The 14 Foundational Skills of Success, No Matter How You Define It!

The hardest part about success is the discipline required. The foundational elements of success are straightforward and simple. It’s the day to day commitment and discipline to make these basic elements a ritual that’s tough. In fact, most people can’t do it. That’s why you see so few people become so exceptionally successful. The true secret to the exceptionally successful is usually their soul-deep commitment to the basics and the massive action necessary. Translation; they are committed, and they work very hard.

Here are what I believe are just a few of the foundational commitments and mindsets necessary for success at any level. Keep in mind that these apply no matter where you are at; no matter your age, income or education; no matter your background and in any economy. This is where it all starts. If you are not a master of these then, no fancy strategy or fads will work.

  1. ATTITUDE: Go ahead and laugh. Everybody says attitude is key. The question that I have is how many actually practice good attitude. The Carnegie Institute says that of all the traits observed in successful people, 85% of their success is attributed to those that deal with ATTITUDE! By the way, skills and knowledge only represent 15% total of the success attributes.
  2. DECISIVENESS: You must decide to be successful, or not. If you’re happy with NOW, so be it. But if you honestly have a burning desire for the next level, commit to it or shut up!
  3. HARD WORK: 85% of success happens with 60 hours a week or more. You work 40 hours a week just for survival, anything over that is all for success.
  4. SELF DISCIPLINE: Zig Zeigler once said, “If you’re hard on yourself, LIFE will be easy on you!” You must have the willingness to do whatever it might take. You must be a master of self-discipline, defined long ago as, “Doing what you need to do; when you need to do it; whether you want to do it or not!”
  5. SET PRIORITIES: If you start your day performing and completing a major task, research shows you perform the rest of the day at a higher level. But if you start your day with emails and trivial matters, then it is also proven that you work at a much lower level the remainder of the day. Start every day with your highest priority task that you might have. Ask yourself, “What is the consequence if I do this task or not?” If it’s very high consequence, do it first. If it’s a low consequence task, simply don’t do it.
  6. SINGLE MINDEDNESS: It takes a minimum of 5x longer to finish a job if you start, stop, start, and stop. You must put your head down and focus and get it done, eliminating any unnecessary interruptions.
  7. OPEN MINDEDNESS:  You must be willing to take everything you know and potentially unlearn it all, and then relearn new ways of doing things. The fact is that in today’s rapidly changing world, if you don’t have an open mind and you continue to do business the way you’ve always done business, then undoubtedly you will be out of business.
  8. RISK TAKING: Sometimes you simply need to take a calculated risk. You can’t be afraid. Your best opportunities may be lost simply because you took too long to think about them.
  9. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY: No more complaining; No more blame; No more excuses and no more problems. A situation is only a problem if you don’t learn something from it. Take charge of your life, take responsibility and figure out a solution, learn and move on!
  10. BE WILLING TO CHANGE:  You must be willing and able to change, adapt and adjust at a moment’s notice. The market and consumers will not wait for you.  The ability to adapt and change is imperative if you want to be an entrepreneur.
  11. GAINING TOTAL CLARITY: You must constantly be learning and growing and asking questions that might affect your life and your business. Things are changing at a pace never before seen. You must examine everything then do it again. You must challenge everything, then do it again. You must question everything, again and again. Always be testing the market; reading reports and doing market research to gain more and more clarity on your business and all that might affect it.
  12. HAVE WRITTEN GOALS:  A business or person without goals – and written goals – will never reach their potential. Here are the facts: 70% of our society has NO goals; 28% says they have goals but they are not written down and 2% (or less) has written goals. But here is the kicker. The 2% with written goals, controls more revenue than the other 98% combined. Is that incentive enough to have clear, concise written goals?
  13. LEARN TO SELL:  This is a requirement, a necessity with no exceptions. No matter what you think about people who sell, you had better become proficient at it. You have to sell if you want to be an entrepreneur and own a business. So read some books; take a class or seminar; hire a sales coach, whatever you have to do but learn to sell. It is an imperative in life.
  14. BE HAPPY:  Simply, you must love what you are doing. If you don’t, it shows. So do yourself a favor, heck, do me a favor and just get out of the business. Get out of the way of others who are passionate about what they are doing and then go find something that you are or can be passionate about. Life is too short not to enjoy what you’re doing.

Now is the time to hone your skills, it is not the time to coast. Remember, you can only coast in one direction. Never coast, you can’t afford to.

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