Advertising
Advertising

13 Differences Between Successful and Highly Successful Individuals

13 Differences Between Successful and Highly Successful Individuals

Oh to be highly successful! That is the dream and desire of all but few understand the concept. In order to understand the difference between successful people and highly successful people, we must understand the meaning of success. For the sake of this article, let’s define success as the ability to feel fulfilled with every aspect of one’s life. So, what are the difference between successful people and highly successful people? Read on, you may be surprised to find out what they really are!

1. They live out their purpose

While most may picture someone with a nice car, house, and a corner office as a successful person, this “picture” couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact that someone enjoys all the material “blessings” of life, does not make them highly successful. A highly successful person understands that success is more than just getting stuff, it’s about how that stuff is gotten, meaning: how did they achieve it? Was it a fulfilling experience? Was the money earned, truly earned, or was it a sell out of one’s soul to meet bills and live life without fully understanding one’s purpose? Steve Jobs summed it up beautifully when he said: “don’t waste your time living someone else’s life.”

Sure, the successful person may be filled with stuff but only by living someone else’s life. The highly successful individual may not have everything but is quite fulfilled with his life and in matters of success that is truly what matters.

Advertising

2. They understand the meaning of the word “balance”

You have the career, the life, you think you are successful, but, are you really? Highly successful individuals understand the importance of balance in every aspect of their lives. They believe that in order to be truly successful they must take care of themselves: physically, mentally and spiritually. This includes exercising, taking care of one’s mind and living for something much greater than themselves. Balance among these three pillars of life is what makes them highly successful! They are simply well in tune with recognizing the importance of all of life’s components, whether big or small.

3. They don’t have time for gossip

Life is too short to be spent gossiping about others, something successful people may do when the competition strolls around. Highly successful individuals honor everyone around them and truly appreciate the gift each person brings into the world. They don’t have time to dive into the dirty details of the competition; instead, they treat everyone with dignity and respect. Highly successful individuals fully understand the meaning of each moment lived and never intend on wasting it on meaningless tasks.

4. They know when it’s time to rest

Every now and then we have to take a break! A highly successful individual knows when it is time to rest. He or she is more than successful, he or she is wise! He or she understands the need to take a break to recharge and re-discover one’s self. It is during times of quietness and rest that highly successful individuals can re-evaluate balance in their lives, in order to remain focused on their goals.

Advertising

5. They understand the value of time

We’ve all heard it before: “time is what life is made up of.” This couldn’t be more true! For the highly successful individual, time is everything. hether they are working or resting; they understand the time they have is a gift and must be spent wisely. Even while at rest, the time they spend must be time well spent! Every second is precious and every moment is enjoyed, knowing that in the end, time is the one thing no human can buy and therefore, the most precious thing of all.

6. They are all about giving back

Highly successful individuals understand that in order to live life to the fullest and enjoy the fruit of their labor, they must be willing to give back to their communities. They understand that more than a nice thought, it is their duty and responsibility to share their wealth and time with those in need. This generosity is what makes them highly successful as they remain grounded and connected to those who are less fortunate.

7. They do not compromise their integrity

Cheat to get ahead? That is never an option for the highly successful individual. Instead, they believe honor and courage are the ingredients that have led them to their success, and those are the same ingredients they will need to remain in their success and truly enjoy it. Cheap wins are never appealing to the highly successful.

Advertising

8.  They are willing to mentor

Highly successful individuals thrive on helping others achieve their success. They have no problem taking someone under their wing and showing them the path they should take to achieve their goals. They do not feel threatened by the young and ambitious, instead, they believe they must guide the new generations as they will become the future.

9. They know that they don’t know

Highly successful individuals are wise enough to admit what they don’t know. They may have learned the hard way that they do not know everything but that is a lesson they will never forget. They seek wiser people for guidance and weigh all options before stepping out into the unknown. They know what they don’t know and that is quite alright with them.

10. They never give up

Yes, this one sounds cliche-ish but the truth is that highly successful people never give up. They will press on despite the obstacles they face and that is why they succeed. While most people would give up on their third or fourth try, for the highly successful individual, failures are simply life lessons that get them one step closer to achieving the victory they seek.

Advertising

11. They never indulge in pity parties

Life is throwing everything and anything in their way; all that could go wrong has in fact gone wrong, but the highly successful individual stands strong. They understand life is full of difficulties and focusing on those difficulties by throwing self-pity parties is not going to get them anywhere. Instead, they stand tall, they stand strong and courageously face life, literally affirming that they will fight back and win the battle. Victim behavior is not for the highly successful individual, it is instead for the individual that never wins.

12. They never lose hope

Even when all odds are against them, highly successful individuals never lose hope. They believe that hope is life’s soul and without it, everything is truly lost. Hope that each day here on earth has the possibility of being better than the day before is what drives them. This romantic hope is what allows them to give their best in everything they do.

