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11 Essential Habits for Success

11 Essential Habits for Success


    We all want to succeed. Whether it’s in losing weight, learning the guitar, speed reading, or starting our own business. For those of us who have tried and failed, success seems elusive. Why is it one person succeeds where another person fails? First and foremost, I believe it is in their mindset. But secondly, I believe that successful people have developed certain habits, either naturally or through research, that the rest of us haven’t stumbled upon yet.

    Though I want each of you to succeed in everything you do, I can’t guarantee success. Only you can do that. It starts in your mind, and from there your thoughts take physical form through your actions. Believing in yourself is a necessity! Beyond that, I’ve made a list of some habits to help you set goals and achieve them.

    1. Identify your core values

    What is important to you? Finding your core values may seem a bit off-topic when it comes to success, but creating goals that are in line with your values is key to creating intrinsic motivation. Sit and reflect on what you value most. Pick a handful of things and actually write them down. Remind yourself of your values every day, and reflect on whether you are honoring those values through your work.

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    2. Pick a goal (Focus)

    Choose one goal to start. Something large enough that will give you a sense of accomplishment, while aligning well with your core values. Focus is key here. The more focused you are on one goal, the higher chance you have of success. If you spread yourself too thin, you might never complete your projects because they will take far too long. Believe me, multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    3. Set a deadline for success

    Set a date for success. Identify when your hope to achieve your goal. Keep it realistic, while not giving yourself too much time. By setting a time limit, you are making the process more real. You also now have something to visualize in the next point.

    4. Build the right mindset

    Believe fully in your ability to achieve your goal. Visualize yourself having completed your goal in the exact time-frame you have chosen, although finishing early is also acceptable. You don’t need to consider the failures that will happen along the way. Success is inevitable. Others may think you will fail, don’t let yourself be one of them! (If you have trouble visualizing success, perhaps a fear of success is limiting you)

    “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford

    5. Consequences for missing your deadline

    Set up negative consequences for missing the deadline. Necessity is the mother of all invention. If you can manage to keep yourself intrinsically motivated, that’s great. If not, this will help kick you into gear and keep your eye on the prize.

    6. Weekly and Daily Goals (Plan)

    Break down goals by week and by day, setting up a plan to reach your overall objective. Keep the number of tasks per day as low as you can, and focus on completing only your planned tasks for each day. If you find yourself done, pick the next thing from your weekly list. Do the hardest things during your peak energy level, which usually means doing them first!

    7. Prioritize

    Prioritize the tasks you have in front of you. Don’t always do the most urgent thing first. Pick the task that’s the most important. Sometimes these overlap, which is nice. By always accomplishing what’s most important, you are making clear progress toward your goal.

    Also keep in mind that completing the hardest task first is a sure-fire way of increasing your productivity. If you put it off until later in the day, your energy level is bound to drop, and finishing the hard task will seem daunting and maybe even impossible. But, if you start off with the hardest task, when your energy level is high, you will have the focus and energy required to finish it off.

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    8. Take risks

    Push yourself. Go out of your comfort zone. This is the best way to learn, and the best way to make progress quickly. If you’re looking for new ideas, being risk averse will not help. This takes a lot of self-awareness. Try and be conscious of when you are holding yourself back out of fear. Push yourself to be courageous, and take that next step.

    9. Perseverance

    Failure is inevitable when you take risks, which is what you’ll be doing if you want to succeed. By its very definition, the desire to succeed at something means you are risking failure. Many people tend to give up far too early. Don’t fall into this trap! Remember your mindset earlier, and visualize your success. Know it will happen. A failure is merely you working out the details, and learning what works and what doesn’t. Use failure. Treat it as a good thing, and march on!

    10. Reflect

    Take time every day to sit quietly and reflect on your values, goals, and progress made so far. Where have you excelled, and where can you do better. Is everything you are doing still lining up with your core values? Always look for ways to improve.

    11. Learn

    Never stop learning. Know what everyone else is doing, and what everyone else has done, and how they did it. Search wide for knowledge that might help you, and any inspiration that may do the same. Never think you have nothing to learn from others.

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    ***

    I cannot overstate the value of building the correct mindset and perseverance. I believe these two habits are the fundamental building blocks to enjoying any great success in life.

    (Photo credit: Businessman Climbing Ladder via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on March 15, 2019

      How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

      How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

      When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

      Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

      In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

      What Makes a Leader Fail?

      A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

      If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

      And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

      What Is Effective Leadership?

      Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

      Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

      Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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      “… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

      How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

      To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

      1. Courage

      The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

      “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

      Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

      For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

      In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

      It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

      Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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      2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

      If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

      The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

      To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

      3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

      Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

      Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

      4. Likability

      Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

      When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

      Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

      So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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      5. Vulnerability

      Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

      When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

      6. Authenticity

      Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

      Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

      7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

      Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

      Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

      Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

      Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

      As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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      “A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

      8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

      Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

      This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

      9. A Passion for Continual Learning

      Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

      These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

      Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

      The Bottom Line

      No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

      Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

      More Resources About Effective Leadership

      Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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