What Successful People Do Differently

Why do some people succeed and others flounder? Over the years, in my experience coaching various people, I’ve often asked myself that question.

How do successful people set the stage for the ‘what’s next’, next promotion, best results, or stellar performance? One might wonder does it take:

Research shows that measures of innate ability (like IQ) poorly predict who succeeds or stumbles. A recent book by Columbia Business School Professor Heidi Grant Halvorson summarizes Nine Things Successful People Do Differently.

“Being successful is not about winning the DNA lottery; it’s about reaching goals,” she writes. “It’s about making smart choices, using the right strategies and taking action.”

Decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their personal and professional goals because of what they do not because of who they are. Luckily, everything they do can be learned, practiced and mastered.

All About the Goals

Implementation of effective strategies and persistence ultimately determine who’s more likely to succeed. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. Your ability to set specific goals, see and seize opportunities and take action primes the accomplishment pump.

Success comes to those who believe they can succeed, but it also requires a specific plan that won’t be abandoned, even during tough times. Winners also know that success may not come easily, but they remain focused on progress, monitor milestones and recognize what still needs to be done. They don’t let up.

True Grit

High performers have grit. They know obstacles are inevitable, a part of the process and find a way around them. They develop their abilities by finding solutions to setbacks. They build willpower by using it like a muscle—anticipating when they’re vulnerable, avoiding temptations, and preparing contingency plans and coping strategies.

They focus on what they will do, rather than what they won’t do — a tactic that fosters positive energy. They know success depends on adapting to challenges and persisting, even when they’re ready to wave the white flag.

Now, you may think that some people are born lucky and naturally have what it takes, but I say no, not everyone. I’ve seen enough people come into coaching and leave with positive outcomes to know you can learn to successfully complete goals, with the help of coaching.

If you haven’t tried it, you don’t know what you’re missing. Let me know if I can help.


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