There is one key message in this article. Here it is:
When you do what successful people do, you will be successful.
For many years I have worked as a motivational keynote conference speaker with professionals in a range of industries to help them achieve greater success. I have discovered that the communication skills that lead to success in the healthcare or IT industries, for example, are just the same as those in your personal relationships.
If you’re still not sure whether you need to read this article, ask yourself a couple of important questions:
Would you like to be more successful than you are?
Would you invest an hour of your time listening to me giving a motivational and inspirational keynote speech, or spend ten minutes reading this article, if you knew it would help to make you more successful?
Tip one: Model their Behavior
Research shows that all successful people do much the same things. So, model their behaviour and be like them. Here are three things that successful people do so often that they do so by habit without thinking:
Get your brain used to change
Cross your arms a different way. Tie your laces the wrong way round. Successful people are unafraid of change. Practice.
Write down your ideas
Carry a notepad and pen with you at all times. Use them. Ideas will come to you in the middle of the night, or during a walk, or while you’re working on something else. Write down every idea. Encourage colleagues to do the same. Successful people never waste ideas.
Picture yourself succeeding
Whatever your goal, imagine how you will feel when you achieve it. Where will you be? What will you be wearing? What will people say to you?
Visualization is a powerful tool for success.
Tip two: Learn to listen
Listen with more than your ears. Listen actively.
Act like a professional listener
Raise your eyebrows now and then. Give little nods. Say ‘I see’. Echo what the other person said. Ask short probing questions using what, why, when, how, where.
Watch out for ‘body-language’
Often, when people are not being honest, their hand tries to cover their mouth. Men wearing glasses take them off, or look down. Women often look up and find an imaginary piece of makeup on their eyelash.
Tip three: Stop ‘trying’
The opposite of ‘succeed’ is not ‘fail’. It’s ‘try’. Eliminating the word ‘try’ from your vocabulary will make you more effective.
Instead of saying ‘I’ll try…’, say ‘I will…’
Sometimes you will find you can’t honestly say that you will do something. This is a sign that you are not committed to doing it. Now you are using ‘meta-language’. If you don’t mean what you say, don’t say it.
Be suspicious of people who say ‘I’ll try’
When someone tells you that he will try, be alert to the likelihood that he may not be able to keep his word or is not committed to the task.
Tip four: Get rid of your gremlin
We all have a gremlin who whispers in our ear and stops us taking chances. ‘You can’t do this,’ it mutters. ‘You’ll never do that.’ Sack your gremlin today.
Contradict your worries immediately
When the little doubting voice whispers in your ear, tell yourself the exact opposite, loud and clear. Like visualization, saying a thing makes it true.
Let your body educate your brain
Sit up straight. Head high. Shoulders relaxed. Eyes direct. Smile. Your gremlin finds it hard to counteract positive body posture and will eventually fall off your shoulder.
Tip five: How can I do this better?
Successful people never stop asking the question ‘How can I do this better?’ Get used to doing this too.
When you suggest change, your team may assume you’re criticising what they do now. Reassure them by showing that you are also open to change. Challenge everything, however small or obvious.
Take it slow and steady
Roger Bannister conquered the four-minute mile by first running a quarter-mile in a minute, then a half-mile, and so on. Everyone else was trying to run a whole mile in four minutes. Break down your goals into smaller, achievable chunks and eventually you will get there.
Tip six: Admit your weaknesses
Look at each of the jobs you do. There are some tasks that you don’t enjoy and are not good at. Ask yourself why you are doing them.
Hire an expert
Perhaps you’re saving money. The truth is, because it’s not what you are good at, or what you love to do, you cannot do it as well or as quickly as a person who adores doing that same task. You are wasting your own time and in the long term you are wasting money. Get someone else to do it.
Look around at the others in your team. Everyone has some jobs they are not gifted for, but that must be done. So, offer to swap some tasks around, so that everyone has more of the jobs they excel at. You will all have more time to become successful.
Tip seven: Behavior breeds behavior
Family and work colleagues are strongly affected by how you behave. They watch you, and judge your mood, based on how you look. So, consider the message you want to send out, and behave accordingly.
Set a relaxed, creative, happy atmosphere
Smile, say ‘hello’ and make small talk when you go into the office each morning. Come home from work with something positive to say, and ask your partner and family how their days have been.
Dare to be different
Just because ‘everyone’ does something in a certain way, albeit an inefficient one, doesn’t mean that you have to do it that way too. Be daring. Break the mould now and again.
Tip eight: Imagination
Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. He had no rockets on which to test his new Theory of Relativity, so he used his imagination.
Give your imagination room to roam
Have regular ‘down time’.
Go for a walk in the park.
Chat with a colleague at the water-cooler.
Take the long way back from lunch for once.
Get used to encouraging your mind to roam.
Value every idea you have.
Write down things that other people say that strike you as clever or insightful.
Tip nine: Take action
‘Being successful’ is not in itself the objective. Think about what you will have, and what you will be able to do, once you are successful. Instead of thinking ‘I want to be rich’, think what having money will buy you, such as a new car or two holidays abroad a year.
Make your goals real to you. Research shows that people who write down their goals are more likely to succeed than those who don’t. Write yours down, be specific, and mean them.
Set out on the path to success
Look at your written goals, and work backwards towards the present day. What achievable steps could you take to reach your objectives? Write those down too.
Tip ten: Behave like a successful person
When you ride a bike, and look too hard at the one pothole in the road, you will ride straight into it. If, instead, you concentrate on the rest of the smooth road, you will miss the hole completely. Be careful where your negative thoughts may take you.
Keep success in mind
Whatever you think about, you get. Decide not to even consider failure any more, or that might be just what you end up with. Always rehearse successful scenarios in your mind, in vivid colour, and in real time, starring yourself as the successful person.
Give yourself credit when things go your way. When they don’t, ask: ‘How can I make this better in future?’ Revisit your written objectives now and then, and cross off the steps you’ve already taken.
I wish you every success.