A piece in Investor’s Business Daily caught my attention. Anything titled 10 Secrets to Success will do that. Of course, there’s no such thing as a secret and there’s nothing new under the sun. But sometimes, sometimes something you read or heard or pondered over reminds you to think differently. It wakes you up. Reboots you. Gives you a jumpstart. Offers perspective.
Below are the 10 Secrets from Investor’s Business Daily that inspired me to offer my two cents.
1. How you think is everything.
There’s a great audio of Earl Nightingale called The Strangest Secret which was first recorded in 1956. He first played the recording for his sales team at his insurance agency. The response to the message had such an impact on his staff that requests for copies to share with friends and families grew. Columbia Records filled the requests and within a short period of time sales soared to over a million copies, earning a Gold Record — the first and only spoken word record to ever reach Gold! Today, more than 50 years later, The Strangest Secret remains one of the most powerful and influential messages ever recorded. It continues to transform the lives of everyone who hears and heeds it. The message is simple: We become what we think about. If you spend enough time thinking about something important, there’s a good chance your thinking will drive your actions.
2. Decide upon your true dreams and goals.
Your goals (or goal — less is more) should reflect what you spend most of your time thinking about. If you think about making more money (how much?) then come up with a goal that you must accomplish to get you closer. If you’re looking to become more established in a marketplace, perform better in a sport, compete in a triathlon, or master a specific skill, craft it in the form of a goal. Write the goal on an index card and look at it every day. Every single day. Again, we become what we think about.
3. Take action.
What do you need to do all day every day to continue thinking about your goal? Do you need to join an association? Hire a coach? Read a book? Get certified in an industry, profession, or area of expertise? Take a class? Meet and ultimately build relationships with people that are doing what you want to do? Thinking the way you want to think? Being who you want to be? Where do you need to go to meet these people? What do you need to say? And with whom? Goals are nothing without action. Don’t let excuses get in the way. Don’t convince yourself that you can’t. Think of all the reasons that you can. Don’t be afraid to get started. Just do it.
4. Never stop learning.
Go back to school or read books. Get training and acquire skills. I’m always in the middle of a good book. Sometimes it’s about boxing (my passion) but usually it’s about business, or the business of business. As a speaker, coach, and author, my focus is helping sales agents grow their business through networking (my other passion!). That said, I’m always looking for better ways of doing that so when I’m not speaking and writing, I’m reading. I keep a stack of books on a shelf in front of my desk so when I’m in my office, I can’t help but to see them. As I write this and gaze at the books, the topics are pretty consistent — sales, relationships, public relations, finance, building a great business, referrals, and creativity. I try to tackle a new book every couple of weeks. And my index card that contains my goal is my bookmark.
5. Be persistent and work hard.
Never give up! Get up early and set aside that time to work on your goal. Set a schedule for yourself over the next 30 days. If you wake up early and get to work over a cup of coffee in your dining room at 5AM and work until 6:30AM Monday through Friday, that’s an additional work day that you’ve carved out for yourself by the end of the week. And that’s not counting weekends!
6. Learn to analyze details.
The devil is in the details. Figure out what you need to learn. Ask great questions. Talk to all the right people. Give yourself deadlines. What gets measured gets done! Have a system of checks and balances so you know if you’re on the right track. How do you know you’re going in the right direction if you don’t have a GPS? What’s the GPS that you need to create to insure you’re on the right path? Knowing you’re moving in the right direction will inspire you to keep going.
7. Focus your time and money.
Stay focused! If a boxer loses focus, he gets caught with the hook. Professional athletes make investments in both time and money to do everything possible to become the best. If you know that it makes sense to invest in a book, program, course, certification, diet plan, coach, practice management system, pair of running shoes, whatever — do it!
8. Don’t be afraid to innovate; be different.
Staying in the middle of the road will get you hit by oncoming traffic. Those that are successful often have found a creative way to get their message across or goal accomplished. Think of comedians that have a unique style, or a baseball player with a different stance, or the financial advisor with the unique marketplace. How about the Facebooks, Googles, and Apples that have changed the world forever?
9. Deal and communicate with people effectively.
Everyone is different. How can you best relate to the specific needs of your prospects, clients, and referral sources? Learn to understand and motivate others. Help other people develop and achieve their goals. Listen! Ask questions and listen some more. We all know people that go on and on about themselves and never ask about you. (Are you one of them?)