A silver key with a tag saying “Success”

Successful people sometimes need guidance to help them proceed. While there are many efficient principles for life achievement for just about every vocation, this article addresses six key areas to get you on track. I could easily compile a “Top 20” list of success tips, yet my list could differ totally from yours. Each life and environment is unique according to the person and where they are in their life.

1. Work Hard, Aim for Efficiency

Toy man shoveling pennies.

A faulty belief within the workforce is that people equate more work hours with defining success. It’s not the quantity of work that’s important, it’s the quality. It’s an unfortunate reality that some managers give preference to those putting in more time than for those than the efficient employee.

Fortunately, there are some excellent managers that recognize the difference, and reward the most productive employees. When an employee trades their long hours for short dollars, few things change toward the good. The environment becomes one where the potential to earn more disappears from them. This might change if a better management arrives. Rather than work longer, aim for efficiency in all you do. When you complete the task well and within time, that gives you mental space to focus on the next step.

2. Don’t Get Stuck Where You Are

Groundhog looking toward the camera.

If you’re not setting goals, that means your tomorrow will look like yesterday and yesterday looked like the day before. Have you ever seen that old movie, “Groundhog Day”?

Strive for a life that’s better than that.

I remember sitting in a retirement training after many years of employment. During the financial planning section, it stunned most of the people in that room, and frankly, scared us. The reality hit us that retirement age is coming, and there’s a need for established goals and quick action.

Now is the time to consider what kind of life you want to live during your remaining years.

  • What does that life look like?
  • Will you be able to spend time with those you love and care about?
  • When you look back from the latter days, will you be proud of the life you lived?

Reviewing the years, I felt I served the world well in two military services and law enforcement. Yet, without setting tangible health, financial and relationship goals, I realized I was lacking, and that wasn’t comfortable. Retirement is coming soon. Something had to change with new goals and actions. Otherwise, I was clearing a path for financial struggle. If a health event were to occur, I would not be prepared to handle it.

3. Be a Lifelong Learner

Looking back at the room full of people in the retirement training, there were too many of us that became uncomfortable. We had our sense of service, yet we didn’t focus on our own future planning. There’s nothing wrong with the pride of serving our nation and the greater good. Yet, we still need to grow personally and professionally. Regardless of the occupation, there will inevitably be a time when to recognize an internal need for something else. Chances are, that “something” whatever it is, might require additional training.

Scrabble pieces spelling, “Lifeling Learning”.

Even with satisfaction of your profession, it’s important to remain current with technology and societal changes. As a kid, I remember thinking the world never moved fast enough.

I was “almost 13… almost 16… almost 18.” Nowadays, life is moving at such a dynamic pace, it’s tough to stay proficient. If you don’t keep up with those changes, your position, skills and mindset can become obsolete. It’s difficult to accept change, but it is necessary.

If you keep up with the changes in your field early on, it won’t be such a burden. Whether you are staying in your profession or looking toward something new, take time for your personal and professional development. Learning opportunities are available from in-person or online providers, books, even YouTube offers a vast supply of training in just about any topic.

Learning opportunities become available when you surround yourself with experts in their field and interact with effective leadership. The best skills I’ve had the privilege of gaining came from remarkable people — not some training service. The key here is to set time aside for your future.

People can become stuck by thinking there’s nothing beyond the life they know. When you take time to reach out and learn, there’s a physiological shift that begins within you. With each experience or feeling that’s different from what you’ve known for years, your ability for change becomes easier. The neuroplasticity, or the new thought/belief connections forms new neural pathways. As the change continues to occur, your mind creates new beliefs that those opportunities are in fact possible. This change is something to embrace for you and your family’s future.

4. Keep Your Finances in Order

Make sure you have sufficient financial resources to weather storms. Companies lay off people with no consideration of the workers. It’s not like it used to be in the past where employees worked for one company until they retired. Because of potential circumstances affecting your occupational stability, you need to be ready if you experience such adverse situations. I’m not trying to scare you. I’m a realist.

