Welcome back to the last in our 6-part series focusing on what it takes to succeed in selling. By now, if you have been following us through parts 1 to 5 you will already have taken action on the first 20 traits of successful people and should already be seeing signs of improvement in yourself. The key is, as I have stated over those last 5 blogs, keep taking action on those 20 whilst implementing actions on the remaining 6 traits below.
- ENJOYMENT – without exception all of the successful people I have met, researched or worked with love doing what they do … they really enjoy it! In 2003, the Gallup organisation conducted a survey which revealed that a staggering 80% of employees they surveyed were dissatisfied or actively disengaged in their work! A staggering statistic that confirms an essential part of being successful and achieving what you want is to enjoy doing it. As Bill Gates said, “I work hard because I love my work.” For me personally, probably the saddest part of the Gallup survey findings is that we all have a choice of what we do for a living, so why choose to do something tedious?
Consider what you do, identify what you like about it and do more of it wherever possible. Then identify what you dislike about it and work to change/improve it. Can some of those tasks be altered to become something more enjoyable? If not find a way of assigning targets for completing those disliked tasks (giving a sense of achievement) and/or a reward. This will eventually make those things more bearable at least and at best, it could even make them enjoyable. Remember it isn’t always possible to have solely tasks that you love to do – it is possible though to get to the stage where the majority give you an adrenalin and/or pleasure rush. Finally with regards to this, if you can’t bring yourself to enjoy a task, if it really is odious consider delegating it. After all, delegation is not just the prerogative of management. It may well be that a task you don’t enjoy is preferred by someone else who will, as a result, do it better than you can.
- SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT – the ability to recognise achievement is also important in being successful. After all, we are completing the circle when we recognise success we’ve had after having set the goal and taken the necessary action to see it through. Sense of achievement though is more than a brief celebration that a task we had set has been realised, it is motivation that can serve us to take on the next challenge, to stretch ourselves again. Each time we allow ourselves to recognise (and celebrate) achievement we grow in confidence. Not allowing ourselves that recognition we often affect our confidence and self-esteem unknowingly.
Whenever you have a successful outcome in the coming days, weeks and months write it down. Soon, you’ll see your list grow. Simply reviewing your list regularly will build your confidence and that in turn will help you achieve more success using the sense of achievement and the motivation this trait brings.
- TAKE OWNERSHIP – every successful person takes ownership of the tasks they undertake. There is no passing the buck, of blaming circumstances, friends or colleagues for a bad result. Instead they know that they are in control and as such they affect their outcomes with every decision they make; and they know that control is the key. Many people shirk responsibility, only too happy to let someone else take the headaches and stress, and they end up having to follow someone else’s rules (too often begrudgingly so). Successful people don’t let other people make their decisions for them. Nor do they get the headaches or experience the stress; rather they enjoy the challenge, enjoy being stretched and know that if a successful outcome is reached it is produced as a direct result of their decisions. A successful outcome produces a strong sense of achievement (the greater the challenge, the greater the sense of achievement) and they know an unsuccessful outcome is simply the result of decisions that could have been made better. Evaluation of a bad result leads to better knowledge and ability to do the task the next time around as well as being able to transfer their skills to future challenges.
List down some of the tasks you may have been slow to take responsibility for, or haven’t taken on at all. Commit a date to take action on these and identify the first steps you will take to see them move forward. Decide how they will move through to completion and monitor and evaluate your progress along the way.
- TIME MANAGEMENT– probably one of the most difficult areas to master about being successful is the skill of time management. I know through my studies (being a terrible ‘natural’ time manager myself) that there are many books and seminars that profess to have the answer of how to make the most of your time and yet the best piece of advice I have ever come across can be summed up in only a few words. The words are designed to be asked of yourself, on a regular basis with your goals in mind and they are in the form of a simple question: “Is what I am doing important?” In other words, do you really need to do it or not? Too often we spend our days and weeks chasing our tails, trying to please all sorts of people at all times, trying to do too many things and can too often fall short of most of them. Too often, we confuse being busy with achieving; yet the two are completely different. Successful people have a presence of mind, fixed around their goals to concentrate their efforts on the things that ensure they constantly move closer to achieving what they want. They have a brutal clarity of thought that doesn’t spare unimportant tasks from being tossed aside, no matter how pleasant or enjoyable they may be. You need to be the same if you truly want to succeed.
