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10 Essential Keys to Success

10 Essential Keys to Success

I’ve traveled around the country, and regardless of your definition of success, or the level of success you’ve achieved, there are 10 distinct characteristics that differentiate successful people from the rest of the globe. I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with and learn from incredibly wealthy individuals with incomes ranging up to $100,000 a month. These individuals have lived ordinary lives but took the extra steps necessary to create extraordinary opportunities for themselves. Here I want to share with you the 10 keys to success that make these individuals stand apart.

1. They Are Fearless.

“To me, Fearless is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” Taylor Swift

It’s not what you know that matters; it’s what you do with what you know that matters. Every action has a consequence, but to be successful it’s necessary to be patient and have faith. While you’re probably familiar with the quote, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” the truth is, “The grass is greener where you water it.” By tracking your behavior and actions you become aware of the results and consequences, making it easier to achieve your goals. We are lazy, so if something is inconvenient we have a tendency not to do it. Successful people understand that not doing it is not an option, so they step into challenging situations and get rejected thousands of times before getting any kind of recognition for their work or achievements. They understand that it isn’t how hard, fast, or much you can do, but how long you can endure.

2. They Are Passionate.

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch

Successful people are incredibly passionate about what they do. In fact, they don’t do anything they aren’t passionate about. You will never catch them muttering the phrase, “I never have time to do what I want,” because they know that they are already investing their time doing what they value most. Successful people are extremely focused on using and building their strengths—and outsourcing their weaknesses—to get the best results and feel fulfilled both personally and professionally. Passion is the driving force behind every action they take.

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3. They Invest In A Coach.

“People before profits. Relationships before results.” Melissa Krivachek

When it comes to investing in a coach, successful players don’t leave anything to chance. In fact, investing in a coach isn’t even an option, it’s a priority and a necessity because the biggest difference between where you are and where you want to be is knowing how to get there. An average financial advisor makes $60-80k per year, yet Dave Ramsey makes $50-60 million. The average personal trainer makes $45-50k per year, yet Jillian Michaels makes $14-17 million. No matter where you are in your business there is someone better than you and you should invest the time, effort, and energy in listening to what they have to say. Stop being a smart ass, cheap ass, wise ass, and broke ass! Start taking your knowledge, adding value, changing lives and living the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. It isn’t about what you know, it’s about who you know and what they know. So how do you know when it’s the right time to get a coach? If you are fulfilled personally, professionally, or financially then you probably don’t need one (which is 1% of people). If you want to transform your mindset, life, and finances, then there is no better time to invest in a coach than the present.

4. They Remove All Distractions, Mentally And Physically.

“If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful!” Charles Barkley (Phoenix Suns)

Distractions cost employers $650 billion a year. They crush potential, limit progress and cripple success. Ever wonder why you are derailed, diverted, unsatisfied, unfulfilled, under-producing, under-performing, over-stressing, over-scheduled, and overtired? The epic battle for all of us is the six inches between our ears. The #1 threat is distractions. Here are some staggering statistics. There are:

  • 145 million emails sent per day
  • 175 million Tweets sent per minute
  • 1,000 new posts on Facebook per second
  • 2.7 billion “Likes” on Facebook per day
  • 75 million new blog posts per day
  • 100 hours of video uploaded on YouTube every minute

So what do elite performers and successful individuals do that others don’t? They remove all roadblocks to success. Setting a timer and working in 90 minute increments on one thing—and one thing only—that’s what differentiates these high performing individuals.

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5. They Are A Master At One Thing Vs. Mediocre At Many

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” Leonardo da Vinci

Successful people master the vital few things: functions, priorities, metrics, improvements, and support. They don’t do everything, they do the one thing they’ve mastered. Let’s look at some examples: Joel Osteen runs a $700 million a year organization, yet only focuses on the 22 minute speech he gives each week at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas; Dr. Mehmet Oz has his own TV show, book, is one of the most recognized heart surgeons in New York City, and is highly involved in the community, yet he only focuses on performing the surgery, letting others plan, prepare, and execute everything else for him. Steve Jobs spent three hours of his own personal time every single day on the number one thing that would propel his organization forward. When they perform they only perform these vital few functions and they aren’t distracted by anything. They use this technique to elevate mental and physical capacities and increase skills, making them the absolute best at what they do.

