As we find ourselves in a decade of opportunity, the ambition to be successful intensifies. Aspiring entrepreneurs spend an abundance of time studying the world’s most successful individuals, attempting to define what separates the winners from the losers. While reading self-help materials can often inspire us, it can also lead us to despair as we often compare ourselves with others. Juxtaposed with successful business owners, it’s easy to believe that we lack the qualities needed to succeed: knowledge, creativity, talent… the list can go on and on. The truth is, however, that the most successful people are inspired by the most ordinary beliefs: they believe in their perseverance, their determination, and most importantly, in themselves.
The key belief that inspires the most successful entrepreneurs is extremely simple, if not cliché: self-confidence. In order to be a leader, one must be able to inspire confidence in others. Until we believe in ourselves, it is difficult to expect others to believe in us. Extraordinary leadership requires taking risks. Self-confidence is what gives great leaders the courage needed to put themselves and their companies on the road to success. This, of course, should not be confused with over-confidence, as successful individuals highlight that humility is also a crucial quality. Practicing humility helps temper the negative aspects of narcissism, allowing positive ones, such as vision and boldness to emerge, enhancing the effectiveness of a leader. The solution is simple: find a healthy balance by basing confidence solely on competence, which can only be acquired through hard work, not by sheer self-belief.
Many successful leaders and entrepreneurs credit their success to good listening skills. Knowing how and when to listen is so important that many top employers provide their employees with listening skills training. This quality is considered to be the building block of success, and it is not surprising when you consider its benefits: improvement in customer satisfaction, greater productivity, a decrease in mistakes, and enhanced business relationships. After all, the best way to understand people and their needs is by listening to them empathetically. This may sound easy, but it doesn’t just mean listening to a person until they are done speaking. It is listening to what someone is saying without judging and expending mental focus on how we intend to respond while the other individual is still speaking. Physical attention, such as maintaining eye contact and turning towards the speaker is an engagement that strengthens relationships, as it is a sign of active listening skills and respect to different perspectives.
The old proverb that states “all good things come to those who wait” could not be more relevant than in a business sense. Being patient is crucial to those who want to achieve, as anything worthwhile takes time to grow and mature. Successful people do not expect to be compensated right away; they start working hard from the beginning and deliver great value when potential return is still out of sight. They believe that there is value in not expecting immediate results, simply because some things are worth holding on and waiting for. When victory is not guaranteed, they persist and are not afraid to take risks. Successes without defeat are rare; even the biggest names in business have succumbed to setbacks at one point or another. Bill Gates’ first company missed the mark, and Henry Ford’s first car company flopped, but both men believed in the same adage: keep trying until you succeed. Failure is also a good way to gauge how much you want something. If you quit after your first disappointment, it may be a sign that you don’t want it badly enough.
Do the Unexpected
The mantra of many successful individuals is a simple one: “go the extra mile.” This is something that many repeat, but never actually make use of. Adopting the habit of going an extra mile is what will essentially allow you to set yourself apart from the masses and establish the position of a courageous, self-reliant leader. It immediately shows initiative, attention to quality of work, and the commonly underrated, but very humane quality that is caring. Going the extra mile often means over-delivering and can be disheartening, especially when the fruits of your hard work are not yet visible. But eventually, persistently rendering your service to others will attract new opportunities and allow you to build mutually beneficial relationships with people.
Most successful individuals do not think of success as an idea, but rather as a state of mind.
Success is a subjective notion, if there ever was one. The inglorious road to it, however, is long and bumpy for everyone, and there are certain consistent qualities worth possessing. Most successful individuals do not think of success as an idea, but rather as a state of mind. Although success is relative to each person, the key to achieving success is the demeanor in which you go about living life and taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way. The commonalities that many accomplished people follow are the ones we hear of everyday but tend to neglect, believing that the key to achieving success must be more profound. The truth, however, is that these simple counsels have the power to inspire actions and are the ones that will ultimately awaken the successful individual within.