Many folks think that success is like magic. It just happens. It’s a matter of luck; or birthright; or privilege. It’s reserved for the fortunate few.
But actually, success is like a cake recipe. There are ingredients, and particular steps; and if you follow the recipe, you will be successful.
Study successful people. You will see some of these common ingredients.
Here are three of them:
Successful People Focus on High Value Targets
Most of us wake up to a “To Do” list that overwhelms us. Everything looks like it has the same level of urgency and import. But that’s not true.
Successful people know that there are really only a few important things in their day to get done. They apply the Pareto Principle ruthlessly focusing on the 20% of things that lead to the 80% of the results. They focus on what matters most.
And successful people say no. Often.
Steve Jobs once said, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Successful people practice leadership expert John Maxwell’s principle, “Say ‘no’ to the good so that you can say ‘yes’ to the best.”
They know that less is more.
Successful People Don’t Work Like Machines
Our industrial age mindset is that, in order to be successful, we need to work longer, harder, faster; that the more time we put in, the more successful we will be. Show up early, leave late, work overtime, nights, weekends, holidays: that’s the path to success.
Successful people know that we’re not built like machines. They know that, just as we sleep in rhythms, our awake time has rhythms as well. They know that humans work best in 60 to 90 minute segments; and that throughout the day, they need to take breaks to recharge their minds and refocus their attention.
Successful people know that, in order for peak performance to be sustained, they can’t work 24/7/365. They know that performers and athletes and artists at the top of their games ‘practice’ their crafts for 5 or 6 hours a day; and then turn their attentions elsewhere.
They know that the secret to success is not working harder; it’s working smarter.
Successful People Take Care of Themselves. First.
Most folks, especially those of us in service-related businesses, charge into the day, never focusing on their most important resource: themselves. They give and they give and they give some more. Until there’s nothing left. They know they’ve heard that old schpeel from the airline attendant about the oxygen mask and putting it on first before helping others. But for some reason, they believe that the adage doesn’t apply to them; that they won’t end up dead on the cabin floor.
Successful people know that in order to show up in the world, serve at a high level, and really make an impact, they need to take care of themselves first. They know that you don’t run a high performance vehicle around and around the track without ever stopping.
Successful people stop. They fuel their bodies with good food; they hydrate; they rest; they sleep. They fuel their minds with good books and good conversation. They nurture their spirits with time for reflection, mindfulness and meditation.
Successful people surround themselves with others on the path with similar values and powerful visions. They know that they don’t want to be the smartest person in the room; that they constantly want to be growing and learning and called ever higher.
Successful people know that when they take care of themselves first, they can change the world.
How’s your recipe? Is it time for a new one?