The choices we make have a huge impact on our feelings of success in life. I see this time and again through the fabulous things the people I work with achieve, when they start really taking control of their lives and making some positive choices. So many examples of people taking the courageous step of changing from a job they hate to work that fills them with joy, developing from a disorganised professional to a strategic-thinking manager and leader, cutting the ties of a job or relationship that holds them back and starting to fly independently, or growing from a shrinking violet hiding from the world to a confident person reaching out and spreading their wings.
I recently read The Top Secrets of Success by Robin Sharma. He offers 200 different approaches to creating success, and all of them depend on the choices we make, rather than on something happening to us, or luck. 200 ideas might be a bit much to take on in one go, so I’ve picked out and adapted my 10 favourites for you that really work, borne out by many of the people I work with:
Learn to manage your time
You have just 1000 months in an average lifetime. Learn to use them wisely. Set aside a few minutes each day to plan your time. Good time management allows you to achieve your goals as well as enjoy fun and relaxation. Concentrate on the things that matter most to you, rather than allowing the things that matter least to take over. Ask yourself each day: “Is this the best use of my time and energy?” Check that your allocation of your precious time reflects your life purpose.
Focus on the positive
What you look for is what you get. If you spend time focusing on the negatives in life, that is what you will see and experience. Choose instead to search out the positives. This includes what you say to others and what you say to yourself. Peak performers are meticulous about the thoughts they allow in their minds. Nurture your mind and focus on what’s good and positive.
Learn to be still
In our frantic world we need times when we can be still and peaceful and just breathe to allow ourselves to function at our best. Take 10 minutes out each day to sit, still your mind and focus on your breathing. Learn to breathe properly, from your abdomen rather than high up in your chest, and take some long slow breaths in and out. Being still each day reduces stress, clears the mind, and allows clarity of thinking.
Silence your ‘inner critic’
Self-criticism rarely achieves anything, except making us feel bad about ourselves. Your ‘inner critic’ has no place in a successful life. Instead, use auto-suggestion to work for you in a positive way. If you want to be confident, calm and motivated, then tell yourself “I am confident, calm and motivated” many times each day, even if that is not how you feel. Your mind cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. Use this approach for 3 weeks. You will soon start to feel those positive qualities if you keep up the habit. This technique is used successfully by many athletes to convince themselves of their success before they’ve even achieved that success.
Look after yourself
“Mens sana in corpore sano” – a healthy mind in a healthy body. Our bodies and minds are inextricably linked. If you want to succeed at your very best, look after your body as the precious gift it is. Feed it good food, give it plenty of exercise and sleep and care for it so that it works at its best for you, and your thoughts and mind can be their best too. Remember, too, that without looking after ourselves properly it is impossible to continue to care for others.
Look after your friends and relationships
We all have flaws. So do your friends and those closest to you. Overlook their weaknesses and focus on their strengths and the positive things they bring to your life. Work hard at developing and maintaining your friendships. As relational beings, they are vital to our wellbeing and success.
Manage your stress
We live in a stressful world and many of us feel the negative affects of pressure and demands. Do what you can to keep on top of yor stress through minimising the things that bring stress, and through taking time out to cope. Times of stress and pressure can be balanced with time for fun, exercise and relaxation so we can continue to be our best. Winston Churchill slept each afternoon for one hour to stay focused and calm. Take time out from your busy schedule to just ‘be’.
Choose to have a wonderful life
You are on this earth for a very short time. Why not devote yourself to having a wonderful time? Choose today to have no negative experiences, only positive ones or ones that aid your learning and development. Put worries into perspective – allocate a short amount of time to reflect on each one and come up with a plan to minimise it, and then move on. Make a conscious choice to live each day as if it were your last and to bring your best ‘you’ to everything you do in it.
No-one ever achieved great success by keeping themselves small. Be courageous and take calculated risks so you can achieve extraordinary results. “When you cannot make up your mmd which of two evenly balanced courses of actions you should take – choose the bolder” said W J Slim.
Leave a legacy
To hijack the words of President John F Kennedy’s inaugural address, ask not what this world can do for you, but, rather, what you can do for this world. Your contribution to the world, especially in service to others, will fill you with a sense of meaning and purpose and leave a rich legacy for others. Use your unique talents and skills to leave a lasting, gentle footprint on this wonderful earth.
This is the last in my series The Secrets of Success. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! If you’d like some professional support to help you be even more of a success in your life, get in touch and we’ll set up an initial chat.