I don’t own a company. I’ve never dropped a platinum record. And last time I checked, I’m not Oprah. But I have worked closely with (and for) some very successful people over the years, so I’ve had the opportunity to learn quite a bit from their actions.
To share some of the secrets of success, I’ve put together a few of my favorite lessons in the style of those awesome inspirational posters you used to see in school — dangling cat style. Here are my top six secrets to reaching victory in work and life.
1. Remember that success is relative. This is No. 1 for a reason, because comparing your accomplishments to someone else won’t get you anywhere. Think of where you started versus where you are now — that’s your real measure.
2. Fake it till you make it. OK, don’t pretend you passed the bar or remove someone’s appendix if you aren’t a doctor, but sometimes you’ll be asked to do something you’re not sure you have the skills or experience to accomplish. Sometimes just the act of telling someone else, “Sure, I can do that,” and holding yourself to your commitment can give you the confidence you need to pull it off.
3. Have your own organizational style. Don’t be more obsessed with how something gets done than the result. If you use an app to file a reminder and I wrote it on the back of my hand and we both remembered, we’ve both remembered.
4. Set BHAGs. That’s right, Big Hairy Audacious Goals. There is nothing wrong with thinking all the way ahead.
5. Be kinder than you need to be. I’ve seen success be capped by a bad attitude, but the most prosperous people I’ve encountered are good, honest, generous and understanding human beings. And they treat the people at the very bottom with the same respect as the people at the very top.
6. Make mistakes. Everything cannot be perfect all the time. Take it from Citrix CEO Mark Templeton, who looks for the scars of wisdom: the things that went wrong, what you did about them and how they shaped you as a person.
What are your secrets? Do you have any pieces of wisdom that you’ve carried over the years to find success?