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Principles of Success – Failure breeds Success (11)

Failure breeds SUCCESS; keep trying, learn constantly, don’t take yourself too seriously, and improve daily; be fearless

Similar to last week, when I first heard of a growth mindset, I thought of another management fad. Of course it isn’t, but the growth mindset goes in line with self consciousness and EQ.

When you start monitoring your impact on your environment and see how people react towards you, you can adjust your behaviour. You are starting to learn from mistakes and see what works.

That is true of course with any mistake. If you make a mistake, the key thing is to learn from it. People used to be afraid of mistakes and I often joke to my staff that I never make mistakes. Then I stop and see how they react. I then clarify that I am not serious, as even managers make mistakes. And that is important to admit, because we all fail. A silly email, the wrong wording, the wrong people on the thread, or even something more serious, the wrong amount in the campaign set up….it happens to the best of us. Lack of sleep or not concentrating, distracted by noise or hayfever….the reason doesn’t matter.

Important is only one thing. You have to move on. Learn from every step you take, and learn from every interaction and from every mistake, small or big. Try to avoid the same mistake twice, to improve on a continuous basis.

In line with that the advice given by my guests were to ‘not take yourself to seriously’ which I think was Pascal Finette who mentioned it first. The other one: be fearless, or ‘see it, do it’. Yes, just go for it. Try to achieve the unachievable, and if you fail, get up again and try again. Now you are wiser, try again and again, until you are successful. Because at the end of the day, you will be succeeding.

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Principles of Success – Emotional Intelligence (10)

Emotional Intelligence, self-consciousness, and awareness of others are key traits of SUCCESSFUL leaders.

Key to success is definitely being self aware. How do you react to others? How do you lead others? How are you perceived by others? How do you perceive others?

All those questions are simply answered by being self aware. The more modern word is Emotional Intelligence. When I studied my MBA many years ago, I did a research paper on EQ and my conclusion: it is a management fad. That and the habits of 7 effective people have been frowned upon by our studies. However, nowadays I am a lot more relaxed about management fads and wouldn’t even consider them as fads any longer.

For me it is important that you take away what you need from those books. The seven habits are great and when I first read that book in the late 90ies, it helped me a lot to understand what the key principles of success are. And so does EQ. Whilst you don’t get more out of the theory by reading more books, a good book on EQ will help you to understand and being more self aware of your situation. Whether that is at work or at home. It is about how you respond to situations and how you come across.

In all honesty, when I did my master practitioner in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), I learned how to look at myself from a 3rd perspective. Imagine you are having a conversation and look at the conversation from the corner of the ceiling. Like a surveillance camera. Now look at your body language, and how the other person reacts to your comments. Also, look at how you react, what are you signalling.

These are the small and simple things that make you successful. Just being aware of your surrounding and how you interact with them. Simple. You will just never get to the top if you are not accepted by the people around you, and you will never be respected if you come across as a bully for instance. So be emotional aware, self conscious and make sure to adopt and change according to the situation you are in.

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Principles of Success – Journaling and Meditation (9)

Journaling and meditation lead to a balanced mind and reflection fostering SUCCESS.

The last principle touched on routines. Part of my routine is to meditate for 15 minutes every day. I have been doing that for over 3 years. But did you notice what my podcast guests are telling me?

From deep breathing, cold showers, reading novels to martial arts. A relaxation routine, a meditative habit. However you want to call it, meditation and regular relaxation will help you to transform your mind and the way you deal with things. You learn how to control your thoughts. Loads of research has shown how the brain changes over time to cope better, concentration goes up and you are more ready to handle unexpected things that come your way.

There is scientific research suggesting a lot of good things re meditation. I personally find that by concentrating on nothing and reflecting on things, and yes sometimes my mind still wanders, but that’s ok too. What matters with any routine, and that includes meditation, it needs to work for you. If your meditation is a long walk with your partner at the weekend, or taking the dog for a walk, so be it. That’s right for you.

People often underestimate that everyone is different. I believe it is important to set time aside on a daily business to calm your mind, to reflect and to make sure you are able to cope with a lot of input; because inputs are accelerating. More emails, more demands, more of everything. Information overload, less time, too much work. So just be sure to find a way on how to cope with it, relax your brain and train your brain to be ready for it. Mediation is a wonderful thing to achieve just that.

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Principles of Success – Routines and Habits (8)

Routines and habits are key to help with focus and therefore support SUCCESS.

This is one of my most favourite principles, and I have been banging on about it since the launch of my productivity book. Forming a habit and successful daily routine will help you mastering your work flow and make your life simply easier.

Let’s use Mark Zuckerberg’s or Steve Job’s routine as an example: they both wear the same cloths every day. They never opened their wardrobe in the morning thinking ‘which shirt to wear’. By taking small decisions out of your life, you simplify your life. If you don’t know how to fit in a gym routine or journaling or book writing routine when you are up against it at work, and too tired at night, take my approach: the 5am routine.

