5 Powerful Tips to Achieve More Success in Life
Life is more enjoyable and fun when you are thriving and successful (no new information there!).
The 5 tips to achieve more success in this guide give you ways you can take the work you are already doing to the next level.
So, if you are ready for your performance and success to skyrocket, then you have come to the right place.
Let’s get started!
How do you define success in life?
Success can mean lots of different things to lots of different people, and the definition of success can seem elusive.
Is the definition of success the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status? Is it rising to the top of the corporate ladder?
Is the definition of success the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, or is it in the pursuit of some loftier ideal?
How you define success in your own words will likely be entirely different from the examples of success someone else would provide.
For the purpose of this guide, achieving more success is about doing what you do, but better.
If you don’t like what you are doing, or don’t know how to define success for yourself, then their is another more important first step you can take to achieve success in life and feel successful.
You could be making millions, hanging in the highest circles, and jet setting across the world.
But, if you don’t feel like you are doing the work that you are meant to be doing, if you don’t feel like you are living a life that is authentic to you, then you will never truly feel like your life is successful.
Finding your core personal values and your purpose is the foundation for living a life that is authentic to you and to living a life for what you stand for.
When you find and live from your most deeply held values and your purpose, success in life comes easy because it feels like you are living the life you are meant to lead.
If you do like what you are doing and feel purposeful in it, and just want to take your success to the next level, then that’s what this guide is about and these tips to success will help you do that!
1. Understand the Performance Formula
In order to be more successful, you have to perform better.
About a decade ago, I stumbled on the formula to help you understand exactly how you can do that.
I was looking for a way to help my son improve his tennis game, and was reading the book, “The Inner Game of Tennis.”
Author Tim Gallwey stopped me in my tracks with the answer.
Increasing your success in tennis, Gallwey said, can be shown in the following formula:
Performance = Potential – Interference (P=P-I).
These elements can be understood as:
Performance is defined as your current operating level in the system, i.e. how well you are doing.
Potential is what is possible for you; the highest level you could possibly perform at given what you know now.
Interference is the background noise: daily worries, distractions, stories, hurts and wounds that limit or mask your ability to tap into your potential.
There are two ways to increase your performance: increase the potential you tap into, and/or reduce your interference.
I immediately realized this formula extends far beyond tennis.
For example, if you want to improve work performance you could do two things:
Increase your potential by taking action like one of these steps:
Learning new skills
Developing new relationships you can leverage
Or reduce your interference by:
Eliminating distractions at work
Focusing on clearing self-sabotaging behaviors
Overcoming fatal flaws
This performance formula applies in all areas of your life to the same effect; it isn’t limited to work only.
A good starting place is to identify the areas in which you may not be as happy as you desire to be.
Being unhappy in one area of your life can drastically impact all of the different areas as well, and hinder performance.
In my first book, The 5 Keys to the Great Life, I identify the six areas that make up a great life:
Self (represents all the life experiences beliefs, habits, and attitudes that make up You)
Finances (includes how happy you are in your career)
If you want to assess how happy you feel like you are in each of these areas, you can complete the Great Life Profile. The results of the Profile will help you see where you may be unhappy and where there might be interference.
When you know where the interference in your life is coming from, you can then see the best place to focus your energy to increase your potential and reduce your interference.
Based on my 20 years of research in the field of human potential, Gallwey’s formula is the most effective way I have found to explain what limits human performance.
When you can increase your performance, your will inevitably achieve more success too!
2. Identify and get rid of leadership fatal flaws
Fatal flaws are showstoppers.
Leadership researchers Zenger and Folkman first identified the concept of fatal flaws.
They analyzed data that compared the attributes and behaviors of the top 10% of leaders with the bottom 10% of leaders.
Their research led to an important conclusion:
An analysis of our data reveals five patterns of behavior that consistently lead to a failure in leadership.
Possessing one or more of these makes it virtually impossible for a person to be perceived as an effective leader.
