A day after Easter: Schools are closed; I decided to work from home to spend more time with my family. Proceeded with my routines for the morning – taking care of important emails and then, talking to peers about some networking events coming up this week via Chamber, Meetups, Incubators etc. I then found this book on my table (among all the mess) and buried myself deep into reading it – “The Accidental Billionaires The Founding of Facebook” by Ben Mezrich. A few chapters later, I ended up writing this article.
I have been fortunate enough to speak at colleges, giving talks on entrepreneurship and career prospects to students pursuing degrees in various subjects. I always enjoyed talking to the youth – the cream of every nation’s innovative brains, with a lot of ideas and aspirations.
Majority of the young minds are inquisitive around one aspect: How can I become successful and rich?
Success has a different meaning to each one of us, as our ultimate goals are different. As for me, success means having a decent life – a steady growth of my company, the joy of creating more employment opportunities in countries world over and spending peaceful, quality time with family would be ideal. For another person, success might show up as they achieve the point where they can own a yacht, a limited edition Rolls Royce, a private chopper, a $2M house or travel the seven seas… the list goes on. But believe me; it takes more than a miracle to achieve success overnight.
Few years ago, being one among the youth myself, I probably searched for cues among the journey of successful people when I watched movies like ‘Social Network’ (read books as well). Following the life of successful entrepreneurs, it became evident that they all have something in common, which is the focal point of this article.
It all starts with preparing to make yourself worthy of achieving your goals – to scale new heights in finances, enrich yourself with knowledge or simply put, to set yourself in the right path- the path towards success. Here are some ways to do it:
Learn… Learn… Learn (Everyday!)
Give your brains some food for thought, a new idea or concept every day. Learn from any good sources – books, TED Talks, journals, mentors etc. Try to learn 5 new words and their usage from a dictionary.
Thanks to being alive in the digital era, we have websites like Coursera, Udacity, Khan Academy, Simply Learn being gold mines with a lot of original content for you to learn every day. My personal suggestion would be to allocate one hour every day for ‘learning’, because Knowledge is power.
My current reads include “My Life” by President Bill Clinton, “7Habits of Highly Effective people” – by Stephen R. Covey, “Barbarians at the Gate” by Bryan Burrough/John Helyar and “MicroEconomics” by David Basanko. Access to books are easier and cheaper, thanks to Kindle. It becomes more interesting if you have friends with similar tastes with whom you can exchange books plus partake in the joy of sharing.
Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people
Be it at work or otherwise, a company of good friends who can initiate healthy conversation and evoke positive thoughts will be fun as well as an energy boost for your day–to-day life.
I personally, make a conscious effort to keep myself away from people who spread negativity and whine constantly about everything in life. This was after I discovered that such never ending rants of negativities weren’t helping anyone, than affecting my mindset and productivity. It made sense to use the time spent to do something more useful.
Many people are reluctant do this – they are either lazy for it or have not yet discovered its significance. It is similar to setting out on a journey without a destination – you get stalled at too many distractions before you realize you’ve lost track of the finish line.
It makes sense to set yourself definite goals – better, write it down or print and paste it on your wall, to have it well within sight. Further, read the goals and plans every morning – it will motivate you to work harder and move ahead with determination. The first step to do this is to ask yourself, ‘What do I have to achieve in the next 10 years of my life’?
When I started my first business in India, I did plan out the direction of my upcoming global company, the countries it would set foot and define milestones for setting up operations in each. As years advanced, some of the plans sure had to be tweaked depending on market conditions, economy etc, but the goals remain well in sight, keeping me focused all the times.
Once you have written down what you need to achieve in the next 10 years, break it down to smaller periods of years, months and weeks. For eg: If you want to see yourself in a cozy, $1M house by October 2019, you need to plan ahead on ways to improve your credit scores, work on ways to increase income, start research on how much you need to save monthly now to have the deposit amount ready, maybe talk to a financial planner and thereafter, to your real estate agent.
If you setup goals and never plan on the ways to achieve them, then your goals would dwell in your mind or on paper, forever. A “no strategy” approach will never materialize your dreams.
Exercise and stay fit
Exercise every day or at least 5 days a week. Do a jog for 30minutes or simply take a stroll down the streets or park for an hour with your family and dog. The ultimate purpose is not to attain six packs (added bonus, if you do) but to relax and enjoy the small things in life with a healthy diet. And of course, laugh out more!!!
Learn the art of delegation at work
I have noticed that this is something people holding important positions in organizations forget to exercise. It might seem safer to have everything run through you, but in reality you are neither helping yourself nor your boss or your team. Chances are, you might end up getting more frustrated, start hating work and most importantly your team will be dependent on you with their skills stagnant and their lack of exposure to situations impeding the growth of the organization. Always delegate and elevate tasks – it is the smartest thing to do, for the good of everyone involved.
You do not need to be an entrepreneur or business owner to indulge in serious networking. You do not need to be present at each and every events and meetups around your city. The least you can do is to use the Rule of 10: 10 phone calls, 10 texts and 10 emails every day (to different peoples, we’re not talking of spamming here). Your recipient may range from an old colleague to a teacher to someone you met at a networking event and so on. The plus point of this is that “People know People” and blessed is he who knows the right people. I have had more successful ‘turn of events’ in marketing and business when I randomly rang up an old friend to say “Hi”.
And of course, participate in local meetups, chamber events, BNI local chapter, blog your thoughts, create webinars, speak out at gatherings, make some videos or share valuable insights on social networks.
Write a Journal
Keep a journal or diary and squeeze in a few minutes every day to update it. It would be a good exercise to summarize your day and achievements, to ensure there is traction on your plans. This also helps to keep track and measure the effectiveness of your plans and to further tweak them, if need be. For eg: If your initial plan was to get something in 1 year, but you have achieved it in 7months, you did a great job and can now move forward at increased pace. Your journal will help you understand what exactly made the process faster – may be a particular new acquaintance helped you land a dream job? 🙂
Never Fear Failure
Never ever fear failure or stop working on your goals. People who made it really big have all failed at least once, for the record. Failure only indicates that you tried something different from everyone else. If you happen to fail, of course, you need to do the fire-fighting to take care of important things, but later, spare ample time to analyze why it happened. A good friend might be of help to brainstorm on the ‘Whys’ which will finally help you figure out the reasons.
I have done many, many mistakes in business which put me in really bad positions in the past, but I took it as my learning curve. Interestingly, I hardly learn from other people’s mistakes, but can better relate my life to books I have read, which has often helped.
p.s: Making mistakes are a way to learn but remember, repeating the same mistakes over and over, is not.
Want more Motivation?
Have a look at this excellent graphic created by Anna vital about how Elon Musk, the brain behind Tesla started http://fundersandfounders.com/how-elon-musk-started/
Comments or Criticism are welcome !!!!