How to set yourself up for success

There’s no secret sauce for building a successful business, project, or career.

Yet, we often try to take a shortcut. Sometimes, we think a shortcut is a person who can get us results. Sometimes, it’s a gamble. We bet on something wishing for an outcome. Some other times, we take the easiest decision possible because we don’t want to deal with uncertainty or failure.

And when things don’t go as we expect, well, that’s the time when we start blaming everything and everyone around us. This creates a dangerous and vicious cycle that leads to bad morale, negativism, low confidence, and trust.

Very difficult to break…

Let’s face it. Success doesn’t come by luck, trick, or by taking a shortcut.

Yes, we can get some sort of satisfaction or early wins that way, but this doesn’t last long and doesn’t mean we’re setting up ourselves for long-term success.

Real and long-term results don’t happen by chance.

In my experience working with leaders, success comes from a combination of five big things:

1. Hard-working and dedication

It takes time and effort to get big results. Sometimes more than we think, and this could be frustrating. But it pays off.

Hard-working is a combination of dedication, commitment, perseverance, and resilience. Much easier to do when we have specific goals to achieve that can keep us on track and motivated.

2. Focus and priority setting

We can keep spending our time in firefighting 24/7 or getting distracted by whatever is happening around us. This is easy to do. It doesn’t require any stretch.

Or, we can be diligent and extremely focused on what really matters in our professional life right now. Any of us have many ideas, goals, initiatives, tasks, often competing. But if we look more carefully at what we have on our plate, very few things are helping to move the needle towards our goals.

3. A positive and growth mindset

There is no way to keep a high level of energy, pace, and motivation without a positive mindset. These days, it’s super difficult. We are bombarded and bogged down by all media with negativity, hate, fear.

I took the decision years ago to stop listening and watching the media as I realised my level of energy and motivation was getting low. This has been one of the best decisions I have ever taken.

Besides, there is no chance to improve our results if we don’t improve our way of thinking. Complex business decisions or projects do require a stretch which won’t be possible if we don’t have a growth mindset.

4. Testing, learning, adapting

When uncertainty increases, what worked before is often not working anymore. We are forced to test and experiment with new things and ways to work, but we can’t do it if we’re not ready to learn, adapt, and pivot.

This is when a growth mindset comes in, but in general, we have to be ready to embrace new, change, different ways to get results. Unfortunately, I still see a lot of resistance in doing that.

5. Good habits and systems

Finally, good and high-performance habits and routines are vital to get big results. These are our anchors but sometimes we forget about their importance.

We think we don’t really need them, or we can be accommodating.

But if our habits are not helping, they probably harming. Time to change them then.

Also, I’m a big believer in having systems in both personal and professional lives. James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits” book said: “Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.”

I did realise too that my results really improved with the systems I followed.

All of these five elements are necessary to be successful. None of them can be eliminated.

As we can create the conditions for our own success, we’re always in control of our results.

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