Success Secrets Still Valid

Author Michael Jeffreys personally interviewed 15 top motivational gurus in 1997 for his then upcoming book.  After talking to gurus from Brian Tracy to Dr. Wayne Dyer, he distilled 8 Secrets to Success they all agreed upon.  These secrets are still good today and are as follows :
  1. Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life – In a society where people blame everything from their parents to the government for failure, those who don’t buy into this mentality or succumb to the “victim” thinking succeed. To blame something or somebody outside yourself is saying they have control of your life and not you. Someone else’s opinion of you doesn’t have to become your reality.
  2. Live Your Life On Purpose - What separates motivational thinkers from the unsuccessful is that they believe they’re doing what they were put her to do. The difference between this and just living, is that the latter is just getting through the week with the least problems.  But when you live your life on purpose, your main concern is doing the job right.  For the entrepreneur this means finding a cause you believe in and building your business around it.
  3. Be Willing to Pay the Price - Be willing to pay the price for your dreams.  Wanting a big house, a luxury car, and a million dollars in the bank is all very nice, and everyone wants these things – but are you willing to pay the price to get them?  This is one of the major differences between the successful and unsuccessful.
  4. Stay Focused – Every day we’re bombarded with hundreds of tasks, phone calls, messages, and everyone competing for our time.  Focusing requires giving up something in the present because you are investing your time in something that will pay off big-time down the road.  Jack Canfield and Mark Hanson were turned by 30 publishers when they submitted the first “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book.  Instead of giving up, they stayed focused on their goal and did four or five interviews per day for radio, TV, and newspapers, for five days a week for a whole year.  Eventually, a small publisher decided to take a chance, and of course now it’s a best-seller that spawned an entire series that have sold more than 10 million copies.
  5. Become An Expert in Your Field One striking factor all successful people have in common is how seriously they take their profession.  They strive to be the best at what they do, and do almost anything to improve.  If someone followed you around all day with a video camera at your business, would it be a tape you’d be proud of or embarrassed about?  Make the decision today to work at being the best in your field.  How? By finding out what the “best” in your field are doing, and do what they do.
  6. Write Out a Plan for Achieving Your Goals - Write out an action plan/map for how you’re going to achieve your goals.  Trying to reach your goals without a plan is like trying to drive from Los Angeles to Chicago without a map.  A goal that isn’t written down is merely a wish or fantasy.
  7. Never Give Up - Never, never, never give up. When you’re fully committed to achieving your goal, giving up is not an option. You must be willing do whatever it takes to make it happen.  The power of perseverance is an awesome force.  As someone once said, “inch by inch it’s a cinch”.  Think of the lowly inchworm – if it pondered the length of the trip from start to finish before it started, it probably would never move. To a worm’s point-of-view,  the garden path must look like a trip to Mars. Never give up! Keep on going like the Eveready battery bunny, and pretty soon you’re there.
  8. Don’t Delay - Nobody knows how much time they have left to accomplish their dreams, and we must remember that we don’t have forever. The clock is ticking, and sooner or later your number comes up and you’re gone.  Successful achievers know this too, but they don’t view it as a “negative”.  Achievers use it to “spur them on”.  They go after what they want as energetically and as passionately as possible, for as long as they have.
I had a friend who used to say, “Today is a check – cash it!  Yesterday is an I.O.U. – forget it! Tomorrow is a promissory note, don’t  bank on it!”  I think that’s a pretty good summation of life, so go out there and cash in on that “today” check.

Help for Entrepreneurs

There’s good news for entrepreneurs who need help but aren’t ready to hire full-time employees.  Between January and July 2004, the ranks of part-time workers grew from 24.3 million to 25.5 million according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  It was also learned that from June to July the increase came from people who wanted to work part-time and not because they couldn’t find full-time employment. It seems that 1.7 million part-timers hold two or more part-time jobs, and do this by choice.  Such workers will be harder to convert to full-time employees because they like the diversity of different jobs. This all translates into benefits for the entrepreneur who needs help but can’t hire full-time employees.  The employment gurus don’t expect this part-time preference to pass anytime soon.  It seems that the appeal of a reduced schedule is strong both for seniors and baby boomers nearing retirement. Parents who have interrupted careers to care for their children but still want to work may also explain the boom. Entrepreneurs should eagerly look to this pool of workers and eagerly employ part-time help.  A big reason is that employer-paid health insurance and other benefits add costs equal to more than 50 percent of the average employee’s gross earnings. A part-time employer can get by with a low-cost factor, and still find somebody reliable and efficient. Looking at the boom of part-timers seems like a win-win situation for entrepreneurs and workers alike.  Check the prospect out with your accountant and you may find that you come out a winner and less stressed.