Yes, I have been talking about it for a while, my alarm goes off at 5am, and I exercise, meditate and set myself up for the day. That is my time before the kids wake up, before the wife gets up and by the time I have breakfast, I have already had my first wins: I took care of myself. On the flip side I don’t watch rubbish TV at night and go to bed by 10 pm latest, ensuring I get a sufficient 7 hours sleep.

And there are other routines and habits you might already have. When going on a business trip I routinely pack the things I need and prepare the night before….a check list in your head or on paper. Any pilot has a check list and without it they wouldn’t take off. Simple quality control. I have one for when I take the kids to school, to ensure I don’t forget their lunch box or put sunscreen on.

Then there is a journaling routine. Spencer Gallagher talked about it, how he regularly journals. And I do too. Every night I fill in my gratitude journal, reflecting on the good things of the day and things I learned. It’s those small habits that make you go a bit further, reflect a bit more consciously and let’s you win a bit more than the competition out there.

What is your routine and what do you think gives you the extra edge?

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Principles of Success – Values and Standards (7)

High standards and values for yourself and others build a basis for SUCCESS.

Maybe not surprising for some, but I was a bit surprised when revisiting all the notes from my podcast recording to find a pattern I wasn’t aware of before. Most people I interviewed had high standards for themselves, and they defined values for themselves and others to live by.

Whether it is high work ethics, gender equality, emotional intelligence or helping others – there are traits that are presented by most successful leaders. I believe Sophie Newton was very self aware and explicit in terms of the values she had, and how she lives by them every day.

When living with high standards, you often have to accept that others cannot live up to them. Something I learned early in my career. Whilst I think something might be right and the right thing to do, others might disagree. And that is ok too. Not everyone can live to my values and standards. Over the years I learned that having high standards and measuring up to them is important, it is like not letting your guard down, no matter what comes your way. You measure yourself constantly. You will make sure you keep up the good work.

And then there are values you define for organisations. Jim Brigden talked about values they set out for his companies, coming from the people who worked from him. Those values are measurement tools too and ensure people are happy where they are if they identify themselves with those values and everyone living by them.

But it is also that balance to let go, to not act too stringent on violation of your standards the values you have, whilst always bearing them in mind and helping you to do the best work you can do.

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Principles of Success – Visualisation and Success (6)

Visualisation of what you want to achieve and focus on creates SUCCESS.

It was Spencer Gallagher who first mentioned visualisation. He came from humble beginnings and kept visualising how things would be better in the future. They would be and he never forgot where he was coming from.

I have experienced similar for myself, and in the wider personal development community, this principle is well recognised, that thoughts and pictures create who you will become. The Secret is the most famous application of it all.

From Mahatma Gandhi to Jim Rohn, Darren Hardy to Anthony Robbins. Most personal development trainers suggest to stop your inner voice that tells you that you will fail. They say to turn up the positive thinking and develop a growth mindset. That is what it is. You start with the voices in your head, and this might sound quite peculiar at first, that tell you that you cannot achieve something, and ignore them or turn them off.

Leading from positive self talk and a can-do attitude, you start visualising how to achieve success. You amplify the positive voices. What would it mean for you to be successful, what would it look like? How does it feel? Over 15 years ago I learned a re-framing exercise in my NLP Master Practitioner which taught me how to make the picture of a negative outcome small and black and white in your head, even make it go away; on the other hand, you increased the positive pictures, the colourful positive outcome in your head. Focus on the positives, very simple.

But for success you can go further. You can visualise what success might look like. A lot of sports people use visualisation to play better and improve their skills. There is a study suggesting that in order to program the subconscious brain for success, you actually achieve success. Visualising that you score the goal in the premier league final or that you win the Grand Slam. Whatever it is, concentrate and visualise the positive things and the successes. You will get there. Believe.

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Principles of Success – Balance is key to Success (5)

SUCCESS isn’t created by business itself; a balance in life with family and hobbies is key; happiness is an important factor closely aligned with SUCCESS.

I touched on that in the previous principle. Happiness is closely related to success, and my humble opinion is that without a partner and maybe children, or a healthy family that balances work, success in work alone is not worth it. But that might just be my perception.

It is a bit of a bold statement of course. And how you define family is down to you, and whether you want to or would like to have kids. I wasn’t sure for a long time but couldn’t wish for anything else but my two boys, my wife and us sharing experience and life together. You can read more on this blog in my weekly Sunday Column.

However, if you aren’t lucky enough to have family, you need a hobby. This is something I realised very late in life, because my focus was always on work and family. There wasn’t much room for other interests, particularly as my wife never allowed me to get a motor cycle 😉 Yet the key is to find something you enjoy outside work. Maybe you play golf, or hike, build car models or exercise. It is important to have a focus outside work. Ideally it is family plus a hobby.

