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The Secrets of Success

According to psychologists, in order to be successful in your career, you need to look at your life with a critical eye and apply the following tips that will not only ensure your success in your career but enable you to have a more fulfilling life in general. On the flipside, AW looks at the entrepreneurial myths that simply are not true.

How you think is everything
This trait has to be one of the most important in the entire list. Your belief that you can accomplish your goals has to be unwavering. The moment you say to yourself “I can't…”, then you won't. Keep in mind the age-old advice “Never say I can't” and strike off those words from your dictionary. You have to always be positive. Think success, not failure and beware of a negative environment.

Decide on your true dreams and goals
Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them. As the old adage goes: A New Years resolution that isn't written down is just a dream and dreams are not goals. Goals are those concrete, measurable stepping stones of achievement that track your progress towards your dreams.

Goals are nothing without action; mere ideas that will never bear fruit. No matter how nervous you are, sometimes you really do have to put your inhibitions aside, be like Nike and “Just do it!”

Never stop learning
Go back to school or read books, get training, acquire new skills and sharpen old ones.

Be persistent and work hard
Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up no matter how hard it may be. As they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch! Every success story you read will have one commonality- long hard hours of work and there is no getting around this. If you're working towards something that you're passionate about, something you love – then is it really work?

Focus your time and money
Don't let other people or things distract you. Remain laser focused on your goals and surround yourself with positive people that believe in you. Don't be distracted by the naysayer or tasks that are not helping you achieve your goals.

Don't be afraid to innovate
Be different. Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity. Follow through on that break-out idea you have. Ask yourself, “What would I do if I wasn't afraid?”

Deal and communicate with people effectively
No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others. Successful people develop and nurture a network and they only do that by treating people openly, fairly and many times firmly. There is nothing wrong about being firm without being a monster.

Be honest and dependable
Take responsibility of yourself and your actions and always be true to your word. There is nothing worse than earning an untrustworthy reputation that, no matter how much you change later, may never stop following you.

The Myths
Many people believe they don't have the innate qualities necessary to find success as an entrepreneur, and that self-made millionaires are somehow ‘different' from them. According to Millionaire Mom's, those commonly held beliefs are simply myths.

Myth No. 1: You have to be ‘Ms. Personality'
Reality: People with many different personality types have become successful. For as many outgoing Martha Stewarts and Richard Bransons, there are countless successful entrepreneurs with very low profiles who wish to stay that way. It's more important to be smart in business and to build a strong team than it is to be charismatic. It's also helpful to learn from others' examples. “I study successful people.

Because one day it occurred to me, they started out just like me,” explains Jeanne Bice, founder of The Quacker Factory, a more than Dhs 50 million company that designs and sells clothing exclusively through QVC. “I've heard that Martha Stewart started out selling pies in front of a Ralph Lauren store in a strip mall. From humble beginnings she became a great success. To this day I read about people who have become successful, and I use people as role models. And I look at success, I don't look at failures. Because I'm not headed for failure.”

Myth No. 2: The idea is the most important thing
Yes, it's important to have a good idea. But that's not even half the battle. More important is how you position your product or service and how it meets your target market's needs. You don't need to invent something completely novel, like the iPod or the microwave oven, to be successful– you can also take an idea that already exists and simply make it better.

Case in point: Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, didn't invent teddy bears and she's the first person who'll tell you that. She did, however, invent something special, an emotional experience and connection between children, their caregivers and the special bears they create together. That was the ‘secret' to creating her successful product, with a vision that was rooted in present day factors.

Myth No. 3: Success means never going backward
Reality: Yes, successful people are committed to making their vision happen. But they are also willing to change direction. Bice knows this. She realises that she can't get too attached to any one product, no matter how much she may personally love it.

“A loser is a loser,” says Bice. “I don't care if you colour it purple and put a pink bow on it, it's a loser and that's a hard lesson to learn. If something isn't selling, put it on sale and get rid of your losses.” Rachel Ashwell, founder of Shabby Chic, also understands the need to change and evolve. She's just entered another stage of her business, accepting funding from venture capitalists to help take the company to the next level. “In order to grow the business to the next stage I recognized I needed two things: the need to attain significant capital and to attract an experienced executive team with a proven track record of achieving this kind of growth,” says Ashwell.

Myth No. 4: Only risk brings rewards
Reality: Any entrepreneurial venture involves some risk, yes. But you don't have to risk everything in order to find success. Almost every one of the Millionaire Moms took great pains to minimise their risks. Whether it was growing ‘organically' by using only company revenue to grow, like Teri Gault, founder of the Grocery Game, or maintaining a manageable pace of growth, like Kathy Gendel, founder of Breezies Intimates, none of the women consider themselves extremists when it comes to risk-taking. “Our philosophy is ‘slow and steady wins the race,'' says Gendel. “We've never tried to grow too quickly.”

Myth No. 5: Your No. 1 priority has to be money
Reality: For many entrepreneurs, millionaire status is a byproduct of their original goals. A number of the Millionaire Moms are still stunned that they turned their kitchen-table businesses into multi-million dollar ventures.

Victoria Knight-McDowell, who created the phenomenally successful Airborne, was surprised by the rate of her success. “We never expected it to get this big,” she says. “It just absolutely took on a life of its own.” Bice also values other aspects of running a business. “Not every business is for a financial reward,” she shares. “If you aren't making a wonderful living at it, you're not in the right place.” Terrie Williams, president and founder of the Terrie Williams Agency and founder of the Stay Strong Foundation, puts it this way, “If you don't get up in the morning with butterflies in your stomach it means you're either going through life being pathetic or you're flat-lining. Because the butterflies, as horrible as they feel, mean that you're challenging yourself and taking your game to the next level.”

So now that we've explained what it doesn't take to helm a successful business, here's what it does take. From my own experience, and from the many insights shared by our Millionaire Moms, I've found that there are four essential parts to answering the question, ‘What does it take to be successful?'

• Clarity regarding your life goals

• An understanding of what you seek to build

• Insight about the traits successful business leaders possess

• Flexibility and the will to do whatever it takes

 As mothers, women, companions, professionals, entrepreneurs and more, our lives are complex. This complexity can be difficult to handle, but can also be exhilarating and gratifying. By defining our Living Dream, tackling challenges such as our fears of money, seeking balance, loving our families, learning the fundamentals of building and growing a business, and finally accepting the challenge to do whatever it takes to create the life you want you too can find success.

Courtesy: Arabian Woman
Posted: 26/06/2008

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