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20 Thoughts That Will Lead You To Great Success

20 Thoughts That Will Lead You To Great Success

It’s never too late to get started on a successful life, and I’ve listed 20 thoughts that will help you achieve great success today. Take a moment and internalize these thoughts, and you’ll be on your way to a better tomorrow.

1. Our Actions Are a Testament to Our Thoughts.

Dale Carnegie once stated, “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” If you work hard, it’s unlikely that you have an air of entitlement, or expect great success without effort. Visualize a healthy path to success and follow through with actions that align with your vision.

2. Doing What You Like Matters.

Doing what you like will help you find purpose and fulfillment in your life. While many people refer to pre-established models of success defined by their peers, superiors, or even families, it’s more important to evaluate what YOUR model of success looks like. In most cases, discovering what “make you tick” is more important than being miserable doing something that society defines as success.

3. Focus is Critical To Great Success.

In a world of advertisements, promising opportunities, and addicting apps, distraction is only a click away. Unplugging and re-connecting with your goals is critical to achieving better results. Spending a few minutes every morning visualizing your goal and establishing an actionable direction for achievement will make avoiding distractions much easier. In the words of Zig Ziglar, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” Focus.

4. Opportunity Success Looks A Lot Like Hard Work.

Being in the right place at the right time isn’t always a coincidence; the harder you work, the more likely it will be that you’ll end up in “the right place.” While this statement seems as unprovable as the idea of karma, there must be a reason that the world’s most successful individuals say it, right? Seneca once wrote, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Hemingway said, “It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.” Even recently, actor Ashton Kutcher said, “Opportunity Looks A Lot Like Hard Work.”

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5. “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.”

John Maxwell, author of countless NYT bestsellers, recently wrote a book called Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. His book explains that the most successful people in the world are excellent communicators: people who not only communicate their message, but create a connection. The secret to connection, Maxwell suggests, is authentic interest in others, simplifying the message, inspiring people, and living what you communicate. The book is a roadmap for successful relationships, and I’d highly suggest it.

6. There Will Always Be Bad Days. Overcome Them.

Even the most successful people have bad days, but ONLY successful people bounce back. If your day is headed into a tailspin, remove yourself from the situation, ground yourself, and calmly determine what you have power over in order to turn things around. Grounding yourself is not only shown to have positive health benefits; it gives you an opportunity to contextualize your struggles, which allows you to move forward and overcome even the worst of days.

7. Imitating The Great Can Yield Great Results If Done Thoughtfully.

Copycatting isn’t the only form of imitation. If you carefully observe successful people, you can glean valuable information and build on it. Spend a week observing people that you admire. Imitate those who are successful by bettering their processes where neccesary, and building off the strong points in their success. Do not copy, but observe and grow your own solution through thoughtful and purposeful decisions that build off the greats that came before you.

8. If Perception Is Reality, How Do Others Perceive Your Personal Brand?

You may not be successful by your measure, but do you carry yourself with confidence? Do you give off a positive vibe and the aura of success? Recognize the things that could be hurting your personal brand. If perception is reality, and people perceive you to be negative and unsuccessful — well, you get where I’m going.

9. Helping Others Succeed Will Yield Great Success In You Own Life.

Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, once said that there is power in self-sacrifice. In my own life, I’ve seen nothing but positive things from giving to others, connecting those in need, sharing information, and helping people who are willing to be helped. In my limited experience, nothing bad comes from helping people in need and sometimes your goodwill can even come full circle!

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10. Success Comes In Different Sized Portions.

This thought about great success is important because it is entirely about self-awareness. Challenge yourself to be self-aware and recognize even the smallest of successes in your daily life. Great success is a habit made up of smaller successes in life.

11. If You Don’t Love Yourself, You Won’t Succeed.

Do not let fear or self-doubt hold you back. There is no “too late,” and you can do it. Marianne Williamson said it best:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

12. You Don’t Work For Money.

See thought #2. You work for many reasons, and while money may be ONE of these reasons, it’s not everything. Find purpose in your job beyond monetary concerns, and you’ll find more success than if all you do is focus on money.

13. Listen.

Sometimes we miss opportunities for success because we do not listen. Challenge yourself to listen more than you speak.

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I once asked the Director of MarketingProfs.com what she thought made her Twitter handle so popular; for someone who isn’t famous, her following is impressive. Here’s the conversation:

14. Build On The Fact That You Have Enough.

Let’s connect the dots. Learning the art of contentment can lead to lower stress levels; lower stress levels leads to higher brain functionality; it is more likely that you are successful when you are thinking straight. If you build on the fact that you have enough and learn the art of contentment, you will go places (and people will follow).

15. Success Is A Continuous Journey

Arthur Ash once said, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” Great success come naturally if you view your life as a grand adventure: an experience filled with successes and failures. While it’s important to focus on your goals, take a moment to appreciate the daily struggle because it’s all part of a continuous journey. If you adapt, better yourself, and recognize that success is a journey, you’ll be fine.

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16. Reading IS Power Success.

In his book I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, Dr. Seuss wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Many people say that they “don’t have time to read”, but we make time for what is important to us. Wake up 30 minutes early and read, for knowledge truly is power.

17. If You Can’t Afford It, Don’t Buy It.

One of the surefire ways to put yourself in a bad position to achieve success is to accumulate massive debts. Understand that in a capitalist society everything around you was made to make you buy more. Simply put: if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Not sure what “can’t afford it” and “savings” looks like? Read this article by Lifehack; it’s a keeper.

18. We Are Creatures Of Habit. Reward Yourself For Good Habits, and Examine Your Bad Habits.

Personal growth and success can be a mental game. Positive reinforcement for even the smallest success is neccesary. On the other hand, be present and examine your bad habits; illuminate them for what they are. Nothing can impede success more than bad habits left unameliorated. “You need not fight to stop a habit. Just don’t give it an opportunity to repeat itself.” –Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

19. Setting Realistic Goals Is Important.

Simplifying your goals to keep them realistic is an important step to achieving them. Ask yourself, “Is this something that I can commit to?” Do not second-guess your abilities, but be mindful of your capabilities and set yourself up for success. Inevitably, failure happens, but if you set realistic goals you will succeed. As you develop a habit of success, grow your goals and challenge yourself.

20. If All Else Fails, Surround Yourself With Successful People.

Success takes time. Spend that time pursuing your goals and surrounding yourself with people that are already successful; don’t worry, you have something valuable to offer successful people that they want: time, energy, and a positive spirit. If you come to the table with positive energy and a willingness to make yourself valuable, successful people are usually willing to share their knowledge and connect you with the right people. This is invaluable. Leave your ego at home, surround yourself with successful people, and allow yourself to learn from others.

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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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