Think of all of the people with whom you work or interact on a regular basis. Have you ever met Mr. Negative, The Critic or The Victim? I bet you’re picturing one of these folks right now. I know I am. You’ll find them everywhere, in meetings torpedoing the most innovative ideas or holding court around the office water cooler. Hope you will never see one in the mirror.
In my book Rule #1 Don’t Be #2, I discuss the importance of doing everything you can to avoid negative people. Pessimists spread negativity like the flu, and you must limit exposure. The risk in listening to naysayers is that your own thoughts might begin to echo what they’re saying. They have the power to adversely affect not only your outlook, but your company’s culture, reputation and bottom line.
Let’s take a closer look so you’ll be able to sidestep them whenever possible.
Mr. Negative seems to have a problem for every solution and loves to drain enthusiasm from any new idea. His mantra is the deadly “This is the way it’s always been done.” He’s mired in the status quo like a car stuck in mud, spinning his wheels. When a window of opportunity opens, he’ll pull down the shade. He will zap your energy and slow your momentum. You won’t want to add this person to your team or spend time socializing with them. You can’t expect to lead a positive life if you surround yourself with negative people.
Critics are known for finding something derogatory to say about everyone, and they are especially famous for trading confidential or negative information about others. Critics use gossip to bond with and control small-minded people. Make sure you’re never tempted to engage in their shenanigans, for everyone is fair game, including you. Critics are threatened by talented go-getters, and the greater the talent, the louder the criticism, which they hope will draw the spotlight away from their own unimpressive résumés. Never let anyone who has done nothing tell you how to do anything.
Never able to accept personal responsibility, life seems chronically unfair to Victims. The test questions were worded badly. There was never a real shot at the promotion that went to the boss’s favorite. The deck is always stacked against Victims, and they have nothing but bad luck. They haven’t figured out yet that hard work puts you in a place where good luck can find you, and they are famous for putting in little effort. You’ll recognize them by their signature excuses.
At the same time we’re weeding out these doubters from our lives and companies, it’s equally important we surround ourselves with positive people. Their character traits and habits are also contagious, but in a good way. Whether you’re building a leadership team or cleaning house in your social circle, look for the encouragers and believers, the high-energy movers and shakers who don’t have “can’t” in their vocabulary. Surround yourself with people who dream bigger than you do. They passionately improve everything in their path, from processes and products to colleagues and employees. They believe anything is possible, and they’ll believe in you.
Never aspire to be the best on the team. Aspire to be the best forthe team.
The most important attitude to watch, of course, is our own. We can’t always change the people or circumstances in our lives, but we can always change our response. Excellence is not a skill; it is an attitude, and positive thinking breeds courageous habits.
Whenever you have the opportunity, become the encourager and motivate others. Never aspire to be the best on the team. Aspire to be the best for the team. Spotlight-stealers and credit-takers don’t typically rise up the leadership ladder. Promotions are reserved for those who demonstrate service to their team and to their company. It’s often said that if service is beneath you, leadership is beyond you.
As I always say, success is never owned. It’s rented, and the rent is due every day. Build the right team. They’ll help you pay the rent.
The best way of getting what you want is thinking about your request before you actually make it.
The big reason many people fail to get what they want is that they are too afraid to ask or they view their requests as all-or-nothing gambits—instead of a series of negotiations and compromises.
But there is a middle ground. Here are strategies to help you begin the “asking” process and avoid becoming upset if things don’t go exactly as planned.
Steps to Success
1. Tell yourself there is nothing to fear except fear itself.
Fear of punishment or rejection is why most people hesitate to ask for what they want. They are afraid that going out on an emotional limb will result in humiliation if they fail.
Strategy: Before making your request, take plenty of time to remind yourself of the importance of what you are asking for. Tell yourself the only thing that matters is whether or not you are making good and well-articulated points. By focusing on the merits of your request, not on how you will appear to others, many of your initial fears will fade away.
2. Before you try to sell others, sell yourself.
Two of the most important elements involved in asking for what you want—and-getting it—are self-confidence and determination. Unless you believe in your heart that you will eventually win over the other side, you will likely falter or become troubled at the first sign of resistance.
Strategy: An extreme emotional reaction to any hurdle will almost certainly doom your mission, causing the other side to take you and your points less seriously.
Tell yourself from the outset that you may not immediately get what you want. The statement is not the same as saying that you will never succeed, which could hurt your morale and determination. Instead, you are merely facing reality—accepting the fact that you may face a setback. By acknowledging this possibility, you will not be surprised or upset if you are turned down.