No Surrender

No matter what you sell, you will inevitably face rejections and refusals, but learning to see “No” as valuable feedback can take your sales to a new level.  Regardless of how often we hear “no” it’s a tough thing to take. Over the years, I’ve had as many rejections as anyone else, especially as an author who doesn’t have a “celebrity” name.  Here are some ways I’ve learned to cope with this situation :

1. It’s only their opinion – When someone tells us that what we’re attempting can’t be done, we tend to think they’re right.  What I’ve learned is to look at that “no” as just that person’s opinion.  It isn’t good or bad; it’s just data coming in to me.  I can analyze it and make my next move smarter.  What I’ve received is valuable feedback that can help me to find a new and different approach.

Don’t let a “no” undermine your confidence, your belief in the value of your product, idea, book, or your ability.  Go out and resell it again!

2. Don’t get defensive – It’s OK to get angry when rejected, what’s not OK is to make excuses or try to persuade the other party that they are wrong.  Use your anger to get yourself going again, let that “no” create a sense of urgency to find a better way.

Take action to prove that the other person is wrong.  Instead of getting depressed when rejected, take up the challenge, and vow to solve the problem and demonstrate that you were in the right all along.

3. Let history be your guide – If people are laughing at your ideas, ask yourself why that might be.  Is your idea just ahead of its time?  Or is it because you haven’t expressed your concept well enough, or demonstrated to prospects how they’re going to benefit in the long term?  Understand that it takes time for every new idea, product to gain acceptance.  When Alexander Graham Bell said he had found a way for people living thousands of miles apart to communicate, other people scoffed and said it couldn’t be done.  The rest as they say is history.  Examples like this one teach you that other people who have been laughed at and told “no” have managed not only to achieve their goals, but also to surpass them.

In the past, hearing “no” from a prospective client or publisher would have sent me into a tailspin.  Now, I try to embrace the rejection, and take that information to see what I can learn from it.  Doing so lets me come out stronger every time.  It will do the same for you.

Dispelling 8 Misconceptions of Organization

Some people were born organized and then there are those of us who struggle with organizing every year at this time.  It seems that it’s always at the end of the year when that little annoying bug begins nudging you to clear things up and start the new year organized. Well, I’ve read just about everybody’s directions, books, and helpful hints about getting organized (in fact, I’m thinking of writing one myself), and I’ve got to tell you there are some misconceptions being fostered by every organizational guru.  It will be my pleasure to give you the “skinny” on that in today’s column. Here are the 8 misconceptions that we can throw out :
  1. Handle paper once.  This is not only impossible, but in most cases it’s unrealistic.  Instead of handling paper once, get in the habit of doing something with each piece of paper to move it forward.  If you get some information about an upcoming seminar/trade show, for example, decide if you’ll attend or not.  If you’re to attend then note the date on your calendar and sign up.  If not, then toss the information immediately.  If you want to wait to sign up, then make a note in your planner to respond well before the deadline and file the paper in your “to-do” file.
  2. Always keep papers stored out of sight: Some of us work better when their desk is clear, whereas others feel stifled if they aren’t surrounded by stacks of paper.  If you’re an “out of sight – out of mind” type, keep papers you use often nearby in files or stacking bins.  They’ll be accessible, yet not clutter your desk.  When working on a project, spread out the papers related to it, and when you’re done put them away together in one place.
  3. Everyone should be organized to the same degree. Different people work differently.  Don’t feel that you have to work the same as someone else.  Find a comfortable level of being organized, and make the necessary changes to maintain that level.  I usually draw that line when I’m looking for something and can’t find it; that’s when I know things need to get reorganized.
  4. Soon we’ll be a “paperless” society. Don’t you believe it.  Experts have been saying that for years, and we won’t be paperless for a long time.  It’s not technology that’s the problem, it is human nature that’s the culprit.  We’re creatures of habit and used to seeing things in print rather than on a computer screen.  The younger generation is now being trained on computers at an early age, so when they join the workforce, the “paperless” society will have a better chance of becoming a reality.
  5. One planning system should fit everyone. When used correctly, daily planners are an ideal way to stay organized.  Keep in mind, however, they are designed by a few for many users.  When buying a planner, whether paper-based or electronic, determine what you want it to do and choose a system accordingly.  If you can’t find one to suit your system, design your own based on your individual needs.
  6. You have to be born organized to be organized. We learn both good and bad habits at an early age.  It’s possible to change any bad habit, including disorganization.  Youngsters raised in an organized environment sometimes rebel as adults by being disorganized.  The opposite is also true, but neither is carved in stone and behavior can be modified.
  7. You MUST use a “to-do” list. Planning day-to-day is not realistic for everyone.  Someone may do the same task every week, but others find their plans changing daily.  Consider your particular need, then plan by the day or the week.
  8. Being organized means being a perfectionist. A perfectionist may spend time on insignificant details while disregarding the big picture.  When others complete a project quickly and on time, the perfectionist continues to work until the project is perfect.  A perfectionist becomes more effective when he/she lowers his/her standards slightly and concentrates on ways to increase productivity.
Misinformation, when taken seriously, can hinder you from doing what you want.  The next time you hear one of those “Organizational Gurus” espousing one of the above misconceptions, consider its value and work to develop your own style of organizing.


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