6. They Have An Undeniable Drive To Succeed.

“The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.” Norman Vincent Peale

Staying up late, waking up early, getting no sleep at all is what successful people learn to do from the very beginning. Building a business is just like harvesting a crop: you have to prepare to plant, water, wait, commit and harvest. The same goes for reaching any kind of success: you have to prepare, build relationships, drip market, consistently take action, commit to getting a result, and reap the rewards. While many people think it’s easy, it really is anything but. Successful crops, just like successful businesses, take time to build, hours of planning, years of experimenting and changing directions, and an unwavering commitment from the farmer or entrepreneur to make a difference regardless of the circumstances. Old equipment, new equipment, dry ground, wet ground, corn, beans, it doesn’t make a difference. The farmer’s drive to succeed is relentless and so is the successful entrepreneur’s.

7. They Define Success In Their Own Terms.

“Most new jobs won’t come from our biggest employers. They will come from our smallest. We’ve got to do everything we can to make entrepreneurial dreams a reality.” Ross Perot

The definition of success varies across the country. The value of family, friends, and faith supersede the need to make millions of dollars, although making millions is often the result. Successful people know that success is an action not a definition.

8. They Are Incredibly Creative.

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Vincent Van Gogh

Many businesses bootstrap it while picking up the momentum needed to succeed. The ability to be creative without an investment is what many communities teach growing up. It doesn’t always take money to make money. In fact, the support of the community is often the driving force behind the success of both a person and a business. There is no doubt that entrepreneurs are not afraid to get down and dirty, and lend a helping hand in times of need. While many start-ups have little to no funding to begin with, they focus on the tools, resources, and knowledge they do have and become as resourceful as possible to achieve their end goal.
What are the qualifications of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Ty Warner, Ted Turner and 29 other billionaires? They are all college drop outs! They didn’t have the luxury of buying opportunities, support, or even the basic things they needed to start their new venture. Successful people understand applied knowledge is more important than the consumption of knowledge, so they use what they have to create what they desire.

9. They Refuse To Give Up Even When The Going Gets Tough.

“Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.” Calvin Coolidge

Times are tough across the country but that doesn’t deter business owners, entrepreneurs or already successful companies from giving up the hope of wanting something more. In fact, it drives them to keep going. Many successful business owners aren’t rich, they are abundant. And while they don’t have a formal education, they embrace lifelong education. The same applies for entrepreneurs. This willingness to face adversity and come up with creative solutions to get through tough times with the support of the community separates those who become successful from those who don’t. Many of the successful individuals I’ve been fortunate enough to be around give 10-20%, or more, of their yearly income to charities within their own community, while investing additionally in their own personal growth.

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10. They Understand Minor Semantics Mean Major Differences.

“He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had failed.” William James.

Do you know the This Guy Got Lucky Syndrome? (This is a real example, using real numbers) People ask successful people how they got so lucky. It wasn’t luck! The root of all your results is the small things: success is not a result of heroic feats, grand acts of bravery, and quantum leaps. It is the result of making small, good decisions over time. Here are small changes you can make that can completely transform your life, even if you’re making $40k a year:

Daily:

  • Read 10 pages of a good book (15 minutes)
  • Listen to 30 minutes of an instructional CD
  • Eat 125 calories less each day then you normally eat
  • Drink two bottles of water a day
  • Walk 2,000 steps a day, roughly one mile
  • Make a few more prospecting calls instead of calling it a day
  • Make date night with your significant other a priority

27 months later you’ve:

  • Read 47 books
  • Listened to 465 hours of audio on success and improvement
  • Saved 117,500 calories = lost 33.5 lbs.
  • Drank 3,720 gallons of water
  • Walked 900 miles = an additional 30 lbs. lost (that’s 63.5 lbs in total!)
  • Had 124 dates with your partner = XOXOXO!!!
  • Made 1,860 extra calls at a 3% closing rate (which is a terrible rate that would increase with the books and audios) = $279,000 increase in yearly revenue. That’s five times more than your friends because they are treading water, falling behind, becoming disenchanted, bored, apathetic, passionless and disengaged.

I want to leave you with this thought the next time you think success isn’t within reach: consider implementing these small steps, they will leave you living the life of your dreams.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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