I recently wrote a post about three crucial shifts in perspective that prepared me for success. They're important for changing the way you see yourself, your work, and your role with clients.
But they're not enough.
You also have to exercise certain habits, and before you can do that, you must first believe that your personality is plastic, malleable, changeable.
If you believe that people don't change, well, Buster, don't waste any more time reading this post. You'll be better off stockpiling weapons, canned beans, and gasoline for the Zombie Apocalypse.
For the rest of you who are more hopeful, know this: not only do I believe that people can change, I believe that we must change. Otherwise, we will never develop the pluck and emotional intelligence to stop letting fear and an addiction to comfort (which is really just fear of scarcity) make our decisions for us.
When you become successful—when, not if—you'll look back and realize that you began practicing gratitude, generosity, courage, resourcefulness, and realistic optimism.
Gratitude – Saying thank you takes humility. Recognizing that you need help and graciously accepting it when it comes takes humility. Admitting that you didn't (and couldn't) do it alone takes humility. Gratitude and humility go hand in hand. They're the peanut butter and jelly in your success sandwich.
Pride and ego repel people. Gratitude, and humility with it, attract people who would be happy to contribute to your success.
Do it: Start thanking all of the people who invest in your life.
Generosity – Be a giver. Be the most helpful person anyone in your circle has ever met. Buy people lunch. Cover their coffee. Show up to help someone move. Give away all your trade secrets. (99% of people will do nothing with them anyway.) The more you give, the more you will receive.
Can you think of any who is stingy whom you admire? Does anyone hear the name Ebenezer Scrooge and think, "Bob Cratchit ain't got nothin' on Old Ebenezer!" Charles Dickens understood human beings well enough.
We're sometimes reluctant to give because we're afraid there won't be enough left over for us. Yet, I've never suffered for being generous, and I doubt you have either. Give away what you want, and it will come back to you in delicious multiples.
Do it: Start looking for places to give and people to help. Identify a need and meet it.
Courage – Of course you're afraid. I'm afraid too. I don't want to lose go bankrupt or lose people's respect or embarrass myself in the business realm. I'd rather not risk failure or fire bad clients who pay well or take the road less traveled (when bandits might be hiding around the corner).
Nobody said life was easy. Nobody said life was safe, for that matter. Human existence is dangerous business, and the biggest gamble of all is squandering your precious time on work, relationships, causes, and mindsets you hate. Don't waste your precious life.
No one has a batting average of 1.000. Can you take a risk? Can you take a risk again? And again?
Do it: Write down your fears. Pick one. Start swinging.
Realistic Optimism – I used to think that risk tolerance was what made certain people successful. Going into and staying in business requires all kinds of unknowns. But to bounce back after those times when you bet and lose takes a emotional resilience—pluck.
Stay plucky. Don't ask, "Why me?" Ask, "Why not me?!"
Most of the bad things that could happen never do. Many good things that you never foresaw do end up happening. Thus, opening yourself to the good things that will happen to you is more realistic than battening the hatches against all the bad things that probably won't.
Do it: Before you go into the meeting, make that call, or walk up to the attractive stranger, remind yourself, "Why not me?"
Resourcefulness – If you go into business for yourself, you have to be scrappy. You have to be a professional scrounger. You gotta be Cool Hand Luke.
You don't have the money to go to fly across the country to that conference? Sell some crap on Craigslist. You can't start your photography business until you have a better camera? Borrow money. Auction off your right pinkie toe on eBay. Make some sacrifices for goodness sake.
I hear Gary Swart, the CEO of oDesk, say that you need a good idea, big market, and money to execute. If you've got the first two but lack the third, then how tenacious are you willing to be in scraping together the capital?
You'll never have any shortage of excuses if you go looking for them. Go looking for doors to kick in instead. If two bicycle mechanics can build and fly a plane, then you can build and fly your dream—whatever that may be.
Do it: Cling to the belief that plenty of money and resources await people who practice gratitude, generosity, courage, and realistic optimism. Make a list of the things you need to fly your dream. Start with #1.