At the beginning of my business journey, I read lots of books. One of the books often recommended was Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In truth, it didn’t particularly resonate although I remember there were a few useful concepts. Little did I realise, I was soon going to be party to a wealth of priceless knowledge learnt from the very best.
Me Spot has given me the opportunity to meet a host of amazing women. Without exception you are each unique and supremely talented in your own right. The community is made so dynamic and vibrant by the very fact that we have all had different experiences. In sharing the wisdom, we can learn from each other and grow. It is enriching and enlightening in equal measure.
One of my biggest learnings is that certain people just seem to know how to make things happen. They will give themselves the most ambitious targets and then smash them, apparently effortlessly. By contrast, for many of us, hitting goals and making change can be quite a struggle. It is much easier to coast along in the familiar than to take a step into the unknown. We are paralysed by procrastination and the fear of failure runs deep.
What’s their secret?
It would be easy to see those people as being somehow ‘better’ or to pass their achievements off as luck. Having watched and analysed, my observation is that it is neither of these. Their approach is just different. They know where they want to get to, they identify what is required to get there, and then do it, consistently.
Sorry to disappoint but the truth of the matter is there are no miracle cures or quick fix solutions, just plain old graft combined with the right mindset. Great news – it is something that we can all emulate.
Here are the top ten key success factors I have learnt from the many women I have worked with. These lessons continue to inform my own approach to my work and my life.
Success: the harsh truths
1. The time is always right
Putting things off and finding a reason to justify doing so, is something I hear most often. There is never a good time apart from the present. Don’t wait. Whatever it is you are looking to achieve, get started now.
The activity you are most avoiding right now contains your biggest opportunity. Robin Sharma
It is remarkable how many women I come across who have not stopped to ask themselves ‘What do I want?’. Creating a compelling vision that is personal, authentic, and relevant to the here and now, is the first step towards achieving it. Not only that, it provides the route map to get there. No destination and you are bound to get lost.
3. Take responsibility
No-one else is responsible for our life apart from us. Our current position is the culmination of the decisions we have made. You are only one decision away from a different outcome.
Progress is the result of taking manageable action, however small that may be. In a goal setting session with a client recently, she committed to attending a weekly stretch class. That in itself would have been enough but later that day, I noticed an unusual payment come into the bank account. When I queried what it was for, she said she had paid for 8 classes up front. Her commitment was impressive and her action taking even more so.
Everyone feels afraid when embarking on a new challenge. Winners choose to face up to that fear and step beyond it. In so doing, they disarm it and render it powerless.
Results come from doing the right things regularly, even when you really don’t feel like it. One of the simplest and most effective points but perhaps the hardest to achieve.
Whether it is learning from other people who have done what you are aiming to do, or your ongoing personal development, it is a key factor in success. Without developing the necessary skills and self-awareness, success remains illusive. If you don’t know, you can always find out.
8. Failure is feedback
Contrary to what we were all brought up to believe, failure is a good thing. It is the very best way to learn. If you are afraid to fail then you will play it way too safe and never fulfill your potential.
9. It’s in your hands
I see lots of women searching for a magic bullet. Despite what clever marketing campaigns would have you believe, there really isn’t one! Get support where necessary of course, but there’s no avoiding the hard work and commitment.
10. Don’t quit
When you are on a mission, it’s rarely an uphill trajectory. There will be good days and pretty rubbish days when it would be easier to give up. Don’t let one bad day become two or three. Ring fence them and move on up.
When I was tidying out my loft recently, I found a poem that I used to have on my wall as a child:
When Things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and debts are high,
And you want to Smile but have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out,
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You might succeed with another blow.
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown,
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
Edgar A Guest
Thanks to all of you whose behaviours and achievements have taught me the real secrets of success. They are very different to those that I learnt in school but way more effective!