13 Life and Career Success Tips

Recently, I saw an article in SUCCESS entitled, “Mental Muscle: Successful People Don’t Do These Things.”  While I agree with the 13 points in the article, I’m not a big fan of telling people what not to do.  In my coaching work, I focus on helping them learn what to do on their road to success.

Here is my redo of the 13 points in the Mental Muscle article.

  1. Make your time count. Bounce back quickly from failures and setbacks.  Focus on where you’re going, not what happened in the past.
  2. Choose how you react to situations. Remember, no one can “make you mad, or sad, or feel bad about yourself.”  You are a human being with free will.  You get to choose how you feel, and what you do.
  3. Embrace change. It’s a given.  The world changes quickly.  Successful people change with it.  They see change as opportunity.
  4. Focus on what you can control. The Serenity Prayer says it well.  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
  5. You can’t control how other people feel about you. Trying to please everybody is a losing proposition.  The old Ricky Nelson song, Garden Party, sums it up pretty well.  “it’s all right now.  I’ve learned my lesson well.  You can’t please everyone.  You’ve got to please yourself.  This is not say that you should ignore the feelings of others, just put yours first.
  6. Be willing to take well thought out risks. Stretch yourself.  Get out of your comfort zone.  But remember, the important words in this piece of advice are, “well thought out.”
  7. Focus on what you are becoming, not what you were. Stay present and future oriented.  The past is past, and there’s nothing you can do about it – except to learn from it.
  8. Learn from your mistakes. I once had a boss who said, “You’ll never make the same mistake with me three times.  I’ll treat the first as a learning experience, and the second as a firing offense.”  I don’t think she would have been that tough, but the message was clear – learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat them.
  9. Be happy for other people’s success. This is true even if you’ve been in competition with them for a job or a promotion.  See what you can learn from others’ success.  Avoid becoming resentful and bitter.  Compare yourself only with yourself.  Get better – as a person and a professional – every day.
  10. Be persistent. Keep trying.  Success is a marathon, not a sprint.  Keep Edison’s quote about inventing the light bulb in mind, “I haven’t failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
  11. Take some time for yourself every day. Be quiet and centered.  Review the events of the day and our progress towards your success.  What worked? What didn’t?  Think about what you need to do tomorrow and the days to come.
  12. Give with no expectations of return. Avoid keeping score.  Do things for others without expecting them to return the favor.  You’ll build good karma.  Things will come back to you in unexpected ways.
  13. Be in it for the long run. Work on continuously improving yourself.  Mark Cuban, of “Shark Tank” fame says it quite well. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail.  You only have to be right once, and then everyone will tell you that you are an overnight success.”

Put these 13 ideas to work, and you’ll be on the road to the life and career success you want and deserve.

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  1. Great article Bud, I’ve been a reader of your success quotes through email over the years and have kept quite a few close to me as I traverse the highway which is our lives and careers. I am one who has changed careers once because of setback and once because of just a feeling of stagnation in career (although I haven’t been in the workforce that long). I am now a new father on paternity leave, a well regarded front end web developer at my company trying to become a full stack developer, and am now again thinking about how I can better myself and push myself to the next level as I’m on leave (although trying to give my son all the attention he rightly deserves). I had on my calendar to be a self sufficient developer totally independent by the summer of this year yet I’m still a bit junior in skill (doing this for 3 years now). I’m very happy everyday along with a pinch of fear at what tomorrow holds for me and my family. All I need is the comfort that I am enjoying what I do and can support my family. With all these changes, I’m not quite there yet but this article gives me a great read to refocus and to remember how far I’ve come, thanks Bud.

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