How do I know if I have achieved success? Am I there yet? What do I need to do to help my journey?
These are great thoughts to ponder. Frankly, I ask myself these very questions.
My good friend Bob Bly has published a great list of secrets to success. If you do not know Bob, he’s written about 70 books and for sure has achieved success. Pay attention to his wisdom as I paraphrase his list:
1—Be yourself. Do not pretend to be someone or something you are not. Your uniqueness will appeal to a certain segment of the market — and may hold the greatest appeal to them.
2—Following your passion – doing what you love – does not guarantee financial success. But not doing what you love for a living guarantees a life of boredom and unhappiness at work.
3—The trick, then, is to find a niche where your passions and interests intersect with the needs of the market. As Aristotle said, “Therein lies your vocation.”
4—Learn a financially valuable skill so you can command a high salary or (if you are self employed) a large fee. Those workers and service providers who command top dollar either (a) perform a service that makes or saves their employer or client money or time, (b) have a skill where the demand for that skill exceeds the supply, or (c) specialize in a narrow niche with little competition.
5—Given the choice, have your children when you are young and possess the energy it takes to a family.
6—Spend as much time as you can with your children when they are young and still want you, even if you must make sacrifices in your professional achievements to do so. The time passes quickly and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
7—The best piece of financial advice I ever got was from Florida freelance writer David Kohn, who told me: “Live below your means.” Doing so further enhances your financial security.
8—Use your money to buy income-producing assets, assets that appreciate in value, or services that free up your time for other activities.
9—Avoid debt of any kind to the extent you are able. I have zero consumer debt except the mortgages on investment properties.
10—Every day you wake up and everyone in your family is in good health, and you have food to eat and a decent place to live, you are ahead of the game.
11—Always in your business, under-promise and over-deliver. Give your customers not their money’s worth, but more than they have a right to expect. Err on the side of being too generous rather than being too rigid or strict.
12—Before criticizing the work of a supplier or vendor, say something positive – what you like about the work — first. The more insulted a vendor feels, the less motivated they become to do good work for you.
13–Do not allow yourself to be belittled, insulted, or demeaned verbally or in writing by others. When someone makes a snide or degrading comment, your reply should be: “What was your purpose in making that comment to me?” It will stop them in their tracks, and embarrass them so they never do it again to you.
14—Don’t give unsolicited advice.
15—To paraphrase Dan Kennedy, guard your time like the gold in Fort Knox. You can always make more money, but time lost or wasted is gone forever.
16—Successful people are able to make swift decisions and carry them out with speed.
17—The #1 difference between successful people and those less successful is that successful people act on their ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Without action, ideas are worthless.
18—Do not think you must reinvent the wheel on every new product or business project. Most things have already been done before. All you need to do is add a twist or put your own spin on a product or service to create demand and make it profitable.
19—If you are successful, you can be arrogant and boastful. But why do it? Your bragging makes others who are less successful feel badly about themselves. What’s the point of doing that? Be modest and humble. Don’t push your achievements in other people’s faces.
20—Don’t refer to yourself as a genius or superstar in your marketing copy. If you were a genius, you wouldn’t have to say it – instead others would be saying it and you could quote them.
21—Focus on your work – on creating valuable products, giving great service, going the extra mile for your customers – rather than how much money you want to make.
Here’s my addition: Do good for others without expecting anything in return: This has been one of my top secrets to success. Not only does the Good Book say we should do this, it has practical implications to your success. Just try.
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