3. Organize your thoughts.
You can’t expect to get the results you want if the other side doesn’t understand your request.
Strategy: Write out exactly what you want. Then redraft your points until your reasoning is clear, ordered and can be easily related. Practice in front of a mirror, or discuss the points with friends to be sure they make sense and you didn’t leave anything out.
4. When you ask, ask from your heart.
Important requests are always better received when those making them are passionate, friendly, polite and firm. Such a stance is difficult to resist. It increases your odds of success… or at least minimizes the chance that your personality or attitude will sabotage your request.
Strategy: Ask in an enthusiastic manner and voice. Maintain steady eye contact to show that you mean business, but also exhibit respect and admiration for the person to whom you are speaking. In general, you stand a much better chance of getting what you want when you make people feel at ease and show them that you are truly excited about what you are requesting.
5. Prepare to deal with resistance.
Even if you do everything right, you might still meet resistance. The person you are asking might want to confer with someone else before he/she makes a final decision… or he may want to table his answer, hoping that you’ll retreat from your position once you have had some time to think about it… or he might just say no.
Strategy: If someone resists or challenges your request, be polite and gracious. Do not lose your temper or become discouraged. Instead of seeing the other person’s resistance as a dead end, view it as part of a continuing conversation. Translate every no into a next. Realize a no doesn’t mean stop—it simply means not yet.
6. Learn the art of saying thank you.
Whether or not you get what you want, say thank you. Gratitude will leave the other person open to giving you what you want—or more of what you want—sometime in the future.
Strategy: Say thank you directly to the person and follow up with a written note. In some cases, flowers or a gift may be appropriate.
Learning the art of expressing gratitude will force you to focus on the positive. It will also keep you from holding a grudge, which is difficult to hide and only works against you in the long run.
Personal value is the magnet that attracts all good things into our lives. The greater our value, the greater our reward. Since the solution for having more is becoming more, we must be in constant search for new ways to increase our value.
All of these are examples of ways in which our value can be increased.
It is the acquisition of more value that we must pursue, not more valuables. Our objective must be to work harder on ourselves than we work on anything else. By giving careful attention to our philosophy, our attitude and our activity, we are making a positive contribution to what we are becoming, and in the process of becoming more than we now are we will attract more than we now have.
We become and then we attract. We grow personally and then we advance materially. Unfortunately, the vast majority seems to have the plan reversed. Their philosophy is this: “If I had more money, I would be a better person.” But that’s not the way life is designed to work. Having more doesn’t make us more. It merely magnifies what we already are. Those who cannot save a few pennies out of meager earnings will never be able to save dollars out of future fortunes. The same discipline it takes to put a few coins in a jar every week is the same discipline it takes to open a savings account or manage an investment portfolio.
Conversation about our intended progress will only take us so far and promises about the future will only buy us a little time. Promises must soon be matched by performance. If the results do not appear in a reasonable amount of time we run the risk of losing the trust of others in addition to our own self-respect. We may find that those who once believed no longer believe, and we will one day be left only with our well-intentioned, but unfulfilled, pronouncements. A loss of this magnitude is worth preventing. It is on the day when we discover our losses that we will taste the bitter pill of neglect. It is on that day when we will finally experience the agonizing consequences of self-delusion, procrastination and unkept promises.
Will we read the books, make the plans, make good use of time, invest a portion of all that we earn, polish our current skills, attend classes to develop new skills and get around better people in order to improve our chances for success? Will we tell the truth, improve our ability to communicate, use our journals and give careful attention to all the virtues that success requires? Or will we be content to let the time slip through our fingers like grains of sand while we slowly lose self-confidence, the respect of others, and perhaps even the few possessions and valuable relationships that our past efforts have managed to attract into our lives? Will we go on sitting idly by while our dreams diminish to memories, as hope gives way to remorse?
September 4, 2016
Want to Be Successful? Do These 7 Things in Your Spare Time
Did you know startups fail about four times as often as they succeed? Do you know why it’s so hard to get a successful business off the ground? It’s attributable to a number of factors, one of which could be the way the founders are spending their spare time.
The productivity you can generate in your free time often carries over into the success of your professional endeavors, and you can bet that successful people use their free time for much more than relaxing on the couch or binging on Netflix.
If you’re struggling to find success as an entrepreneur, you might want to take a closer look at how you spend your time away from the office. Consider replacing some of your less productive habits with ones with better benefits:
Working out is good for both the body and the mind. According to various studies, people who exercise 30 minutes a day, five times a week, enjoy better overall brain health, including uplift in mood, reduced stress, increased creativity and clearer thinking. Exercise is the best thing you can do to stay alert and alive while you run your business.
