I hope you are enjoying December. It’s a magical time of year where everyone seems to be joyful and in a happier mood. It’s hard to believe but 2012 is almost over and a new year is beginning. Claude Hamilton, my mentor, would often tell me to start preparing myself now to hit the new year with momentum. To keep my “personal momentum” up during the holidays, so that when January hit I didn’t miss a beat.
Recently Claude wrote a great article on success. The article was entitled “Claude’s Secrets to Success”. In that article, I love the part where he lists the 10 traits of successful people. Here is more;
Let me share 10 specific traits that are common to successful people:
1. Focus & Purpose. You must have a goal! If you are truly focused, you will recognize when you need to give up a good opportunity in the moment so you can receive the best in the long run. As my business grew and I began experiencing success, many people wanted to know more on how I was achieving this. Many opportunities surfaced for me to speak publicly and these gigs paid extremely well. In the short term, I was making good money but I could also recognize that this same opportunity was causing my core business to suffer. I realized that these same speaking engagements were detrimental to my main focus; that forced me to make a tough decision. I made a pact with myself: no more than 1 speaking engagement per month in lieu of every weekend. That turned out to be one of the wisest things I ever did for my business. Today, my business takes way better care of me than these speaking engagement ever could. Despite the short term gratification, I maintained my purpose.
2. Success & Excellence. Spend 30 minutes with a successful person and it will become obvious to you that they always seek to self-improve. Get yourself and your pride out of the way! As soon as you begin thinking that you know it all, you are going down. Kaput. You’re done. When you are successful, you know that the destination is not the ultimate prize. It’s the journey you’re on. Being a Canadian, hockey is my my favorite sport. Did you ever notice how the best paid professionals on this planet still consistently go through drills to stay on top of their game? They know that the minute you quit striving, their competition can get the upper hand. The person who strives a bit longer usually wins the game. Those who become super heroes at their game always continue striving to become even better. They strive for excellence.
3. Success & Making People Feel Good. It doesn’t matter what field you are in, making people feel good is a crucial component. If you lack in relationship skills, you will not be successful. Plain and simple. Business and people go together. To build our new home, Lana and I knew that we had to look at this as a 3-year project. We also knew that we needed to have great relationships with the contractor, the construction crew, the electricians, the plumbers, etc… People skills were important to us. We visited every other day and made the conscious effort to treat each person with the utmost respect. We got to know these people very well and they shared at the end how they enjoyed the project of working with us, one of the best they’d had yet. It impacted the quality of their work to the extent that they wanted to go that extra mile to please us even more. The project was a success – I attribute it all to the relationships we built and the people skills we used. It doesn’t matter what type of business you do. Successful people always leave people feeling better about themselves when they leave their presence. I would definitely say that the most important thing about a building project is people skills.
4. Success & Responsibility. Growing up, my brother loved to play hockey and he was a goalie. As I was watching one day, his team lost. He came bursting off the ice immediately blaming the defencemen and grumbling on how his teammates were just terrible. He wasn’t the one that let that puck go in the net! Those defencemen failed at defending him. What he failed to recognize is that he would never get better at his game as long as he didn’t own the problem. Blaming others would hinder his growth as a goalie and sabotage his own success. As soon as he began blaming others, he gave his power away. I remember pointing out to him that the best goalies are usually the ones with the worst defencemen – forcing them to get even better! You always have 2 choices: blame others and believe it’s not your problem OR you can take responsibility. Play a bit more to compensate for others and it will propel your success.
5. Success & New Challenges. Get out of your comfort zone! You get comfortable at your position and you soon quit taking on new challenges. That means you are getting stale. As a leader in what you do, you need to keep sharpening your axe. It’s a competitive environment out there in the business world; you just can’t quit growing and expanding. As I explained some above, it is not the destination that is the most important for leaders. It`s the journey. According to scientists and psychologists, humans are the happiest when they are striving. You would think it’s when they get to the victory but no…. it’s during the battle. The journey makes the victory sweet. So – get out of your comfort zone – now!!! Keep conquering new territory.
6. Success & Production. Did you ever hear the expression, ‘Winners Win?’ It’s so easy to say you have no control over a situation or to believe there are insurmountable odds against you. When you take that position it’s as sealed a deal as if you quit. And, you know you cannot quit and achieve success at the same time. Are you depressed over the situation you are in? As a leader you need to give vision to others. Don’t stifle your production because a situation seems insurmountable. If you do, it disqualifies you to provide for that vision. If you’re a winner, then win. It’s unacceptable as a leader to quit when things get tough. Blame the situation, the weather or whatever. As soon as you believe it can’t be fixed, you’re done.
7. Success & Hard Work. Hard work makes a difference, yes… but doing the hard work with the right attitude is best. Working with a rotten attitude will get you rotten results no matter how hard you work. Strong leaders have strong work ethics and are willing to pay the price. They sacrifice to create sacred things. Whether it’s financial freedom, family, success in sports or business – you will have to make sacrifices to create the sacred thing you are chasing.
8. Success & Personal Development. Successful people invest in themselves. When Abraham Lincoln was chopping wood for eight hours, he spent 7 hours sharpening his axe. As a leader, understand your value by investing in yourself and serving others. Increasing your value creates more territory in serving more people. An employer will pay for your professional development because it’s an asset to the company. As an independent business owner or a leader, you have to be willing to do the same. I remember spending money (that I could have had a lot of fun with) on books, CDs and for travels to seminars. I invested in myself and in the long term, it created the lifestyle that I wanted.
9. Success & Perseverance. Do NOT give up when the going gets tough. To be successful, you have to think long-term! Do not let the ups and downs affect your outcome. We have had great years and some that were not so great. But, we persevered because quitting was not an option. That is how we got to harvest our crop down the road. Learn right away that you must persevere longer than your competition. Continually assault the problem; if you do long enough? You will conquer. Despite the untruths of the media, success is not instantaneous. You’ve got to keep the dream alive in your heart and work at it. Surround yourself with encouragers and like-minded people. Greatness is not accomplished overnight and God’s delays are not His denials.
10. Success & Prioritization. Ever heard that busy people get things done? It is mostly true but as you add responsibilities to your life, you will have to prioritize. Time management is one of the most important element to your success. It’s important to know what you will do and also to know what you will not do. I love hockey. I coached hockey, watched hockey and I played hockey. But I realized that watching and playing hockey was not helping me to reach my goals. I had to stop and prioritize. Putting hockey on the back burner for a bit was tough. If you give up what you really want in the future for what you can have in the moment, that is what will cause you to fail. I had to decide that watching hockey every day on TV would not build my success. Now that I’ve crossed to the other side, I can go see the Stanley Cup every year. Throw aside the things that won’t help you to your goal.
That is great information. I know Claude & Orrin Woodward have had many years of achieving success in their personal lives and also helped many people become successful. These 10 traits aren’t just theory, they are actual applied principles that have worked in their lives.
That’s a wrap for today folks. Take these 10 principles and make 2013 the best year in your LIFE.