Success starts with attitude. Success starts with belief.
But not these beliefs:
1. "Something always comes along to screw things up."
Failure is something we accomplish; it doesn't just happen to us.
Ask people why they have been successful. Their answers will be filled with personal pronouns: "I," "me," and occasionally "we."
Then ask people why they failed. Most will revert to childhood and instinctively distance themselves, like the kid who says, "My toy got broken" instead of "I broke my toy." They'll say the economy tanked. They'll say the market wasn't ready. They'll say their suppliers couldn't keep up.
They'll say it was someone, or something, else. And by distancing themselves, they don't learn from their failures.
Occasionally something completely outside our control causes to us fail. Most of the time, though, it's us. And that's OK. Every successful person has failed. Numerous times. Most of them have failed a lot more often than we have. That's why they're successful now.
Embrace every failure: Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time, things will turn out differently.
2. "I already paid my dues."
Dues aren't paid, past tense. Dues get paid, each and every day. The only real measure of your value is the tangible contribution you make on a daily basis.
No matter what you've done or accomplished in the past, you're never too good to roll up your sleeves, get dirty, and do the grunt work. No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring.
Successful people never feel entitled -- except to the fruits of their labor.
3. "I don't have enough time."
Deadlines and time frames establish parameters, but typically not in a good way. The average person who is given two weeks to complete a task will instinctively adjust his effort so it actually takes two weeks.
Forget deadlines, at least as a way to manage your activity. Tasks should take only as long as they need to take. Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can. Then use your "free" time to get other things done ... just as quickly and effectively.
Many people allow time to impose its will on them; successful people impose their will on their time.
4. "I don't have the right connections."
Some of your employees drive you nuts. Some of your customers are obnoxious. Some of your friends are selfish, all-about-me jerks.
You chose them. If the people around you make you unhappy, it's not their fault. It's your fault. They're in your professional or personal life because you drew them to you -- and you let them remain.
Think about the type of people you want to work with. Think about the types of customers you would enjoy serving. Think about the friends you want to have.
Then change what you do so you can start attracting those people. Hardworking people want to work with hardworking people. Kind people like to associate with kind people. Great employees want to work for great bosses.
Successful people are naturally drawn to successful people.
5. "I already have enough on my plate."
Whenever you raise your hand, you wind up being asked to do more. That's great. Doing more is an opportunity to learn, to impress, to gain skills, to build new relationships -- to do something more than you would otherwise be able to do.
Success is based on action. The more you volunteer, the more you get to act. Successful people step forward to create opportunities. Successful people sprint forward.
6. "I shouldn't have to do that."
Specialization is good. Focus is good. Finding a niche is good.
Generating revenue is great.
Anything a customer will pay you a reasonable price to do -- as long as it isn't unethical, immoral, or illegal -- is something you should do. Your customers want you to deliver outside your normal territory? If they'll pay for it, fine. They want you to add services you don't normally include? If they'll pay you for them, fine. The customer wants you to perform relatively unskilled labor, and you're a high-tech shop? Shut up, roll 'em up, do the work, and get paid.
Do only what you want to do and you might build a decent business. Be willing to do what customers want you to do and you can build a successful business.
And speaking of customers...
7. "I should be able to do it my way."
Get over your I-must-be-free-to-express-my-individuality self. You can be like that on your own time. The people who pay you, whether customers or employers, earn the right to dictate what you do and how you do it -- sometimes down to the last detail.
Instead of complaining, work to align what you like to do with what the people who pay you want you to do.
Then you turn issues like control and micromanagement into nonissues.
8. "I have (tons of) experience."
Maybe you have 15 years of programming experience. That's fine, but how long you've done something doesn't serve as a proxy for expertise. Years of service indicate very little; in your case, you could still be the worst programmer in the world.
We care about what you've done: how many customer-specific applications you've developed (and what kind), how many applications you've migrated, how many back-end systems you've created... All that matters is what you've done.
Successful people don't need to describe themselves using hyperbolic adjectives like "passionate," "innovative," "driven," etc. If asked, they just say, preferably in a humble way, what they've done.
9. "I already do more than I should have to."
Everyone says they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually does. Most people who go there think, "Wait ... no one else is here ... why am I doing this?" and leave, never to return.
That's why the extra mile is such a lonely place.
That's also why the extra mile is a place filled with opportunities.
Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. Help a customer unload or unpack a shipment. Don't wait to be asked; offer. Don't just tell employees what to do -- show them what to do and work beside them.
Every time you do something, think of one extra thing you can do, especially if other people aren't doing that one thing. Sure, it's hard.
But that's what will make you different.
Over time, that's what will make you incredibly successful.