Happy New Year, all! It's officially my first day back to business in 2019. I thought, to start this year in a really good way, I need to write about something that all of us who made entrepreneurship a lifestyle, care about. That's being successful. Now, we read blogs, listen to podcasts, watch motivational videos teaching us what we should do to be successful. But how about the things we SHOULDN'T do if we want to get to the top? I'm trying to go really deep on the way successful people live they life. And so, to become one of them, we need to know not only what they do, but also what they DON'T, to truly adopt a winning attitude and hold our dreams in our hands.
Now is the time to also admit that this blog post was inspired by a childhood friend of mine and an incredible fitness and health couch Sami Hossny. On New Year's Day he posted on Instagram a list of things he promised himself not to do, in order to see even better results and more achievements in 2019. That leads me to number 1 thing successful people don't do...
#1. Go with the flow
Going with the flow is kinda "the Thing" of our generation. You know, #YOLO lifestyle, #carpediem, #ifitsmeanttobeitwillbe and the rest of them. The truth is though, as much fun these trends are, they won't really take you to a destination of success. Great memories? Certainly. Happy times? Most likely. Extreme experiences? Oh yes! But if you've decided to build an empire on a business idea, these hashtags and the philosophies behind them, just won't cut it. Successful people don't go around YOLOing and simply living for the moment. Of course, they know they only live once, but they also know they need to make the most of every opportunity that presents itself. That's why they create plans. They have the freedom to enjoy their time the way they want, but they also need to follow their vision, so living for the moment, isn't really a thing in the business world. As for, leaving everything in the hands of God, or the universe, or the fate, or whatever word you have for it, that's also a no-no for someone who is or want to be successful. "If it's meant to be, it will be", sounds more like, "if you work for it hard and you make it happen, it will be". The great leaders of today certainly don't go with the flow, but they surely create it.
#2. Spread their efforts and attention in different directions
Successful people definitely don't try to be a universal type of "I-can-do-it-all" superheros. On the contrary, they find their niche and keep a clean focus on it. There's no such thing as expert on all things digital marketing, for example. You can't know SEO, social media, PPC, email marketing, mobile marketing, content marketing, audio and video marketing all at once to the highest standard. You can have a professional understanding of every category, but you must specialise in a niche. Then you need to define the exact type of people you really want to work with and they will become your target market. Successful people are good at identifying their best strengths and their ideal clients. Based on that, they create a strategy to follow and succeed. They don't allow other areas of the same business or industry distract them and that's how they increase their productivity and mental capacity for the tasks at hand.
"I'll do it tomorrow" easily becomes "I never did it". People who've made it in life didn't do it by leaving today's work for tomorrow. The first step towards a big project, as well as a small task, is always the hardest one. So, once you've made up your mind you are doing something, just start doing it. Don't wait for Monday or the 1st of the month or some other date or time. Today is better than any other day of the week. One of the best ways to fight procrastination is to boost your productivity and you can do that in many ways, but the simplest are:
exercise (you will feel more energised)
sleep at least 8 hours a day
have a clean and clear workspace
write down all of your daily tasks and group them in areas of your life.
#4. Sit in their comfort zone
I think this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. You can't expect better results if you are staying in the same place, doing the same thing, interacting with the same people. Your journey to success starts when you decide to leave your comfort zone. Yes, it's hard and scary, and uncertain, but so it entrepreneurship. And if you're not ready to face some serious challenges and beat them, perhaps you should find an average day job to pay the bills and allow you a couple of holidays a year.
#5. Mix with people who don't make them better, wiser or richer
Your environment, and more importantly, the people you let in your circle are crucial to your success and respectively, failure. We all know that we need inspirational and motivational people in our lives to whom we can relate, to drive us and help us succeed. But few people realise that they also need to remove certain individuals from their surroundings to really get on the right path to greatness. Successful people don't mix with anyone who doesn't make them better in what they do (or in general), wiser, or richer. In other words, if a person doesn't bring you joy, knowledge or money, you don't need them on your journey. Not only because you are not benefiting from them, but also because they may be a potential threat to your success.
#6. Think they know enough
Knowing that your are good enough is very different from thinking you know enough. While confidence in your skills is essential to become successful, constant learning is no less important. No matter what your field is, you can never let yourself be comfortable with what you know and stop updating or building on your knowledge. Things change every minute and what you learned today may be outdated tomorrow. You want to be seen as expert in your niche? Never stop learning!
#7. Ignore other opinions
As a leader, of course, you should be able to take decisions, which sometimes will be in contrast to the opinions of others. But this doesn't mean you will ignore these opinions entirely, without looking for the reasons behind them. That's not what any successful person would do. Smart business owners collect as many view points as possible to form a well-rounded decision that benefits the business as a whole. The skill to listen to others and extract the best of every opinion, even if you don't fully take it on board, is the main difference between a bossy individual and a successful leader.
#8. Allow naysayers to get to their head
Let's take celebrities as an example. Every single one of them, no matter how many fans they have, they are often subject to utter criticism and distasteful remarks by people who don't like them or are simply jealous. The same thing happens in the business world. And it hurts even more, because often times the naysayers happen to be your family and friends. Those who made it to the top, never let negative opinions and talks get into their head and make them doubt their skills, their journey or their purpose. The devil is a liar. Don't make the mistake of trusting him.
#9. Burn their batteries
Wisdom is the foundation of success. A wise person takes care of their business and their family, but never forgets to take care of themselves, as well. Successful people understand the importance of good health of the body and the mind. They also know that can't be achieved if they constantly overwork themselves and practically burn their batteries. Open any article or video about the habits of a successful person and you will find exercise, good sleep and meditation in 100% of them. Rest is important and if you want to be successful you should know when you can't afford to skip it.
#10. Do it for the money
I was saving this one for last, because it is really close to my heart. I had a short conversation with my hubby, trying to help him decide on a career path. I asked him one simple question: "If nobody paid you for this, would you still be doing it?" He said "no". My response was: "Well, that's not your passion then". Truly successful people don't do what they do for the money. They do it because they are passionate about it, because they like it and because it feels more like a hobby than a job. The monetary value that comes with it is just an added bonus. And the truth is, that monetary value is added BECAUSE of the passion and love that person puts in what they do.