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No one is born a success. “Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive God-like feature that only the special will ever taste,” actor Will Smith once said. “It’s something that truly exists in all of us.”
Practice and preparation are foundational amongst successful people. Along my journey as an entrepreneur and advisor, I have uncovered eight simple and practical mandates for growth that will support you through your journey. By sharing them with you, I hope you can use them to accelerate your development faster and less painfully than my very own journey.
1. Develop a growth mindset
There is an abundance of research that directly relates a growth mindset to success.
Professor Carolyn Dweck from Stanford University spearheads such research. She summarizes a growth mindset as the belief that an individual’s most basic abilities and skills can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point.
This means that if you believe that your talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies and input from others, you are developing a growth mindset. You will achieve more than those with a fixed mindset because you put more energy into learning and you worry less about looking smart.
Organizations that embrace a growth mindset culture report employees are far more empowered, more committed and more innovative, and work more collaboratively to achieve the organizations’ objectives.
We are a mixture of both fixed and growth mindsets. This mixture continually evolves with experience, and a pure growth mindset doesn’t exist. Not acknowledging this will form a false growth mindset, which will not help you seek the benefits you seek.
It’s hard work, but individuals and organizations can gain a lot by deepening their understanding of growth-mindset concepts and the processes for putting them into practice. In addition, it gives them a richer sense of who they are, what they stand for and how they want to move forward.
2. Always be learning
Start learning to listen. Too many people fail to listen and, by doing so, fail to learn. Listen to your customers, employees and industry peers. So much is missed because entrepreneurs are so caught up being busy. I have witnessed people missing out on valuable intelligence on too many occasions because they weren’t paying attention; they were distracted and did not listen. There are many other benefits to listening, such as releasing tensions, displaying empathy, building trust and demonstrating respect.
Learning to learn is a significant component of success. We live in a world driven by connectivity, and this has provided us access to the world.
I have become obsessed with learning because the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. I constantly find myself asking more questions and wanting to uncover more about each topic I research. It’s exciting and I batch my diary for learning. I make sure I have the time allocated each day.
3. Improve yourself
Self-awareness is critical to your recovery and your ability to adapt and take advantage of the opportunities presenting themselves every day.
Entrepreneurs must always be thinking about reinventing a process, a system, their team and their product. Customer acquisition shouldn’t be a practice when you don’t have enough customers; it needs to be a constant along with many other variables. Practice customer acquisition when you have too many customers to build a more profound and richer experience. You can only do this if you are continuously improving yourself.
The problem is that everyone gets busy, and most of the time, it’s because of growth or failure. But that’s ok, being busy is not your enemy. Time is your friend — it’s how you use it and what you do that matters.
People whinge about limited resources and poor cash flow all the time but typically, everyone started with nothing. It’s up to you to create opportunities, develop a thirst for learning and improve yourself.
This means that when you fail, start again. Intelligently reinvent yourself and your business. This means knowing who you are and what you represent.
4. Time is your friend. Own it.
I know. You think you have no time and have no idea where you can find more. Start by looking at why you have no time. Pause for 10 minutes and write down the exhaustive list holding you back from control, freedom and balance.
This process alone will help you realize that you have more time than you think. On average, my new clients uncover about five hours of extra time just by undertaking this exercise alone.
Time is your friend. You need to own it. Unfortunately, so many people I meet are run by the clock. They live their life around their schedule — a schedule they set — but then they put up all these barriers to justify why they haven’t got time.
Time is our most precious resource. It’s irreplaceable, so why do we waste so much of it doing things that don’t serve us? When you respect and understand the value of time, you can learn and work faster. You realize there is no substitute for speed and failing quickly is a valuable tool for learning.
Start to do, delete, defer or delegate as much as possible. This will free up your time, giving you more freedom and more control.
5. Seek out mentors and advisors
Mentoring is sharing knowledge, skills and life experiences to guide others towards reaching their full potential.
Did you know:
- 76% of people believe a mentor is important, but only 36% of people have a mentor
- Millions of people are “stressed out”
- 68% are more likely to succeed by having a mentor
- 25% of entrepreneurs who enrolled in a mentoring program had revenue increases
Mentoring and business advisors matter because they are powerful tools for growth — and your mental health.
Having someone in your corner can make a profound difference in your life. The consistent, enduring presence of a caring and focused advisor in another person’s life can be the difference between giving up or persevering, making healthy decisions or engaging in risky behaviors and between realizing one’s potential or failing to achieve one’s dreams.
Entrepreneurs with skilled advisors have a more positive vision of themselves and their futures. They also achieve more positive outcomes in their business, at home and within their communities.
Companies with mentor programs deliver more rapid results, greater profits, excellent retention rates and lower workplace stress problems than other firms.
6. Develop good habits
Habits are actions formed from repetitive practice. They often take about six weeks to develop but will always require focus until they are firmly imprinted into your fabric.
Much research has been done on good habits for success. I focus on 10 that I fully subscribe to and recommend.
- Get up early
- Read or listen to books
- Focused thinking
- Surround yourself with A-players
- Pursue your goals
- Multiple income streams
- Own your time and eliminate time wasters and negative people
7. Be driven by purpose
It is widely acknowledged that it is essential to have a clearly defined purpose in life. However, it is not always easy to clearly define what your purpose is.
The first and most fundamental point to understand is exactly what is meant by purpose. You may have heard it referred to as your “why” — which is great, but it poses the same question. What is your why? Essentially, it’s your reason for doing something or creating something.
Your “why” is what gives you a sense of determination. It’s what gets you motivated and also what keeps you motivated. Your purpose, the reason why you do something, is what makes you outcome-driven.
Uncovering your purpose means you can take action, and you can take action because when you know what your purpose is, you understand the meaning behind everything you do.
Understanding your purpose matters because it is the answer. There may be times in your life when you lose your way, but when you are lost and you have a purpose, you can always find your direction again. This is because you know what has meaning to your heart.
Understanding your purpose allows you to make yourself vulnerable and to put your values out into the world. Although you’ll still make mistakes along the way, obstacles appear smaller, problems become opportunities and your mental health becomes stronger.
Living with purpose is my number one secret to success because success is not measured by wealth but by fulfillment.
8. Urgency — Do things fast
Urgency is important, requiring swift action! It’s about insistence and is an earnest and persistent quality that most people lack.
It’s a great source of frustration for high performers, mainly stemming from the teams they directly manage. Many entrepreneurs I meet and work with complain about the lack of accountability and action from their teams. Unfortunately, when I take a deep dive into their frustrations, I commonly find a repetitive pattern amongst most of them. The issue lies with them. Their lack of leadership and accountability spreads throughout the organization, and the hamster wheel of business is in full motion.
Now there are exceptions. These are my dream clients. The doers, the shakers and action takers often struggle with systems and processes that create replication to clone themselves through their activities. This is easily fixable and takes discipline and action.
What’s important to realize is that getting things done fast is critical to your business — and progress is better than perfection.
Charles Darwin famously said, “it’s the most adaptable that survive.” However, evolutionary change occurs over a long time, whereas modern shifts are played out over increasingly short periods. This is why speed to learning is becoming increasingly critical to the modern entrepreneur.
By following these eight simple rules, you will develop success in more ways than you can imagine. It will help your self-confidence. It will improve your social proof and increase your knowledge base. These factors will help you empower others and get them into action. More importantly, you will become fulfilled because you immediately feel accomplished when you take action every day on things that matter.
So don’t sit back and do nothing. Don’t hold your head in your hands in despair. This is your chance to start, refine and grow!