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7 Things You Already Know About Being Successful (but are you doing them?)

Ever wondered why some people are successful and some seem to always struggle? Obviously there are many reasons, but if you study the lives of successful people, and successful organizations, you will find some common denominators. I have spent my entire career studying these type people and organizations, and have found the following to be traits that we all need to apply (and reapply) to our lives.

1. Follow your passion. One of the key elements to success in life and business is having a passion for what you do. There is no limit to what you can accomplish when you feel passionate about it. Passion is the fuel that gets you out of bed in the morning, helps you endure while performing tasks that you don’t consider enjoyable, and gives you the strength to successfully deal with problems and challenges. To find your passion you might ask yourself the following questions:

  • What would I do if I could not fail?

  • What would I do if I had all the money in the world?

  • What situation (on the evening news or in the daily paper) touches my heart the most?

  • What type person, culture, lifestyle, and/or material item am I drawn to the most?

2. Have a clear idea about what you want to do. In just a few days most of us will do the same the same thing. Along about the time we are watching the New Year’s Day parade we will begin to think about 2006. We will begin dreaming about what we want to accomplish, how much weight we want to lose, or the relationships we hope to have formed by year’s end. Most call these New Year’s Resolutions, but by the end of the year we look back and realize that we didn’t accomplished all that we had hoped to accomplish.

How to accomplish your resolutions, or you may call them goals? There are three basic but very important steps to take.

  • Dream what you want.

  • Decide why you want it.

  • Determine a plan to get it. This is the step that I feel most people leave out, but perhaps could be the most important of the three.

3. Find a niche and be the best you can be. Booker T. Washington once said, “Do the common things uncommonly well.” John Eldredge in Wild At Heart wrote, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Both of these people give us good advice. Once you find what makes you come alive, and do it uncommonly well, you will discover that you have found your passion. If your passion turns out to be a love for the elderly then find your niche in helping or working with senior adults in your community.

[As you can see, all of these traits connect to one another.]

4. Make a difference. It has been said that the only thing that lasts long after you are gone is the relationships that you leave behind. In some respects that is true. All the money you made will not be in your pocket, and property deeds will not be along side you in your coffin. However, there is something else that will continue long after you pass from this world to the next. If you look into the history books you will find people that made a difference. We still feel the impact of their existence. I can think of at least two things that you can begin doing today that will extend your difference making ability long after you are gone.

  • Live a life that is worth remembering and writing about. Statues in the town square are always erected in the memory of someone that made a real difference, and most are of people that did the common things uncommonly well.

  • Start something that will out live you. “Like what”, you ask? Well, there is a person that you probably have never heard of, his name is Grant Powell. About twenty years ago Grant moved his little family to a small unheard of town in Florida. He had a dream of making a real difference in the community and worked hard at doing just that. After being in that town for about ten years Grant and his wife Jennifer begin to have a dream of starting a private school that would not only teach the “3 Rs” but would do it with class and excellence.

This school is now a reality with hundreds of children attending each day, and ground being broken for new educational buildings to be built. In short, Grant has started something that will not only out live him, but his children and their children.

5. Keep it simple. There is an old saying that I would like to change. You might have heard it put this way; K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid. I would like to change it to be Keep It Short and Simple. Many times we make life so complicated. Some of us carry a cell phone in their pockets, keep a PDA on our desks, and two or three calendars pasted to our refrigerators. The secret is to do what you do best and stick to it. Don’t make things more complicated than they are. Much of this is a mental exercise that you must go through each day. If you apply the following examples you will live a very simple life.

  • Live your life to the fullest each and every day.

  • Love your family members as if you will never see them again.

  • Let your passion drive your career.

6. Go with your instincts. Never under estimate your instincts or intuition. If you have to work hard at selling yourself on an idea, it is probably not a good idea. Your instincts are like muscles, they get stronger the more you use them.

7. Value your time and be a good time manager.

  • Take Charge. Decide now that you will get on top of managing your own time. Remind yourself that poor time-management is nobody else's responsibility but your own.

  • Be Decisive. Don't put off decisions. Remember there's often time later to reverse an early decision, there's rarely time to correct a late one.

  • Prioritize. Decide what is worth an allocation of your precious time and what is not. Don't let others set your time agenda.

  • Plan extensively. You can use a pocket or desktop PC, or a Franklin organizer, either way take five minutes each morning to review the day ahead. And…

o Plan tomorrow today.

o Plan next week this week.

o Plan next month this month

o Plan next year this year.

• Delegate. Give away what others can do so they can begin to reach their potential, and you yours.

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