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10 Things Highly Successful People Wish They Knew Earlier

10 Things Highly Successful People Wish They Knew Earlier

It wasn’t all plain sailing for some of the most successful people on planet earth. A few things got in the way but above all, they wished they had known one or two things which could have made the long march easier. Discover what wise nuggets they wished they had grasped earlier on.

1. “You need to be patient. I was the president of a multinational corporation when I was 40, but I wanted to be there at 25! But you need experience, of course.” – Federica Marchionni, President of Dolce & Gabbana Inc.

Federica Marchionni started out in the technology sector and worked for Ericsson and Samsung. Moving into the luxury goods sector was a big change. She has learned to be patient enough to see through projects which have opened up new markets for Dolce & Gabbana. She has shown creativity and flair in nurturing high level relationships.

2.  “I wish that I knew how difficult it is to acquire a customer, get them to pay for your product and believe it’s as magical as you think it is.” – Neil Patel, co-founder of the analytics companies, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics

Neil Patel underestimated how difficult it was to actually get customers and keep them. His advice now is that you have to experiment with where you will find your best customers. He recommends engaging with every potential customer on a daily basis which will give you invaluable insights on what they want.

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3. “After working ourselves to a point of being burned out we realized that if we put in 40 x 2 hours the company didn’t move forward 2x faster.” – Nick Francis, CEO of Help Scout

Nick Francis now knows that long hours are less and less productive. They are not the key to success. He is still committed to making his parents proud of him at the age of 32! Other ambitions are to keep his customers and employees happy. He is thrilled to be able to provide companies with front-end web development products to help them provide top class customer service.

4. “I wish I would have known that the career I started in didn’t necessarily have to be the career I stopped with.”- Chachanna Simpson, business and life coach at Your Stellar Star.

Basically, your career path is not set in stone and that you can change direction, as Chachanna Simpson discovered. Her video interviews with successful women in all walks of life are an inspiration to help with life lessons.

5. “Controlling your expenses is one of the most crucial steps toward the kind of financial independence that you need in order to follow your dreams in the future.”- Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.

Jimmy Wales recommends care with expenses in setting up your dream project and becoming financially stable.  He advises that you should never get into debt to purchase a luxury item. The only exception would be a student loan, he says. Now, I wonder what luxury item he bought?

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6. “We’re so programmed to walk well-trodden paths. But, we live life only once. So, rather than avoiding the risk of trying, avoid the risk of not trying.” – Tim Westergren, Co founder of Pandora Radio.

In a recent interview, Tim Westergren said that you cannot know what you are getting into and that is the risk factor. Follow your gut instinct even it means failure and you will have no regrets.

Pandora is unique in that it uses the Music Genome which delivers your personalized music tracks based on the 400 musical attributes of your initial selections. No surprise to learn that it took 30 experts and five years of work to complete. Tim Westergren has described this particular journey as ‘harrowing’.

7. “Listen more” – Paul Bennett, Chief Creative Officer at IDEO, global design consultancy.

Paul Bennett did a lot of talking when he was younger and it was all geared to show how clever he was. He regrets that and it is no surprise to learn that as his main job is to inspire people, he has now .learned the art of listening.  No prizes for guessing who thought up IDEO’s motto ‘Talk less, do more’!

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8. “If I had one piece of advice to give my younger self it would be to stop doing what makes you unhappy and focus on what makes you truly happy,” – Philippe Courtot, CEO of Qualys., cloud security company.

Philippe Courtot advises people to do what you really love and not to be distracted by other people’s opinions and advice. He was actively involved in Thomson GR Medical advertising campaign to promote mammography.

In an effort to make the Internet a safer environment for business, he has invested half a million dollars of his own money in TIM (Trustworthy Internet Movement) to help protect cloud computing from cyber criminals.

9. “The canvas of your life is painted with daily experiences, behaviors, reactions, and emotions, you’re the one controlling the brush.” – Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey wishes she had known all about the canvas of her life and how she could have controlled it when she was much younger. This is essential in getting rid of those terrible doubts, worries, anxieties and lack of self confidence. Being the artist of your own life means you can change the colors at will and erase something you have done badly or could do better.

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10. “And above all, network, because networking is working. Your ability will only take you so far. Your relationships will take you the rest of the way.”- Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company.

Denise Morrison realized too late the value of networking and if she had her time over again, she certainly would have done things differently. She is among the top 100 of the World’s Most Powerful Women list. She is highly respected because of her innate talent in preserving an iconic brand and at the same time discovering new customer bases.

What are the things you wished you knew when you were younger that could have helped you do better?  Let us know in the comments below.

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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