I almost laughed when a new client we’ll call Jack walked into my office, sat down, and asked me what the secret to success was. I stifled my laugh when I realized he was serious, staring at me in earnest, genuinely hoping I had the answer.
Here’s the truth: there’s no one single secret to success, and there’s no set path that guarantees success over failure. However, there are key traits that successful people have in common that without a doubt contribute to their ability to succeed when others seem to flounder. Here are 7 of them:
1. Positive Thinking
You’ve heard the saying that to think positive is to see the glass as half full, and to think negative is to see the glass as half empty? Well, positive thinking is taking the glass half full mentality and applying it to every part of your life.
Successful people are optimists. Successful people always find the positive from any situation, problem or issue that lies in their path to success. Successful people always believe that whatever it is that is happening in their life is happening for a purpose.
More importantly, by thinking positive you’re able to learn much, much more from everything that happens to you, good or bad. Its often said that you learn the most from your problems, temporary failures and issues that you face, not from the successes. But you can only get the learning you need by thinking positive and finding the benefit from the situation, learning what you can do to avoid it in the future, and continuing on your path to success.
2. Solution Orientation
Everybody has problems in their life. Everyone has issues they need to overcome to achieve success. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is how they handle the problems in their life.
Unsuccessful people have the poor me mentality. Unsuccessful people believe that things are happening to them, that they have no control over what is happening. Even worse, they complain about the problems in their life: complaining is the single, most obvious sign of an unsuccessful person. Successful people, on the other hand, have a solution-oriented mentality.
Successful people believe that there is a solution to the problems that they are currently facing. Successful people believe that there is always another way to overcome any issue.
More importantly, successful people act rather than complain. Successful people never complain, they always look for a solution to overcome the problem that they’re facing, regardless of how dire the situation seems.
3. Big Picture Thinking
Successful people think big. Unsuccessful people think small. Successful people have a goal for a better life. Unsuccessful people don’t have any goals at all. Successful people know that they are destined for a better life. Unsuccessful people accept their life as it is.
Thinking big is an essential trait of successful people. Thinking big is when you see in your mind's eye a goal that is bigger than you are. Thinking big is having a dream and working at making that dream come true. Thinking big is when you visualize what your life would be like if it were perfect in every respect, then taking action on making it happen.
The best example I can think of when it comes to thinking big is that of Bill Gates. Before he started Microsoft he had a vision, of what he would like to achieve in his life that every business and every household should have a computer. He followed his dream and has created a life that, in the beginning, was just a dream.
4. Ambition and Drive
Ambition is a strong desire to succeed. Ambition is when you put in great effort to achieve something important in your life. Ambition is when you are so excited about achieving your goal that moving towards your goal is like been sucked into a tornado. Successful people are ambitious. Unsuccessful people are not.
Successful people are eager to reach their goals. Unsuccessful people have no goals to be eager about. Successful people don't just sit off the sideline and wait for things to happen to them, they take action every day because they are eager to make things happen. Successful people have such a strong desire to make things happen that nothing can stop them.
5. Sense of Urgency
Time is the most valuable and the most limited resource in the world. Successful people know this, unsuccessful people don't. Successful people move at a very fast pace. Unsuccessful people don't. Successful people want to make things happen today. Unsuccessful people keep putting things off until tomorrow the problem is that tomorrow never comes. Moving with a sense of urgency means not wasting time on the mundane.
Moving with a sense of urgency means trying to squeeze more into a day. Moving with a sense of urgency means moving faster every day. Moving with a sense of urgency means working late into the evening to get stuff done today. Moving with a sense of urgency means getting those tasks that have the greatest impact on your results done today.
Think about it the steps required to make $1,000,000 are the same whether you take one year or ten. Successful people know this and they want to achieve their goals in the shortest possible time. Another thing to think about is that the chances of you achieving a goal drastically diminish with time. This means that you have a greater chance of earning $1,000,000 in one year, rather than in ten.
6. Results Focused
Successful people are satisfied by pleasing results. Unsuccessful people are satisfied by pleasing actions. Successful people are focused on the result they achieve. Unsuccessful people are focused on how they do the task.
Being results focused means setting goals and objectives, and doing everything in your power to achieve them. Being results focused means only being satisfied with results. Being results focused means not wasting time. Being results focused means taking action on the most important tasks and getting them done.
You’ve heard about the 80/20 rule? This simply means that 20% of your activities are responsible for 80% of your results, and 80% of your activities are responsible for 20% of your results. Being results focused means knowing what the 20% of tasks contribute 80% of the results and working single-mindedly on those tasks until they are completed.
7. Persistence Persistence Persistence
Persistence is the single most important characteristic of successful people. Persistence is what makes all the other characteristics fall into place.
Successful people never give up. Unsuccessful people quit. Successful people know there will be setbacks and temporary failures but keep moving forward despite them. Unsuccessful people can't handle the setbacks and temporary failures and quit.
Persistence is never giving up. Persistence is never quitting. Persistence is when you know your goal, what you want to achieve in life, and deciding to never give up on achieving that goal. Persistence is deciding to either achieve your goal or die trying.
Persistence in when you keep moving forward on your goal even when things seem their darkest. And with persistence, you will achieve anything you want to achieve in life within reason.
Happy Hunting & Good Selling!
I'm Thomas Massie and over the past two decades, I founded three companies. Each experienced rapid growth, became market leaders, and all three achieved successful initial public offerings (IPO's). Cumulatively my ventures have generated over $750 Million in revenue. I'm the President & CEO of Topline Performance Solutions, Inc., a Certified & Award-Winning Sandler Training franchise. I work with professionals committed to maximizing leadership and sales results. I can help you to create a culture of high performers, who drive sales pipeline growth, improved pipeline predictability, shortened sales cycles, and increased revenues.