Do you know what leads one person to achieve success in life over another? After doing a lot of research, we’ve come up with 10 Keys to Success. Success is within reach if you are willing to put in the work. But in order to do the right work, you must first learn how to be successful.
1. Make A Plan
The very first key to success is to make a plan. This means having a clear picture of what a successful life looks like to you and putting together a well-defined set of goals to get you to that life.
Planning well starts with figuring out what you want and writing it down in detail. It’s important to have clarity on your definition of success. This is the foundation for your plan.
To succeed means to accomplish a goal. By this definition, if you don’t set goals, you’ll never succeed.
2. Prepare For The Unexpected
Many of the best-laid plans have been derailed by a single misstep. Preparing for the unexpected can make the difference between your plans ending in failure or succeeding despite a bump in the road.
So how do you prepare for the unexpected? Start by making a list of things that could go wrong in your plan. Then create workarounds and backups for each potential problem. Even when I’m driving a route I know well, I usually keep my GPS up and running to help me navigate traffic jams, construction, or missed turns.
3. Prioritize Your Goals
As you create your systems and put your good habits into practice, you’ll probably find there isn’t enough time in each day to work towards every goal. Manage your time wisely, so that the right activities take priority.
If you’re not sure how to prioritize goals, it may help to apply some techniques like a numerical ranking system or the Eisenhower Matrix. Prioritizing your goals also means not letting things that never even made your list get in front of pursuing what did.
4. Develop Good Habits
You can have big dreams, great goals, and still fail. The third key of success requires you to turn your goals into actions. Repeated actions in the right direction become helpful habits. And once you form the right habits, you create momentum.
Creating systems for your life as you are forming good habits can help you to stay on track. You can build systems by grouping good habits together. Having a system in place can keep you from having to make decisions on the fly or keep track of doing all your goal-oriented tasks one by one. Instead, you follow an intentional daily pattern that moves you towards your goals with less stress. This has the added benefits of reducing stress and freeing your attention to focus on the things that truly require more brainpower.
5. Learn from Your Mistakes
They say “the road to success is paved with failure.” What they don’t say, is that each piece of failure on that road probably looks different than the other. Success most likely came by way of trying (and failing) many different ways. Yes, you can fail your way to success, but almost never by making the same mistake over and over.
Failure is a part of the process of becoming successful if you make it a teacher. Learning and growing after failure makes it useful.
For example, consider a runner. Every race a runner loses, they may still be improving. If they build up strength and try new running techniques, they will likely see progress. They may move up from 5th place to 3rd place to 2nd. Even though they aren’t first, each race is a part of the process of success, moving them closer to getting first place.
6. Try Different Strategies
The road to success is not straight. There are stops and starts, turns, and detours. Anyone who says they’ve got the exact path to success for you is probably lying. As the (creepy) saying goes, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Heck, there’s more than one way to get the meaning of that saying across. Let’s make up a newer more pet-friendly one: “There’s more than one way to peel a banana.”
Any way you put it, there’s more than one way to do – just about everything. So, if at first, you don’t succeed, try another way. Try a new strategy. Come at your goal from a new angle, at a different time, with a different person. There could in fact be many effective strategies. You just need to find the right one. The only way to find it is to keep changing and keep trying until you find one that works.
7. Take Smart Risks
As you try out different strategies, you may find that you’re trying something entirely new. It might feel scary. Admittedly, taking risks is intimidating, but taking smart risks can have big payoffs. Taking a smart or calculated risk means researching potential outcomes and determining what your chances of success are and if the payoff is worth risking the harm that could be done.
It takes time to develop good risk-taking skills. You may have a few painful failures as you figure out how to take calculated risks in life. It’s best to start out taking small risks. As you get better at it, you’ll probably become more comfortable. But don’t let your comfort be the only deciding factor. Often, taking a risk is the only way to achieve success.
8. Learn from the Experts
Truthfully, there is no one path to success. Nevertheless, a lot can be learned from studying other successful people. Even better is to be mentored or to study directly under someone. Recorded history doesn’t always catch all the details and nuances.
Start with doing some research and study successful people who did something in the same realm of what you are striving to achieve.
9. Master How to Say No
I think our culture undervalues the importance of saying no. It can be uncomfortable. If you listen to interviews with successful people, you’ll probably hear them talk about turning down great opportunities they knew aren’t right for them.
Learning how to say no is an essential key to success in life. Successful people say no all the time. Saying no means knowing yourself, your boundaries, and being able to determine what is worth your time and energy. Saying no to the wrong thing leaves space to say yes to the right thing. It leaves room for the right opportunity.
10. Invest in Relationships
While the saying, “it’s not what you know it’s who you know” may overstate the importance of relationships to success, it’s certainly not without merit. As a rule, investing in relationships is quite valuable. People are made to be connected to a community. The benefits of being in a safe and encouraging community go beyond success in any one area of life.
There are many types of relationships that can boost your chances of success in life. For example, the relationship you need most may be a friend who has no “connections,” but supports you when times are tough.
Maybe the relationship you need is with a competitor, someone to challenge you and keep you sharp. In particular pursue a mentoring relationship, which can lead to networking opportunities and invaluable advice. We know that the lack of these relationships can be the biggest gap between aged-out foster youth and success.
What Makes a Person Successful in Life
The above keys for success are not all or nothing. However, the more of these you have, the better you will do as you try to figure out how to achieve success in life. And all of these keys or tools can be acquired and developed by anyone with enough time and grit.