Here is Michael Martine’s guest post to the Success Factors blog series.
“The secret to success is … and for a few bucks it can be yours.”
People claim to know the secret and they try to sell it. Other people buy it because they want a shortcut, but it never works. Success is about hard work, but there is more. There are five other essential traits of successful people and in the remaining part of this article, I will show you all five of them.
Passion comes in many forms. There is the Gary Vaynerchuk blow the top of your head off with enthusiasm sort of passion and then there is the quiet, reflective, and influential sort of passion of Brian Clark. Wherever you fall, you need passion to be successful. Consider these two points:
- It’s Not About The Money - Do you think Gary Vaynerchuk would have been able to video blog about wine for 8 months with zero traffic if he cared about the money? He actually lost money because sales dropped in his store-front.
- Without Passion, It’s Just Work – Do you think the guy at McDonalds that says “Would you like fries with that?” is passionate about his job? No, he’s doing it for the money and it’s just work. He doesn’t go home and dream about it — nightmares maybe…
But how do you develop your passions? You need to make a list of what you really love in life. The things you talk about, the things you dream about. If you feed these things time, money, and effort, they will grow into something more and the money will come soon thereafter.
Let me say this again. Compassion. ComPASSION. CompanionPASSION. This is where you care about other people. It helps you earn a living by helping others — it’s win-win. If you care about people, they will care about you and your business. But how do you develop compassion?
- Pick a Cause – Find something you care about and donate time and money. Like a bank, you have to make some deposits in society before you make withdrawals.
- Listen to Complaints - Every complaint is an opportunity. For example, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google, they undoubtedly heard “I can’t find anything on the internet” as a complaint. So, they solved it.
- Help the Desperate – Find the people who need help and help them. Your kindness will be appreciated and remembered.
So what have you done for your community lately?
Success starts with an observation. Larry Page and Sergey Brin observed that you couldn’t find information on the internet. That single observation changed the world. They set off a chain of events that created new products, new markets, and new innovations. Now what are you doing to become more observant?
- Start a Journal and Fill It Daily – Whether you’re blogging on the internet, or writing in a moleskin, daily writing forces you to make observations.
- Watch What People Do - When you go to work, just watch what people do. How do they drink their coffee? How do they hold their paper?
- Make Observations – Simple, right? Just make observations. When you shop, look at how goods and services are presented. Look for inconsistencies. Look for opportunities. Just go out there and do it.
At Disney, imagination is one of the most valuable attributes of a person — they even have positions called “Imagineers.” Do you know why? Imagination is the only durable competitive advantage. It can never be taken from you. It helps you solve problems, create art, woo a mate, and the list goes on. But how do you develop your imagination?
- Imagine a Movie – Watch the first half of a movie and try to imagine how it ends. Then, compare how close you were.
- Imagine the Solution - Find one of the problems in your many observations and imagine a solution — even if it’s unrealistic.
- Play Games - Scrabble… Risk… Video Games… Any games. Just play games. They make you suspend reality so you can develop your imagination.
Now what are you doing to imagine solutions to your customer’s problems?
And here is the rub. You can have every one of the above qualities, but without the guts to do something, they’re pointless. Success is not easy and most people will never taste its sweet nectar. The few who do had to overcome personal difficulties and make tremendous sacrifices. But let me reassure you one thing: you can learn to be brave and here are two ways how:
- Stay Conscious - Have you ever seen a kid curl up in a blanket when they’re scared? Don’t be that little kid. Be aware of your surroundings and be willing to make tough decisions.
- Stay Scared – Want to know the best way to develop bravery? Keep doing things that scare you. Scared of public speaking? Grab a soap box and speak. Scared of rejection? Go get rejected.
Share Your Thoughts
Did I miss any other key characteristics of successful people? Why not leave them in the comments?