Achieving extraordinary success

I recently ran across an article in (an on-line magazine – the full link is here titled, “24 Ways Ordinary People Can Achieve Extraordinary Success.”  This is a good article and worth reading.  Today, I list the first 12 of the 24 items highlighted in this article and provide my own color around each item.  We will finish the list tomorrow.  I hope you find the combination of the Inc. article and the views below helpful to you.  Here is the list:

  1. Protect your reputation – You develop your reputation every day and in every encounter you have.  Every interaction is an opportunity to either enhance your reputation or destroy it, at least with that/those individuals.  Stay “on your game” in these interactions and be careful about how you handle social media.
  2. Give back – At the end of your career, you are likely to define it by the lives you touch.  Did you make an impact on the lives of others?  Have you helped others to grow?  What individuals did you mentor or coach or sponsor?  Whose career is better because of what you gave back?
  3. Bring small-business ideas to big-business boardrooms – Though we are not in what most would call a small-business, we need to think in that way.  How would we spend our budget if the money was our own?  How can we make decisions faster and better without multiple approvals and excessive reviewers?  How can we instill an attitude of being fast and nimble?
  4. Leave room for play – Everyone needs to have a hobby or passion outside work.  Sure, it is understood that for many, this means coaching little league, selling Girl Scout cookies, or spending full days at the gym, track, or field.  However, each person needs to have some way that they personally can escape.  Some might choose music, reading, or sports.  Others may choose photography, quilting, or some other activity.  Find something that you can do and carve out the time to enjoy it, at least occasionally.
  5. Find a supportive life partner – I have been highly blessed and fortunate to have the most supportive and loving spouse in history!  If your spouse is like this, please take the time to show your love and thanks.
  6. Cultivate community – Develop a network of individuals that you stay in touch with.  Staying connected through the years is a great way to nurture relationships that could make a difference in your career someday.
  7. Do what you love – It is really difficult to do your best work when you don’t love your work.  The best advice in this area I could give is either find ways to truly enjoy what you do or find something new to do.
  8. Take charge of your personal finances – Work to achieve a proper balance with your personal finances… some for you, some for others, and some for retirement.
  9. Listen actively – I’ve heard it said, “Listen for understanding, not for how you’ll respond.”  You enhance relationships when you let others talk about what interests them, then, engage yourself to learn from that other person.  When you think of listening as an opportunity to learn, not to eventually show what you know, it will change how you interact with others.  A colleague recently shared that LISTEN and SILENT both have the same letters.  The next time you are asked to listen to someone else, remember this connection.
  10. Think big, act bigger – We don’t always have to “win.”  Sometimes, it is more important to stay true to our values and beliefs than get in the last word every conversation.
  11. Have gratitude – Be thankful for what you have and what others do for you.  It is too easy to take what others do for you for granted.  Say thanks!
  12. Have fun! – Yes, we need to have some fun in our lives.  And, we can enjoy what we do at work.  Find a way to make it enjoyable to come to work.  Finding a “fun outlet” outside of work is important, as well.

We’ll see the remaining 12 items tomorrow.  Thanks for what you do and have a fabulous day!

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