10 things successful people do differently

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Find out how to make a success of your professional and personal life , based on AAT webinar by Toni Trevett, consultant, trainer and director of CompleteHR.

As Alice told the Cheshire Cat, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

When you are looking to be more successful, everything really starts with knowing what you want.

So you need to begin with the end in mind, or you’ll be doing a lot of wandering and time-wasting whilst you look around for what you are trying to achieve.

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What will success look like to you?

Start thinking about what you want, and how you are going to achieve that. Think about what success means to you.

The definition of success is the accomplishment of an aim purpose or goal. You can think about what you want to achieve in your professional life and your personal life too.

10 factors for success

Here are ten common qualities that successful people harness to achieve their goals:

1. Know where you are going

Dr. Gail Matthews, clinical psychologist at the Dominican University of California found that simply writing your goal down, and making it visual, increases your likelihood of achieving it by 42%, which I think is dramatic. Write it down and put it somewhere where you will see it constantly. Make sure these are SMART goals as well.

You could keep a “delight diary” and for 30 days, write down what makes you happy. During each day, whether it is a work task, whether it’s people you interact with, whether it’s particular things that you’ve done that you really enjoyed, note them down. When you look back over those 30 days, see what those patterns are, what did you really focus on, and what brought you happiness and enjoyment and success. You could also try the opposite with a dislike or detest diary to find out what you need to do less of.

2. Make a plan

A goal without a plan is really nothing more than a wish. Big goals are great, but they often feel unachievable. So we end up feeling put off, and then we don’t even start them, or we fail really quickly because the goal seems unattainable or too far in the distance.

You need a plan to steer you to your destination.

3. Take the first step and commit

It is so easy to drift. Sometimes we can be like sheep – doing the same thing and following the next person. Once you’ve made up your mind to do something, the sooner you start, the better.

Just do one thing but do it straightaway.

4. Energy, self-motivation and determination

Most successful people have had to work hard. Achievement hasn’t just happened to them.

They have some desire and a passion to do well. It’s infectious. If you’re around people like that, it’s difficult not to get drawn in.

You have probably had some teachers or lecturers in the past who inspired you. And some who bored you to tears. Both were perhaps knowledgeable and clever. But only one of them had energy. And it made all the difference.

5. Maintain focus

It’s easy to start well and lose focus. Life takes over, and distractions can become excuses. Before you know it, another year has gone past, and you’re still in the job that you don’t like, or you still haven’t got the promotion you deserve or achieved that personal goal.

Focus helps you see clearly and grab the opportunity when it occurs.

6. Perseverance and resilience

Perseverance and resilience are fundamental when we’re aiming for success. You have to expect some obstacles. It is very rare that you just have one straight road to where you want to be.  

7. Get organised

You need time to work on all of this. That requires organisation.

There’s so much tech available to help even the most disorganised people. There is no downside to being organised – it gives you space and focus and more time.

8. Know when to ask for help and value others

Most people are willing to help if you ask for their advice. Look at people that have done what you want to do and ask them how did they did it, what mistakes did they make?

If you are ever asked to mentor or support someone, grab the opportunity. Find the time if you can, it’s great for networking, your own development, and it’s fulfilling.

9. Focus on strengths and overcome weaknesses

We need to understand our weaknesses, and we need to overcome them or work around them. If you’re not good at something, why struggle and spend hours doing it when someone else could do it really quickly? Play to your strengths.  You find it makes you more confident and braver.

10. Celebrate successes versus moan about the failures

Successful people take opportunities to celebrate success. Recognising the success of other people is a fabulous thing to do as well. It makes you attractive to be around and to work with.

Stay positive and find ways to keep other people positive too.

Find out more about the habits of successful people

Want more inspiration? Why not watch Toni Trevett’s webinar, How successful people do things differently, on Knowledge Hub.

Marianne Curphey is an award-winning financial writer and columnist, and author of the book How Money Works. She worked as City Editor at The Guardian, deputy editor of Guardian online, and has worked for The Times, Telegraph and BBC.

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