Success traditionally involves the attainment of wealth, fame, power or some other form of achievement that is held in esteem by a group of individuals. Each individual describes success differently. Some individuals define success based on their career, familial success, or other form of measurement. Others define success by a measurement that only a small percentage of individuals may achieve in life. Depending on your definition, there are several suggestions upon how to attain the ever elusive successful lifestyle.
Determine Your Personality Type
Before you decide upon your particular definition of success, determine your personality type. There are several ways to determine the type of personality a person possesses. One of the most effective tools is the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test (MBTI). The MBTI assessment was based upon a principle developed by Carl G. Jung in the 1920s. This personality test assesses a person’s strengths and weaknesses. A person who completes the test will determine their personality traits in four categories. The four categories are as follows:
Introvert (I) or Extrovert (E)
This describes how a person gains their daily energy. A person who relies on an internal locus of control or receives their energy from within is an introvert. A person who constantly desires and feels energized from being around people is an extrovert. Extroverts love to know a lot of people. Introverts prefer to know a few people well.
Sensing (S) or Intuitive (I)
People who prefer only factual information are more of the sensing type. These people are very pragmatic. Individuals who like to look at the facts and extrapolate meaning are intuitive type people. These people “read between the lines” and make correlations that sensing types may not recognize.
Feeling (F) or Thinking (T)
Feeling type personalities prefer to examine people and their situations before examining the facts. Feeling people prefer harmonious situations and behave with tact. Thinking people prefer to examine the facts aside from people’s situations. These types of people seek logical explanations and are task oriented.
Judgmental (J) or Perceiving (P)
Judging type personalities like for decisions to be made quickly and judiciously. These people like deadlines and complete tasks on schedule. Perceiving type individuals prefer to remain open for new ideas and options before making a decision. They work in spurts and often do not adhere to schedules.
From this test 16 different personality types emerge. The combinations of personality types are listed below:
Knowing your personality will help you determine your potential for achieving the success that you desire. Each personality type is no better than the other. It is merely an indicator of the type of person that you are. Some personality types do lend themselves to producing more celebrities, famous, and wealthy people than others. However, nearly every personality type has successful individuals in the group. The manner in which the success is obtained differs from group to group.
Once you have the test results in hand, place them to the side and proceed to the next step.
Determine Your Definition for Success
Think of the attributes of a person whose life you deem successful. List their professions on a sheet of paper or computer. Common examples of other people’s ideas of success consist of the following:
• Becoming a Celebrity
• Becoming a Political Figure or World Leader
• Attaining a College, Graduate, or Professional Degree
• Becoming a Millionaire
• Winning a Gold Medal
• Getting Married and Becoming a Successful Parent
• Becoming an Author
• Starting a Business
• Starting a Non-Profit to Save Children or Feed the Hungry
List the attributes that allowed these people to attain these levels of success. Attributes of these successful individuals may include the following:
• Ability to Withstand Pressure
Examine your life and determine if you have similar attributes. If some of the components of success match your personality, then list instances in your life that have allowed you to obtain a form of achievement from that particular attribute. If there are concrete examples from a person’s life that you deem successful, compare the achievement with the individual. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Are their attributes and achievements similar to yours?
• What attributes does this person have that you do not?
• Do they have special circumstances in their lives that would preclude them to being more successful than you?
• Do you admire the person?
• Would you be willing to make the sacrifices they made to achieve their level of success?
• What steps must you take to achieve their level of success?
Compare Your Personality Type to Your Desired Career
Answer the questions listed above honestly to make a clear assessment of whether or not the profession is one that is suitable for your personality type. A person, for instance, may want to achieve wealth, but are not willing to make similar sacrifices of time or other sacrifices that may be associated with the position. Do not waste time pursuing a goal that you will eventually find that you do not love or will not perform on a daily basis.
Do not allow someone to discourage you from achieving your goal. If you are interested in a particular industry, there may be alternative ways to gain exposure while still earning a living. Individuals should remain realistic. A person, who is 4 foot, 9 inches, may not be deemed runway model material. However, this should not discourage the individual from the industry, if they are truly interested. There may be other ways for this person to become involved. The person may focus on becoming a hand model, headshot model or a foot model. The person may decide to become a talent scout or recruiter.
Do not become discouraged by the negative comments. There will be many naysayers along the route to success. The key is putting on the blinders and ignoring their comments. Do not disregard any negative comments. Listen and take any constructive criticism. Then, take the good advice and discard the bad. Believe in yourself first, have confidence and eventually others will also have confidence in you as well.
