Still More Lessons in Being Highly Successful

By Ted Behr, M. Ed., CPCC, ACC

If you listen to people who are highly successful talk about what they have learned, you get some great tips about what helped them achieve so much.  Before I say anything else, though, I want to be absolutely clear that I am not only talking about success in conventional terms: money, power, prestige, having the right “stuff.”  I am talking about being successful in the way that is important to you.

Having said that, the lessons that successful people teach apply just as well whether your goal is to be wealthy, have a successful business, have a wonderful family or make a large contribution to society.

  1. What you focus on expands

What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. —Oprah Winfrey

What you give your time, energy and focus to, will grow in your life.  There are no exceptions to this. It doesn’t matter whether you are focusing on negative or positive things. For example if you want to lose weight and you focus on losing the weight or being overweight you will probably stay overweight. However, if you focus on making healthy choices and on your goal weight you will more likely attain the body size you want to. It is only a slight difference in the way you think about it but it makes a big difference to the outcome.

The important thing to be aware of is what you are directing your time, energy and focus to.  If you find yourself being very busy but not achieving what you want to, take a good look at what you spend your time and energy on.  If you are working hard but not getting where you want, check on what you are talking about.  Everything you talk about, the thoughts you have about something and the actions you take contribute to your focus.

  1. Hang out with people who are better than you in an area where you want to succeed

“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” –Warren Buffett

Are you spending time with winners or with losers?  Maybe that’s a bit extreme – are you hanging out with successful people, people who are more successful than you? Or are you hanging around with people who are equally successful as you? Or are you spending your time with people less successful than you?

You are more likely to be successful if you spend more time with people who are more successful than you.  Why?  Three reasons – (1) Being around successful people will make you want to be successful as well, (2) You’ll get better advice and input from successful people and (3) You’ll get better referrals and contacts from people who are more successful.

  1. You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.

This tip is from Mike Litman, in his essay in my book, Discover Your Dream Career: 7 Steps to the Career You Always Wanted.

When you are in action, you will find out what works and what doesn’t work for you. Then you can course correct. When you are not doing anything, you will stay stuck. Remember the Law of Inertia: A body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

 “A step in the wrong direction is better than staying on the spot all your life. Once you’re moving forward you can correct your course as you go. Your automatic guidance system cannot guide you when you’re standing still.” — Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics

If you are not sure what to do first, almost anything will do: read a book; do some research on the Internet; talk to someone. This will probably trigger some thoughts about how to start. Then do it and then do the next obvious thing and the next and the next…and you are on your way.

Please share your thoughts about these suggestions as well as ways that you have helped yourself be more successful.


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