or doesn’t contribute in some way… see you in 2013.
RESPONSIBILITY. Own it. Your dream is your responsibility. Not your parents, not your mentors, not your clients, not your friends, not your partners. It is your sole responsibility to take the daily steps to make it happen. If you are early or late, it’s on you. If you win or you don’t, it’s on you. If you dally or you’re on it… Guess what? It’s on you. No one else is responsible for making your dreams happen except you. It’s easier to blame others because then it’s not your responsibility. If you are working with something or someone who isn’t pulling in the same direction as you; is it their fault for pulling you off course or yours for not correcting it? If you can’t take full ownership of what it is you want, ask yourself if you really ever wanted it in the first place.
PROCESS. Nothing comes from thin air. There are steps that must be followed. It might seem hard or long but there’s a process for everything – even for making toast. There is no other way than applying heat to sliced bread long enough for it to get brown. It’s a process. A baby is born after 40 weeks. Anything earlier or later is likely to cause problems for either mother or child. So don’t rush the process, don’t skip steps and don’t look for short cuts. Your process will be different to someone else’s so comparing is pointless. Walk your walk. All of it – no matter how long it takes, stick with it.
ASSOCIATES. There’s little benefit to a hockey player to hang out with secretaries. They will learn more from other hockey players :). Network and socialise with other people who are already involved in achieving a similar dream or have the same inspiration. Get to know people doing what you want to do. Your dream is always only 10% unique, the rest of it has been done before – learn from the 90%. Socialising (not just networking) is important because those relationships truly influence your life – listening to their seminars is not enough; break bread with them, see movies with them, swap recipes.
So there it, my five tips to success.