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10 (More) Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People

Successful people think about their work differently than most. Here are some of the beliefs they said we missed in a previous story.
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Remarkably successful people share a number of perspectives and beliefs. I listed those beliefs recently in this article ... and then a number of successful folks emailed to let me know there are a few I missed.

Hey, remarkably successful people are nothing if not helpful.

So here are more beliefs of remarkably... no. Wait. Before you comment that my point of view is shallow and materialistic, read this to see why I feel this is the only definition of success that matters.

With that out of the way, here are more beliefs of remarkably successful people:

1. I can choose myself.

Once you had to wait: to be accepted, to be promoted, to be selected... to somehow be "discovered."

Not anymore. Access is nearly unlimited; you can connect with almost anyone through social media. You can publish your own work, distribute your own music, create your own products, attract your own funding.

You can do almost anything you want--and you don't need to wait for someone else to discover your talents.

The only thing holding you back is you--and your willingness to try.

2. Success is inevitable only in hindsight.

Read stories of successful entrepreneurs and it's easy to think they have some intangible entrepreneurial something--ideas, talent, drive, skills, creativity, whatever--that you don't have.

Wrong. Success is inevitable only in hindsight. It's easy to look back on an entrepreneurial path to greatness and assume that every vision was clear, every plan was perfect, every step was executed flawlessly, and tremendous success was a foregone conclusion.

It wasn't. Success is never assured. Only in hindsight does it appear that way.

If you're willing to work hard and persevere, who you are is more than enough. Don't measure yourself against other people.

Pick a goal and measure yourself against that goal. That's the only comparison that matters.

3. I am not self-serving. I am a servant.

No one accomplishes anything worthwhile on his own. Great bosses focus on providing the tools and training to help their employees better do their jobs--and achieve their own goals. Great consultants put their clients' needs first. Great businesses go out of their way to help and serve their customers.

And as a result, they reap the rewards.

If you're in it only for yourself, then someday you will be by yourself. If you're in it for others, you'll not only achieve success.

You'll also have tons of friends.

4. I may not be first ... but I can always be last.

Success is often the result of perseverance. When others give up, leave, stop trying, or compromise their principles and values, the last person left is often the person who wins. Other people may be smarter, better connected, more talented, or better funded. But they can't win if they aren't around at the end.

Sometimes it makes sense to give up on ideas, projects, and even businesses--but it never makes sense to give up on yourself.

You can always be the last to give up on yourself.

5. I will do one thing every day that no one else is willing to do.

Just one. Even if it's simple. Even if it's small. Do one thing every day.

After a week, you'll be uncommon. After a month, you'll be special.

After a year, you will be remarkable.

6. I don't build networks. I make lasting connections.

Often the process of building a network takes on a life of its own and becomes a numbers game.

You don't need numbers. You need real connections: people you can help, people you can trust, people who care.

So, forget numbers. Reach out to the people whom you want to be part of your life, even if just your professional life, for a long time. And when you do, forget about receiving and focus on providing; that's the only way to establish a real connection and relationship.

Make lasting connections and you create an extended professional family: You'll be there when they need you... and they'll be there when you need them.

7. Strategy is important, but execution is everything.

Strategy is not a product. Binders are filled with strategies that were never implemented.

Develop an idea. Create a strategy. Set up a rudimentary system of operations. Then execute, adapt, execute some more, and build a solid operation based on what works.

Success isn't built on strategy. Success is built through execution.

Remarkably successful people focus on executing remarkably well.

8. Real leadership is measured in years, not moments.

"Leaders" aren't just the guys who double the stock price in six months, or the gals who coerce local officials into approving too-generous tax breaks and incentives, or the guys who are brave enough to boldly go where no man has gone before.

(If you don't get that last reference, you're too young. Or I'm too old. Probably both.)

Those are examples of leadership--but typically the kind of leadership that is situational and short-lived.

Remarkable leaders can consistently inspire, motivate, and make you feel better about yourself than even you think you have a right to feel. They're the kind of people you'll follow not because you have to but because you want to. You'll follow them anywhere.

And you'll follow them forever, because they have a knack for making you feel like you aren't actually following. Wherever you're headed, you always feel like you're going there together.

Creating that bond takes time.

9. Work comes first. Payoff comes later.

Ever heard someone say, "If I got promoted, then I would work harder"? Or, "If the customer paid more, then I would do more"? Or, "If I thought there would be a bigger payoff, I would be willing to sacrifice more"?

Successful people earn promotions by first working harder. Successful businesses earn higher revenue by first delivering greater value. Successful entrepreneurs earn bigger payoffs by first working hard, well before any potential return is in sight.

Most people expect to be compensated more before they will even consider working harder.

Remarkably successful people see compensation as the reward for exceptional effort, not the driver.

10. I can make history--and I will.

You may not make it onto the pantheon of great entrepreneurs. Yours may not become a household name.

But think about the past 10 years: Technologies, industries, and ways of doing business that were once notions are now commonplace. You can be part of the next wave--whatever it might be. Or you can make a small change your industry. You can make a small change in your profession.

You can be at the forefront of a minor or major change, even if only in your community or niche. You just have to be willing to try something new.

How cool is that?

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Jul 19, 2012

JEFF HADEN | Columnist

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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