Saturday, July 12, 2014

7 Signs of Success

Of course, we all want to be successful and have dreams of ‘making it big’ one day, but how many of us actually take at least one step in the process of following through with those dreams? We make excuses for our lack of success, saying things like, “There was never the right time,” or “I did not have enough money saved,” or “I was too busy,” or “I just was too scared?”

But what about you? How can you tell if you are going to “make it” or not? Is there any talisman that can indicate your predisposition to be successful or not? Some of us are on the cusp of deciding if we should take the chance and move forward, and doubt if we got what it takes to make it big. After reading innumerable books and studying hundreds of successful people, I have distilled that there are 7 indicators that might help you decide if you have what it takes to be successful, and can give you a indication now of your chances, even before you get there..

1. You are able to go it alone (differentiation, willing to stand out)
There are two quotations that would apply here, “You never find wealth on a well trodden path,” and “Unless you can demonstrate your benefits, all you are left to compete with is price.” My own personal motto is “Differentiate or Die.”

So what does this mean exactly? Well, if you want to make it, you have to know that no matter what, that you believe in your abilities and you can go it alone, ever without the support of friends, family, and collaborators, then you have true commitment. Also, most successful people realize that they have to do something no one else has ever done. Scary? Absolutely, but a necessity.

2. You know you need others to get you there (no such thing as a self made man)
OK, this seems almost totally counter to #1 above, but in actuality, it is not. Indicator #1 has more to do with internal determination, drive and conviction, where this has to do with knowing you will need a great team to help you, and other people to help you become successful. As the saying goes, ‘There is no such thing as a self-made man,’ and realizing this now is a great indication that you are least possess enough humility to become a star. 

3. You want to change the world
What’s your vision? What do you want to accomplish? What are your hopes and dreams? Having a dream – even if it’s a little vague – is crucial for success. Before you can start your journey, you need to have a goal in mind, and in order to achieve that goal you need a plan! In the words of Antoine de Saint Exupéry, "A goal without a plan is just a wish."

Now, just having a goal does not necessarily mean you will become successful. You have to have a BIG goal. “Playing small doesn't serve the world in any way,” states Marianne Williamson and it does you no good either. Make your dreams large and in the words of Walt Disney, "If you can dream it, you can do it." (And before you can do it, you've got to dream it!) 

4. You have a plan, sort of..but more importantly, you are committed to action 
They say success is where preparation and opportunity meet. So, when opportunity is knocking on your door, you are going to want to have your plan already in place. Think of it as your road map to making it big!

And that plan should include what steps do you need to take to get where you want to be? Who do you need to know to make it happen? What skills do you need to have and do you have them or team with someone who does?

Oh as a reality check, you have to realize that NOTHING EVER goes exactly according to plan. You need to be able to adapt to whatever life throws at you, but not sit and fret away worrying about them. Think of those things as detours, and as Machiavelli said, "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

Finally, one of the MOST important facts of any plan is committing to following though. Plans of action mean nothing if you never get off your coach. As I have been quoted as saying, “Committing to a goal does not always bring action, yet committing to an action will invariably bring you to your goal.” 

5. Your Sense of Curiosity demands you know how and why things work 
Your curiosity gives you an innate fascination with whatever it is you are working on or towards. You seem almost obsess with learning as much as you can about the industry, the people, the culture, and why and how everything works. Albert Einstein once stated that curiosity is more important than knowledge, and Clarence Birdseye (the founder of Birdseye Foods), stated “Only through curiosity can we discover opportunities, and only by gambling can we take advantage of them.”

It is this desire to understand the problems and be excited about finding solutions is what motivates you. Yes, in some sense the hunt might be more exciting than the goal. You get passionate, excited, and driven not only learning all aspects about your business, but what could effect it. You discovery is not only deep, it is also broad.

When Larry King made his debut in radio, he made a point to become consumed in all aspects of the business of radio. In addition to doing his own show, he did the weather reports, the sports updates, and the news broadcasts. He even volunteered to fill in for people who were out sick, and took on double shifts.

Why? He wanted to learn all there was to know about the not only what he was doing, but what radio was all about. He wanted to practice. He just did not want to be good at what he did, he wanted to be the VERY BEST at it. The only way to do that was to explore and go above and beyond what was asked of him. He called it "taking extra batting practice." What Mary Kay Ash called it going the extra mile and stated, “Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure." 

6. You can mix unbridled confidence with humility 
This is a tough one. How can you both be confident and humble? Well as the author of “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu stated some 2,500 years ago, “In wishing to be above men, put yourself by words below them, and, wishing to be before them, place yourself behind them.” This might be the single greatest tenet of leadership.

Of course any leader who is successful has to have confidence in themselves and in their your abilities. Without confidence, you can so easily get crushed by negativity and criticism – things you will have to deal with once you hit the spotlight. Emerson once wrote, “If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me,’ as so it is true with any successful person.

To be successful, you have to be confident. You have to trust yourself. And you have to have a deep understanding that you are going to make it. Charlie Chaplin, the founder of Hollywood, stated about confidence, "Even when I was in the orphanage, when I was roaming the streets trying to find enough to eat to keep alive, even then I thought of myself as the greatest actor in the world. I had to feel that exuberance that comes from utter confidence in yourself. Without it you go down to defeat." It was confidence in his talent that allowed him to become one of the greatest actors of all time. 

7. Failures and setbacks just make you try harder 
I have quoted this often, “Failure, loss and defeat are just mile markers on the road to success." If you ever think you are going to be a success, you have already removed the word “quit” from your vocabulary. “Defeat is a state of mind. No one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as reality,” as Bruce Lee stated.

In the end, you are successful because you never failed; you successful because you never gave up give up. The second you quit, you’ve lost. Take Michael Jordan for example. He said his formula for success was, "I've failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed." He persevered and did not let failures discourage him to the point of quitting.

Every successful person has failed at some time in their lives. Even George Washington only won a handful of battles, but when it counted he won the big one. I would like to close with this quotation, "Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. The desire and ability to press on has and always will solve the problems of the human race and divide those who achieve from those who might have been.”

OK, what is your tally? How many of these qualities do you possess? If all 7, congratulations. I cannot wait to see your name in lights soon! If less, and you want to be successful, start developing the ones you do not have now.

No comments: