Seven Things Successful People Do

By Greg Nathan posted June 20, 2022

I was recently interviewed for a forthcoming book on the characteristics and mindset of top-performing franchisees. Because the discussion was relevant to anyone wanting to achieve greater success and satisfaction, I thought I'd share seven insights that emerged.

#1. Listen to the advice of good mentors. Much of our success comes from the advice and guidance we receive. While good advice from smart, experienced people is important, it is just as important to listen and act on this. How often do we rationalise what we hear because it is inconvenient or doesn't fit with what we have already made up our mind to do?

#2. Strive to improve rather than prove yourself. Some people refer to this as having a Growth Mindset. Successful people ask great questions and are constantly on the lookout for information to improve their knowledge and skills. You'll see them regularly making notes of important points. They also persevere in the face of challenges and setbacks. This combination of humility, curiosity and grit is powerful.

#3. Have a clear vision for your success. Every successful person I have met can describe in specific detail what they're trying to achieve. A useful exercise is to sit somewhere quietly and ask yourself, “What would I see happening if I, and everyone involved in (whatever it is you want to succeed in) excelled and everything fell into place?” Write this down and review it often.

#4. Focus on solutions, not problems. When things go wrong, as they will, our natural reaction is to feel disappointed, frustrated or angry. Successful people understand that blame and drama are a luxury they can't afford. They accept what’s happened and quickly focus on the future and how to make things better. They understand that a cure for stress and disappointment is small positive actions.

#5. Have a philosophy of life. What are your guiding principles or values? How do you decide what you will or won’t do in ambiguous, seductive or high-pressure situations? In business, for instance, there are always opportunities to make a quick buck at the expense of others. Successful people are not easily taken in by easy options. They value their reputation and are clear on what they stand for.

#6. Maintain respectful relationships. No one succeeds alone. Behind every successful person, you will find a committed team of supporters, including family members. One of the most important skills in business and life is knowing how to build respectful, trusting relationships where others feel safe dealing with you. And understanding how to generate commitment from others to help you get things done.

#7. Pay attention to what matters. Many people can’t see the wood for the trees, meaning they get caught up in details or things that don’t really matter. Successful people are careful to focus their energy and attention on things that are likely to impact their long-term success, and they ignore or delegate the rest. This includes not getting drawn into pettiness, politics or ego-driven power games.

A final thought. Money is a useful measure of success and performance, however, I also include reputation, well-being and positive impact on others in my definition of success.

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