Connie Tang has a pretty good idea of how to answer that question based on life experience. Born in Hong Kong but raised in Brooklyn, New York, she earned her way to the top by simultaneously working multiple jobs, graduating early and never compromising on making a tough schedule work. Now the first female CEO of multi-million dollar direct selling company Princess House, she's repeatedly harnessed her fears and faced down obstacles to take on new and different global assignments, learn and journey to a range of destinations on her own.
"Smart entrepreneurs know that success is more than just raw talent or imagination," Tang says. "It comes from having certain traits and staying dedicated through all the highs and lows of the journey."
Below, Tang offers you the cliff notes version of her book, Fearless Living: 8 Life-Changing Values for Breakthrough Success, summarizing the concepts that will let you get to your goals:
"One of the most crucial elements of determination is daily discipline--doing what needs to be done even when you don't feel like doing it. Good, solid habits you practice every day enable you to be more efficient and productive."
"Own and take full responsibility for your decisions, your actions and your results--good, bad or ugly, without playing the blame game. Rise above your circumstances and demonstrate ownership in order to achieve the results you want."
3. Drive for results
"Equip yourself to do whatever it takes to achieve your goals with a plan of action and allow it to become a living document, referencing it often. When things change or don't go as planned, be an agile and resilient problem solver by seeking solutions."
"Passion is often sparked by something you've experienced, heard or read and rises up from deep within to become a driving force in your life. Let your passion rage like a fire. It's one of the most important elements of success, and when it's truly present, work rarely feels like work, even when you're dog tired."
"Collaboration allows you to maximize the knowledge and expertise of the people around you. You must collaborate and come together with others to bring projects and strategic initiatives to fruition. Plus, successful outcomes are easier when it's a team effort."
"Entrepreneurs need the personal power to be agile because business dynamics require us to adapt to the ebb and flow of things that may and will change the outcomes of some of our best laid plans. There are two types of agility: learning agility, which is acquiring and applying new skills and knowledge. And, change agility, which is the ability to recognize the need for change and adjust business behavior or tactics to address unforeseen situations."
"It's essential to give respect in order to gain respect by recognizing the value of each individual and their potential contributions to your business relationship. Appreciate your own uniqueness, which will lead to mentally, emotionally and objectively embracing diversity."
"Understand that compassion is a critical factor in helping you expand your thinking, overcome fear and grow. Exercise compassion daily by always acting on the urge to help someone."
Like most change, embracing these eight values is a process. Tang likes to compare it to footwear. Fuzzy slippers? Your still in your comfort zone. Loafers? You're sitting on your duff, waiting for things to happen instead of proactively grabbing the bull by the horns to create what you want. And flip-flops? Well, let's just say working past the first "no" isn't your forte.
But then there are the stilettos. As most women (and heck, even some men) can tell you, walking in those puppies is no small feat. It takes a lot of practice, just like it takes practice to overcome the fears that hold you back from being better.
"You're a little shaky in the heels at first, until you gain your balance. You might trip, you might even fall. But every time you get up and take a few more steps, you become more confident. And before you know it, your business results are taking you well beyond the boundaries of your former fears and well along on the road to success."
So yes, it's work. As the saying goes, most things worthwhile usually are. But the only way to cross the finish line is to keep walking, one foot in front of the other. So buckle in your feet. Now--right now--is your time to get moving.