13. They love their enemies

Yes, you heard that right and it is true. Highly successful individuals understand the horrible implications that harboring hate in their hearts can bring into their lives. Therefore, with courage and conviction, highly successful individuals set out to spread love and kindness, even on those they can’t get along with. After all, loving friends its easy, the true courage and power is in loving those that are not so easy to love.

Featured photo credit: Victor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

More by this author

Sarita King

motivational warrior!

10 Signs You Are An Alpha Woman 10 Things You Will Learn from Dating an Independent Woman 15 Signs You’re Doing Well In Life Even Though You Don’t Think So 15 Differences Between Beautiful people and Truly Beautiful people 15 Things Matter to Life that People Always Forget

Trending in Productivity

1 How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated 2 How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life 3 How to Develop Mental Toughness to Help You Stay Strong 4 How to Calm Down When You’re Stressed and Anxious 5 How to Reinvent Yourself And Redefine Your Future

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 23, 2019

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

Stretch goals are a lot like physical fitness. When you adopt a physical sport such as running, continual practice leads to increased stamina, growth and progress.

While commitment to the sport improves performance, true growth happens when you are stretched beyond your comfort zone. I know this from personal experience.

For years, I was an avid runner. I ran with a variety of running groups in the Washington, D.C., area and in Columbus, Ohio, where I lived prior to moving to the nation’s capital in 2011.

While I was initially fearful about slacking off on my exercise habit when I moved to D.C., running enthusiasts in the area provided continual motivation, inspiring me to lace up my shoes day after day. Much to my surprise, many of the area’s running stores (including Pacers and Potomac River Running) boasted running groups that met in the mornings and evenings. So, it was relatively easy for a newcomer like me to connect with like-minded peers.

I was never a particularly fast runner, but I enjoyed the afterglow of the sport: being completely drained but feeling a sense of accomplishment; setting and reaching goals; buying and wearing out new tennis shoes. The sound of throngs of feet pounding the pavement in semi-unison is still enough to bring tears to my eyes. Yes, I sometimes tear up at the start of races.

Of all the groups I ran with, the Pacers Store group that met on Monday nights in Logan Circle boasted the fastest runners. I met up with the group week after week only to be the slowest runner. It was difficult to muster the courage to get up every week and meet the group knowing what was waiting for me: sweating and watching the backs of fellow runners.

Each time I joined the group, I was stretching myself without even realizing it. Instead of feeling like I was transitioning into a better running, for a long time I felt I was torturing myself.

Then something remarkable happened. I went for a run with a different set of runners and noticed my time had improved. I was running at a faster pace and doing so with ease. What was once uncomfortable for me I now handled with ease.

The reason I was becoming a better runner was because I was taking myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself physically and mentally. This example illustrates the process of growth.

Fortunately, we can create situations that stretch us in our personal and professional lives.

What Is a Stretch Goal?

A stretch goal – as authors Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller and Kelly E. See detail an article “The Stretch Goal Paradox” in Harvard Business Review[1] – is something that is extremely difficult and novel. It is something that not everyone does, and it’s sometimes considered impossible.

Advertising

In general, you establish stretch goals by doing things that are difficult or temporarily challenging.

For instance, when I was first promoted to a senior communications management role, I knew I needed to beef up my relationships with media personalities. I set a goal to once a month book a day of media interviews in New York City – which is home to many media outlets, including SiriusXM radio, CNN, NBC News, HuffPost, VIBE.

This was a huge goal because it meant not only identifying the right people to meet with but convincing them to meet with me and my team. While I didn’t end up meeting the goal of doing a full day of media interviews in New York City, I met more people than I would have met had I not established the goal and instead stayed in the comfort of my D.C. office.

It is important to note that just because you establish a stretch goal doesn’t mean you’ll achieve the goal each time. However, the process of trying is guaranteed to provide some level of growth.

The Importance of Creating Stretch Goals

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to assess where you are excelling and where there is room for you to grow. I typically start the year by creating a yearlong strategic plan for myself.

I think about the things that are necessary to do and things that would be cool to do. I assess the people I should know and think through how to meet them. Then I ask myself if the goals are realistic and what would need to happen for me to achieve them.

Over time, I have learned that there are five things I can do to set stretch goals:

1. Get Outside of Your Head

If I exist within the confines of my imagination, I imperil my own growth and creativity.

If I examine my accomplishments and celebrate them in isolation of others’ accomplishments, my vantage point is limited.

I want to be comfortable with what I accomplish, but I also want to be motivated by watching others. In some respects, stretching is about expanding your network of friends, associates and mentors. These are the people who will propel or slow your growth and development.

