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What Successful People Do

This is kind of cosmic. A few minutes ago I made a coffee and sat down to do my final proof read of this post. My phone rang, it was my tailor George who I have written about. George just published his book.

I asked him “Why did you write a book?” His answer: “To help.”

The blog I wrote and had sat down to polish and publish was about what successful people do, and George is one of those people who fits the mold. I love it when the universe gives me these cool little pushes in the right direction.

And now to my regularly scheduled blog …

I have been working on a new seminar on better entrepreneurship and over the last while I have been compiling a list of traits that successful people share. Over the years I have learned to pay far more attention to how people do things rather than what they do specifically.

A long time ago I measured success primarily by a person’s material wealth and ability to act freely to pursue their interests. I’m a little ashamed of that, but keep in mind I was a kid and I wasn’t experienced enough to know any different.

Fortunately I started to make a lot of money too and I realized pretty quickly that making money didn’t make you successful it just bought you a nicer car. Making money isn’t that big of a deal and the only people who really know that are people who have done it.

Truly successful or even inspiring people are measured in ways that are far more important and impressive than wealth. They keep their friends and when they die a lot of people show up and weep.

Successful people are genuinely good people, and they usually feel an internal motivation to be nice, and to do well for others. Successful people care about their friends and the larger community, and they give money to charity all the time. Most people who have a lot of money don’t give a lot of their money to charity – they don’t believe in it.

You can learn a lot about the behavioral traits of people who have a lot of money by reading this very interesting book but if you want to learn about how to be a successful person who happens to be an entrepreneur then you should read this one.

The Top Ten

  1. They work hard! Successful people get up early, and they rarely complain, they expect performance from others, but they expect extraordinary performance from themselves. Long term sustainable success and accumulation of time and capital (freedom and money) begins with a recognition that hard work pays off.

It’s truly amazing to me the things that not-so-successful people will find the time to do and make a priority.

  1. Time and Money. Very successful people don’t waste time or money and they are often completely perplexed by people who do. “Time wasters” was the #1 aggravation listed when I asked “What drives you crazy?”
  2. They get organized. Successful people are not always naturally organized, but they understand how important it is and they will pay someone to do it for them (see #8 below).

They meet deadlines and they ship on time. Successful people can give a very clear update on the status of any project or endeavor. They are realists, and they take responsibility when things do not go as planned.

Successful people are orderly. They have clean homes, cars and desks. Disorganized, untidy millionaires are rare.

  1. They are incredibly curious and eager to learn. Sit in the first class cabin of a jet and we are all reading. Go to the lounge, we are all reading. Go to the concierge lounge in the hotel and we are reading.

Successful people may not have post secondary education but they usually do, although they will usually say something about “never stop learning” or “my greatest education came after I left school.”

Curiously enough, successful people often know shockingly little about matters outside of their industry or family. I call this The Sherlock Holmes phenomena. The famous detective was brilliant but he didn’t know that the earth revolved around the sun, nor could he understand why that was interesting as that knowledge had no practical application to what he did for a living – solving crimes.

  1. They network. “Networking” is a nicer way to say “they talk to anyone, all the time.” Successful people are curious about other people, what they do and how it works. They know lots of people, and they know lots of different kinds of people. They listen to friends, neighbors, co-workers and bartenders. They value relationships and they see themselves as part of a community.

They often drive around their neighborhood to keep an eye on things, to see new businesses opening up or closing. They are keenly aware of their environment.

Successful people are well thought of and have a directory of friends and associates who will return their calls.

Sometimes they are quiet and even shy but not as often. When this is the case, what quiet successful people share with their more talkative cousins is a keen interest in conversation and dialogue.

  1. Personal Development. In addition to reading and remaining curious successful people also read personal development books, hire coaches, and seek out and implement a better way.

I never get hired by people who are struggling; I get hired by people who are already very successful. They want to know if they are missing anything. Last week I was in an office with 20 people in it. The only people who stuck around and asked me specific questions all made more than $1,000,000 per year and they were all really nice people too.

  1. They are extraordinarily creative. Everything is possible. They see opportunities and they appreciate how important details are and they are in a constant state of evolution. When they find something they like, they try to incorporate it into their own life or business.
  2. They do what they do best and delegate. Successful people know what they do best and they spend most of their time doing that. Not so successful people say things like “It’s easier for me to do it than it is to explain it to someone else.”

Successful entrepreneurs don’t do that – I make the most money when I speak to rooms full of people, or speak to key decision makers on the telephone or write. When I do anything that isn’t one of those 3 things it better be “vacation” because otherwise I am wasting time and money.

We pay for professionals, we delegate, and we remain focused on what we need to do.

  1. They are relaxed and keep their perspective. Even in times of stress or turmoil, highly successful people keep their balance; they know the value of timing, humor, and patience. Only rarely do we panic or make decisions on impulse.

Successful people turn away money to spend time with family. They work hard, but they understand that playing hard is also important. You only live once.

  1. Extremely successful people live in the present moment. They know that “Now” is the only time they can control. They take full advantage of each day. Successful people don’t waste time, and when they do they correct quickly and often make an immediate and permanent change.

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