Success just shows up your door, right? Not in most cases, unless you are a member of the Publisher's Clearing House. For anyone who runs a successful company, it's always a series of smart decisions and attitudes that lead to success. I've described a few of the important ones below and included one big mistake that often leads to failure.

1. Never get angry (or at least show your anger)

The hallmark is a successful person is controlling emotions. Maybe it worked for Steve Jobs to fly off the handle at time, but most of us need to maintain decorum at all times. Anger is a way of letting everyone around you know you don't have control of the situation or your feelings. It's better to lead smart, lead with integrity, and save your emotions for the football game.

2. Manage your stress, not your time

Those running a successful company don't manage their time, and they don't ask an assistant to do it. Instead, they manage their stress. They group meetings together, they know how to have downtime, they take healthy breaks. Anyone who is successful has figured out how to manage stress. They are the ones who are "in the moment" at all time, even on a flight to New York in a snowstorm late at night.

3. Only answer the important emails

It's no longer a bragging point to say how many emails you've answered in a day. It's a bragging point to say how many emails you filtered out, organized automatically, and quickly flagged for a later reply (which you might never do). The success is in never letting email overwhelm you or control your actions. You have to an expert in processing it, not responding ad hoc.

4. Go nuts on social media

Your presence on social media is not optional anymore. Donald Trump tweets, for Pete's sake. It's free, it's direct, it's powerful. No successful company can get by without some social media. You need a customer service account, one to handle new ideas. The founder of the company should be active. It should be constant, robust, smart, and genuine.

5. Choose confidence

Does confidence come from an external source or only in a given situation? Not really. It's something you choose to exhibit. It is an inner decision. Tomorrow, when you wake up in the morning, choose to be confident no matter what. That confidence breeds trust which in turns breeds success. Without confidence, you will wallow in uncertainty and failure.

6. Never stop learning

Curiosity builds a company. You have to keep asking why and how at all times. A company stalls when you settle for what you know and understand. A company grows when you push yourself beyond the normal routine and grasp further out from the norm.

7. Connect with influencers

The current issue of The New Yorker has a piece on Reid Hoffman and how he meets with people constantly. It makes sense, since he started LinkedIn. Follow that model. Success is a group effort. You need to surround yourself with influencers and mentors.

8. Embrace change

It's ridiculous to think that success can come without change. For those who are not successful right now, you have to choose to accept change. The change you make is what will lead to success. The change you don't make will leave you stuck with the old you. Sometimes, that means failure. It means being a little out of control. It means stress (which you have to learn to manage). And, it means risk that leads to a reward.

The big mistake

When I've talked to people who have failed in business, there's a common theme that develops. It might surprise you to know that the one regret many failed business owners have is that they didn't maintain their integrity. They let go of the rudder. They cut corners or tried something sketchy. They confused the hard work required for success with the shortcut of personal compromise. Success always has to come from integrity.

Published on: Oct 8, 2015