What makes some people successful while others struggle all their lives without accomplishing their dreams?
Is it money? Connections? Luck?
Or sheer hard work? Steel determination? An unshakable belief in yourself?
All of these things help. But one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that the people who succeed don’t wait for the perfect moment or the perfect opportunity. They create them.
Every day, they take actions that set them up for success. When you do these things, you’re well on your way to achieving your goals and making your dreams come true.
I know, because these are the exacts steps I took when I decided to take the plunge and move to London to become a professional writer and blogger.
And while I can’t say I’m the most successful person in my field just yet, I’ve ticked off quite a few dreams off my bucket list, am pursuing bigger ones and living the life I’ve always wanted to live.
And so, as you’re embarking on your journey, I want to share with you the 9 steps you can take to set yourself up for success too and make sure you’re doing everything in your power to achieve your dreams:
1. DREAM BIG
If your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough. Setting a goal that’s within your reach, that has no chance of failure, is a waste of time. You’re gonna get stuck in your comfort zone, do the same things you’ve always did, maybe get a small bonus at work at the end of the year for your good track record. Is that what you really want? The world is your oyster. Set goals that make your adrenaline rush, fill your soul with fire and excitement and that challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and show the world what you’re capable of. Those are the dreams worth pursuing.
2. Start Small
Dream big, start small. If you want to start your own business, hiring a team of 10 employees and renting a store on the high street may be out of your budget yet. But you can start a shop on Etsy or try dropshipping. If you want to become a singer, start singing in your local clubs. If you’d like to start a blog, choose a name and buy the domain. Whatever your goal is, start with the smallest step you can take. Then the next one. And the next one. Dreams don’t come true on their own. Consistent action, day in and day out, is what makes them come alive.
3. Believe In Yourself
When it comes to achieving your goals, believing in yourself is half the battle. When your Inner Mean Girl is running the show and making you feel like you’re not good/pretty/smart/talented/whatever enough to turn your dream into a reality, you’re not going to take even the smallest step forward. Do whatever you need to do to shut her up. Surround herself with positive people who believe in you. Listen to podcasts that motivate and empower you. Click that unfollow button on your social media channels. Hang inspiring prints on your walls. Soon, you’ll see your mindset start to change for the positive and you’ll start believing you can do it too. You can.
4. Work Hard, Play Hard
It’s incredible how much you can do when you quit the excuses and the distractions. Like the Facebook black hole. Cat videos on youtube. Netflix marathons on Friday afternoons. You can gain several hours a week just by ditching those distractions. Use them to do the work that really matters, the work the moves the needle and propels you closer to the dreams. And once work is done, rest. Have a bubble bath. Go for a walk. Read a book. Hang out with a friend. This isn’t about using all your free time to work. It’s about using your time wisely. Ask yourself, does watching cat videos on Youtube helps me get closer to my goals? Nope. Does a bubble bath do it? Yes. Procrastination isn’t self-care. Ditch the first but always find time for the latter.
5. Go The Extra Mile
This may sound harsh but doing your job (and doing it well) won’t get you far in life. Your boss expects you to do what he’s paying you for at the best of your abilities, your clients expect you to deliver what you said you would in the contract and your customers expect you to give them exactly what they’ve ordered in the time frame you stated. If your job is all you do, you’ll never stand out from the crowd and get that promotion or grow your business. Instead, always go the extra mile. Do something no one else does, like sending your customers a handwritten thank you note with every order, finish the work in half the time or add a freebie they don’t expect. Your dedication and excellence will get you noticed.
6. Get Organised
I’m all for an organized mess if that’s what works for you but if you’re constantly missing deadlines, double booking meetings or filling your days with small tasks that don’t move the needle forward, it’s time to sort the mess out. Figure out what the most important things you need to do every day are and put them in your calendar. Add meeting and important dates there as soon as you arrange them. Use spreadsheets to keep track of your finances. Coloured folders to keep your files organized. Bring notebooks with you so you can jot down new ideas as soon as they pop into your brain or important business notes during meetings. You’ll be amazed by how much more you can achieve just by keeping your affairs in order.
7. Gather Your Squad
The myth of the self-made man (or woman) is just that – a myth. No one has ever accomplished anything alone. Successful people have a support system around them. Friends who believe in them. Families who support them. Assistants who help them stay organized. Employees who help them run their businesses. Accountants who deal with their finances. Bosses who give them an opportunity to prove themselves. It’s ok to start as an one person team but make sure you’ve got friends and families around you who can encourage you to keep going when times are tough and celebrate your successes with you. And as you grow, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help whenever you need it. Success is a team job.
As an introvert, I struggle with networking a lot. I’m generally shy and reserved and don’t like walking into a room full of strangers. Yet some of the best opportunities I got came from putting myself out of my comfort zone, getting out of my shell and meeting new people. It’s true what they say: it’s not just what you know, it’s also who you know. As I said above, success is a team job and networking is one of the best way to find the right team members to help you get to the next level. So don’t be afraid to get out there. Talk to anyone. You never know who can help you. Maybe that shy lady standing next to the cocktail bar is an amazing copywriter who can help you convey your message to the right audience or that classy man in a suit knows just the right manufacturer for your product. Just be genuine. Connect to people you like and could be friends with. Help them first. That’s how you build a good network you can rely on (and find plenty of new friends, too).
9. Be Kind
I know this is a given but too many people get caught up in bitching, gossiping and backstabbing. Trying to steal someone else’s job, sabotaging your competition or simply bitching about a colleague at an event may make for good TV but in real life, it never pays off. The truth always come out and it won’t put you in a good light. Besides, if you’re too occupied paying attention to what everyone else is doing, you won’t have time to do your job to the best of your abilities. If you’re always passed over for a promotion or some exciting opportunity, this could very well be why. Don’t do it. Be kind to everyone you meet. Treat others with compassion and respect. It’ll bring you much farther in life than any bitching and backstabbing ever could.
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Over to you, now. What steps do you think are essential for success? Share them in the comments below.