I have never met someone who didn’t want to be successful at something. It’s fair to say we all want to be successful. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years that have helped me stay on track and move toward my dreams.
1. Do the Right Things Every Day.
The best way to accomplish anything is to put the power of action and time to work for you. Just like interest accruing on an investment, when you invest the right actions on a daily basis, you accomplish your goal much faster.
So, whatever you’re doing, figure out the actions you need to take on a regular basis to accomplish your goals. Then do those every day, every week, every month, whatever it takes to get it done.
2. Be Good to Yourself.
Being successful in business, as in life, takes energy and work. And it’s a lot harder when you’re tired, stressed out or otherwise in poor health. So, set yourself up for a win by taking care of yourself. Keep your body and mind well-tuned and in good shape so you have the physical and mental energy to be all that you can be.
We’re all different so we all have things that help us stay healthy and balance. Find what works for you and do them on a daily basis.
3. Keep Swinging the bat.
Being in Minnesota, I was a fan of Kirby Puckett when he played for the Twins. Kirby was well known for being a consistently good hitter. A reporter once asked him what his secret was. He said it was simple. He swung the bat as often as possible. Every opportunity he got, he’d swing at pitches. He said the more he’d swing, the more he’d hit.
The more times you try, the more opportunities you have to succeed. And, the more you do something, the better you get at doing it. So, your success rate will probably increase.
4. Read the Signs.
We all get busy. Our personal and business lives are full to the brim with things to occupy our time and mental space. So, it’s easy to zip through life and miss things.
The world is constantly telling us things. Whether we believe it or are even aware of it, we have signs all around us, guiding us.
I think of the movie, L.A. Story (1991) starring Steve Martin. While trying to find meaning in his life, Steve Martin’s character discovers the highway signs in Los Angeles are sending him messages. (They’re written in plain English so it’s hard to miss them.) In time, he learns to pay attention to his signs and his life becomes more purposeful and less chaotic.
The older I get the more I realize the importance of reading the signs the world gives us. Maybe this is because I’ve gotten better at reading them and I’ve seen the impact on my life.
When several independent things happen in my life that point in the same direction, I take that as a sign. When I try to avoid or ignore something and it keeps coming back, I see that as a sign. When I keep making the same mistake over and over and then someone or something helps me pull my head out of the sand so I see the error of my ways,
I take that as a sign.
The more you learn to read your signs, the better you will be at making the right decisions in your life.
5. Manage Inputs and Monitor Outcomes.
Since we cannot control outcomes why spend much time worrying about them? Sure we need to monitor them but that’s all. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to control something you can’t (like outcomes.)
Instead, focus on the inputs or the actions that will lead to the outcome you desire. Manage that well and you’ll see the outcome you want.
6. Don’t Try to be Perfect.
I’m always amazed at how many of us fall into the perfection trap. We can’t start something until we think we have the whole thing planned out. Or we don’t finish things until they’re done to our level of perfection. I’ve done both, more than I care to admit.
Striving for quality is great. So is meeting standards. But we should never strive so much for perfection that we lose sight of our goal. That is wasteful.
Nobody is perfect. Nothing is perfect. It’s simple human arrogance to assume we can achieve perfection. It’s just not possible. So, get over it. Set your standards to a level that is appropriate to your goals and resources. Then get it done!
7. Know Yourself.
In 2002, Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton published a best-selling business book called Now, Discover Your Strengths. In it, they espouse the strategy of managing better by understanding people’s strengths and enhancing them.
This is good advice.
We accomplish more if we use our strengths. Our strengths and our talents make us unique. They give us abilities to do certain things very well. As such, they help define who we are and what we should spend our time doing.
We will be more successful at things we do well than at things we do not do well.
The more we know ourselves, the better we can understand our individual and unique talents. This helps us focus on what we do well.