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Have you ever wondered what sets the really, really successful people apart from the rest? Is it a mystery? Can it be learned?
The good news is that it can be learned, but many people are looking in the wrong places for success. They think it lies in the next big idea or opportunity. While ideas are important, and opportunities are certainly open doors which can lead to great success, research tells us something very clearly: success has much more to do with people’s patterns—who they are as a person—than it does with either coming up with a great idea or being presented with great opportunities. Both ideas and opportunities favor those who are prepared to take advantage of them.
So, the questions become How do we prepare? How do we become the person who can truly bring great ideas and opportunities to fruition?
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First, we have to know the reality of the playing field. If you take all of the research that has ever been done on being successful, or fruitful, it always comes down to two very specific areas: results and relationships.
Successful With Results
Results are what we get when a dream, or a goal, becomes a reality. If you are in sales, there are real sales that happen. If you are managing projects, goals are reached. If you are trying to get out of debt, or save money, lose weight, build a career, grow a ministry, then something actually happens at the end of trying. It does not mean that we do not have failure and missteps along the way—that is always a part of success. What it does mean is that after continuing effort over some period of time, in various pursuits, there are instances of good results, talents and efforts producing tangible fruit and results. Goals are reached in some fashion.
Successful in Relationships
Relationships are about the people involved in those pursuits. Do we leave them happy, fulfilled and satisfied for having gone through that period of life or pursuits with us? To get results and have lots of people unhappy or dissatisfied with us is only partial success at best.
True success happens when the people are actually better off because of their relationship with you. That is the goal—to always benefit others. As one very successful billionaire told me one time, “there is no success at the expense of others.”
Yet in working with many people, I find the ones who are stuck are usually focusing on the next idea or the next opportunity. Good luck with that.
What we truly need to do at those times is to hit pause and ask: What are my patterns in these two areas? Have I reached goals and gotten results before? Do I have history of long-term, lasting and successful relationships? If not, why? It is usually not because of never having a good idea presented to us or a good opportunity.
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My experience is that a very careful examination of these two areas will give us the clues that we need to make the future successful. We need to see our patterns in those areas. Successful people all have something in common: they seek and receive feedback about their patterns, and they use it. They look at their performance and patterns and then work on and change what is not working or keeping them from the success that they desire. They figure it out and never go back to that pattern.
My heartfelt advice here is to take a look at these two areas of your life and try to discover some patterns that may be keeping you from maximizing great ideas or opportunities. And the next time opportunity knocks, you will be ready to turn it into success.
Dr. Henry Cloud is a psychologist, author and leadership consultant. Get more practical wisdom from him at Dave Ramsey’s upcoming Smart Conference in Los Angeles. He’ll be headlining with a dream team of nationally recognized authors and speakers including Dave, Rachel Cruze, Dr. Meg Meeker, Andy Andrews, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his daughter, Joy Eggerichs. Register now.
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