Nearly everyone hits it big at least once or twice in the course of a career. But some people seem to go from success to success to success, winning at almost every game they play. It isn't that they avoid failure--even the most successful people fail spectacularly sometimes. It's that they succeed more often than they fail, and much more often than the rest of us.
What sets these people apart? One big difference is their approach to success itself, to life, and to their work, says Larry Weidel, coach, senior national sales director at Primerica Financial Services, and author of the new book Serial Winner. "They do something every day that puts them on a course for the things they want in life," Weidel explains. The key lies in their attitude, and how they tackle their daily tasks and the challenges that come along.
Here's how consistently successful people keep coming out on top:
1. They see success as a process, not a destination.
Ever hike to the top of a mountain? Once you've enjoyed the view for a while, your next step is to hike back down, and then decide which mountain you're going to tackle next. Consistently successful people look at their work the same way. When they reach a goal or finish a big project, they'll stop and take time to celebrate. But soon enough, they're tackling the next challenge with as much energy as the last one.
2. They're decisive.
Consistently successful people make informed decisions, and once they make a decision, they don't waste time second-guessing themselves. "They know the clock is ticking, and they need to continually make decisions and take action," Weidel says. "If you don't make a decision to go for what you want, you'll get whatever life hands you."
3. They do more than they have to.
Consistently successful people start out every project thinking how they can make the most of it, rather than how to accomplish the job with the least effort. That mindset stands them in good stead as the project progresses, Weidel says: "The extra momentum they build by overdoing helps them break through roadblocks and allows them to handle bigger challenges over time."
4. They make frequent adjustments, but they rarely give up.
"Don't quit, adjust!" is Weidel's advice. Everyone hits roadblocks on the way to achieving goals, so it's what you do when that happens that makes the most difference, he says. Some people quickly decide that they've chosen the wrong path, and go off to try something else. Others doggedly put their heads down and keep doing what they've been doing, hoping that if they're stubborn enough, eventually they'll get what they want.
Consistently successful people do neither. When things don't work out, they take a second look at how they've been approaching the problem, and make adjustments that may help improve things going forward. Then they go forward. They don't give up until they've tried every conceivable approach, and then some.
5. They finish what they start.
"Serial winners earn the great things in life not by trying but by finishing," Weidel says. Every time you finish a project, bring a product to market, or complete a difficult task, you're learning and growing stronger, and setting yourself up for success in the future. So even if a particular effort isn't the big success you hoped it would be, it's always wise to finish what you start. You're likely to find new opportunities along the way.
6. They're always looking for improvement.
Consistently successful people never rest on their laurels, Weidel says. "The 'Always Be Improving' principle is the difference between winning occasionally and winning consistently." So make sure to enjoy your successes, but never stop looking around the next corner to find the next challenge or the next way you can make your business or yourself better. "If you want an exciting, fulfilling life, you have to keep improving," he says.
7. Their priorities shift over time.
Don't look for work-life balance at the start of a new project, the launch of a company, or the beginning of a big push toward an important goal, Weidel says. "Serial winners understand this fundamental truth about success: When you're pushing hard toward a goal, balance cannot be the priority," Weidel says. "The priority is getting the job done."
But that doesn't mean you should give up your life outside work. On the contrary, a happy life beyond your job is necessary for both success and happiness. The solution is to understand that different priorities are right at different times. At the moment that you're trying to achieve a big goal or meet a tough deadline, work generally has to take top priority.
Once the deadline is met or missed, it's important to take some time in which your family life, friends, hobbies, or leisure take precedence. Perhaps it's the right time to take a week off work altogether. That ebb and flow between focusing on work and focusing on your life outside work is what really leads to a successful balance and a happy life.