10 Habits and Behaviors that Lead to Success
by Mark Jenney
Success can mean different things to different people, but achieving it is almost never a matter of luck. Rather, it’s the result of many small habits and behaviors, all of which keep you on a path that leads straight to your goals and dreams.
Having some setbacks in fulfilling your entrepreneurial aspirations? See if you can make these ten habits and behaviors part of your routine.
- Acknowledge the good in every situation. It’s easy to be negative, and we’ve all been around negative people who have something discouraging to say about everything and everyone. Not only is this attitude a real drag to be around, it’s potentially harmful. Instead of sliding down the slippery slope of pessimism, take the time to, as many a wise mother has said, say something nice. This applies not only to challenges and difficult situations at work, but to how you speak to yourself. If you’re always internally berating yourself, your confidence (and your work) will suffer. Be positive — it makes a big difference.
- Commit to working hard and working often. “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration,” as Thomas Edison is so frequently quoted as saying. Sure, you could have a million dollar idea, but if you’re not working to bring it to fruition, you’ll never be successful. Showing up to work hard is the only way to get things done. And keep pushing yourself further, reminding yourself that if hard work were easy, everyone would do it. To quote Zig Ziglar, “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”
- Write things down. It’s great to train your memory, but you don’t want to take changes trying to remember all the small things you’ve committed to doing. Instead, make lists, keep a detailed calendar, and take notes. You won’t forget anything, you’ll get the satisfaction of crossing off things that are completed, you’ll keep all of your appointments, and you won’t have to search for that important detail from last week’s meeting.
- Be an active listener. The ability to listen well can make the difference between adequate work and outstanding work. When you’re communicating with others, really listen to what they tell you — what they say, of course, but also how they say it. Give them your full attention so you can understand their inflection and read all of their nonverbal cues. Not only will you better serve your clients and customers, but you’ll earn a well-deserved reputation for being a great person to work with and work for.
- Be detail oriented. We’ve all been told not to sweat the small stuff, and that may be good advice if you’re looking to avoid unnecessary drama in your personal life. However, when it comes to business endeavors, the details are what sets you apart from your competition. They’re also what customers notice most, especially when they’re not done right.
- Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be. This point may seem to be at odds with the previous one, but just because you’re focusing on important details doesn’t mean you’re making things more complicated. However, setting unnecessary meetings, getting bogged down in busy work, not delegating tasks to those who can handle them best, and neglecting to follow the OHIO principle (that’s Only Handle It Once) can add unnecessary complication to your workday.
- Take time to reflect. We’ve all been told about importance of learning from our mistakes, lest we make them again, and growing from our triumphs so we can continue to succeed. As philosopher and writer George Santayana is so often quoted as saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Give yourself time on a regular basis, maybe once a week, to reflect on everything that’s happened. Writing your thoughts in a journal (in keeping with the third point on this list) is a great way to do this, as it creates a record that you can look at whenever you need guidance or encouragement.
- Give to a greater good. Giving back to your community or to a worthy cause, whether it’s in time, money, or both, is an ideal way to keep your perspective about your work and remember how fortunate you really are. Plus, many entrepreneurs feel that it is their responsibility to give to others. Plus, having a personal cause or greater mission in life helps you take the long view, both in business and in life. Related: 8 Great Reasons For Your Business to Give Back
- Recognize that in order to have a sharp mind, you need to take care of your body. Physical activity can keep you healthier, help you sleep better, and make you feel better all around, but it does more than that. It helps you to clear your mind when you’re stressed, improves your memory and your mental acuity, and even makes you more creative.
- Do what you love, love what you do. Financial success is a welcome result of hard work, but true success comes from finding joy in what you do. When choosing a career path, don’t follow the money — follow your heart. Do what you love, put your whole self into it, and you’ll not only increase your chances of entrepreneurial success, but you’ll be happy. It’s impossible to put a price on that.
What habits keep you heading toward success? Share some ideas in the comments! Follow me.