7 Tips for Being Unusually Successful
by Kevin D. Crone
Life is unusual, so you need to be unusual to be successful! Just when everything seems normal – wham, stuff happens! Adversity raises its ugly head again! Why is that? I don’t think anyone knows for sure, but that seems to be the way it is. Success can be puzzling. If everyone experiences adversity, feels heartbreak, and experiences disappointment and despair, why is it that some attain different success levels?
Well, after 50 years of studying and experience in training, coaching, and consulting others in the field of success, I’ve concluded that one of the big differences is thinking! It isn’t the circumstances, as much as the way we think, that makes the difference. It’s particularly evident when we look at winners and see what they do after adversity hits them and when they realize they have to change. Yes, some people actually change by choice. Some don’t even know they have to change, and as a result just blame, justify and deny. Some know they should, but just don’t. How we respond is far more important than adversity itself.
Business and life is full of adversity and change. Because of this, controlling your thinking is the biggest challenge. How do you do it? Well, here are a few important principles:
1. Objectively review the conclusions you make about life
Maybe some are working against you. I used to ask some clients, “Are you sure that’s how it is or is that just the way you see it? What if it isn’t that way? Let’s examine some facts.” Instead of rushing to worrisome conclusions and adding our opinions to every fact, let’s see what’s going on logically, without emotion. Describe it, then ask yourself, “What do I need to do to change, get better, or adjust?” Successful people do that.
2. Talk to someone you admire and trust
When you are lost in the details of the trees of routine life, go find someone who can actually objectively see the forest. Yes, it’s hard to be objective about ourselves. I can’t remember a momentum changing event or time in my life when a mentor didn’t have something to do with it. Whether it was Stu Scott, Lee Straughan, Mike Norman, Gunnar Floryd , Kathie and Dave Mather, and many others that helped me to clarify what was going on and what I needed to do. I don’t think I was always the smartest guy but I was smart enough to listen to those who were. As I moved on in life and business, finding a great lawyer like Jim Marrelli, value-adding accountants like Robin Wydryck, helpful bankers, good financial advisors, a good health coach/Doctor like George Strobelle, a good naturopath, and fitness coach, all helped in charting the life and business I wanted. So, find some good people to listen and talk to.
3. Study those you admire, respect, and who are effective
What adversities did they overcome? What errors did they correct? What are they doing to win? Better yet – how do they think?
The key is to choose the best to learn from. When I was 28 I filled a book with data and input from my original mentors Bud Hogberg, Angie Spinazolla, Ray O’Bryant, Dr. Buddy Bonar, Dr. Jerry Simmons, Dr. Luvain Bue, and many others. I narrowed down my journal notes into things to do. It didn’t take long to build an organization that acted on our own advice and strategies. Within a couple years, we won the highest award in our world-wide industry network. The magic was listening and taking massive action.
4. Read and learn all you can
Expand the context of your role in your company by learning about the industry or field. What’s going on and changing in your field? What new lessons are being learned? Join other like-minded groups and associations, attend workshops, read industry news, etc. Above all, read classical success books over and over. The ones that had the most impact on me and millions of others are Dorothea Brandt’s “Wake Up and Live”, Dale Carnegie’s, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, Napoleon Hill’s, “Think and Grow Rich”, and George Clason’s, “The Richest Man in Babylon”. All these books inspire, motivate, and when applied, change lives. Today, hundreds of blogs are available. Choose just a few. Remember you’re not just studying success, you’re a player practicing to win.
5.Take courses – constantly expand your comfort zone
Needless to say, all the Dale Carnegie Courses stuck, unlike information-only courses. Take coaching. Mike Rothenberger, a marketing expert, gave us great detail on how to market, support and was a tremendous coach in our early growth years.
6. Most importantly, keep writing down what you learn and how it applies to you
Don’t let knowledge live in concepts. Always ask yourself what it means to you, your role, market etc. Create your own success book that answers what you’re going to do and how. Buy blank page books and fill them up. Writing things down has a genuine effect on your learning and commitment. The best book I remember authoring is, “The Little Black Book.” It was a blank book I filled in when I went around for 28 days and interviewed CEO’s from my client companies, I filled it in and trended what their challenges were, what they were dealing with, and what they didn’t know or realize. It was important to understand what they were trying to be in the marketplace and what did they want as a business? What could we offer that would support them?
Then I started a new book. It asked questions such as, what should our new offering look like, how should we be acting, what should we be doing, what should we be learning, what is our plan? Etc. After filling in those two books, with the help of my senior team, we really got into a new way to do business. It didn’t take long to come out of a terrible recession and double our business.
Some other books I filled in over time were about how to become and stay healthy, how to retire successfully, and how my family and I live a happy life.
7. Action is all there is
Once you see what you need to change, listen to those that can help, read and gather knowledge, take courses that stick, get coaching, write down what you’ve learned into your own books or journals, and then it becomes all about action. As I have said a zillion times – action is all there is. It’s amazing how many people over analyze, procrastinate, or just study and don’t act. Successful people act. It’s a matter of watching the details everyday, paying attention to what’s going on, making sure you’re doing the right things with your money, watching budgets, financial plans, building people, making family time, creating memorable times with people you care about, building relationships, and taking care of your health. All of this takes discipline.
Doing all these things every day takes discipline and makes you unusual. They don’t come naturally for many people. There are things others may not want to do. A lot of people do the normal stuff, react to circumstances and without realizing it, put success and everything at risk. Don’t let that happen to you. Be unusual and success is within your reach.
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
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