With a society obsessed with success - you just need to look at how popular ‘Rich Lists’ and ‘Most Powerful Lists’ are for publishers to realize just how obsessed the general population is by success. It is understandable how many people are disillusioned when they don’t achieve it and how it affects people's lives when they don't fulfil their personal expectations related to being successful.
Like most, I have wondered what would make me successful and how I would define whether or not I have actually achieved success. Whether you measure success in monetary terms, time/freedom or through celebrity status – every individual has a different definition of what that means to them. It can be said though that success for everyone has one basic ingredient and that is a certain psychological state of mind that drives the person to achieve what they have achieved or would like to achieve.
Starting my first small businessI remember being 25 and starting my first business. Everyone kept telling me prematurely how successful I was. I wasn’t. I was merely having a go and starting out on my career as an entrepreneur. I hadn’t achieved anything great other than starting a business and with more than 27.5 million others owning small businesses in the US and 1 million in Australia – surely we all can’t be successful. In my early years in business, this continued to be something that people often said in association with my name or company but being a realist I knew that this was not quite the case. I may have inspired others to have a go, or led the way in areas such as marketing and being a small business entrepreneur, but success for me wasn’t defined in the same way as others who spruiked about my success.
Success to me is achieving something that no-one else has achievedSuccess to me is achieving something that no-one else has achieved in my space and being able to look back at it and say “I did that”. To be able to say “I achieved something in marketing that no-one else has achieved” or “I achieved something in life, that few others have”. Understanding what success means to you is paramount to achieving it.
With almost 1 million small businesses in Australia aloneWith almost 1 million small businesses in Australia alone, it is easy to identify what makes some small business owners more successful than others. They say that many successful small business owners have a trait of being energetic, open and positive. I tend to disagree. I know plenty of miserable people out there that run very successful small businesses with not a positive bone in their bodies but a very positive bank balance that signifies that they are doing something right.
Formula One Test Driver Dani Clos has a saying, "Keep Pushing" and as he has climbed from being a Kart Racer through to being on the brink of driving in the Formula One, he has kept this saying and belief. "If you keep pushing, you'll get there." This positive affirmation and drive is certainly working in his favour.
Isn't that what small business is all about? To be successful, don't you have to "keep pushing".If you have a dream of being successful, then there are some things you need to consider.
1. Have a motive: Why do you want to be successful? Is it to show others that you can do it? Or perhaps, you want the finer things in life like a big house and fancy car. Maybe you want recognition that you have made it or you are inspired by the Richard Branson's of the world and want to be just like them. Whatever your motive, you do need to have a reason to be successful in order to achieve it.
2. Have a vision: Like anything, to realise a goal, you need to have a vision. What does successful look like to you? What steps do you need to take to get there? Picture you being successful so you know when you get there, that you have actually made it.
3. Positivity: You have to have the right psychological state of mind to be successful and be able to think positively about success and about your journey to achieving it. Never let go of your vision and keep positive about what you want to achieve even if others around you don't support you in your initiative. There have been plenty of people who have been told that "they couldn't do it" and have gone on to be very successful.
4. Self Motivated: This is a must. You need to be self-motivated. No-one else is going to help you achieve your goals. You have to want it, believe in it and dream about it - all while making it happen. You need to be able to wake up every morning and think about your goals and what you need to do that day to be more successful in the future. Focus and self-motivation go hand in hand.
5. Risk taking: All successful people have taken risks. If you are risk-adverse, then you may be hindering your ability to be successful. I remember in my late 20's thinking to myself that life could not get much better. I had achieved everything that I set out to achieve. Then, Stewart Koziora, from Wagamama fame, said to me, "Mel, your benchmark is too low. You need to lift it a bit more." And he was very right. What's next when you think you have already achieved everything in your 20's. He also said to me that I need to take risks because I am too risk adverse. Once again, spot on. I did and now the proof that these wise words are correct are as they say "in the pudding".
6. Leverage opportunities: If someone says to you to join them for coffee because they are meeting someone you should meet and you say "no" because you have to do your laundry, then think again. This could be the opportunity you have been looking for. You never know what one person can do to help change your outcomes. Never say "no".
7. Make a mistake only once: Write down the mistakes you are making as you go along. Set up a journal that is a running account of mistakes that you make and then keep looking back at it to make sure you are not doing it over and over again. A common issue that people who never quite make it fall prey to.
8. Do one thing at a time: Funnily enough, most successful people don't spend too much time multi-tasking. They do one thing well and then move onto the next only when the first thing is 100% complete.
9. Don't get distracted: Often successful people are 'ideas people' and when you come up with ideas, they can come up when you least expect it and all too frequently. So, knowing when to take an idea and run with it, and when not to, is key to being successful. The most successful people don't get distracted as they are too focused on the end goal. They may write down other ideas but not do anything about it until they have realised the potential of the first.
11. KEEP PUSHING: EVEN WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH, KEEP PUSHING. IF YOUR SMALL BUSINESS IS TURNING OVER $1 MILLION DOLLARS, THE SET GOALS FOR IT TO BE TURNING OVER $2 MILLION. WRITE A PLAN ON HOW YOU ARE GOING TO ACHIEVE IT AND KEEP PUSHING. NEVER LET GO OF YOUR GOAL UNTIL YOU HAVE ACHIEVED IT. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND FOSTER BELIEF IN THOSE AROUND YOU. CROSS THE 'T's' AND DOT THE 'I's' ALONG THE WAY. GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE AROUND YOU THAT HELP YOUR BUSINESS CATAPULT FROM WHERE IT IS TODAY TO WHERE YOU WANT IT TO BE.