If you have a fatal flaw as a leader, the best you can be is average.
People often don’t realize that they have one of these patterns (and that is what makes them fatal).
In my book What’s Your Superpower, I classified these five fatal flaws as being part of the Intellectual Karmic Scrap Heap.
The five fatal flaws are:
Inability to learn from mistakes.
Lack of core interpersonal skills and competencies.
Lack of openness to new or different ideas.
Lack of accountability.
Lack of initiative.
These may seem pretty basic, but if you have one of these fatal flaws, or think that you can grow in one of these areas, fixing that can result in significantly more success.
One important thing to note is that many people think that they aren’t leaders, so they think these 5 fatal flaws don’t apply to them.
Absolutely not true.
Leadership is about each individual leaning into the best pieces of who they are in each moment.
I like the founder of Activate Your Talent Katie Christy’s definition of leader:
There is no one-size-fits-all approach, answer key or formula to leadership. Leadership should be the humble, authentic expression of your unique personality in pursuit of bettering whatever environment you are in.
Based on that definition, everyone is a leader. That means you are a leader, too.
And, in order to express your unique personality in its highest form, you must grow past any fatal flaws you might have.
To help you determine how you might exhibit these fatal flaws, I created a Fatal Flaw worksheet.
This worksheet asks you how you might exhibit these behaviors and gives you strategies for shifting to a more empowering pattern.
Yo can enter your email below to get this worksheet and start clearing fatal flaws.
Now let’s talk about each fatal flaw in depth.
Fatal Flaw #1: Inability to learn from mistakes
Even though Zenger and Folkman’s research uncovered five detrimental behavior patterns, there is one that is considered the single biggest cause of failure: The inability to learn from mistakes.
Mistakes happen. It is a fact of life.
What Zenger and Folkman found is that, essentially, all leaders make the same number of mistakes.
The difference is that effective leaders use those mistakes as learning experiences, while ineffective leaders hide mistakes and then worry about them, sometimes for years.
Zenger and Folkman believe this inability to learn from mistakes possibly can be attributed to a leader’s failure to see current reality accurately or to be able to analyze one’s own behavior.
When you feel like a mistake has been made, reflect on why.
What role did you play in the process?
Think about and debrief the situation to see what lessons can be learned and what the root cause of the mistake might be.
When you spend time in reflection and take the lesson forward with you, you minimize repeating the same mistakes.
Fatal Flaw #2: Lack of core interpersonal skills and competencies.
Individuals who lack interpersonal skills and competencies limit their overall effectiveness.
If you want to maximize your potential and optimize performance, you have to have solid interpersonal skills and competencies.
This fatal flaw is easily remedied by reading one of the greatest books ever written on interpersonal skills and putting the tips from the book into practice: How To Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.
His book offers practical tips and advice on how to improve interpersonal skills such as:
Begin with praise and honest appreciation
Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
Let the other person save face.
This is opposed to:
Calling people out in front of others and embarrassing them
Berating someone and only focusing on their mistakes
Telling everyone exactly what to do and not giving them a say.
If you can at least do the basics, you will be on your way!
Another way to develop your interpersonal skills is practice showing up in each conversation from a place of care and candor.
Caring values the person, and candor values the person’s potential. Care without candor creates dysfunctional relationships and candor without care creates distant relationships.
For more on care and candor, read John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership.
Fatal Flaw #3: Lacking openness to new or different ideas.
Leaders who engage in this fatal flaw will always do the same things the same way because that is the way they have always been done and for no other reason.
One of my sons attended a school that loved to use the “but we’ve always done it that way” excuse.
It drove me batty to hear that excuse.
Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t make it right.
Leaders who have this profile also tend to be close-minded when it comes to new ideas.
It can be scary for people to try new things or new methods when what they do might be working.
If you desire is to achieve new levels of success, being closed-minded won’t take you there.
Try to ask your team members or family members and friends for their ideas and hear them out.