In an earlier blog in this series I wrote about defining and committing to achieving your goals and the correct use of your time is an important element in your being able to achieve them. List the things you have to do over this next day or week, take a look at your goals and simply highlight the things you know will help you move closer to achieving them. Don’t worry about the rest yet (although you may be surprised to see how many of these there are on your list). Then focus on the things that will produce results, prioritise them (in the order that will produce the most result, or the fastest as you prefer) and then ensure you commit time in your schedule to do them. Initially, you may find yourself having to complete tasks in your rest and relaxation time – no matter what – make sure you do it. Even at the risk of being more tired initially the sense of achievement will make it worthwhile. Then, review what you’re doing with your working hours and start to weed out unproductive, ‘busy’ tasks to allow the productive ones to create your desired results. Do this for one month and see the difference in your results, motivation and personal effectiveness.
- PASSION – earlier in this blog I wrote about the importance of loving what you do. Here we go a stage further in as much that successful people are passionate about what they do and they show it at all times. Amongst the dictionary definitions of passion are; eagerness, fire, heat, intensity, desire and lust. It’s about doing what you do to the highest degree of obsession and fascination and never switching off from it, even when you are supposedly resting!
To find out how passionate you are about what you do then simply record yourself doing it. Then play it back; see and listen what you do and how you do it. Is there a sense of urgency, of desire to make things happen or do you sound only keen at best? Ask your colleagues and customers how they perceive you. Should you find you’re not getting your message across the way you would like to then you are probably holding back. Let go and enjoy yourself.
- OPEN TO HELP / KNOWLEDGE / SUPPORT – the final trait we’ll cover is one I have seen in every case that I have studied and experienced of the successful people I base this series on. And surprisingly, it has little to do with their own ability to achieve in as much that they have all invariably recognised they couldn’t do it on their own. In every case they had help. Colleagues, customers, friends and family all played an important part in their success and one of their skills was to recognise this, listen to and consider their input and decide to use it or over-ride it. Too often, we can feel obligated that we must come up with the ideas (at one end of the scale) or become too dependant upon others (at the other, which inevitably surrenders any control of our outcomes). Remember to be steadfast in your opinions once you have considered all of the appropriate viewpoints and information at your disposal and at all costs avoid procrastination (a major killer of effective time management as discussed earlier). Even Richard Branson needs help! When starting the Virgin Atlantic airline he employed the services of Sir Freddie Laker, whose Sky Train service had fought and lost the trans-Atlantic battle with British Airways. Sir Richard has publicly acknowledged Laker was a key factor in being able to establish Virgin’s competitive service and helped see it through early challenges it faced.
Over the next days, weeks and months look at the tasks and projects you are working on. Identify those where help would be of benefit, where part of the task may be delegated or you could benefit from information someone else has already gathered and see how you can enlist help from the best sources. To conclude this trait, and the series, I will finish briefly with the story of Henry Ford who, when he was in court, suing a Chicago newspaper who had commented that he was ‘an ignorant pacifist’ was put on the stand by the opposing lawyers to prove that he really didn’t know everything about everything. Ford was asked a series of general knowledge questions which he really couldn’t answer until his patience snapped. Ford told the court that he had no need to clutter his mind with answers to general knowledge questions that were useless to him, nor his specialised field of work as he employed people who could give him any necessary information he needed as and when he required it. He called this his Mastermind group and I would advise that you develop one of your own.
Work on these traits over the next days and weeks and all 26 on a continuous basis to make you more successful. As ever, I wish you every continued success!
(Note: If you have been applying these traits over the last 5 blogs, let us know what benefits and results you have seen by commenting on this article.)