The reasons are simple. Life is there to be enjoyed and being happy. And most people are happy when they spend time with family and friends, relax, chill out and have fun or create experiences with others. So if your sole focus is work and career, and if you are success driven, there is a danger to get stuck in that rut. So instead one should ensure to have a balanced life to relax from work and get a different perspective at least.

Research has shown that people who have a happy and satisfied life outside work are actually better at their day job, circling ever so much higher into the orbit. Just switching off your phone and not checking emails after work is a win/win situation for both work and life!

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Principles of Success – Luck and Serendipity (4)

SUCCESS has to do with luck and serendipity; the right place, right time is almost as important as the right idea, right support.

The fourth principle is about luck and serendepity. Being at the right place right time. Of course, and we discussed that in the first principle, the idea and the environment for the idea, as well as resources, are key of becoming successful.

However, and most podcast guests mentioned that they never set off to be successful. Life just happened to them as it happens to you and me. What I mean by that is that you make a decision in your life to join a start up. Or to take some time off to go back to university. Or you read the paper in your local take away and find a job ad. Whatever it is, you end up somewhere due to a portion of luck that catapults your rocket in a slightly different direction, to a higher orbit.

This could be anything from meeting the right mentors, being pushed in the right direction, finding that one job, or making one choice over another. And sometimes we don’t even realise it until we reflect on it years from now.

I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and the future will always be better than the past. What that means for me is that every redundancy, every change in job, every change in personal circumstance happens for a reason. It helps me catapult myself into a different orbit and when looking back to earth, I realise that I needed that extra push or change of direction.

For myself, I believe that I only started my career, I am just over a decade into it. It is the next 5 years that determine my orbit height and my priorities and the bond I establish with my children. From my point of view success isn’t all about work but also about children and legacy. And here we are looking at the same principles of luck and serendipity. Finding a partner, having healthy children and a place to settle. All that is down to luck as much as it is to calculation, some things you just cannot influence or plan.

So trusting in the greater universe and making sure you believe that you will end up where you meant to be, being able to make a difference and meet the right person. That’s part of success.

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Principles of Success – Success is a Journey (3)

SUCCESS is a journey that never finishes; giving, creating and improving situations creates SUCCESS

The third principle of success is all about success being a journey. I believe it was clear from the beginning with the interviews of Brian Fitzpatrick and Caspar Schlickum, that we realised that success isn’t an achievement where you stop. Often Success is perceived by the people surrounding you, and defined by society to a large extend. However, if people look at you and think you are successful, you are often just on your way to where you want to be.

I personally believe you can compare a career to a rocket flight. You need a few years and a lot of energy to get off the ground. Once you are off the ground, trajectory sets in and catapults you where you meant to be. On that trajectory path people will think you are successful, however you are just on your journey to the moon or mars or you might not even know where you are going yet.

And as a successful entrepreneur or individual you might look out of those little windows on your rocket and think that you haven’t come far yet, and nothing has changed for the past few years; however, you haven’t realised how you got higher into the orbit and closer to your goal. Yet the success is all about the journey you are on, and actually you might feel quite deflated when you reach the moon. What’s next?

That’s why most entrepreneurs don’t hang around the moon or the company that acquired their start up, but actually jump on the next rocket. The success is the journey not the destination. Enjoy it!

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Principles of Success – Make a difference (2)

SUCCESS is about improving the world around you, making a difference.

This is the second principle of success which I learned from my guests who I interviewed on Stories of Success, my podcast that examines habits of successful people. We already discussed the first principle which stated that success isn’t all about money, but about creating something.

Now leading on from there, we need to look at what we can create. If I can throw in a curveball here, if you have been watching Dragon’s Den in the UK, or similar shows across the globe, then you would have seen lots of entrepreneurs having ideas on how to improve the world and trying to raise money. A few of them are quirky ideas but you soon realise that the idea will never take off. Some entrepreneurs are looking to solve a problem that either doesn’t exist for the majority of people or that isn’t a problem in the first place.

However, and my revelation came when speaking to Gareth Davies about his motivation. I remember him saying ‘I wanted to make a difference in my industry and improve things from the way they were done before’. Essentially that meant that he knew there were problems to be solved, and that he thought he could improve it with his way of thinking and developing a new or improved solution. Needless to say he succeeded.

And those are the prime examples of success. Identifying an existing real problem and improving the existing solution and or finding a new solution to that problem. Cleaning the Oceans, helping agencies and brands to communicate, helping others post retirement and redundancy, helping homeless to think about the future, and so on. You have listened to my podcast of successful entrepreneurs and leaders that have shown you how it is done.

Making the world or the little bit of the world you are looking after a better place. Helping others and making the difference to society and entrepreneurship. That’s another part of the puzzle on how you create success.

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