Learning to get ahead in the world can be a challenge–sure, there are plenty of books and articles on the subject, but often, it is easier said than done. Getting ahead can mean a lot of things for a lot of people, but ultimately it focuses around the idea that we’re all striving to get somewhere. This is a multistep process, but it begins with identifying where it is you want to be–call it a goal.
Now is a great time to start setting goals–January 1 isn’t the only time that goal writing is acceptable. Make them whenever you feel like it–and revise as needed. When you’re thinking about what you might write down, break it up.
Review the past year or few months and think about what you’re doing right. Make it a goal to keep this behavior up. Look at what you’d like to improve, and look at the things you want to change. Your goals can be related to your health, wealth, personal and family relationships, work life, etc. These initial observations will lead to you setting more effective goals.
Next, think about concrete things you can do to accomplish the things that might need a little bit of work. If you’d like to get in better shape, identify what that means and set up specific things you can do to accomplish it. If you want to lose five pounds, commit to eating a lower calorie diet or hitting the gym three days a week for a month. Make each goal actionable so that you can measure your success. Good goals will naturally provide a clear course of action and you’ll be more inclined to reach them.
Make sure the larger picture that your goals paint is the one that most closely resembles the life that you desire–then begin working toward them.
Successful people don’t apologize when they’ve been successful. We’re not suggesting that you treat people poorly in an effort to gain success or status, but you should have nothing to feel sorry for if you have something that someone else does not. The most successful people don’t apologize when others think they look stupid or outrageous–they own their lives and their decisions.
Whether you work for yourself or as part of a larger company, you should not think that success is optional–the highest ranking in the work world simply expect that they’ll be good at what they do. If someone is upset by what you’ve done, it is their responsibility, and not yours.
If you surround yourself with other people who value your success, you should never feel bad about it. They’ll likely be after the same sorts of things that you are. Being around driven people encourages us to be better–personally, at work, and in every sector of our lives. You’ll never be asked to apologize around like minded people who are also trying to be their best selves.
Women, more than men, ask forgiveness for their success. There’s no need–you control your own emotions.
Utilize Your Resources
We’re sure you’ve heard that it isn’t what you know, it is who you know. This is true, though knowing a few things certainly doesn’t hurt. It helps to make great connections wherever you go and whenever you’re going there.
Jason Hartman has traveled around the world and has a network of people that extends from coast to coast, and you should be working to make sure that you have the same. While you might not be traveling now or in the very near future, you can begin assembling your network now.
Begin by making a list of all of the people you know–or refer to your LinkedIn portfolio as a beginning point. This might feel a little strange–making a list of people you know and their connections and positions. But do it anyway.
Now look at your goals. How can the people you know help you to achieve your goals? Think about what they can do to help you and what you might offer in return. The world runs on such a system, but it’s up to you to utilize it.
If you’re looking to start a nonprofit organization that teaches ex-cons how to make dreamcatchers, go for it! And look for people to help–maybe you know a teacher or a supplier or someone experienced in grant writing.
Be a Quitter
Within reason, of course. To be successful, there are a few bad behaviors you’re going to need to stop. Quit putting off for tomorrow what you’re perfectly capable of getting started on today. Take action as soon as possible and stop putting things off.
Quit blaming your failures on other people. At some point in our lives, we all learn that we’re responsible for our own reactions to things. While life isn’t always kind, we can control the steps we take after everything. Successful people embrace this!
Finally, learn to say no to things every now and again. Every time you say yes to something, you’ll inevitably say no to something else. Pick only those things which are unavoidable or offer some benefit to you.
We’re often taught that selfishness is a bad quality for a person to have–but it isn’t always. If someone is causing you trouble personally or professionally, it’s okay to cut them off, even if it means hurting their feelings.
It’s okay to put yourself and your success first, within reason. Don’t intentionally hurt others or step on people to put yourself at the top. But say no when you need to and act in your best interest, remember that each of us is inherently selfish. It isn’t always a pejorative term and often leads to a more fulfilling life.
Finally, remember that “successful” is simply a term we use to define our own personal achievement. For some, it means a life of wealth and power. For others, early retirement and more time with the grandkids. Set goals that are personal and accurately reflect the way you’d like your life to turn out–and go for it!