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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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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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