Read more LIFE features in the Sept./Oct. 2012 issue of Renew.
From the high-profile CEO to the prolific entrepreneur, the super successful seem to not only be doing it all, but doing it all with ease.
By Andrea Kasprzak
Ever wish you could tap into the ambitious mind of an overachiever for a day? What are they doing that you aren’t? According to some of the country’s top life coaches, the secret to serious success starts with some simple behavioral changes. We at Renew have compiled a list of 9 life-boosting career secrets.
Here are 9 Secrets of the Highly Successful:
1. Know Your Strengths. “Successful people are hyper-aware of what they are good at, and they tend to gravitate toward areas of strength,” says Julie Melillo, a Manhattan-based life coach who works with CEOs, traders and entrepreneurs. “Knowing what you excel at makes it easier to know where to spend your time. You separate yourself from the pack and rise to the top when you enjoy your work and discover something you’re great at doing. Working harder in a role that doesn’t showcase your strengths will keep you at the bottom of the competition.”
2. Continuously Build Your Business Network. Highly successful people view their business network as an asset to build for now and the future, says Donna Schilder, a Long Beach-based life coach. “When they meet new people in any situation, they ask for a business card and offer their own. They write notes on the back of the card to help them remember the contact and also note any possible business synergies and anything they promised to provide the person,” says Schilder. You may go this far, but the highly successful person goes further. “They don’t let the business cards pile up on their desk, collecting dust. They scan the business card into their business contact database, set up coffee or lunch with the person or send them a note. How far you go is all about who you know,” adds Schilder.
3. Reframe. According to life coach Tim Brownson, reframing is a powerful and vital tool for success. “Reframing is simply taking control of how you think about any given situation and seeing the good in the bad. It is not delusional or simply positive thinking because we never change the event itself, just the way we see it.”
4. Be Tenacious. Pick up any biography of a famous person and you won’t have to read far before you find examples of their persistence and tenacity. Successful people don’t quit at the first hurdle; they don’t accept the first “no” and they don’t listen to other people who can’t wait to tell them their idea is bound to fail.
5. Collaborate With Like-Minded People. You take on the qualities and behaviors of the people you spend your time with, so choose carefully. “Hang out with couch potatoes and you are less likely to be physically active. Hang out with complainers and you probably spend more time complaining than you realize,” says Laurel Vespi of Stone Circle Coaching. “Spend your time with people who are successful doing the things you want to do. You’ll get encouragement, support and inspiration to keep going forward.”
6. Feed Your Mind. Keeping your brain nourished with a consistent stream of new information can be essential for growth. “Continuous, life-long learning keeps your mind healthy, flexible, nimble and engaged,” says Schilder. “When you are exposed to many ideas, it stimulates you to find creative solutions to the dilemmas in your business and personal life.”
7. Write Down Your Goals. Seeing your goal written down makes a huge difference. “Try writing one new goal on an index card each week. If you just look at this card once a day it will help you stay focused,” says Melillo.
8. Get Some Sleep. Contrary to today’s 24/7 work philosophy, a good night’s rest could hold the keys to success. “Sleep. Regular bedtimes and regular wake times make for a more rested and alert you. It may sound boring, but new research links insomnia or inadequate sleep to weight gain, inattention and anxiety,” says life coach Michelle Woodward.
9. Take That Vacation. Millions of hours of vacation time go unused by employees around the world, which in turn could play a role in achieving long-term success says Woodward. “Vacations are important times to reconnect with self, with family, with friends. Plan a vacation today, and when you go leave the smart phone in your bag.” According to Woodward, staying unplugged for a while could benefit big time when you check back in. “Don’t obsessively check email, do conference calls or even check in. Check out. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes when you come back to work.”