At some point in our lives, we’ll question whether we are successful. But what is success, and can you really pave your road to success without knowing what you’re striving for?
The reality is, success means different things to different people. For many, it’s financial wealth and freedom. As an entrepreneur, I’m able to choose where and when I work as well as whom I work with—that’s what’s really important to me. But to others, success might be working in a career that brings joy, ensures the bills are paid, and guarantees security.
It’s essential that you don’t compare where you are now to others because that’s not what success looks like. Think about this: You can be a multi-millionaire and miserable. If you’re working 16-hour a day, never see your family, and can’t remember what it feels like to take a vacation, are you really successful?
Personally, my road to success took too long. I spent way too many years trying to scale my first startup. I wasted thousands of dollars on advertising that didn’t connect with my audience. I spent many sleepless nights worrying about making payroll and keeping the lights on, and that negatively impacted my personal life and my health.
I don’t want this for you, and that’s why I’m going to share the seven golden rules which I’ve found to be crucial in paving my road to success. Let’s dive in.
1. Change Your Mindset
Often what’s holding us back on our road to success has nothing to do with skillset or financial backing, and everything to do with mindset.
Take entrepreneurship, for example. The biggest barrier to success for most business owners is thinking you’re in the business of selling a service or product. You put all your energy into perfecting it, but if your prospect has never heard of you, why would they buy from you? Where’s the proof that what you’re offering is the gold standard?
You see, you’re not in the business of selling the thing you do, you’re in the business of marketing a service or product. You need to make this shift in your thinking if you want to be successful.
The same can be applied to professionals seeking a promotion or those who are looking to change jobs. What’s going to differentiate you from your competition? Why should you be hired? Don’t focus on your skills or how many years of experience you have. What have you achieved that would be attractive to another company?
In both instances, it’s about understanding what the pain points of your target market are, and how you can be the relief they’re searching for.
So you have to change your mindset.
2. Ask for Help
There is no shame in recognizing that you need help. The road to success is not meant to be lonely.
Unfortunately, school conditions us to work alone. We have to rely on our intellect to figure out a solution, and when we apply this thinking to a work scenario, well, that’s when we cease to achieve.
To be successful in business, you need to be able to rely on your colleagues or mentors to help you achieve your goals. A study by Olivet Nazarene University found that 76 percent of people who have mentors view those individuals as critical to their success in life.((Olivet Nazarene University: Study Explores Professional Mentor-Mentee Relationships in 2019
Mentors provide clarity and a roadmap to success. But, you need to find someone who’s right for you. This is a person who will challenge your ways of thinking. They’ll provide actionable advice and hold you accountable.
More importantly, they’ll celebrate your wins because they’re invested in your success. It’s a reflection of their mentorship.
So don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Take a look at this article if you're still not sure how to ask for help: How to Ask for Help When You Feel Silly to Do So
3. Learn to Delegate
The world’s most successful people all have one thing in common: They recognize where their strength lies, and that’s where they focus their energies. Everything else gets delegated.
Richard Branson once said,
“The art of delegation is one of the key skills that any entrepreneur must master.”
This couldn’t be more relevant to our lives than now. A report by Xero found that 77 percent of business owners experience burnout,((Small Business Trend: Work Burnout Poses Problem for Small Business Owners, Per Xero Survey
)) and Gallup’s 2018 report stated that 44 percent of employees feel burned out sometimes.((Gallup: Employee Burnout, Part 1: The 5 Main Causes
How can you do what you do best when you’re physically and mentally at your worst?
Learning to let go is tough, but 80 percent out the drawer is better than 100 percent in the drawer. It takes a team to build a profitable business. Whether you’re the owner or an aspiring leader, you need to understand that your team will help you to achieve your goals far quicker than you could ever do on your own.
That’s why you need to surround yourself with people you trust, and those who can work autonomously.
Here's a guide to help you learn how to delegate: How to Delegate Work Effectively (Step-By-Step Guide)
4. Embrace Failure
Don’t be fearful of making mistakes. The truth is, you will fail at some point on your road to success. In fact, you might fail many times. But failure is not an indicator of your capabilities, it’s just another learning experience.
No one likes to fail. But if we never experienced the lows that come with losing or making a mistake, would we really appreciate and celebrate our successes?
The most successful people are risk-takers, and with that, comes failure
. But this doesn’t stop them from chasing their goals.
When things go wrong, don’t try to sweep it under the rug and act like it never happened. Ask questions and figure out what was missing and what you could’ve done differently. This type of thinking leads to success.
So, embrace your mistakes. Own them, but more importantly, learn from them.
5. Invest in Yourself
Always strive to be a better version of yourself. That’s why you should never stop learning.
Be tenacious. Say yes to opportunities that come your way, whether it’s a free online course, a networking event, a webinar, or a chance to engage with a well-known mentor, jump at these opportunities.
You’ll meet people who can help to further your career or grow your business. Remember, they’ve been where you are. Some have achieved success, and some are still on the road to success, but they can all help you.
6. Formulate a Plan of Action
Now that you know what success looks like to you, how are you going to achieve it? What’s your plan of action?
Write it down. A study found that people who wrote down their goals were 33 percent more successful in achieving them.((Dominican Edu: Goals Research Summary
Once you’ve clearly defined what your roadmap to success
looks like, put it up on your wall. Take a moment each day to review your goals and tick off those you’ve already achieved. This will help to motivate you and keep you committed to the dream.
Don’t be afraid to alter your plan. You may decide after a few months that your goals have changed. That’s okay. Just make sure that you adapt your plan to reflect these changes.
7. Never Give Up
How badly do you want it?
Yes, the road to success is paved with failure. You will experience setbacks. This is completely normal. If it were smooth sailing, everyone would be highly successful. And then, who would we have to aspire to be?
I’ve found that persistence and consistency are the keys to achieving success. I’ve watched brilliant individuals fail because they gave up too soon. I’ve also known people with little to no talent achieve massive success because they had grit. They were determined to make it work, and every setback was just another lesson on their path to success.
If you really want to be successful, then you need to be relentless in your pursuit of success. Celebrate every win. They all matter.
Learn more about how to stay motivated during difficult times here: Giving up Is Not an Option! How to Not Give up and Stay Motivated
The Bottom Line
You can’t begin to chart your road to success without knowing what it is you’re chasing. Define this first. Write it down and review it. Be clear about what you believe it will take to achieve your goals. Then ask yourself, What am I capable of achieving on my own? Where do I need help? Am I willing to make sacrifices? Am I willing to fail? Do I need to invest in a mentorship program?
When you have clarity about where you’re going, and what you need to do to get there, you have a clear plan of action. Be consistent in taking actionable steps each day, and you will be well on your way to success.
More About Achieving Success