Although everybody is on their own journey and usually following totally unique directions and goals, there are some traits all successful people have in common. Here are some key steps for you to take in order to succeed in any area of life!

1. Get started, no more excuses

Oftentimes, when we try to build something great, we are holding ourselves back without even consciously knowing it. We come up with excuses on why this is not the right time or why we lack some important information or money in order to be able to start. But what a lot of successful people have found is that there is never a good time to start. Conditions are never perfect and you will always lack information and you would always be “better off” gathering a few more resources before you start.

The problem here is that this is a first class ticket to procrastination, and when you start putting things off because of self-made excuses, you will end up never getting them done. So if you find yourself waking up with a desire to do a great thing (and I believe such an urge is in all of us), then make a real decision and take the smallest step towards your goal right now! You will be surprised how liberating taking action and making progress on your journey to success is!

Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group) was once stuck at an airport when his last flight was canceled. But instead of making excuses, he came up with a solution and got started on it immediately. He chartered a private airplane, which he did not have the money to do. Then, he picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines. $29.” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been on the flight that was canceled. He sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the chartered plane, and everybody got to their destination the same night. Of course he also could have come up with excuses for why he couldn’t make it on time.

2. Taking risks is necessary

You have to take risks in order to succeed. You have to leave your comfort zone and expand it every day. Doing something you feel scared of is the only way to increase your potential and get ahead in life. By pushing yourself further and further and taking calculated risks, you will find out about the abilities you have, and those you didn’t know you had!

Successful people know that and are willing to put the pressure on themselves that comes from doing something terrifying. They learned how to give their best performance even under extremely challenging situations. They feel the fear and do whatever is necessary to succeed anyway!

Bryan Cranston (actor, Breaking Bad) stated:

“The riskiest career decision is to go into this career. You have to be a risk taker of some degree to be able to say, ‘Alright, I’m throwing it all out there. Whatever happens, happens. I want to be an actor. If that means sleeping on someone’s couch for the rest of my life, then that’s what that is.’”

Following your passion no matter what is always risky but it is crucial and necessary in order for you to succeed.

3. The path you take will not be smooth

Whatever you are trying to do with your life, when it comes to success in any area, there will always be obstacles, mistakes and failures along your journey. Nobody ever got anywhere worth getting to without having a huge load of roadblocks to overcome.

Everybody has to find ways to handle the rejections, master their own emotions after getting beaten down, and gather the strength and the willpower to get back up again and keep moving forward. When life beats you down, you cannot add additional weight to your shoulders by beating yourself up about it. Thoughts like: “I cannot do this!” “Why is this always happening to me?” and “I don’t deserve it anyways,” or similar, have no right to be on your mind.

Instead embrace the fact that there will be setbacks along your path. Accept the fact that you might make some mistakes and you have to correct them. Learn to love to find new and better solutions for your daily obstacles and nobody will be able to stop you.

Colonel Sanders (KFC) famously tried to sell his chicken recipe and got 1,009 no’s before he heard his first yes. Ask yourself if you would have had the endurance to keep going after getting rejected 1,000 times? His persistence and perseverance are the reason KFC is now an established brand making US$23 billion a year in revenue.

4. Keep learning

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. Successful people know that in the end there is no such thing as failure or rejection: there is either success or a valuable life lesson on how to do it better the next time. If you are willing to keep learning and not beat yourself up about mistakes and failure, you tend to arrive at your goals way faster.

After some hard setback, analyze like a freak what went wrong and how you ended up there. What could you have done better, what can you still improve? After that, let go and move forward. Also, always find better and more efficient ways to succeed in your area of expertise. Never rest on your given success. Innovate and try new approaches, even if you don’t have to because “everything is working fine anyways right now.” Remember that whenever you are resting on your given success, there is always somebody else out there who — at this very moment — is working their butt off to get ahead of you!

Therefore:

  • Read a lot of books. Read a broad range of genres and get different views on things. You never know which inputs will click with other aspects of your life and suddenly a new idea is born, which can turn your whole life around.
  • Talk to great and inspiring people. Always surround yourself with positive and upbeat people. You will be surprised how many valuable (business) insights you can get from truly listening to some of the people around you. By listening to their concerns you might also build a business around tackling these very problems! Opportunities are everywhere.
  • Always try new approaches and think about how to do things more efficiently. Learn new techniques on how to do stuff better. Never rest on your past successes! This is the only way to succeed in the long run!

Bill Gates (Microsoft) said:

“In this business, by the time you realize you’re in trouble, it’s too late to save yourself. Unless you’re running scared all the time, you’re gone. In order for Microsoft to have maintained its competitive edge for the past three decades, it was crucial for me and all my employees to engage in a process of continual learning. ‘I don’t know’ had to become ‘I don’t know yet.’”

5. When something’s done, celebrate

Celebrating and acknowledging your progress and success is just as key as every other step mentioned here. Only when you learn how to take a step back after a great achievement and celebrate your efforts and successes can you build a sustainable lifestyle out of the pursuing your goals.

Without this final step you can easily get lost in the progress because you feel like you’re running on a treadmill and not getting ahead at all. You have to commit to a life-long journey of ups and downs and you have to be thankful for every little success you get. Be appreciative of the little steps you take. Be happy about your progress and take time to acknowledge every little or major step you have taken. It is the only way you can make your journey a sustainable and enjoyable one. Celebrate, recharge and then keep moving forward and push it to the next level!

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey

Featured photo credit: Successful business group/Heberger Site via flickr.com

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