When trying to solve a challenge, ask this simple question, “What am I missing?”
And then be open to the answer!
Fatal Flaw #4: Lack of accountability
No one likes it when someone won’t take responsibility for the mess they made.
That’s a big part of the reason that not holding yourself accountable is a fatal flaw.
You have to take responsibility for yourself. Be it good or bad, you must be accountable for your performance.
You may not always have control over what happens in your life, but you can always control how you respond and recognize what part you play in the events that happen to you.
You always have a role to play.
The best way to begin holding yourself accountable is by asking this question of yourself: “How did my behavior contribute to where we are?”
Then make different decisions and act more like the leader you are.
If you like to read like I do, and you want to understand new ways of holding yourself accountable, read The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability.
It offers a wonderful path for increasing accountability known as “See It”, “Own It”, “Solve it”, and “Do It”.
Fatal Flaw #5: Lack of initiative.
If you have no drive, you won’t go anywhere.
It is a roadblock to be passive and wait for things to happen in order to respond.
If you are concerned that you engage in this fatal flaw, begin to ask yourself “How can I step up here?” or “What more can I do?”
All of us engage in behaviors tied to these fatal flaws once in a while.
That is not a problem.
When these behaviors are regular patterns, however, that is a problem.
Fatal flaws almost guarantee your inability to reach your highest success.
If you want to shine, any fatal flaws must be addressed.
By understanding what fatal flaws are and how to counteract them, you can reduce their effects on you, tap into more potential, and optimize your own performance.
3. Focus on what is essential
Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, asks this important question:
What is it that keeps otherwise capable and driven people from breaking through to the next level?
The answer that McKeown came to was counterintuitive. It was success.
When people are successful, it brings along more opportunities and more chances to do things, ultimately distracting them from what got them there in the first place: a focus on what is essential.
This isn’t to say that success is bad (obviously), but, to stay successful, you have to stay disciplined.
When you have a reputation as someone who gets things done, people will come to you to help get their things done!
But, to stay successful, you can’t let yourself be pulled into every project that isn’t what your focus is.
The ultimate goal according to McKeown should be simple: “less, but better.”
Doing less things, but making sure that the things that you do focus on get done exceptionally well.
This goes back to the performance formula.
When you focus on what is essential, you reduce the interference that keeps you from tapping into all of your potential.
As a result, your performance goes up and you are able to go higher and higher!
You also have to make sure that your narrow focus is focused on the right thing.
When your to-do list gets longer and longer by the day, it is easy to feel like the most important thing you can do is just start checking things off the list.
But, not everything on your to-do list is created equally.
Certain things on that list are going to be significantly more important than other, minor things that demand your attention.
You have to make sure your focus is on getting things that matter the most done.
One of the most revolutionary books I have read is The One Thing by Gary Keller (I also talked about this in my blog on creating a life plan).
The One Thing builds off of the 80/20 principle - the idea that a large part of your success (80%) comes from a small part of what you do (20%).
Instead of the 80/20 principle, it advocates focusing on the one thing that is most important, and not letting yourself get distracted from that One Thing while taking strides to accomplish it.
You have to decide what one thing is most important, and what you will get the most return on investment of your time and then keep working towards that.
In the event that you have a hard time narrowing down to one thing, you can also use the 3x3 exercise priority worksheet I created to help you focus your efforts.
This priority worksheet helps you organize:
What you must do
What you should do
What you want to do, but isn’t essential
You can enter your email below to get the worksheet!
There will be things (and people) that try to distract you and take your time.
To achieve your highest success, you have to stay focused on what matters most.
4. Develop a growth mindset
If you watch sports, you will hear a lot of talk about “the it factor.”
Someone either has it or they don’t. They are good or they are bad.
If you are not first, then you are last.
Well the truth is, that is 110% wrong.
No one is inherently “good” at anything.
Great leaders aren’t born, they are developed.
