I remember when I accepted a sales position with a tax law publishing company. It was straight commissions, no expenses and I worked from home. This job demanded a lot of self-motivation. I put together my plan of action by going through the computer print-outs of the customer database, set my dollar goal and got into action. Little did I know but the previous salesman, who had been employed by the company for 17 years, left under unhappy circumstances and took his anger out by convincing most of the customers to cancel their subscriptions. Now I had a choice: I could surrender my goal or get creative. I decided to make certain that everyone got the most value that they could out of their current subscription by spending an hour or so with the staff explaining some tips and tricks with the books. The reaction was nothing short of amazing. Many of them decided to re-subscribe and purchase other programs. At the end of the year, I hit my projected income within a mere $300.
We can change the outcomes in our lives by simply changing our own thoughts and decisions. We are conditioned to blame circumstances for our problems; but if this were true, then we would all be in the exact same circumstance. The difference between us is in the quality of our thoughts and ideas. We can become more effective in making changes if we know the underlying workings that govern our lives. As I thought about this and looked back over my sales career, I saw 10 keys that attributed to my success. I call them inner secrets because you can’t see them, but when you apply these to your life, the possibilities are unlimited.
1) Cheerful expectancy: Expectation is such a wonderful word that promises excitement. Cheerful expectancy is even better. Just imagine waking up and just at the foot of your bed is a large package, wrapped in beautiful gold paper with a very large red bow tied around it. Guess what’s in there? It’s your day! Your gift is today and you can make it whatever you want. You can be enthusiastic, eager to do things and happily go about the simple matters of life or you can be tired, complaining and expecting the worst of things. Your approach to your day, your family, your clients – everything in life – is going to determine what you get back. Now I realize that there will be challenges some days, but even then, the way you approach those challenges has a significant impact on how the events will unfold. You will find that your attitude will be infectious and more good will come to you.
When I think about cheerful expectancy, I am reminded of one of the natural laws of the Universe; that being the Law of Polar Opposites. Simply this law states that opposites come with everything. So for example, you cannot have left without right, good without bad, in without out, up without down. The way to use this law then is to realize that no matter what happens during the day, you have the choice to focus on the positive or the negative. Whatever you choose to focus on, you’ll find and you can spend as much time as you want focusing on your choice. You can choose to see opportunity or you can choose to see lack. Use this law intentionally to create your experiences everyday.
2) Set a goal and make a plan: When I was growing up and announced something that I wanted to have or to do, I was frequently asked how I was going to do it. Many times I didn’t know how so I surrendered the goal. Fortunately I came across Napoleon Hill’s book Think & Grow Rich in my early days of selling It was while reading this book that I discovered the importance of having goal along with the 6 steps to setting a goal which I still use today. I also learned that I didn’t have to know how I was going to achieve something; I only need to start advancing towards my goal and I would attract all the people, things and circumstances that I need in order to fulfill my goal. The ‘how’ doesn’t matter. Just build a big image of what it is that you want to achieve or to have, make a simple plan and start taking action. Just look for and take the first step.
3) Do 1 proactive thing on your goal every single day: I have found in my own life as well as watching other people that it is very easy to let life get in the way of achieving your goal. By that I mean you can think that you are going to do something, but then other things come up so a day goes by, a week, a month, even a whole year and you haven’t moved any closer to the goal. Vow to do just one thing each day that will move you closer to your goal and do it first. Brian Tracy once said, “The urgent is never important and the important is never urgent.” What’s important is what you want to achieve in life and you have to put the urgency in there because no one else will.
4) Deliver exceptional value – strive for excellence: Look for how you can give your best in each interaction. There was a point in my life when I was striving for perfection and this was exhausting. Nothing is ever going to be perfect and it’s a reason to stop doing things. I learned from Bob Proctor to strive for excellence. Why? Because excellence is a commitment to completion. That statement completely changed my life and took so much pressure off of me allowing me to become a finisher. Complete the unfinished projects around your house and office.
5) Build on your successes: Many of us were conditioned to compare our weaknesses with other people’s strengths and our failures to their successes. If that isn’t bad enough, we use our wonderful mental faculty of memory to remember every thing that didn’t work out just at the time that we want to step out and do something new. Change that right now by writing out what your strengths are and play to your strengths; hire your weaknesses. Look back over your life and savor your successes. Write them down and congratulate yourself for your success. When you have a new success, immediately use that fabulous energy to create more. Get on the phone and talk to others because they will get excited by your enthusiasm. Believe in yourself!
6) Decision: I used to be terrified to make a decision. Whenever there was one that needed to be made, I would go around a take a poll from everyone. What do you think I should do? They would say do this and I’d go off saying I was going to do it. Then I would talk to the next person and they would say don’t do that, do this. I never took a stand for myself. I remained stuck by my inability to make decisions. Then I discovered that one of the most powerful things to learn was how to make a decision. Once a decision is made, everything that you need to make it happen starts to move towards you. Without a decision, it stays away from you. It is decision that pulls everything towards you. I learned instead of asking if it’s right or wrong to do something; it’s far more powerful to ask this question. “If I do this, will it move me in the direction of my goal or purpose?” If it does, then do it; otherwise leave it.
7) Take Responsibility: Take responsibility for everything that is happening in your life. People who refuse to accept responsibility for the life they have created also don’t make decisions. The two habits of refusing responsibilities and the fear of making a decision go hand in hand and must be overcome in order to be an effective business leader. Resolve today to stop blaming, complaining or making excuses and instead accept responsibility. Then look for your next step to improve the situation. No one can improve anything if they are focused on blame or excuses. The creative faculty will shut down or be used negatively which is really going in the wrong direction. You can improve the situation by simply acknowledging responsibility and then asking “Now what is the best next step to take?”
8) Continual Learning: It’s surprising at how many people I’ve met that stopped learning the day that they left school. It doesn’t matter what level of schooling they completed; many people aren’t doing anything more to develop themselves. I admire people that are continually learning. My car is like a university on wheels filled with motivational CDs. If there is a workshop, a seminar, a teleseminar; etc. on a subject that I am interested in, I participate. I read inspirational books everyday. It’s all about a thirst for knowledge and a desire to grow and learn. There’s no standing still because the world is constantly changing and we need to stay abreast. If you aren’t willing to invest in yourself; then don’t expect anyone else to invest in you.
9) Gratitude: I have found that the more gratitude that I have for everything that is in my life, the better and better it gets. For a long time I was grateful for just the good things that came into my life and called the others bad luck. But it’s not good luck or bad luck; it’s gratitude for everything. When something happens, whether we put the label of good or bad on it, it’s there because we need it now. There is a message in that experience. One day I was walking on the beach and got a bite in the foot from some creature. It was swollen and itchy. I immediately took responsibility for the bite, went into gratitude and asked what the message could be. Suddenly I realized that I’d been dragging my feet on some projects which I quickly completed. Everything is in your life for a reason. If you are unhappy, then you aren’t being grateful.
10) Giving: We’ve all heard that we must give in order to receive. It’s the absolute truth. But there are many who are trying to get without giving and consequently living a life filled with unhappiness. So whether it is how we give our services in business; how we give of ourselves in our friendships and relationships; how we give of ourselves to the community; however we are giving will be in exact measure to what we will receive. So if someone isn’t selling enough, it’s because they aren’t giving enough service. Forget about what you will gain and focus on what you can give and your world will change very quickly. Help others get what they want and you will automatically get what you.
I invite you to use these inner secrets to create the life of your dreams.
10 Inner Secrets of Success - the video
This article appeared in the Scotsman Guide Residential Edition and scotsmanguide.com, July 20, 2010.