1. They focus on productivity, not on being busy.
We live in a pay-by-the-hour sort of world, but if you are an entrepreneur, you should never pay yourself like a boss would pay you! Do not reward yourself for spending time working; reward yourself for getting work done.3 When you run your own business, you are paid for products and services, not for time.
And what if you want to succeed in a corporate career? Look at it this way. When your productivity far outshines the productivity of your coworkers, you make an impact on your company, and you are the one who is likely to get the promotion!
2. They set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
What is success? Most people would probably define success as achieving a goal. But you can never be successful if you set unachievable goals. Many goals are unrealistic or too nebulous for follow-through.
Instead, try setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely. The acronym pretty much says it all. These are goals which are concrete, narrowly defined, and which you can measure your progress towards.
You can achieve them within a finite amount of time, and they are relevant to your overall success.
Setting a series of S.M.A.R.T. goals is a great technique for achieving larger, more loosely defined goals. Think of each S.M.A.R.T. goal as a rung on the ladder of overall success!
3. They take the leap.
What is the number one reason why many people never succeed at their goals in life? Probably a refusal to try! The higher you set your sights, the scarier the prospect of failure can be. But that is no reason not to try. What you never know can’t hurt you—or so you might think.1
The truth is, however, it is hurting you ever day not to give yourself a chance. So take that leap you have been putting off. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You never know; it could be the leap that changes your life.1
4. They exercise and eat right.
Successful people who stay that way over the long term do not abuse their bodies. They take time each day to prepare and eat healthy meals and to work out. Even President Barack Obama manages to find time to get up every morning and exercise before work, often for 90 minutes a day.
If the most powerful (and busy) man in the world has time for a daily workout, so do you!
5. They lead balanced lives.
In the professional world, there is a lot of pressure always to be working. If you are not working 20 hours and sleeping 4, you must not want it badly enough. That is what people will tell you in pretty much any field.
However, that is simply not true, and people who live that way will eventually burn out and crash hard. They think they can sacrifice their health, relationships, and leisure time for a few hard years and then coast for the rest of their lives. Rarely if ever does entrepreneurship actually work this way. Most successful entrepreneurs work very hard for a long time.
That just makes it more important than ever to find time for other important things in your life, and especially for important people! A healthy, balanced life is necessary if you are going to have the strength to hang in there for the long term.
It also is essential to remember why you want success. Most of us want monetary success to support our lifestyles and families. But if you throw out your life and family along the way, what success will you have achieved?
6. They are realistically optimistic.
Successful people focus on the positive wherever possible—but not blindly. Optimism helps us spot opportunities we would miss if we were focusing on the negative.
While you must always plan for the future and for potential pitfalls, you must believe there is a way across the chasms that gape below. Otherwise you will turn back long before the journey is complete, or take a fall along the way.
7. They make the most of their networks.
The most successful people never try to go it alone if they do not have to, and they always look for opportunities to network and expand their circle of friends and business associates.
They realize that every conversation is an opportunity, and could hold the seed of potential for a new business relationship or venture. When they find themselves facing harsh times, they reach out to others for ideas. When others in their networks struggle, they offer solutions.