As a coach for the past 25 years it’s been my job to help people improve and succeed, this is how those who succeed think and what they do.
There are 5 features that distinguish successful people and none of them are rocket science.
I’m going to walk you along the path that my most successful clients follow. We will do this together as if you are in a coaching session. So I will ask you questions as if I am coaching you and then we will look at the types of answers given by the clients who rise to the top.
We will also take a look at some of the thoughts and actions of those who fail.
If you’re ready let’s get going.
What does success look like to you?
“I have a solution to a common problem. And when people buy my solution they feel really good about their purchase.”
Steve Jobs solved the problem of personal computers being hard to use. Then, by designing his products to look beautiful he made purchasers of Apple products feel special.
Jeff Bezos solved the problem of limited choice in book shops. Then he got his books to his buyers quickly to satisfy their impatience.
Both these entrepreneurs had a vision of people feeling good about using their products. A vision of how your customer benefits and enjoys your product or service is the key. If you write horror stories you want to see your readers being entertained and looking scared. If you run a restaurant you want to see your diners looking like their hunger has been satisfied and that they have enjoyed a gastronomic experience.
What belief drives you?
“I believe that I have the skills and abilities to provide a unique product that will solve a common problem in a way that makes customers feel good.”
William James, who was the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States said:
“Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing (now get this — is the ONE thing) that ensures the successful outcome of your venture.”
Successful people often talk about their visions as if they are already real. Their belief in their vision is so strong that they really expect that it will happen.
In his book The Expectation Effect, David Robson describes how,
“what we feel and think will determine what we experience, which will, in turn, influence what we feel and what we think, in a never-ending cycle.”
It is this “never-ending cycle” of thinking and a feeling that propels successful people to believe that they will succeed.
What are you doing to make your vision your reality?
“I have an action plan of the steps I am taking to make my vision my reality. As I learn and receive feedback along the way I ensure that I am flexible and adapt to take advantage of new information.”
Curiosity, learning and flexibility are common characteristics of successful people. It’s not that they keep changing their minds but rather that they constantly gather and assess new information to see how it can be used to help them to reach their destinations.
It was the rigid determination of Chief Executives like Gil Amelio who wanted to make Apple like other corporate American companies that brought Apple to its knees. They simply didn’t “get” the Apple vision. As a result, their rigid plans and their failure to learn and adapt to a fast-changing technology world constantly took them up blind alleys.
What personal qualities do you have that will ensure your success?
“Apart from the curiosity, learning and flexibility already mentioned, I am focussed, determined, creative, courageous and I work hard. Also, I don’t whine or blame others when I encounter adversity.”
These qualities are more like habits with successful people. They just do them all the time. It’s what behaviourist Carol Dweck has christened a Growth Mindset.
Focus: successful people keep referencing their vision. It’s as if it’s their personal guiding light that draws them towards their goals.
Determination acts like a driving force. Successful people see themselves moving inexorably forward, overcoming obstacles, learning, enjoying their work and taking pride in what they’re doing.
Courage is the quality needed to overcome adversity that will inevitably occur on the road to your vision. Successful people stand tall in the face of adversity determined to find a way to keep moving forward.
Creativity. Successful people use their imagination to see into the future. They combine ideas with knowledge. This powerful combination enables them to find new opportunities and overcome obstacles.
Hard work. Some entrepreneurs are like highly talented sportspeople and entertainers, they have a knack of making success look easy. Success is rarely easy. For most people, it requires hard graft. You have to be prepared to put in the hours when you might prefer to be otherwise engaged. All the successful people I have ever met have been habitual hard workers.
How do you motivate yourself?
“I worked out a list of my top ten personal skills, abilities and qualities. I carry this list around in the Notes on my iPhone. I review the list constantly to remind myself of all the abilities I am using to make my vision my reality.”
The use of self-affirmations based on a realistic assessment of personal qualites has been shown by Neuroscientists to be an effective means of self-motivation.
I have noticed that successful people are always keen to know more about themselves. They take psychometric tests like Myers Briggs as well as skills and abilities assessments like the Clifton Strengths Finder. They are always looking for ways to add to their self-affirmations. They also read widely, attend courses and use coaches and mentors.
Now it’s up to you.
I suggest you start by writing your own answers to the 5 questions above.
Then I recommend that you soak yourself in your vision, keep learning and work like your life depends on it.
Above all, you should live with the expectation that you will succeed.