Years ago while working in a seemingly financially safe federal job, politicians shut down the government. This was the first time in over 30-years that I had been out of work and it was not a comfortable feeling. Sometime later, we all went back to work and with our short memories and habits of the past, we continued the false assumption that we were safe.

A row of ducks.

I thought I had all my ducks in a row until I later went to that retirement course. Life happens if we are ready… or not. With preparation, life occurs through us as we create positive change. If we just float along without a plan, life then happens to us. Which of those two options do you want?

When the negative stuff comes along, preparation is necessary. Many people worked at comfortable jobs, then one day got the unpleasant surprise of a pink slip. Those things happen at the worst times.

? Look at Your Budget

  • Do you have online or mail subscriptions you’re paying for but not using?
  • Do you have memberships you are not using?
  • Are you spending today like there is no tomorrow?
  • Do you have at least 6-months’ worth of living expenses set aside in the event unpleasant things happen? If not, now is the time to work toward that.

5. Networking is Important for Your Career Goals

I cannot understate the value of networking. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past or do now. You have unique knowledge, skills and abilities that can help others. In the same way, potential network connections have skills and experiences that can be useful to you.

Blue office background and networking

Have you heard the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know?” I believe it’s also important what you know as long as you can intelligently portray that experience in your profile so it’s useful to help you. Realistically, it doesn’t matter what or who you know if no one knows you exist; start creating your circle of connections today.

In our networked world, it’s rare, if ever that employers hire a stranger into a new position. They review candidates on LinkedIn or other social networking sites. People get referred and hired by someone that often knows them or they have a connection with someone else on social media.

This is an important point for people looking to make positive connections: You attract what you think about and you develop the person you are. There are many people on social media waving a flag of hate and discontent over some political or social issue. Don’t be that person.

If you’re looking for positive interactions with people, be pleasant. The person who’s proud of themselves for throwing the best unkind zinger out there in someone’s face hurts their own chances. It marks a person like that look unstable and the chances of that person being seen as a viable candidate diminishes significantly. Look at the world.

Make good choices and pick who you surround yourself with. There are lots of problematic people that out there. A saying of mine is:

“There are people that make us look good on our bad days.”

When you’re seen as a positive and proven resource, the people in your network will vouch for you. It’s easier for management to hire known resources and that means you’ll have an advantage over others who are unknown.

Attempt to keep active with your network. As your network grows, that can be tougher. I have nearly 12,000 connections on LinkedIn and it gets easy to lose track of people. I send a note to people I haven’t talked to in a while. I’m not talking about sharing baking recipes with them, just a quick note saying something like, “I haven’t reached out in a while. I hope all is well with you.

6. Invite Challenge in Your Life

In your professional life, look for fresh opportunities for growth and promotion. Supervisors may be unaware you are even interested, particularly when they are keeping up their day-to-day work within the organization. Let them know of your interest.

Virtually all successful people are the beneficiary of good coaching, either through a success coach or via a mentor within their network. If you’re looking for positive changes, coaching is an affirming experience you should consider as you design your future. A Certified Coach helps you define your goals and then acts as an accountability partner to help you get there.

In another area that touches on both the personal and professional benefits, consider joining a Toastmaster’s club. Toastmasters is an international public speaking organization. Yet, it’s more than speaking and confidence building; they’ve established learning “Pathways” for leadership, coaching, mentoring and more, all the while building important supportive networks.

People climbing over a tall obstacle.

Look at your life as an individual and your role within your social or family environment. What positive things would you like to do individually or together? Many years ago, my wife and I took a stained glass course. It was fun, creative, we learned new skills, took our minds off the “everyday stuff”, and we added to our network by meeting fun people.

Putting it All Together

With each of these steps, make a choice today that your life will grow… grow… grow with strength in the same way a strong oak tree advances from a sapling to a giant as time continues.

⭐️ About the Author

Anthony M. Davis is a Leadership, Success & Stress Coach, Board Certified Therapist, Top-100 International Travel Photographer. As a Coach, he helps people just like you overcome obstacles & reach their goals. His free book, “Keys to Your Success” is available now.

For Coaching availability, email me at: [email protected]