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5 Essential Steps You Should Take to Succeed

5 Essential Steps You Should Take to Succeed

Although everybody is on their own journey and usually following totally unique directions and goals, there are some traits all successful people have in common. Here are some key steps for you to take in order to succeed in any area of life!

1. Get started, no more excuses

Oftentimes, when we try to build something great, we are holding ourselves back without even consciously knowing it. We come up with excuses on why this is not the right time or why we lack some important information or money in order to be able to start. But what a lot of successful people have found is that there is never a good time to start. Conditions are never perfect and you will always lack information and you would always be “better off” gathering a few more resources before you start.

The problem here is that this is a first class ticket to procrastination, and when you start putting things off because of self-made excuses, you will end up never getting them done. So if you find yourself waking up with a desire to do a great thing (and I believe such an urge is in all of us), then make a real decision and take the smallest step towards your goal right now! You will be surprised how liberating taking action and making progress on your journey to success is!

Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group) was once stuck at an airport when his last flight was canceled. But instead of making excuses, he came up with a solution and got started on it immediately. He chartered a private airplane, which he did not have the money to do. Then, he picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines. $29.” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been on the flight that was canceled. He sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the chartered plane, and everybody got to their destination the same night. Of course he also could have come up with excuses for why he couldn’t make it on time.

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2. Taking risks is necessary

You have to take risks in order to succeed. You have to leave your comfort zone and expand it every day. Doing something you feel scared of is the only way to increase your potential and get ahead in life. By pushing yourself further and further and taking calculated risks, you will find out about the abilities you have, and those you didn’t know you had!

Successful people know that and are willing to put the pressure on themselves that comes from doing something terrifying. They learned how to give their best performance even under extremely challenging situations. They feel the fear and do whatever is necessary to succeed anyway!

Bryan Cranston (actor, Breaking Bad) stated:

“The riskiest career decision is to go into this career. You have to be a risk taker of some degree to be able to say, ‘Alright, I’m throwing it all out there. Whatever happens, happens. I want to be an actor. If that means sleeping on someone’s couch for the rest of my life, then that’s what that is.'”

Following your passion no matter what is always risky but it is crucial and necessary in order for you to succeed.

3. The path you take will not be smooth

Whatever you are trying to do with your life, when it comes to success in any area, there will always be obstacles, mistakes and failures along your journey. Nobody ever got anywhere worth getting to without having a huge load of roadblocks to overcome.

Everybody has to find ways to handle the rejections, master their own emotions after getting beaten down, and gather the strength and the willpower to get back up again and keep moving forward. When life beats you down, you cannot add additional weight to your shoulders by beating yourself up about it. Thoughts like: “I cannot do this!” “Why is this always happening to me?” and “I don’t deserve it anyways,” or similar, have no right to be on your mind.

Instead embrace the fact that there will be setbacks along your path. Accept the fact that you might make some mistakes and you have to correct them. Learn to love to find new and better solutions for your daily obstacles and nobody will be able to stop you.

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Colonel Sanders (KFC) famously tried to sell his chicken recipe and got 1,009 no’s before he heard his first yes. Ask yourself if you would have had the endurance to keep going after getting rejected 1,000 times? His persistence and perseverance are the reason KFC is now an established brand making US$23 billion a year in revenue.

4. Keep learning

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. Successful people know that in the end there is no such thing as failure or rejection: there is either success or a valuable life lesson on how to do it better the next time. If you are willing to keep learning and not beat yourself up about mistakes and failure, you tend to arrive at your goals way faster.

After some hard setback, analyze like a freak what went wrong and how you ended up there. What could you have done better, what can you still improve? After that, let go and move forward. Also, always find better and more efficient ways to succeed in your area of expertise. Never rest on your given success. Innovate and try new approaches, even if you don’t have to because “everything is working fine anyways right now.” Remember that whenever you are resting on your given success, there is always somebody else out there who — at this very moment — is working their butt off to get ahead of you!

Therefore:

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  • Read a lot of books. Read a broad range of genres and get different views on things. You never know which inputs will click with other aspects of your life and suddenly a new idea is born, which can turn your whole life around.
  • Talk to great and inspiring people. Always surround yourself with positive and upbeat people. You will be surprised how many valuable (business) insights you can get from truly listening to some of the people around you. By listening to their concerns you might also build a business around tackling these very problems! Opportunities are everywhere.
  • Always try new approaches and think about how to do things more efficiently. Learn new techniques on how to do stuff better. Never rest on your past successes! This is the only way to succeed in the long run!

Bill Gates (Microsoft) said:

“In this business, by the time you realize you’re in trouble, it’s too late to save yourself. Unless you’re running scared all the time, you’re gone. In order for Microsoft to have maintained its competitive edge for the past three decades, it was crucial for me and all my employees to engage in a process of continual learning. ‘I don’t know’ had to become ‘I don’t know yet.’”

5. When something’s done, celebrate

Celebrating and acknowledging your progress and success is just as key as every other step mentioned here. Only when you learn how to take a step back after a great achievement and celebrate your efforts and successes can you build a sustainable lifestyle out of the pursuing your goals.

Without this final step you can easily get lost in the progress because you feel like you’re running on a treadmill and not getting ahead at all. You have to commit to a life-long journey of ups and downs and you have to be thankful for every little success you get. Be appreciative of the little steps you take. Be happy about your progress and take time to acknowledge every little or major step you have taken. It is the only way you can make your journey a sustainable and enjoyable one. Celebrate, recharge and then keep moving forward and push it to the next level!

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“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey

Featured photo credit: Successful business group/Heberger Site via flickr.com

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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