My 10 Rules for Success
by Dr. Robert Ing
There are videos, blogs and articles where high-profile, successful people have their 10 Rules for Success listed, but for my money, many of these are not direct, practical, actionable items that can be applied by the rest of us. They are much more philosophical or motivational. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I am far from being a high-profile celebrity but I have been quite successful in my life. In living the life of an academic, business professional, performer and adventurer; there were and are certain irrefutable factors that contributed to my success every single time, whether I was at the boardroom table as C.E.O. or flying supersonic speeds at 30,000 feet above the earth. So if you will indulge me, here’s my list to you. Think about it. Use it or discard it, the choice is yours.
1) Be known for one thing.
In a world of distractions and unlimited options it’s very difficult to stay laser focused. However, if your goal is to make your mark in this world and be a force to be reckoned with, you must have your act together and be known for one thing. Your name and reputation must be associated with one major thing. This is the branding, fame, power and money that empires are made of. Yes, many will point to high-profile successful individuals who do this, and do that, and then do something else all at the same time. While this is true, they do so because they can now afford to, but when they first started out I guarantee you they dedicated their effort into one single thing and with persistent laser focus stuck to it like a hungry dog with a single piece of meat. Once you have established yourself as the expert in your world and are leveraging it to the max, only then is it time to branch off or diversify. We all know some entrepreneur or business person who always has multiple projects on the go, is always hustling and the following year they are still hustling from the exact same place they started. This is because they never focused on a single goal and due to their inexperience and insecurity spread themselves thin. Don’t end up in the same place next year, and year after year in your professional and personal life. Be focused. Be persistent. Be known for one thing. Be successful.
2) Inspire and empower those around you.
No matter who you are, what your background is or how much money you have at this moment; you have the life experiences and know some things that others don’t. You have the power to inspire and empower the people you see everyday. Whether it’s the waitress, the janitor, your co-worker or some random person you have ended up striking a conversation with. I am not talking about giving money to someone, spending hours volunteering somewhere or trying to solve someone’s personal problems. What I am talking about is a small simple helpful gesture that is easily and effortlessly within your means. This could take the form of offering contact information someone might find helpful, encouraging and being respectful of a person’s goal when no one else has, being empathetic to their cause or just offering them a positive reassuring attitude. Just be helpful, respectful and positive. The more you do this, the more you will soon realise that you are more powerful in your world than you had previously thought, and of course your reputation in the community will be that of a builder not a destroyer. All this is necessary if you are to take yourself to the next level. Your daily goal should be to inspire people simply by the way you conduct yourself in word and deed, so that someday, somewhere someone will think, “because of you I didn’t give up.”
3) Be a communicator.
There are many people in our world who do not have the ability to effectively communicate. When you cannot communicate effectively in speaking and writing, your choices and opportunity for advancement in this world are extremely limited. If you have difficulty writing or speaking, you must enrol yourself in an evening or weekend class at a local school or community college in order to acquire the skills and comfort level you need. To be a leader and the best you can be, you must be an excellent communicator. If you are already an excellent communicator, whenever you speak you should focus on being specific and getting to the point quickly. The problem with many people in today’s business world is they speak in generalities, take longer to get to the point and what they say is seldom practical or actionable. They offer criticism without a viable solution or option. If you intend to be a leader don’t do this. Another consideration is when having an informal leisurely conversation; focus on relating stories drawn or based on your life experiences rather than on some event you lived through in the third person via a fictional television or film presentation. This establishes you as an “Alpha” and will garner the respect of those who may ultimately be a supporter or enabler of your future endeavours. Be a leader, experience life firsthand, live to tell about it and communicate it effectively.
4) Appreciate what you have and the people in your life.
It’s a sad reality the majority of people don’t appreciate, on a daily basis the people and things they have in their lives. We live in a society where too much emphasis is placed on acquiring the latest and greatest; where the pursuit of designer and trendy items is a way of life. The truth is, apart from celebrities and royalty, if you were to meet a decamillionaire in person you would soon realize they seldom wear designer labels or have flashy jewellery and they look like any middle class person on the street. When you get to this level, you will purchase items of quality that are built to last, not items with designer logos or flash. Besides, with a net worth of ten million or more, who do you need to impress? No matter where you are today, understand if you have a refrigerator with food in it, clothes that are not worn out and a safe place to call home you rent or own; statistically you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population. Appreciate this fact and show appreciation for the people in your life on a daily basis. Each individual in your life is unique and those who are close to you, who support you and have earned your trust are rare and in reality very few. Be appreciative of them and let them know you value your relationship with them. Do not go out into the world feeling underprivileged or wanting things that do not add value to who you are or how you live. If it doesn’t add value, there is no immediate need for it.
5) Always have a Plan B.
There are a lot of books and articles written by high profile business coaches who will tell you to have a plan but well over half of them won’t tell you that you also need a Plan B. They won’t mention the need for a Plan B because it sends the message that just maybe, despite all the motivational feel good overtones, what they are proposing you do is not as sure a thing as they hyped it to be. Reality is never convenient. So you must always have a Plan B. Your Plan B doesn’t need to be as elegant or as smooth as your Plan A but it must be practical enough to see you through in bare bones fashion if your Plan A falls through. Even when things are going well with your Plan A, it is always a good idea to review, revise and update your Plan B in the event something goes sideways.
