Teaching My Sons Has Also Taught Me
As my sons were finishing their freshman year of college, they were really trying to focus on what their major and career path were going to be. During that time, I began reflecting on some practical advice I could give them to help them be successful. It’s funny how I can apply so much that happens with my kids to my own life, because the advice I gave them can completely apply to my business as well.
As I’m watching them go through different stages of their life, I have truly found that I’m learning so much about myself in the process. Being sensitive to their situation has helped me apply those lessons to my life, and I’d like to share those with you as well.
So, what are some telltale signs of successful people? What college student doesn’t want to look to the future and know what will make them successful? And what adult isn’t striving to be better and more successful? By thinking hard about this, I have been able to come up with four “secrets” of successful people.
Success Is Not Always Tied to IQ
Do you listen to Ted Talks? I love it. I love learning and listening to others who aren’t necessarily like me, but who I can learn from. One particular Ted Talk found that having a high IQ is not always equivalent to success. If you stop and think of the most book-smart person you know, ask yourself, is he or she also the most successful? I’d bet some of your most successful friends weren’t necessarily the most “book-smart” back in their day.
To support this theory, the speaker from Ted Talks did a study with several groups – cadets that entered the military, inner city school teachers, students who were going to be in a spelling bee, and sales people. The goal was to see in one year what percentage would stick with what they set out to do. They found it had nothing to do with physical fitness, looks, social intelligence, or IQ – the ones that stuck with it were the ones that had passion and persevered. They had grit and stuck it out no matter how many times they failed, and they were willing to fail and pick themselves back up. Now, I’m not saying not to study or not to try to better your intelligence – I told my sons that their first job is always as a student – but just keep in mind that it’s not your IQ that makes you successful, it’s your perseverance.
Be a Master at 10,000 Hours
I have also found that people who are most successful strive to put in as much practice as they can – or, as the saying goes, 10,000 hours of practice. I told my sons this about choosing their major and career path – your success in the future will be tied to how many hours of practice you put into your craft. Think about Michael Jordan for a second – how many baskets do you think he has thrown in his lifetime? How many times do Olympic gymnasts practice their bar routine? How many times do figure skaters rehearse their jumps and flips?
The same is true for business. If I am going to do a presentation or a training call where I’m putting myself out there, you better believe I’ll be striving for the 10,000 hours of practice and rehearsing it over and over. Before I make sales pitches or try to sell a new product, I’m putting in the time to learn everything I can about it and practice answering any and all possible questions my customers may have. Being a master at 10,000 hours will truly help you achieve success.
Be Able to Succeed at Failing
Would you ever think that failing can actually lead to success? Probably not, but look at it this way…failing means you learned something, and learning means you improve! Every time you fail, it just means you will learn from it and get better next time.
You’re going to make mistakes and fail along the way, and that’s ok – pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and know you will improve next time. We can’t always be on top of the mountain, and we achieve the best growth when we fail and learn something from it.
Find a Mentor or Accountability Partner
I’ve told my sons many times how important it is to pay attention to who is in their social circle. Similarly, in your business, you will not be successful surrounding yourself with people who will just give you the answers you want to hear. You want someone who will challenge you, question your actions, hold you accountable, and strategize with you. I use an accountability partner in all aspects of my life and business. Together we set goals and mentor each other on ways to achieve them. We also offer constructive criticism to each other and aren’t afraid to call the other out and speak freely and offer suggestions on ways to improve.
By now you should know how I like to apply my favorite quotes and sayings to my posts. This particular quote speaks to this topic so well…“If you want to go fast, then go alone…but if you want to go far, then go together.” This is such a great reminder to pick somebody to mentor you…link arms and go slow, but most importantly, go together. It’s not always about the speed; sometimes it’s better to take the time to learn with somebody.
Now Go Be Successful!
Hopefully these tips will help you achieve the success you are looking for, whether it be in school, your business, or any other aspect of your life. If you’ve ever watched Ted Talks or any other similar podcasts about learning, let me know. I am a sponge and love learning new things. Also, leave me a comment below if you have any other thoughts on what has made YOU successful!