Ten Beliefs of Successful People

Regardless of profession or situation, successful people share common attitudes and beliefs that inform their work ethic. For the executive summary, here are ten we identified. Feel free to read on for further explanation.

1. Be in control of your time.
2. You chose the people around you.
3. Pay the dues.
4. Experience is irrelevant, accomplishment is what matters.
5. Own your failures.
6. Use failure as an avenue to success.
7. Volunteer.
8. If they are paying, the set the terms.
9. As long as you are paid, you can do it.
10. Go the extra mile.

1. Time is not in control, I am.
When the average person hears they have three weeks for a project they adjust their effort so the project takes three weeks. Instead, successful people realize tasks should only take as long as they need to take to complete. Then you can use the “leftover” time to get even more done. Impose your will on time.

2. I chose the people around me.
Some of your employees are annoying. Some of your customers are obnoxious. Some of your friends are jerks. You chose them. In the people around you make you unhappy, it is your fault. Think about the type of people you would like to be surrounded by and plan accordingly. Hardworking people want to work with hardworking people. Great employees want great bosses.Be the person with whom you’d like to work and associate.

3. Pay the dues.
The only real measure of your value is the tangible contribution you make on a daily basis. No matter what you are doing now, you’re never too good to roll up your sleeves and get dirty while doing the grunt work. No task is ever too menial. Sociologists say one of the hallmarks of the Millennial Generation is a feeling of entitlement. Don’t fall into the trap! Only feel entitled to the fruits of your labor.

4. Experience is irrelevant.
“I’ve got 12 years in the Web design business,” is what I was recently told by a possible employee. Turns out, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are great at what you do. Or dependable. Or good to work with. Years on the job or in the field indicate little. What really matters is what you have accomplished.

5. Failure doesn’t “just happen” to me.
If asked why people have been successful you will get a lot of active voice. I, me, we accomplished X. Ask why they failed and you will get passive voice as a way to distance themselves from the failure. “The market crashed.” Vs “I made a poor financial decision.”

Successful people don’t distance themselves from their failures. By owning your failures you are able to learn from them and demonstrate you are not just a fair-weather participant.

And while we are on the topic of failure…

6. Failure is an avenue to success.
Failure is not only unavoidable, it is necessary. Richard Farson, author of Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins, says that “improvements only happen when you try things differently,” (ie after something fails). Failure also lends itself to broader thinking. Working through what went wrong helps you not only recognize where and what to fix, but also to become more strategic. When you fail, look at it as an opportunity to improve and broaden your thinking and problem solving skills.

Successful people not only own and learn from their failures, they recognize and expect it to happen and grow from the experience.

7. Volunteer.
Whenever you raise your hand to volunteer your time or resources you will end up doing more. And that’s positive. You will not only impress others, learn more, and gain new skills, but also build new relationships. You will end up working more, but the perks will compensate.

If success is based on action, then the more you raise your hand, the more you get to act.

8. If they are paying, they can set the terms.
Lately is seems that the motto, “the customer is always right,” has all but disappeared (the American airlines, cell service, your local retail store for example). Remember, the people who pay you earn the right to dictate what you do and how you do it. Say you take your dog to the groomers, if you ask for a poodle cut, but get a puppy cut instead, you’re probably never going back. Or ask for a cherry slurpee and are given razleberry. When you are paying for a service you expect your requests to be listened to and fulfilled, in particular when they are in line with services and offerings.

The market it wide open for those willing to remember that someone is paying for your work and should be able to make reasonable requests of you. Remember that you working to part someone else from their hard-earned money.

9. As long as you are paid…
If a customer is willing to pay a reasonable price for you to do something—and it’s ethical, moral, and legal—do it. Your customer is asking you to add on services not normally offered? Your customer wants you to perform a menial task? Your customer wants you to perform outside your regular parameters? If they are paying, do it. It’s your job and reputation.

Specialization, focus, and niches are all find and dandy. But business isn’t built on those things. Business is built on revenue. Be willing to do what your customers ask and you will benefit in experience and cash flow.

10. No one else is at mile marker 27.2.
Go the extra mile. Most people say they go extra mile, but few actually do. This is why the proverbial extra mile is filled with opportunities. Go early and stay late. Make the extra phone calls. Do the extra research. Help a customer unload a shipment. Don’t wait to be asked.

Everytime you do something, think of one extra thing you can do as well.

These ten beliefs set people apart and when followed result in personal and professional success.

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