6) The 5 to 10 Rule
There was a time when people would get a job, advance in position and pay, and stay with a firm for decades to retirement. In our 21st century for most people, there is no such thing as job or income security. On a similar note, we have seen the closure of many centuries and decades old family businesses that were once considered household names. When it comes to business nothing is forever. Today, unemployment is now the highest since the Great Depression in some regions. More than ever you must take action that will ensure your survival through both good and bad times. The 5 to 10 Rule is simply that no matter where you get your income or cash flow from, you always save a minimum of 5% of it up to a maximum of 10%. You do this for one year and do not withdraw any funds during the first year. You continue to do this for as long as you continue to have an income. If an emergency presents itself and you need money, the rule is you may not withdraw more than half of the value of your savings in the first year, and not more than 35% of the total value in subsequent years. When your savings reach $3,000.00, at least 60% should be invested in a conventionally safe investment vehicle. It is not beneficial to leave more than $3,000.00 standing still in a bank account but rather invest it in investment certificates, bonds or if you prefer silver and gold. The amount in your savings are your first assets. Never spend or loan out your first assets. Applying and maintaining the 5 to 10 Rule is the most difficult thing for many people as it requires a great deal of discipline and persistence. Whether your income is from social services, your job or business; you owe it to your own survival to implement the 5 to 10 Rule. Start off with just 5% for the first year and gradually increase the percentage when you can. Don’t be disheartened or embarrassed if your initial savings looks quite modest, it will grow over time and your persistence will pay off. Do this to ensure your survival in the future.
7) Make Honour and Responsibility your core values.
In an age where we can easily get wrapped up in the moment or taken for an unplanned ride on an emotional roller coaster, very little time if any, is spent reflecting upon what are or should be our core values that separates us as leaders and innovators in our own lives from those of the assembled multitude. The two core values should and must be those of Honour and Responsibility. Everything you do, if you are to be in a better situation or be a better person than you were yesterday, today; must be done with honour and responsibly. Honour is a pretty broad characteristic, so let me put this into context for you as it applies to your success. By honour, I simply mean you must demonstrate in every action, word and deed; honesty, integrity, see the long term or bigger picture of your actions and understand that without others whether they be customers, business associates or simply fans – you will not achieve fame nor fortune. Likewise everything you do, you must be willing to take responsibility for your actions, words and deeds. All too often people knowingly act with the knowledge that what they are doing is wrong but console themselves that they can shirk all responsibility for their actions by claiming ignorance, asking for forgiveness or finding a legal loophole. This is not how a true leader and innovator gets to the next level and anyone who advances themselves in this way may eventually have to deal with this issue long after they thought the dust had settled. Be an honourable and responsible person to yourself first and then by extension to others. Take responsibility for everything you do. Be the person who demonstrates discipline by example. Be a role model in what you do to the point that adults and youngsters want to ask you the secret of your success and aspire to be in your league. The real role models in this world aren’t on baseball or hockey cards, in films, videos or television but are the people in every community that conduct their lives with the core values of Honour and Responsibility.
8) Be good to yourself.
Each and every day take a half-hour to hour to be good to yourself. Use this time to do what pleases you. Whether it is deep reflection or indulging yourself by taking the long way to or from where you have to be. Make time for yourself to regroup, re-centre and to simply indulge in you.
9) Recognize that those closest to you are not the most objective.
When it comes to an opinion or personal validation, your friends and family could help you. However, you may feel you cannot share all of your dreams and goals with them. They may be so close to you they may be biased and judgmental, or they may not want to be totally honest with you for fear of damaging your relationship while hurting your feelings. There are times when you need the opinion of a person completely unattached from your life who will be thoroughly objective and unjudgmental.
If you are involved in a major project or life changing personal endeavour and need a second opinion or personal validation, look to asking at least three different individuals who are not all related to you by family or friendship. Never use or be sidetracked by the opinion of one individual, even if it’s your mom or spouse; get two other opinions on any major issue. Get input from people who can be objective about the project, who will judge the project on its own merits not because you are involved in it.
10) Get rid of and avoid pessimists and those who create drama.
Pessimists are the destroyers of passion and are highly infectious. They are the constant naysayers who take pleasure in, and feel empowered in destroying the ambitions of all they come in contact with. Never confuse a realist with a pessimist. A realist is an ally who will always tell you how it is, without the hype but will do so in an empowering, supportive way that may lead you to new options and perspectives. The pessimist will just simply tell you why you can’t or why you will fail in condescending and caustic tones. No successful person has a pessimist in their circle of friends, business colleagues or even remotely as a purveyor of anything.
Those who create drama love attention as they foster situations with their shenanigans of being needy or always having some situation that went sideways. They are the helpless victim. They will suck you into their vortex of drama in order to distract you from pursuing your own goals and will revel at the thought of seeing how you can bail them out and solve their recurring self-inflicted problems. These people are also known as psychic vampires and will run you ragged psychologically and physically if you do not remove them from your life the minute you spot them.
All of these individuals may come from the ranks of family, friends or colleagues. Beware. If you are serious and committed to being successful, cut these people out once they have made it clear who they are.
Hope you enjoyed reading my 10 Rules. Only you have the power to realise your potential.
Copyright © 2016, 2017 Dr Robert Ing, www.drroberting.com
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