Have you ever noticed that some of the most successful people you know also lead rather interesting lifestyles outside of work? That comes largely from the personal pastimes they choose to enjoy. Hobbies are a good outlet for stress and an excellent source of creativity.
Success often means fostering a love of learning. If you want to inspire a love of learning inside yourself, learn something new. Some people like to learn languages; others like to keep up with the latest technological investments. Most learn something that will be useful to them in their careers, such as IT basics. A strong atmosphere of learning new things can help increase personal and business productivity by 37 percent.
With online tutorials, web-based informational courses and apps that offer assistance with just a few taps, you don’t have an excuse not to learn something new
There’s a reason yoga has become one of the most popular health practices today: Mindfulness can help you relax, improve productivity, facilitate creativity and maintain your general overall well-being.
It’s important to note that practicing mindfulness does not necessarily mean doing yoga or even meditating, though both of those practices will do the job. It could simply mean sitting in stillness for 20 minutes twice a day, or leaning back in your chair, staring up at the ceiling and forgetting the world for 10 minutes.
If you’re losing sight of perspective and what matters to you most, take an opportunity to serve the less fortunate. Giving back to your community helps you to think about things besides work, which may enable you to evaluate how to improve your business. It’s the best way to put your life into perspective and reduce the stress that comes from constantly focusing on your own problems.
The best way to stay up to date with the activities of prosperous individuals is to read. Whether you’re keeping up on the latest news, studying a business-oriented self-help book or reading the biography of a successful person you admire, reading can help boost your creativity, improve your thought processes at work and enable you to de-stress after a long day.
Take a break every now and then to devote your entire attention to those you love most. For just a few hours a week, stop thinking about the things that happen at work and enjoy what’s going on at home. Healthy, happy and profitable people understand that taking a break with their loved ones keeps them sane as they climb the ladder of success.
September 6, 2017
Simply put, successful people are goal-setters. Goal-setting applies to every area of our lives. We set goals for our careers, relationships, families, finances, etc. Our ultimate goals, however, set the course for our lives. The ultimate goals define the direction that we go in.
Unfortunately, some people never achieve their ultimate goals in life. They limit their self-confidence and they limit themselves.
Identify Your Limiting Step
One of the most valuable exercises you can engage in when setting long-term goals is to ask yourself, “What is my limiting step?”
What is the one factor that determines the speed at which I achieve my goal? Or can I achieve it at all throughout my personal development?
The ability to identify your limiting step is one of the best demonstrations of your intelligence. It is a huge step towards building self-confidence.
Your capacity to eliminate this limiting step is one of the best demonstrations of your overall competence. You can achieve anything you want.
Self-Confidence Is The Critical Factor
In studying everything that has been written or said about personal development and success, I’ve come to a conclusion. Your level of self-confidence is the critical factor in everything you accomplish. When you have enough self-confidence, you will try almost anything.
Because success is largely a matter of averages or probabilities, the more things you try, the more likely it is that you will achieve them.
The same is true for you. By setting goals, trying more things, and exploring more opportunities, your probabilities of success increase dramatically. The only real limiting step to success that you might have is your level of self-confidence.
When you reach the point at which you believe in yourself fully, the barriers that exist in your external world will not stop you.
Build Your Self-Confidence
The major obstacles to success always lie within the mind of the individual.
They are not contained in external circumstances, situations or people. By building self-confidence, you win the inner battle. The outer battle seems to take care of itself.
I have learned three important ideas for building self-confidence. First, accept complete responsibility for everything that you are and ever will be.
Second, accept that you can change your situation only by working on yourself. Learn what it takes to be better. Third, set goals with timelines for the things you want. Then, work every day to bring those goals into reality.
Our natural tendency is to work hard until we find a method or technique that works for us. Whether that be in life, work, or relationships. Then, for some perverse reason, we promptly abandon the technique and go back to behaving in our old ways.
Setting goals and thinking positively act as a mental program for our personal development. Just like an exercise program works on our physical development.
If you expect it to work for you, you have to practice it persistently and keep at it indefinitely.
Apply The Success Principles To Your Own Life
When I began to apply these proven success principles to my life, I was able to bring about almost miraculous changes in every area of my life.
Every successful man or woman that I have ever talked to or read about has come to pretty much the same conclusion. By every measure, you have more talent and ability than you could use in 100 lifetimes.
You, too, can step on the accelerator of your own potential and begin moving forward at a speed that will amaze you by setting goals.
What is one goal that you have always wanted to achieve, but been too afraid to go after?
Leave a comment below, and I’ll be sure to follow up with you.