Secrets of Success

Want to know a secret? The secret is that these tips for success are not a secret.

Everyone who is successful in any area of life has learned them and uses them. Another secret is that most anyone who has been down the road is more than willing to share with you.
After years of writing training materials for other organizations, I decided to bite the bullet and go out on my own. Here are a few of the secrets used to pry me away from a secure environment into a world of unknown possibilities.

You make your own success.

A job pays you what the job is worth; whereas being an entrepreneur you earn what you are worth. That can be a sobering statement. Never think of yourself as self-employed. Do not take your employee mentality with you and thereby create the same yet different job for you.

Make your own success by taking full responsibility for your life, your thoughts, your actions, and your attitudes. Learn to think like and to behave like an entrepreneur, albeit a hard-working one. There is a big difference in being a business owner verses being self-employed. The shift in thinking propels.

Let love replace fear and intimidation.

Become your own best friend by developing a healthy self-love – not an over-inflated ego, but a healthy esteem. Healthy self-love recognizes that you have infinite worth and value as a human being. You have unique talents to give that will contribute to making individual lives and the world a better place either through a service or a product.

You were formed with greatness in your bosom. Sure, someone one else may have a similar idea or product, but it is not from your special viewpoint. One’s gift makes room for her, but it must be implemented and put into action.Love recognizes that others have worth and value also. This truth produces humility and cooperation. Compete with yourself and your own potential.

It's okay toot your own horn. Be proud of yourself.

Go for excellence and give up perfection.

Perfection is a goal that cannot be met, or, if it were to be met, it would be the end of the line. Once something is perfect, the only way to go is downhill. Lower your expectations and experience a new found liberty. Going for excellence sets you free to take risks, to fail, and to try again. Going for excellence motivates for continual improvement. Going for excellence is rewarding, fulfilling, and contributes toward happiness. Give yourself and others room to grow.

“It is better to be green and growing, than ripe and rotting.”
Ray Krock, founder of McDonald’s

Let go of the past, both failures and successes.

Each day is a new day, and each opportunity is a new opportunity. Allow past failures to serve as a learning tool to motivate you to overcome, and past successes to be a motivator for repeat action.

Grow into the position and refuse to allow yourself to become discouraged. You do not have customers because you are in business; you are in business because you have customers. You will stay in business by thinking about ways to grow your company. Search for ways that you can add value to their lives.

And then put those ideas into action.


Opening A Closed Mind (Yours or Theirs)

There are times when critical thinking is, well, critical.
  • Before commenting, judge your perception of the situation and your attitude regarding the persons involved.
  • Before responding, judge your perception of the situation and your attitude toward the persons involved.

Have an open mind by holding loosely to your convictions, just in case you are proven wrong! You will believe what you believe until you believe something else. What is more important, your opinion or the truth? What is more important, your point of view, or the relationship? What is more important, your prejudice or the relationship?

Learn to respond rather than react.
Take the critiquing seriously but not personally. Do not take every comment or action as a personal affront. Do not be emotions driven. Know your strengths and limitations. Set healthy boundaries, limits or conditions.

Use fair judgment; of yourself and of the other person. Do not excuse or accuse. Be more interested in dialogue that in debate. Discuss rather than argue. Speak and listen. Dialogue invites understanding of another point of view, whereas debate is trying to convince another of your position.

Differentiate between what to acknowledge and what to let slide. Do not make an issue out of every comment and do not search for hidden agendas. It takes a wise and mature person to overlook some human flaws in a presumed difficult person. Be objective. Hear the comments only and filter out attitude, motive, or perceived hidden agendas.

Do not take things personally. Choose to lower your emotions. Have no hidden agendas. Be open, honest and forthright. Be firm and kind. Firmness shows respect for you; kindness shows respect for the other person. Develop an open mind and a tender heart.

Have no point to prove. Truth is truth is truth, and will stand regardless of counter attacks. A lie is a lie is a lie, and will remain a lie regardless of defenses. A person convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still. Adjust your vision. Binoculars magnify or diminish depending on which end is viewed through.

The problem is not the problem as much as the problem being the way you see the problem. We act on the way we think things are rather than the way they really may be. See the issue as a learning experience. Choose your attitude. Focus on the problem not the personality.

Difficult people are not obstacles to unhappiness, but opportunities for self-improvement. Disagree without being disagreeable. Acknowledge an impasse while continuing to hold the person in high regard. Defuse the issue. Empathize. Distinguish between “feeling” and “thinking”.

Don't Cope. Overcome. Determine the attitude you project in times of conflict. Your position is not relevant to the customer, co-worker or boss. Whether the other person’s mind is opened or not, when you keep a welcoming attitude, it is a pretty sure bet there will be other opportunities for dialog.   


America, Bless God

We have just celebrated another of America’s birthday with song, festivities and fire works. Most of us chime in with “God Bless America”, verbally as well as in chorus. And he has. And he does. And may he continue to bless our great country.

Francis Scott Key ended all four stanzas of The Star Spangled Banner with either a question of or a declaration for “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”

Advertisers are apt at turning a phrase so a different slant sheds different intent. Or insight, as the case may be. I love the flag magnet on my refrigerator with the saying “Home of the free because of the brave.” I equally love the poster proclaiming “Home of the brave because we are free.” All three statements have a ring of truth. All three slants are meaningful.

All things in life are mysteriously, albeit intricately connected.

Being blessed is contingent upon blessing; blessing is subject to being blessed, and so forth and so on over and over again. Our forefathers blessed America as a country hallowed for freedom of religion, a place in which free enterprise can flourish, where all people are to be treated equally and established a government in which all of her citizens have a voice.

What if we, as Americans, on this “land that we love” and “from sea to shining sea” were to make it our mission to bless God? How can we, individually and collectively, bless God?

We bless God through acts of human kindness:
To self. Take care of you; it’s a very loving thing to do.
To others. Everyone is carrying a heavy load.
To those we know. They really are pretty special and need a little TLC.
To strangers. We are more alike than we are different; compassion goes a long way.

We bless God by choosing to be respectful to others while simultaneously behaving in a way that earns respect from them. Respect looks different to each of us. Focus on earning respect rather than deserving it.

We bless God by welcoming the “huddled masses yearning to breath free,” by valuing diversity and having a willingness to appreciate and incorporate differences. Most of us American born citizens have our ancestral roots in other soil.

We bless God by respecting planet earth. Go green. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Live within your income. Conserve natural resources. Replenish fallow land. History confirms that a broken land begets a broken people.

We bless God by having a thankful spirit. Being thankful in all things. Being thankful for all things. Not because on the surface all things are worthy of thanks, but because we become a happier and more productive person when we look for something in the situation for which to be thankful.

Be thankful, because of and in spite of.

Life, in spite of difficulties, is good.
Parents, in spite of their flaws, are honorable.
Mates, in spite of their differences, are blessings.
Children, in spite of the frustrations, are rewards.
Work, in spite of the hassle, is a gift.
Victory, in spite of the defeats, is sweet.
© Mona Dunkin 1986

America, in spite of her flawed inhabitants, is “the land that we love.”