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‘If I have seen further that is by standing on the shoulders of giants’ – Isaac Newton

We all want to be the best that we can be but achieving your version of success takes effort. You can take a step in the right direction by learning from those who have gone before you and achieved success in their various fields.

Success is a concept that is different for every person. Whether it means having a great career, thriving business, loving family or achieving excellence on the sports field or in your personal endeavours, achieving your definition of success can provide a profound sense of accomplishment.

There is a lot we can learn from successful people. They tend to share common traits that contribute to their success in life and can help you on your journey to achieve your goals.

Dream big and follow your dream

Successful people have a vision and pursue that vision. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors had a vision for the company which has seen them invest millions in electric and self-drive vehicles, and in ride share applications, anticipating future customer needs. She also pivoted production during the pandemic to help make critically needed ventilators.

To support that sort of visionary thinking, make sure you have some time in your life for introspection. It can help to be quite concrete about your ambitions and write down exactly what you want to achieve, then start to think about how you’ll go about realising your dreams.

Set short term realistic goals

Once you have identified what you want to achieve the end goal can seem a little daunting. A good way to work towards the success you dream of is to set short term, achievable, incremental goals.

Six-time Olympic track and field medallist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, in her memoir speaks of how setting incremental goals helped her. ‘So you want to jump 23 feet in a long jump but you only jump 20 feet right now. Why not go for 20 feet 5 inches? If I was running, I aimed to see myself improve a tenth of a second or half of an inch if I was jumping.’

Think about the steps you need to take to reach success and approach your goals one step at a time.

Move out of your comfort zone

While it may not feel like it at the time, a little bit of discomfort goes a long way in terms of nudging you along the path to success.

Jeff Bezos, former CEO of Amazon who also happens to be the world’s richest person, attributes much of his success to getting outside his comfort zone. He has even gone as far as to suggest to his employees that some level of discomfort can spur one on to greatness “I constantly remind our employees to be afraid, to wake up every morning terrified”.

Learn from losing and recover from failure

Success takes time and can also mean overcoming adversity and failure.

Walt Disney’s first film production company went bankrupt, but his legacy is as an extraordinarily successful creative whose visions as an animator, filmmaker and theme park developer resulted in one of the most successful and powerful entertainment companies in the world.

The critical thing that successful people do when they have experienced failure is to reframe the failure and think about not what they have lost, but what they learned from the experience. They then apply that hard-earned knowledge to their next venture.

Ask for help and get the best from others

You don’t have to go it alone on your path to success. Founder of Boost Juice, Janine Allis, asked other franchise operators for tips on how to set up and run a successful franchise. “If you surround yourself with the right people who bring out the best in you and have your back, not only will you enjoy the journey, but it also increases your chances of success,” says Janine.

And finally, one fundamental trait shared by all successful people is self-belief. Believe that you have the power to make your dreams come true.

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