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7 Common Things The Most Successful People Do

7 Common Things The Most Successful People Do

If you like to say that successful people “have it made,” please stop. Most people are leading a life that is a direct result of their thoughts, behaviors, and actions. And what is “success” anyway? This article isn’t about success in the form of a bulging bank account or sweet ride. It is about doing fulfilling work that makes a positive impact on the lives of others. Keep on reading to discover the 7 common things the most successful people do.

Successful people know their priorities.

The world is full of places to visit and things to do, but unless you are a cyborg that never sleeps or a fortunate recipient of the Fountain of Youth, there is no way you can do ALL THE THINGS. Be ambitious and aim to accomplish whatever makes you happy, but spreading yourself too thin will wreck your focus before you can say “burn-out.” If you’re not sure how to get your priorities straight, ask yourself, “What do I want to be remembered for long after I’m gone?” Think that over for a few days – change your answer as you please (expect to change it a lot as the months and years go on) – and do the thing that makes you happy.  

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Successful people focus with all of their might.

As Ron Swanson said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Multi-tasking is just a slightly more productive version of procrastination. Whereas no work gets done during procrastination, lots of work gets done (but badly) while you multi-task. Every day, give yourself a list of one to three important tasks that you will complete no matter what happens. Focus on the important things, and the rest has a way of falling in place.

Successful people take time to recharge.

I have to confess I’m sometimes guilty of working beyond my limits (I am secretly the Energizer Bunny, shhhh). While the grind makes me feel happy and productive at first, pushing too hard just leaves me exhausted and sick of everything. Your hard work won’t vanish if you walk away for a few minutes, hours or days, so take a breather. You will come back refreshed and ready to succeed. Also, if you are working on a creative task and run face-first into writer’s block or experience a severe drop in brain power, this probably means you need to walk away.

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Successful people put the needs of others first.

You will be hard-pressed to achieve great heights of success without a team of friends and colleagues cheering you on. The best way to build a team of people who want you to succeed is to treat them the way they want to be treated (imagine that!). Connect with like-minded folks in your field to make new friends who you can absorb knowledge from. Offer to help your friends, fans, or followers for cheap or free while you put the finishing touches on the brilliant product or service you plan to offer (and then ask them for testimonials!). And a bit of tough love: a lot of mushy self-help gurus like to say you can succeed doing whatever your heart desires as long as you try hard enough. This is a load of garbage. If you’re not offering something that your target audience finds useful or appealing (or if you couldn’t even tell me who your target audience is), you need to do some soul-searching. Be relevant to people’s needs, or fail.

Successful people adapt to changing scenarios.

Don’t you wish you could predict all of life’s inconveniences, curveballs, and catastrophes? It would be nice to have a heads up about hurdles headed our way so we could brace ourselves for the high jump, but life would get awful boring if it was so scripted all the time. Because I have no crystal ball to offer you, you need to improve your ability to adapt. Life isn’t fair and it never will be fair. But no matter what happens, remember that you (and only you) have full control of your life. Success doesn’t typically come from what you do, but how you react to an ever-changing script.

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Successful people challenge their beliefs.

Your belief is only as strong as your willingness to challenge it. You don’t receive a gold star for being right. Your willingness to be wrong is directly proportionate to your odds of success. I don’t know about you, but I’m quite sure I don’t have it all figured out. The simple act of being wrong (and admitting it) can increase your knowledge, make you humble, expand your perspective, and help you succeed.

Successful people focus on the Big Picture.

The problems you’re facing today seem a lot bigger than they really are. If you’re stressing out about something right now, ask yourself, “Will this be a big deal next week/month/year?” Stop seeing every day as an isolated event but rather a mere piece of the jig-saw puzzle that is your life. All of the pieces might not be perfect. Some of them might even be discolored, torn, and rotten. But the quality of each singular piece is irrelevant. The important thing is the completed puzzle that is your life.

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Successful people do apply what they learn. Are there any takeaways from this article that you’re going to run with? If so, tell us in the comments!

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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Encourage Your Employees

When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

Offer Rewards

Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

Give Autonomy

Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

A To Do Scheduling System

Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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Ask If They like What They’re Doing

If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

More Resources About Team Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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