The secrets of successful people

IN LIFE there are always people who seem to take that extra step above the rest of the pack to be extraordinary. They are the movers, the shakers, and the people who dream and take action to turn their dreams into reality.

The stories of success are there to motivate us:

• The rags to riches story of JK Rowling once “as poor as it is possible to be in England without being homeless” now riding the success of her stories of Harry Potter, the boy wizard and his friends.

• Billionaire Howard Schultz who was raised in a social housing project in Brooklyn, New York, before discovering and becoming CEO and chairman of Starbucks.

• Ralph Lauren, born to Jewish immigrants, grew up in the Bronx, New York — his passion was fashion design but he found his designs continually rejected.

“The world is not ready for Ralph Lauren,” the owner of the tie company he first worked at once told him.

• Do Won Chang, the founder of clothing retail store Forever 21, migrated to the US where, according to Forbes, he had to work three jobs as a janitor, a coffee shop attendant and pumping gas stations to make ends meet before opening the first store.

• Sara Blakely, who at the age of 29 invested her $5000 life savings to develop Spanx, was named the world’s youngest, self-made female billionaire by Forbes Magazine and one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People.

Spanx shapewear founder Sara Blakely showing off her underwear at the 2012 TIME 100 gala. Picture: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Spanx shapewear founder Sara Blakely showing off her underwear at the 2012 TIME 100 gala. Picture: AP Photo/Evan AgostiniSource:AP

So what do they do differently? What sets them apart? What drives the motivation and the energy to keep following the dream no matter the challenges along the way? Here are seven tips to drive your own success:

1. FIND YOUR PASSION

You absolutely have to love what you do to have a sense of being and a mission. The only judgment that matters is the one you have of yourself so decide what is it that you are going to stand for, what your testament is to the world, what difference you want to make today to influence the lives of others around you. When you have a sense of clarity and purpose for yourself and your life, when you are clear on your ‘why’, you can then begin the journey to achieve what you desire from your life, business or profession.

2. MAINTAIN YOUR ENERGY

Today, now more than ever, the role of a leader or manager has never been so demanding. Think about it — 24/7 communication, international and domestic travel, cross functional working, endless office meetings, conference calls, smaller teams, increased workload etc. Energy is critical to success. If you love what you do, you will have high energy. Passion and energy are identical twins that drive momentum.

Designer Ralph Lauren clearly loves what he does, and has the energy at 76 to stay actively involved in his business. Picture: AFP Photo / Emmanuel Dunand.

Designer Ralph Lauren clearly loves what he does, and has the energy at 76 to stay actively involved in his business. Picture: AFP Photo / Emmanuel Dunand.Source:AFP

3. ATTITUDE IS KEY

The one thing you can control is you and your attitude to success. That is yours and yours alone. Understand what makes up your value system and own it. Live it. Work it. If you don’t start leading from within, taking control to acknowledge your own values and beliefs and the person that you are on the inside, you will never be capable of being the better person on the outside.

This system is unique to you and it is your responsibility to take ownership. There are times when it will be challenged or when you will give in to other’s values — and you will look back and kick yourself and wish you had trusted your intuition. That intuition, that gut feeling — don’t ever mistrust it. It is a key part of you, and you should learn that it is one of your best assets.

4. YOUR NETWORK SUPPORTS YOU

Your network drives you, lifts you, pushes you further and sees more in you than you can often see in yourself. Build your network and spend time with them. Learn from them. Listen to how they speak. Be open to advice and feedback. Have the courage to ask questions and seek advice.

5. INVEST IN LEARNING

As Jim Rohn said: “Formal education will make you a living; self education will make you a fortune”. To not invest in you is a waste of potential talent. The most successful individuals, the ‘five per cent’, read incessantly, continually increasing their knowledge base. Read, listen, learn and become an expert in your field. Learn, learn, learn.

6. FIND YOUR INNER PEACE

Successful people all have a solidity about them, a calmness, an ability to take on more than your average Joe and this stems from his or her inner peace. They are more self-aware, less stressed and let’s be honest — it’s far easier to get what you want when you can see the wood for the trees and the clarity of the decisions that need to be made.

7. SELF-CONFIDENCE IN YOU

It’s not about being strong but rather having the strength, confidence, determination and resilience to succeed, to ask the questions when you don’t know the answer, to have an opinion and to be confident enough for others not to agree, to put yourself out there, to face your fears and failures head-on, to course correct and keep going.

A positive, motivated attitude and taking ownership of your own journey are intertwined and part of any true success story. It allows you to take strength and learning from the times when you fail — and yes, you will fail; it allows you to turn the feeling of sometimes debilitating fear into useful adrenaline and a sense of excitement for the possible. It allows you to trust rather than doubt.

Just think about it. Say the words.

‘Yes I can’.

‘Yes I CAN!’

How does that feel? Believe in the possible rather than doubting, dwelling and living in the negative. Take a chance and embrace wholeheartedly what may be, rather than wasting energy imagining what cannot be. Success is an individual choice. Choose to live your own version of it.