"Success is easy to achieve. It is also easy not to achieve." - Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and motivational speaker.
The above quote may appear contradictory, but really isn’t - some people rise to the top, while others fade into the background. The difference? It’s all in the approach. Anyone can have lofty dreams, but actually realising them requires smart work. Hard work, time, and energy are just half of it, and can only get you so far if you don’t have the right methods.
To help make your efforts more worthwhile, here are 7 effective career success tips I learnt during my journey as an entrepreneur.
1. DEFINE YOUR OWN VERSION OF SUCCESS
Everyone has different ideas and expectations of what success is. Drown out all the excess noise, and define what success means to you as an individual - not what someone else tells you it is. After all, this is your journey to walk, so you are the best person to map out that path for yourself.
You will only know whether you are heading in the right direction when you have a personal benchmark in place. Do some soul-searching and find out what exactly it is you hope to achieve before embarking on your journey.
2. SET ACTIONABLE GOALS AND BE AS DETAILED AS POSSIBLE
Now that you have a better idea of the kind of success you are working towards, it is time to do some goal-setting. List down everything you are aiming towards and be as detailed as possible. Include the desired year of achievement, specific monetary amounts, and any other information that might be integral to the plan.
Need more convincing? Here’s the example of Bruce Lee - one of my biggest heroes in life as a martial arts enthusiast. Here’s what he wrote in the year 1969 before he shot to fame:
“I, Bruce Lee will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United states. In return I will give the most exciting performance and under the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970, I will achieve world fame from then onward till the end of 1980. I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness”
Well, guess what. He made it happen. Bruce Lee’s achievements are a carbon copy of what he had initially aimed for, and so much more.
3. KEEP YOUR GOALS IN CLEAR FOCUS
World-famous motivational guru Tony Robbins once did this exercise where he asked people to close their eyes and focus on only one colour for a while. After that, he asked them to open their eyes and search for items of the same colour in the surroundings. It was observed that people could identify a lot more items in the colors they focused on.
The power of goal setting is similar. It helps you focus on your goal for longer term success. The clearer your goals are, the more easily you’ll be able to focus on them - and the better your chance of achievement.
4. BE HUNGRY TO WIN
As heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman once said, “You have to be hungry”. That is the single most important quality one should have to become a winner. While hard work, determination, and enthusiasm are all important, the one thing that will get you to where you need to be is a burning desire to achieve your goal, no matter how difficult it is.
He speaks this from experience. During his peak, he was seen as invincible in his field - but in a twist of fate, he got defeated by Muhammad Ali, who was then considered an underdog. This disappointed Foreman so badly that he quit boxing for 10 years and became an Evangelist, eventually landing himself in heavy debt despite the fortune he had earned during his boxing career.A
At one point, he was so grossly overweight by 315lbs and no one thought he would ever have a chance in boxing again. But with strong commitment and indomitable determination, he made his comeback as the oldest heavyweight champion at the age of 45, and continued till he was 50.
5. KNOW THE PURPOSE OF YOUR GOAL
How successful you will become depends very much on the way you think - this is something I have learnt from the top success gurus out there. Though I was initially skeptical of the concept, I eventually grew to appreciate and believe in it as I began applying it to my own life.
Goal-setting is the critical first step, but your goals also need a purpose. Make sure you can answer these questions:
- Why do you need this goal?
- Why is it important to you?
- How will achieving all your goals make you feel?
- Can you visualise your success?
Perhaps you are unhappy with your current situation, and are thus obsessed with a strong need to change. Maybe you just wish to prove something to yourself. Whatever the case is, you need to feel that this goal is something you must achieve no matter what.
Write down your answers to the questions above and, better yet, draw pictures of them as a visual representation. Have this pasted up at home or at your workplace where you can see it daily - here’s where your subconscious mind will work its magic to help you identify opportunities and solutions to challenges that come your way.
[FREE self-assessment exercises for goal setting below!]
Click the link below to kickstart your goal mapping! An example and template of an action plan are also provided to guide you along.
6. MAKE USE OF PLATEAUS TO FURTHER YOUR LEARNING
Experiencing a sense of discouragement at times is inevitable, but having a positive attitude and being adaptive will tide you through tough times. If, after a seemingly endless job search, you are offered a position that does not meet your original expectations or fit your background, why not take it as a chance to acquire valuable skills that you otherwise may not be able to learn?
What may seem like a sidestep can in fact serve as a stepping stone to future success, if you will let it. Do not despair if you are facing tough challenges. Remember to make use of every available opportunity for continuous improvement and self-development.
There are many people who complain about a lack of opportunities. The reality is, if you believe that to be true, you are probably right. If you think there is no hope in starting a business in a depressed market, you will also be right. In many respects, you become what you think you will be.
Bonus: Know your key strengths and explore how you can apply them to the prevailing market needs. The secret is to identify the pain points of your potential employers or clients, and map out a strategy on how you can possibly solve their problems.
7. BE WILLING TO ADAPT IN UNFAMILIAR SITUATIONS
“Be water my friend.”
One of my favorite quotes from Bruce Lee: "You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put water into a tea cup, it becomes the tea cup. Water can flow or it can crash."
In essence, he is saying that like water, you need to be flexible and adapt to confront all types of situations, especially the unfamiliar and unpredictable. Do not let yourself be restricted by your usual form of combat, i.e. the same working style that remains within your comfort zone.