Successful People Start Fast and Finish Strong

Commitment to taking personal responsibility for your personal and professional success is one of the keys to career and life success that is part of my Common Sense Success System.  I also discuss it in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS, and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.

If you want to succeed, you must commit to three things.  First, you must take personal responsibility for your success.  Only you can make you a success.  You need to be willing to do the things necessary to succeed.  Second, you must set high goals — and then do whatever it takes to achieve them.   Third, stuff happens; as you go through life you will encounter many problems and setbacks.  You need to react positively to the negative stuff and move forward toward your goals.

Tomorrow is December 1.  There is one more month left in 2009.  I’m a big believer in finishing strong.  December is a month to finish strong.  Finishing strong will help you complete your 2009 goals and give you some momentum as you enter 2010.  I work hard all year; but I always work the hardest in December and January.  I work hard in December to finish strong and in January to start fast.

Over the weekend, I came across two quotes that go to the heart of taking personal responsibility for finishing strong and starting fast.  The first quote comes from Jerry Rice, an NFL Hall of Fame player and the man who scored more touchdowns than any other player in the history of the league.

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

The second quote comes from Orison Swett Marden, the founder of the original version of SUCCESS Magazine.

“A strong, successful man is not the victim of his environment.  He creates favorable conditions.  His own inherent force and energy compel things to turn out as he desires.”

I really like this quote.  And, if you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I am a big fan of the current incarnation of SUCCESS Magazine.  I read it cover to cover every month as soon as I receive it.  Cathy really likes it too.  If you’re not a subscriber, give yourself a holiday present and subscribe.  In his Publisher’s Letter this month, Darren Hardy makes another great point about taking personal responsibility for your success…

“Make sure your calendar represents the priorities you claim to be most important in life.”

Let’s go back and look at these three quotes; Jerry Rice first.

Jerry Rice was famous for his devotion to physical fitness.  His workouts were legendary.  Every day he did what others wouldn’t so he was able to beat them on the field on Sunday.  What are you willing to do that others won’t?  The answer to this question is your slight edge in business and in life.

Orison Marden suggests that we triumph over our environment by choosing to how we respond to the things that happen to us.  As I’ve pointed out many times, stuff happens; good stuff, bad stuff, frustrating stuff, hopeful stuff.  And, the stuff that happens isn’t important.  How we respond to it is.  You create your own “favorable conditions” by choosing to react positively to the negative stuff that happens to you.

Finally, Darren Hardy provides concrete advice on how to commit to taking personal responsibility for your life and career – get the important stuff on your calendar.  This is great advice.  Things are difficult to ignore when they’re on your calendar.  I enter “publish blog” on my calendar every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Each of these days the first thing I see when I log on to Outlook is a message that says “publish blog.”  This helps me focus on one of my most important tasks – publishing this blog.  It helps me do something that others won’t and helps me control my environment by doing something positive first thing every day.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people commit to taking personal responsibility for their lives and careers.  You demonstrate your commitment to taking personal responsibility when you do three things.  1) You do the little things that others won’t.  2) You choose to respond positively to the people and events in your life.  3) You make sure your calendar reflects your career and life priorities.  If you do these three things, you’ll not only be taking personal responsibility for your life and career, you’ll finish strong in 2009 and start fast in 2010.

That’s my take on finishing strong in 2009 and starting fast in 2010.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to comment on this post, sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. You’ve really summed up the entrepreneurial spirit. I like your quote, “Make sure your calendar represents the priorities you claim to be most important in life.” To be a truly successful business leader one needs to understand the importance of embracing the humanity of the business world.

  2. Thanks BJ:
    You’re right — the world would be a better place if we all embraced our humanity.

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