For the last ten years, I’ve examined the habits of successful people. It started out as a hobby. But eventually grew into an obsession.
I studied business executives, entrepreneurs, Olympic athletes, artists, Hollywood actresses.
I wanted to know – what separated the successful from the not-so-successful?
These books were helpful. But they also left me confused. I couldn’t find anyone who embodied all the principles laid out in these books.
Each person followed a different path to reach the top of their field. Which led me to a new question…
… are there any essential habits of success?
Or to put it another way – what are the critical things every successful person does?
I eventually uncovered three habits of successful people. Everyone I studied, practiced all three habits in some form. Let’s look at each one in turn.
1. Act With Purpose
The first habit is act with purpose. Here’s what it means:
Successful people have a mission and take strategic action to fulfill their vision.
I first learned about strategic planning in my corporate job. I worked 18 years for financial institutions like Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BlackRock, and Silicon Valley Bank.
These organizations have a company mission and strategic plan. Each layer of management is responsible for furthering the company mission. New projects or activities must fit the organization’s overall vision.
Now, you don’t need to be a large organization to adopt a strategic plan. You can define your future vision and set meaningful goals. Then, when you know where you want to go, create a plan to achieve your goal(s).
The key is to set goals that align with your strengths and values. Then focus on strategies that work.
Of course, this takes practice and experimentation. Few people hit it out of the ballpark on their first attempt. Which brings me to the second habit of successful people.
2. Create Systems For Success
You can have a solid strategy and still fail. You can take courses, learn from experts in your field, and map out a path to success. Yet not meet your goals.
Maybe life gets in the way or you don’t see results fast enough. This is when many of us throw in the towel.
But, successful people don’t give up. They keep going in the face of obstacles. And here’s their secret…
… they don’t rely on willpower alone.
Successful people create systems so that the essential tasks always get done.
Systems can include daily rituals, software tools, outsourcing, and more. Anything that automates the strategic activities in your plan.
Every successful person has a different set of systems. Some people swear by their morning ritual. Others are masters of automation or delegation.
You can also combine systems. For example, I struggle to blog regularly. Here’re some of the systems I’ve implemented to help me stay consistent:
- I have a content calendar. I plan my blog posts in advance, so I always know what needs to be published and on what days.
- The first thing I do each day is write for at least 30 minutes. This is a daily ritual. As an author and blogger, writing is my most important task. I prioritize it above everything else.
- I have a Virtual Assistant who manages my Pinterest account and schedules my blog posts. This way, I know new posts will be published and shared each week.
Another powerful strategy is to set up accountability. For example, you can join a mastermind group or connect weekly with an accountability partner.
Finally, you need systems to track your progress. Identify your key milestones or performance indicators and track these on a weekly or monthly basis. So, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, you might track calorie intake, exercise, and weight gained or lost.
Tracking your progress keeps you motivated and alerts you when you’re drifting off course.
The bottom line is this – unless you’re superhuman, you need systems to stay consistent and succeed. Don’t rely on willpower to achieve your goals.
3. Believe In Yourself
Thanks to my corporate career, I had a head start with habits one and two. I have plenty of experience implementing strategy and systems. Yet for the longest time, I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted.
This is because I hadn’t mastered the third habit. I was letting my beliefs about money, my abilities, and other people’s opinions limit my achievement.
Here’s what habit three means:
Successful people accept responsibility for their results and believe in their power to achieve the desired outcome, no matter what happens.
Let’s unpack this definition. It has three parts:
- “Successful people accept responsibility for their results” means adopting a no excuses mindset. When something unexpected happens – which it will – you get to decide how to respond. You can blame outside events or you can change what you’re doing.
- Successful people “believe in their power to achieve the desired outcome.” We all carry a set of fears and beliefs. Some of our beliefs can hold us back. Don’t let negative thoughts limit your achievement. Instead, believe in yourself and your mission.
- Finally “no matter what happens” means doing it scared. We’re all afraid and encounter obstacles. Whatever happens, lean into your fear and keep moving forward.
Of the three habits, the third is the most overlooked. Many people focus on strategy and tactics. Adopting new tools or following the latest trend. But, strategy and systems only get you so far.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can strengthen your belief. For example: practicing gratitude, saying affirmations, creating a vision board, surrounding yourself with successful people and meditating.
I practice all these and will dive deeper into each one in future posts. In the meantime, I encourage you to experiment. Try a few things and see what works for you.
Which Habit Do You Need To Work On?
What do you think? Are you meeting your goals? Are you fulfilling your potential? Could you set bigger goals or achieve more?
If you’re not seeing the results you want, then identify which of the three habits you could work on:
- Act with purpose
- Create systems for success
- Believe in yourself
It may be one habit, or all three. That’s okay. You were created to share your gifts and achieve great things. Keep learning, enjoy the journey, and don’t give up on your dream.
If you’d like help getting started, download my free Passion Challenge workbook below. It will show you the 5 steps to unleash your potential and earn your first $1000 from home.