When someone achieves success, it doesn’t just happen. It is mostly likely the result of work put in over time (and when it does seem to happen instantaneously, it usually means someone laid the groundwork far in advance).
This tip for success is about having a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is described by Carol Dweck in her book Mindset as:
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work - brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential fro great accomplishment.
This is in contrast to a fixed mindset- where you believe that your “qualities are carved in stone” (p.6).
The difference these two mindsets can have on your happiness and the track you take in life is extraordinary.
When you have a fixed mindset, you think you can only be so smart, you can only be so kind, you can only change so much.
You are stuck as you are.
A growth mindset believes that you can become smarter by working harder, you can be kinder by doing more, you can change by working on yourself.
Success and failure with a growth mindset are results of the effort put in, and feedback on where you are at and how you can grow.
Success and failure with a fixed mindset is either because you are good or because you are not.
Having a fixed mindset then results in dealing poorly with failure and the challenges of your life.
When someone fails with a fixed mindset, they conclude that the failure comes because they simply aren’t good enough.
That’s a tough pill to swallow - and often time a fixed mindset doesn’t swallow it. Instead it shirks, cheats, and blames. It’s never their fault.
No one is ever fully growth mindset or fully fixed mindset: everyone exists on a spectrum and falls at different places in the different areas of their lives.
When you can embrace a growth mindset, you can take your success to the next level.
When you can embrace a growth mindset, it is no longer about whether or not you are good enough, it is about what you need to do to get there.
When you can understand that you are not inherently good or bad at something, but that you get where you want to go with effort, then your perspective totally shifts.
Success no longer seems unattainable, because it is not something you either have or don’t have.
Instead it is something that you work towards, and get closer to one step at a time.
If you find yourself thinking that you lack confidence, or just aren’t good enough, or will never be successful, then developing a growth mindset will change your life.
The importance of having a growth mindset is that you can be and do just about anything as long as you put in the work to get there.
When you can fully lean into having a growth mindset, you will find you are able to achieve more success than ever before.
5. Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
To really step into all of your success, you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
When you rise to higher and higher levels of success, you are going to be presented with new challenges and asked to go places you’ve never gone to before.
You might find yourself thinking:
“What if I’m not good enough?”
“What if I don’t know what to do?”
“What if I am just not cut out for it?”
All totally understandable.
The good news is, you now have a growth mindset!
You know that success is a matter of the effort that you put in, and if you aren’t that person know, you can always grow into that person, one baby step at a time.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be hard, or you won’t be challenged along the way.
It just means it might be uncomfortable for a while until you hit your stride.
But, if you put in the work, you will hit your stride.
Here are two things to keep in mind along the way:
#1 What got you here might not get you there
When you are tasked with new, bigger challenges, there is a good chance that you will have to rise to new levels of organization and performance to meet that challenge.
This means that some of your current behaviors might not be able to go with you to that next level, and you might have to change it up.
You are being asked to do something you’ve never done before, and you will probably have to step outside of your comfort zone.
But, just like pressure makes diamonds, so to will the challenges ahead of you force you up your game.
Embrace that challenge and the changes that might come with it knowing that you might have to embrace something new, and that it will only make you better, smarter, and wiser.
#2. Having someone to guide you helps immensely
I often think back to the words of Carolina Panthers Coach Ron Rivera.
As they were preparing to play in the super bowl a few years ago, he said, “If you haven’t been there, don’t draw me a map.”
When you are tasked with something new and big and challenging, it helps to have someone who has walked the path before you and can help show you the way.
I have had many guides help me get to where I am today, and you should never be afraid to ask for help when you think you might need it.
Two guides that I admire and have learned a lot from offered me this advice:
Embrace that each day is a new normal. Wake up and allow what is and do what is needed.
Life is going to kick your butt and you are going to like it, because on the other side of that are amazing things with your name on it!
So go out, have fun, maybe get your butt kicked, and be more successful than ever!
Much Llama Llove,