Achieving success is a long, winding road, and often signs that you're headed in the right direction are too far and few between. It's easy to feel off track or downright lost. Every misstep can feel like a leap backward and perseverance can just plain wear down.

But there are key signs along the way that are easy to miss and hard to overstate in their importance for boosting your self-confidence and giving you faith that you are indeed making progress.

So for each of these subtle signs that apply, take note and take heart--success is a matter of time, not a matter for debate.

1. You have a continuous improvement mindset.

People get stuck when they fall out of love with personal growth. Even if success is not eminent and obvious, it's critical you feel like you're making progress and becoming a better version of yourself. Success is attracted to forward movement, failure to stasis.

In the same vein, if you resist the temptation to dwell on mistakes and if you take setbacks in stride without catastrophizing their true impact, it's an important enabler for future success. 

2. You're leveraging strengths, not just fixing weaknesses.

If you obsess too much on working on your opportunity areas it can grow tiresome--because it's tiring work. Doing the easy work matters too--that is, leveraging your natural strengths to make progress on things that matter. This includes being self-aware of both your strengths and your weaknesses and having self-compassion to be patient with the latter.

I can all too easily fall into the trap of lasering in on my weaknesses, ones exacerbated in my mind when I compare myself with others. I also find when I switch gears to leveraging my strengths, it's effortless and renews the energy depleted in striving to get better at something I'm not so good at.

3. You're doing the hard work so that you're ready when opportunities arise.

In my business of coaching others to success, a common setback I see is impatience. People want it right now. The single biggest thing that separates those who ultimately achieve it from those who get stuck is that the former keep putting in the work, falling in love with the process, while the latter abandon it. Success is the intersection of preparation and opportunity, so you have to be ready for those pivotal moments.

Sometimes the preparation is mundane or repetitive and in and of itself feels far removed from success. I get many inquiries from people wanting to be professional speakers. I often hear: "I like the idea of getting paid a lot of money just to stand on stage and talk for an hour."

But they don't realize that earning the right to get paid so much for so little time requires hours upon hours of research and rehearsal, and takes a lifetime of insight and experience to have something worth getting paid to talk about. It's all the little stuff that gives you access to the big moments.

4. You have a clear vision of the life you want.

Don't underestimate the importance of this for success and give yourself serious credit if this applies to you. Most people don't have a clear vision of not only what they want to accomplish, but why and what lifestyle comes with it.

When you have a North Star to steer toward, it keeps you off the rocks and keeps the wind in your sails. You can't get to where you're going if you don't know where that is. For me, this, more than anything, keeps me plowing through the ups and downs.  

5. Your support network is in place.

This is an easy one to overlook and deprioritize. But if you have a support network in place (mentors, family members, and co-workers supportive of your goals), it's a powerful anchor upon which to draw strength. Especially in times of adversity and change, when the only thing that won't change are your nonnegotiable values and the support of your network.

6. You're spending your time where you should be.

It's hard to see success ahead when you're constantly veering off the road chasing everything that's urgent, but not important. Those who consistently persevere do so largely because they're spending their time on the right things. If that's you, stay focused on what matters. If it's not you, it matters that you adjust your approach. Which brings us to the final sign.

7. You're adjusting on the fly.

You can't ultimately achieve success if you can't turn on a dime and adjust your approach based on the current conditions and circumstances. Refusing to change and adapt means success will always stay more than an arms-length away.

Seven signs. One mindset. Success is around the corner if you keep plowing straight ahead.

Published on: Sep 11, 2019
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