Habits of Successful People
There is no one formula for achieving success. Some individuals achieved success by inheriting money. Other individuals started from nothing and worked hard to attain success. Other people take a more traditional path of going to college and climbing the corporate ladder. Regardless of your path, your must remain focused. Listed below are some of the suggestions made by successful individuals who have attained success:
• Surround yourself with other successful people. Mary Kay produced several millionaires base upon this particular belief. While this may be an effective strategy, most people do not attain their wealth simply by befriending only successful people. Often a person’s biggest supporter may be individuals who feel inspired by a person’s work, but perhaps are not wealthy themselves.
• Think positively about yourself and your accomplishments. Individuals who believe they will achieve a particular goal will often recite positive aspirations to themselves daily. This positive energy will allow them to accomplish the goals desired to achieve.
• According to Steven Covey, individuals should maintain an “internal locus of control.” Being driven from within, helps business people remain focused when naysayers hurl negative comments.
• Be grateful and thankful for the people who have helped you along the way.
• Always help others. Some individuals can achieve success with very few contributors, aside from their fans. Most of those people are either inventors or authors. Those types of individuals need very little support aside from supporters purchasing their products. Celebrities, however, need more support. They can rarely become successful without being supportive of other individuals.
• Be persistent.
• Welcome constructive criticism and learn from your mistakes.
• Establish a support group of individuals who will support you, if you become discouraged.
Set Goals to Achieve Success
Set goals to achieve your definition of success. Goals should be “specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-sensitive”, according to the acronym, SMART.
A person who desires to start a non-profit organization, for example, may begin by establishing the scope of the non-profit. A person may allow themselves 2 to 4 weeks to complete this task. Secondly, they may research how to obtain 501(c)(3) status. This goal may take 1 week for research and another week to apply. After obtaining the 501(c)(3), they may do further research to raise capital for the organization. This process may take longer. Depending upon the grant source, the process may take 3 to 6 months. After receiving the funds, the person will appropriate the funds as set forth in their particular plan. Each of the goals must be achieved within a given time frame. Each goal can either be marked as complete or incomplete.
In this example, the person did not attempt to start a non-profit and raise funds in one day. The process took several weeks or several months depending upon the person’s resources. The goals set in this particular example were realistic and attainable.
Goals, along with timelines, will help the individual pace themselves for achievement. If the goals are not met by a certain time frame, examine the reasons why the goals were not met.
• Were the goals not met because of extenuating circumstances?
• Were your goals unrealistic?
• Is the economy bad?
• Are funders not interested in your particular project?
• Is the idea too progressive for the individuals who are appropriating funds?
• Was your proposal poorly written?
• Did you lose focus?
• Did you remain on task?
• Were you persistent?
• Did you follow up with the appropriate individuals?
• Did you delegate tasks where necessary?
Setting goals and delegating tasks will allow you to remain on task at all times.
Some success stories do not include goal setting and other structure that we may associate with other success stories. Inventors or chemists who “discover” a cure or a product may happen upon something simply by doing something they love to do. Louis Pasteur wrote that “chance favors the prepared mind.” Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin accidentally. He was prepared to recognize the discovery when it occurred. He went into the lab daily pursuing other goals and accidentally, discovered a medicine greater than the ideas he set to achieve in his daily tasks. Always be open and prepared to receive a pleasant idea or discovery.
Individuals, who do what they love, will be more apt to do it every day without regard to time. Unfortunately, doing what you love may not pay the bills in the meantime. Therefore, it is important to find work that will allow you to meet your financial obligations while pursuing your goals. The two may be synonymous. However, many times, the two are not synonymous. Some individuals may not mind acting as your benefactor while you pursue your dreams. Others may view supporting an unemployed person as a burden. Do not overstep your boundaries. Doing what you love does not have to be synonymous with “starving.”
Implement Your Goals
Possessing a piece of paper with a list of goals is a wonderful idea. However, unless those goals are put into action, then it is just simply a plan. Each day, take steps towards achieving your goals whether large or small. In order to remain encouraged, reward yourself if you complete your daily task list. The reward may be something small, but remember to do it each day to remain motivated. For example, a person who completed all of their tasks, for a specified period of time may reward themselves with a new item, such as a movie, pedicure or facial.
Each person should be aware of their motivators for accomplishing certain items. Some individuals are motivated by money. Others are motivated by fame or attainment of material items. Some are motivated by relaxation. Motivators depend entirely upon the person’s personality. Use these motivators to encourage completion of certain goals.
