Monday, March 11, 2013

Habits for Success

I came across this article on Facebook from Inc. Magazine - 8 Habits of Remarkably Successful People

Before I read the article, I took two minutes (literally), and jotted down what I thought would be on the list. 

Here is their list (with no commentary - it's my blog - I get to do that)...

1. They don't create back-up plans.
2. They do the work...
3.  ...and they work a lot more.
4. They avoid the crowds.
5. They start at the end...
6. ... and they don't stop there.
7. They sell.
8. They are never too proud.

Now, I could get particular here and argue that these are not just 8 Habits, rather they are characteristics and personality traits as well as a habit or two thrown in for good measure.

Here is my list...

1. Practice - Read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and you'll become a believer. I would compare this to #2 & #3 in Inc's list. No one is born talented. No one is born knowing how to walk. We all learn how to walk after much practice. The same would be said for the Bill Gates of the world. Even Bill had to sit down and learn about computers at a young age. Only after much practice (10,000 hours if you ascribe to that theory), did he become a genius computer programmer. 

2. Read - I'd say this correlates to #8 if I had to pick one. Successful people know there are many others out there who know more, and can do better, than they can. How many successful people do you know that sit around and say, "No need to ask anyone else. This is the best way to do XYZ." At one of the first New Home Sales Training Courses I attended, Myers Barnes stood up in front of the class and said, "I'm going to tell each of you how to double your income in just one year. Unfortunately, my experience has proven that none of you will do this." Want to know the secret? Read an hour a day in material that benefits your profession. This is particularly true in the sales field. Guess what? He's probably right, but I wouldn't know. As he predicted, I didn't do it. And, I even believe it will work! {Side Note: He also asked the class of 150 how many had read Bill Gates' book on business. Two hands went up. "You mean that out of 150 business owners, only 2 of you have read how the richest man in America runs his empire?! He writes about how to run a business and only 2 of you have read it?!" Ouch.}

3. Set Goals - This one is #5 all the way. We've all heard that setting goals is important, but how many of us actually do it? Not only do we need to set goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) but we need to WRITE THEM DOWN! Tom and I just went through a goal setting session a few weeks ago and it feels so good to have a plan. And, don't forget to communicate those goals with your team (either your employees or your support team or your mentor). They do no one any good hidden away in a notebook in the bottom desk drawer. 

4. Have a Mentor - We all need someone to hold us accountable. A mentor should be someone who rejoices in your success and picks you up when you fall short of your goal. (That should be another habit - failing early and failing often - read Failing Forward by John Maxwell.) An ideal mentor is someone who has been there and done that and wants to help get you to the next level. 

5. Give Generously - Look at any successful individual and/or business and check them out to see how much they give. You'll be shocked. This is the age old question - which came first? Giving Generously or Becoming Successful? Successful people understand that they did not get where they are on their own two feet and without a huge push upward from programs, schools, teachers and other organizations. They give back. Let's go back to Bill Gates (sick of him yet?) for a minute. To date, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $26.1 billion - with a capital "B" - in grant money for causes such as Polio Eradication, Malaria, Higher Education, Maternal & Child Health and much, much more. {SOURCE: Gates Foundation Fact Sheet

6. Time Management - Successful people absolutely work a lot more (#3). But, they also do more with less time. I heard a funny statement at the last training I attended - if you want something done fast, ask the busiest person you know. Successful people know how to prioritize their task lists and to fit more into a day than most fit into a week. Personally, I know my least productive time is when I'm at home with a boat load of time and without a deadline in sight. Laundry can always be pushed off and dishes can be hand washed if the dishwasher is full. I've written about my Notebook System before and it certainly doesn't need to be this system, but most "Remarkably Successful" people have some way to effectively manage their time.

7. Have a Team - Or a support system. Successful people surround themselves with people who encourage and enable, not with people who tear down and naysay. Want another funny quote? Behind every great man stands a great woman. Forget about the sexism for a minute and take it for what it's worth. We're meant to work in teams and support each other. We can't do it alone. Google the 10 richest people in America and I'll bet they're not misers living in a fortress all alone. They have people who have shared their vision and encouragement for them to get to the top. 

8. Have a Role Model - So, maybe this goes along a little too closely with my #4 and #7. I told you I made the list in two minutes. This post has taken much longer and I may have switched this out if I had given it more thought. :) (I particularly like #4 on Inc's list - read Blue Ocean Strategy for why this works - I haven't read it - I should...) Anyway, having a role model is important to adults for the same reason it's important to pre-teens and teenagers during their formidable years. We need good examples. We need a path to follow. We need to know it's OK to be successful. We should all have someone who we respect and someone we want to mimic, and perhaps even surpass, their successes. 

So there's my list. I write these certainly not because I consider myself in the "Remarkably Successful" category. No way. No how. I write this rather out of observation of those who I would put into that category. 

Personally, I have a long ways to go on many of my own 8, let alone Inc's 8, successful habits. On Inc's list, I can do better at #1, #6, & #7. On my own list, I can do better at  #1, #2, #4 & #7. I'll just have to keep trying.

Do you all agree? Did I miss something? Which are you working toward doing better? {That is if you made it this far through my rambling. It's my blog. I get to do that.}