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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 July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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