How to Maintain a Budget while Achieving Your Goals
Those who are not independently wealthy may need to establish a budget while working their way to success.
• Determine the minimal amount of money needed to maintain food, water, shelter, transportation, health, vacation, and sanity.
• Attempt to locate a source of income to provide those basic necessities.
• Save as much money as possible.
• Limit the amount of debt accumulated while pursuing your goals.
• Save for medical expenses. If you can afford health insurance, obtain it. Medical procedures are expensive and may cost more in the long run, if you are not able to obtain medical insurance.
• Start a retirement plan. If you are unable to work, due to age, disability or illness, have some money that will allow you to live while receiving these procedures.
• Do not spend an exorbitant amount of money on food, liquor, cigarettes, or other vices that may or may not help you achieve your goal. Some will argue that beer and cigarettes allow them to maintain sanity, while working towards their goals. However, both items are fairly expensive and disposable. Therefore, manage the amount of money budgeted for these items.
Remain Committed to Your Goals/Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Becoming successful is like a relay marathon race. Some people are more effective in the starting position of the relay and other people are stronger in the anchor position. Some people can successfully accomplish both. Those individuals, who are strong at the beginning of the race, may lose momentum after the initial tasks are completed. Some individuals may have difficulty getting started, but may finish strong at the end of the race. Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you are aware that you have difficulty getting started, solicit help for the beginning of your journey to success. By contrast, if you are running out of steam near the end, solicit help from supportive individuals who will not steal your ideas.
Pace yourself, on your journey to success. Take sufficient breaks to avoid fatigue and feelings of defeat. The road to success may be smooth for some people and rocky for others. Your journey depends upon the profession you pursue and the number of hurdles to overcome on the road to success. Remain focused when faced with defeat. Overcoming adversity may be beneficial in your success or business venture.
Most people are familiar with the story of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates starting a business in the garage of their home. They had very little money, but they were driven and had a dream to become successful. Who would have thought that someone could become wealthy of animation and theme parks? However, Walt Disney’s dreams and desires inspired others to dream. He built his wealth inspiring others to innovate and imagine what was possible.
Beware of Poachers
Individuals often say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” However, those individuals who “flatter” or “poach” your ideas are not just flattering you. They are becoming successful at your expense. At that level, it becomes more about competition and mockery.
Keep these types of individuals away from you while you are striving towards success. Some people are successful at stealing ideas in manners that cannot be prosecuted. Know your legal rights to safeguard proprietary information. Always confer with an attorney on these matters. This will help you avoid any unpleasant lawsuits. Many individuals will take an idea from you simply because they can develop it faster than you. If you are aware of such individuals, you may want to develop a strategy to make money from their jealousy and ill will. This is preferable to losing your idea and income to a competitor disguised as a friend or supporter.
Self Help Books
There are many books that individuals may read in order to assist them on their path to success. In the past, some of the more popular books included the following:
• What Color is Your Parachute?
• 7 Daily Habits of Highly Successful People
• Rich Dad, Poor Dad
• Biographies of Famous Individuals
• Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth
• I Dare You!
• Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success
• How to Win Friends and Influence People
• Think and Grow Rich
• Who Will Cry When You Die?
Hiring a life coach may also be a strategy to assist you in your path to success. Life coaches may administer tests, such as the Myers-Briggs test. They will evaluate your results and help you develop a strategy for becoming the person that you desire.
For instance, a life coach may have a client who has the personality type of ENFJ. This person may be outgoing and very driven. They may have a desire to obtain wealth by becoming more involved with people rather than items. Extroverted people thrive in large crowds and are energized from being around people the majority of the time. A life coach may advise the person to capitalize on this trait by pursuing a profession that involves people.
Life coaches should help the person develop goals and keep the person on task to meeting and obtaining those goals. The life coach provides structure, resources, advice, and support when needed. This person should be licensed and trained in coaching in order to be reputable. The person may be paid a flat fee or by the session depending upon the person’s needs.
Many individuals coach others naturally. Therefore, it may be a natural progression to obtain a license. Know a person’s rate of success before hiring the individual. The person may have inspired one person, but not another person. Request an interview with the coach prior to hiring them. Ask for references. Most life coaches will have quotes from clients who benefitted from their services. Read the comments and decide if the life coach fits your particular goals and needs. A life coach that makes you feel uncomfortable will not inspire you to achieve the goals that you have set.