I’d like to give a shout out to the late Stephen R. Covey for his best-selling title The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (a title that I’ve just bastardised and misappropriated for the purposes of this article).
Let’s start off by acknowledging I ain’t no Stephen Covey. I’m no Richard Branson either, he of the perfect blonde locks and magical islands filled with never-ending cash and perky boobies. I’m not going to sit here and preach to you from my podium of success about how you, too, can be as awesome as me.
Admittedly my mum thinks I’m awesome, but as to reaching any pinnacles of success, I’ve still got a looong way to go. I still struggle with fear; with questioning if I’m following my true path; with laziness and procrastination. I still struggle with dreams of winning the lottery and the eventual realisation I won’t win the lottery so I’ll have to create my fortune instead. Bugger.
Yep, I’m just the every (wo)man, the wannabe entrepreneur who can spin a good tale or two. You shouldn’t listen to me about success. But…
You Should Listen to Those Who Have Already Succeeded
You should listen to their words, but my advice is to pay closer attention to the way they do business. Even more importantly you should pay attention to their habits.
Success comes in different shapes and forms, but the habits behind the successes are fairly universal.
You should have the self-confidence to listen to yourself too. You haven’t come this far in life without having seen what success looks like. You’ve seen what it takes. You recognise it. Now, it’s just a matter of doing it. But beyond just doing the right things, it’s also avoiding the wrong things.
It’s Also About Avoiding the Bad Habits of Unsuccessful People
So, without further ado, here are my top 7 habits of highly unsuccessful people.
1/ You’re all unicorns and daydreams
Covey always talked about gaining ‘self-mastery’ by getting your head right and by knowing exactly what you want; he advocates making active decisions and taking responsibility for the consequences of your life choices. So by all means have dreams, have really big dreams, but have a plan of how you’re going to get there. Have a roadmap for success, but do allow yourself an occasional detour if you can see it’s going to make for a better/faster/easier journey.
2/ You refuse to recognise your weaknesses
When you refuse to see your own weaknesses you’ll be unable to overcome them. If you’re too fearful to look at yourself in open and honest appraisal then, I’m sorry, but you’re doomed to fail. Those unacknowledged weaknesses will become an anchor holding your business down. The late Zig Ziglar said, “More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them”. So have a good hard look at yourself, accept the good and the bad. What’s the worst that could happen?
3/ You don’t develop systems of success
Okay so you’ve gone so far as to quietly acknowledge your weaknesses, yay for you, but if you won’t put strategies and systems in place to overcome them, you’re not going to improve. Sometimes it’s having a system as simple as knowing you always lose your morning to reading emails so you have a no email policy until lunchtime. More often than not though, it’s creating systems to reproduce your success. Systems that anyone can follow. Profitability always comes when you can separate yourself from the actual doing, when you can hire staff to reproduce a result, over and over. And that takes a process, it takes a smart system of success.
4/ You don’t play well with others
Clients want to work with people they like; so do the best staff and contractors. Therefore, you need to know how to interact with people. The awesome thing is, as an entrepreneur, you should be aiming to work with the people you want to work with, the people you enjoy being around. But there will still be times you need to build rapport with people who might try your patience. There’s a lot of books on this subject, but rapport usually starts with taking an interest in people, listening to them, and seeking mutually beneficial outcomes wherever you can.
5/ You won’t surround with people who are better than you.
The 3rd richest man in the world, Warren Buffet, says you should always ‘know the edges of your own competency’, so if you want to be successful you need to know what you know, and know what you don’t. My advice is to stay humble, but remain confident in what you know. Be open to the fact there are always going to be people who have more expertise than you. Embrace them, pick their brains and, if you can, hire them. But choose your team wisely because they can take you to the big leagues…. or to the nut house!
6/ You get stuck in 2003.
…Or any year for that matter. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best business in the world today, tomorrow things might be different. If you’re not growing, you’re going backwards. If you’re not evolving you’ll become obsolete. Everything changes: the economy is always fluctuating, competitors are always hustling, innovations are always arriving, and your client’s are always changing too. So be adaptable, take calculated risks, be ready to act on opportunities when they arise, that’s the mark of a truly successful entrepreneur.
7/ You aren’t kind to yourself.
As an up and coming success story you’ll have to hustle. You’ll have to work hard. You’ll have to work smart. But you’ll also have to protect your greatest asset: you. Even the most motivated model of work efficiency will eventually snap if they never stop to recharge (… I hear the sun in Fiji is great for that). If you drive yourself hard, that’s awesome, successful people are driven people… but occasionally you’ll need to drive yourself towards some mental health too. Take a big break once a year, and regularly recharge your batteries with something that feeds your creative soul. Your future successful self depends on it!
What’s YOUR Greatest Challenge to Success Right Now?
Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to help!