I graduated from college in 2010 with a degree in Exercise Physiology. If you don’t know what that is, think glorified personal trainer if you don’t carry on to medical school or physical therapy school (I didn’t do either).
The economy sucked, and the last thing people wanted to do was spend money when they were losing it, especially on luxury services like personal trainers. That being the case, I decided I didn’t want to be a personal trainer for the rest of my life either nor be a slave at some new job outside my area of study to prove to someone else that I’m actually intelligent enough to do their tasks. I had to get creative.
Fast forward 5 years and I now have gone from making barely over a livable wage to well more than 6 figures a year working only a couple of hours a day. I have multiple income streams including an Internet marketing business, this blog, a rental property and some other investments that are relatively hands-off. I can work from anywhere in the world and DON’T HAVE A BOSS!…Well, you quickly learn when you have a business that your clients are your boss, but, that’s besides the point. After being at it for half a decade, failing, succeeding, and everything in between, I wanted to lend a few thoughts on what has been the defining factors of my success and how they can be applied to anything.
But, before we go any further, I’ve realized over the years that success is not the same for everyone (and my definition of success has been a bit capricious as of late as well too). Some people define success as having a fat bank account, materialistic possessions (sexy car, penthouse condo, etc), having an open schedule, physical wellness, a significant other, helping others, etc. So, define your own success before listening to what others tell you what you should think success is.
For me, success is a mixture of things, most of all my health. If you’re not well, you can’t enjoy anything in life. Next would have to be the freedom to wake up and essentially do what I want every single day. Thirdly, it would be financial freedom. Not in the sense of making tons of money, but enough money to feel safe that I can do the things I enjoy in reason, and have enough saved that if I need a complete lifestyle change, I can do it without losing my aforementioned freedom.
So, without further fluff, here are my tips for what I think will make anyone an all-around successful person.
1. Be Responsive!
When I first started out, I wanted to be successful. And what I mean by successful is that people would trust me enough to employ my services and even compensate me for them. I felt that if people gave me a chance, then I had to show them I was someone they could rely on.
So, how did I achieve the level of service I thought people deserved before I even felt that great about the services I was rendering? Responsiveness. I responded to emails within 5 minutes, and guess what, I still do. The unfortunate truth is information is sent anywhere in the world in a millisecond, and as a result, people expect an answer much faster than a carrier pigeon can provide. I respond to all of my emails with short, concise responses that are both polite and to the point without sounding too terse. In my mind, people that take days to get back to me don’t take things seriously enough, and that “delay” will most likely translate into everything they do.
2. Don’t Over-Promise and Under-Deliver
Everyone has met that person who has promised them the world, sold them on a product that most definitely didn’t live up to the hype, etc. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone over promises me on something and then under delivers. No one will ever get ahead by taking advantage of others in the long run, and if you keep saying you’ll do things and don’t, eventually you’ll probably have no one that trusts you, family included. My friends, family and clients respect me because they can rely on me. I’ll never say I can do something that I can’t, I meet deadlines, and if I say I’ll do something, it’s most definitely going to get done.
3. Create Your Own Opportunities
This is one of the most important tips I can share. You can only get so much education, bullet points of “achievements” or “skills” to add to your resume, or “real world” experience until you realize, “why the hell aren’t I doing this for myself?!” If you’re frustrated with the way someone else does something, i.e. your boss, coworkers, family members, friends, etc. then do something about it. And trust me, you can.
Unless you’re a rocket scientist or the top 1% in whatever you involved in, then you’ll probably never reach your true potential and self-satisfaction until you do your own thing. This doesn’t just mean start your own business. It also pertains to if something in your life is stagnant or you’ve reached that glass ceiling, then stop wasting your time spinning your wheels, create your own opportunities, make friends with the people you actually want to be friends with who will support you, date the guy or girl you actually want to date, etc. You should be the one managing your life, not the other way around. Regardless of your religious background, your belief in reincarnation, etc., I can tell you one thing. You’re here now, and tomorrow isn’t sign, sealed, and delivered…Act.
4. Provide Constructive Criticism
My friends, family and even clients will tell you the same. I don’t sugar coat things and I give praise where it’s due. If I think someone did a mediocre job on a project for me, I’ll tell them, but I’ll give them constructive feedback on why it was done incorrectly and what they can do to make it better and not repeat the same mistake twice.
Everybody makes mistakes, but when someone does the same thing wrong repeatedly…fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you.
5. Be Open to Criticism
You might think you know everything about everything, but the truth is, there is ALWAYS going to be someone that knows more than you. If you disregard everyone’s opinion or advice that you come across, you’ll never grow as a person. Be open to constructive criticism yourself, don’t jump to conclusions, and respectfully decline/accept help or advice when it comes to you. Nobody likes an abrasive, ultra-alpha, know-it-all. Don’t be that person.
6. Focus on one task at a time
I have to admit, this one I struggle with the most. I was recently at a museum in Philadelphia and there was an exhibit that showed a period office of a scientist from the 1800s as it looked then. There were all sorts of models on the desk, countless books, manuscripts, inventions, etc. And I just thought to myself, people used to get so much done because they could focus without outside distractions.
I’m checking my phone every few minutes, messaging people, trying to go through 5 email accounts simultaneous, have 50 tabs open on my browser etc, and I often find it hard to get tasks complete sometimes. What I’ve done as of lately is I put my phone across the room and just focus on one task at a time and my productivity has increased exponentially. If you leverage the speed of technology and communication coupled with bouts of hyper focus on specific tasks, you’ll accomplish much more, give it a try!
There you have it, my personal 6 tips to be successful in anything you do. I think these 6 things can be applied to almost anything be it work, life, love, etc.