I sure do. As I look around, I see a client I could’ve have landed, a blog post I would’ve written, a product or service I should’ve landed.
That’s a lot of could’ve, would’ve, should’ve!
Let’s halt that pattern of regret and begin a new pattern. One that sounds more like success.
Why 5 Things?
I’m certainly not some success guru. However, as I look back on my successes I find some patterns. Each is often rooted in one or more of these activities.
Being the simple person I am, that leads me to the revelation that for more success…do them more.
1. Searching for Truth
Personally, I think this is the most important. People without a core philosophy or belief system are like ships without rudders–adrift. They don’t know where they’re going, what opportunity looks like, or with whom they can collaborate with best.
I urge you to have a daily routine that starts with you seeking that core belief system. I won’t define it for you, but I will urge you to seek and study a single defining philosophy that can drive you beyond yourself. Then test it. Is it truth?
Centering your day will make it easier to stay focused on only the most productive activities. You will know immediately what fits your philosophy.
(Personal side note: For me, that’s my Christian faith. I try my best to spend every morning studying my Bible. I have met others that define truth as Buddhism, Objectivism, etc. Truth is not for me to define for you, but it should always be sought and tested.)
2. Reading More
Curiosity always seems to be a common characteristic in successful people. Discovery and learning are fuel for innovation. And I can’t think of a more efficient way of discovering and learning new things than reading.
I stuff little gaps in my day with reading.
I scroll through my Google Reader almost as often as my email inbox. I subscribe to a small, power-packed group of email lists, I always have a couple of books I’m reading on the Kindle app, and I flip through my iPad Flipboard app as I watch TV.
3. Writing More
Writing is the synthesis of ideas and thoughts that your brain collects. Storing them in your head has only minimal impact. You might occasionally get to impress a few folks in a meeting with your flash of genius. But, think of the power of that same flash of genius that is written down–on your blog, in a slide presentation, or in your first book. That’s what we call a legacy.
It’s your idea, your contribution, your impact on others and it happens over and over and effects more and more people.
Are you looking to start a daily habit of writing? I was. Here’s what I did. [affiliate link]
4. Talking to People
You might notice that each of these is a bit of a medium versus a discrete activity. Actually, if you look deeper at the goal it seems I am driving you to seek truth through a process of discovery and learning. It can be little truths: “Is social media a necessary part of modern SEO?” Or, big truths: “Is there a supreme being?” It’s all the same productive pattern.
Talking to people is just another medium, but I think one of the richest and most productive. There’s something a little magical about sitting over a cup of coffee and drilling deep into questions and beliefs.
We recently gathered with a partner of ours for lunch and talked about social media, its role in digital marketing, and how it might change over time. Tons of ideas, thoughts, and opportunities will grow from that conversation.
5. Building Habits
I’m still reading Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business [affiliate link], but it’s already fascinating how we develop habits and how to harness the power more effectively. I certainly recommend it and I’m sure I will be talking more about it shortly.
Notwithstanding the insight Duhigg gives us into habits, the advantages to developing good habits is obvious.
Good eating habits, good exercise habits, good work habit…all lead to a more frictionless path to various goals. You begin to do to things effortlessly. It’s like a flywheel, once in motion it is hard to stop the momentum–1 mile becomes 3 miles, a 10K, a marathon, a life long obsession with running; a blog post becomes, an ebook, a book, a new life as a bestselling author.
Bonus: Building a Business
Building a Business is a big thing I see lots of people missing. It really is the only way to free yourself from the anxiety of the daily work grind.
I would guess that about 90% of the people in this world wake up everyday in fear of losing their job, not having enough money, not making the bosses latest deadline, or some other stress provided by the daily need to show value.
I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and startup a new business. However, you can (and should) start to think about you job like a business.
- How can you create a steady flow of new ideas?
- How can you grow a robust network of influencers?
- How can you extend your influence beyond your company?
- How can you create a platform and community you own?
Stop the rat race and start climbing a corporate ladder that’s bigger than your job.
What do you think you should be doing more of?