Since two are better than one, I always value being able to share my progress with others, seek feedback and then map a plan for success.

Advertising

2. Focus on a Couple Areas at a Time

When setting goals, it is important to focus on a couple of areas at a time. Most of us are only able to focus on a few things at a time, and if you feel you are unable to tackle all that is before you, you may simply disengage.

I see this in so many areas of life:

When people get in debt, if they believe the debt is insurmountable, they refuse to look at incoming bills for fear of facing down the debt. Unfortunately, many businesses go awry when setting stretch goals.

In “The Stretch Goal Paradox,” Sitkin, Miller and See note:

“Our research suggests that though the use of stretch goals is quite common, successful use is not. And many executives set far too many stretch goals. In the past five years, for example, Tesla failed to meet more than 20 of founder Elon Musk’s ambitious projections and missed half of them by nearly a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.”

Goal-setting is like a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t all need to happen at the same time, and pacing is extremely important if you want to get to the finish line. It is better to focus on a couple goals at a time, master them and then move on to the next thing.

3. Set Aside Time Each Year to Focus on Goal-Setting

When I was a managing director for communications for the Advancement Project, I spent the first part of every year facilitating a communications planning meeting.

The planning meeting began with the team members assessing the goals the team had established in the preceding year, and whether those goals were realistic or not. If we failed to meet certain goals, we broke down why that happened. From there, we brainstormed about possibilities for the current year.

For instance, one year we set a goal of pitching and getting 24 opinion essays published. This was audacious because no one on the eight-person team had the luxury of focusing exclusively on editing and pitching opinion essays to publications around the world. We would need to focus on pitching in between the rest of our work.

We hit this goal within the first eight months of the year. Remarkably, in total, we ended up getting 40 opinion essays published that year, which was an indication that our original goal was too low. We upped the goal to 41 the next year, and amazingly, we hit 42 published opinion essays or guest columns.

From this experience, we not only learned what was feasible, we also learned the power of focus.

Advertising

When we focused as a team on getting the commentary on our issues out in the public domain, we were successful. The key in all of this is that there was a ton of discussion around which goal we’d pursue and why.

Equally important, as a manager, I didn’t set the goals alone; the team members and I established the goals collaboratively. This ensured buy-in from each individual.

4. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Model to Set Realistic Goals

S.M.A.R.T.

is a synonym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For the sake of this article, the realistic portion of the acronym is most important.

While you want to set audacious goals, you want to ensure that they are realistic as well. No one is served by setting a goal that is impossible to accomplish.

Failing to meet goals can be demoralizing for teams, so it’s important to be sober-eyed about what is possible. Additionally, the purpose of setting goals is to advance and grow, not depress morale.

For instance, my team would have been discouraged had I begun the year asking it to pitch and place 40 opinion essays if we didn’t already have a track record of placing close to two dozen essays.

By using the S.M.A.R.T. formula, we were able to achieve all that we set out to do.

5. Break the Goal up into Small Digestible Parts

I am a recovering perfectionist. As a writer, being a perfectionist can be counterproductive because I can fail to start if I don’t see a clear pathway to victory.

The same is true with goal-setting. That’s why I join Lifehack’s fellow contributor Deb Knobelman, Ph.D., in noting that it is critically important to break goals into bite-sized chunks.

When I had a goal of doing daylong media meetings in New York City, I had to think through all the barriers to achieving that goal and all the steps required to meet the goal.

Advertising

One step was identifying which reporters, producers and hosts to engage. Another step was writing a pitch or meeting invitation that would capture their attention. Another step was thinking through the program areas I wanted to highlight and the new angles I could offer to different reporters.

Since reporters want to cover stories that no one else has written, I needed to come up with fresh angles for each of the reporters I was engaging. An additional step was thinking through who from my team I’d take with me to the various meetings.

I was clear that, as a talking head, as public relations reps are sometimes called, I needed the right spokesperson in order to land repeated meetings with different outlets.

A final step was thinking through what I needed to bring to each meeting and which reports, videos and testimonials would buttress our claims and be of interest to media figures.

As I walked through what was needed to bring my goal of doing daylong meetings to reality, I realized that not only was the idea within reach, but I was excited to tackle the challenge.

From that point until now, I have learned to break down goals into smaller parts and tackle the smaller parts on the path to knocking the goal out of the park.

The Bottom Line

These are my recommendations for setting stretch goals, and there are a ton of other resources to support you in the workplace and in your community.

For instance, LinkedIn’s Lynda.com platform has a wonderful suite of leadership development videos, including ones on establishing stretch goals. This is a paid resource but may be worth the investment if you lead a team or want to invest in tools for your own growth and development.

Featured photo credit: Avatar of user Isaac Smith Isaac Smith @isaacmsmith Isaac Smith via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: The Stretch Goal Paradox

Read Next