There are so many tips and “secrets” to becoming successful that are becoming “known” to more and more people, thanks in large part to the internet. But are they really effective?
Here are my top 10 keys to success that nobody seems to be talking about. These items have happened through my 16+ years working as a Sports Coach, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Business Consultant, and Advisor. They’re often simple, small habits and things that we easily neglect to do, but are still very useful.
Keys To Success No One Seems To Be Talking About
1. Physical exercise helps you unlock your mental fitness.
The body does not differentiate between “bad stress” i.e. deadlines, pressure, etc., and “good stress”, like exercising and pushing your physical limits. However, the process of stressing the body in a good way allows us to produce positive adaptations that gets better with physical stress and helps us adapt (increased cardiac output, increased muscle strength, etc.).
Many of us may say “we don’t have energy” to workout. But as long as you pay attention to your body, are consistent, and sleep and eat well, you’ll see your energy levels INCREASE as you workout more!
Start small though. Set small goals for yourself as this is one of the keys to success over people who cannonball into the beginning. Aim for 3-4 days a week of light to moderate physical activity, and make it your job to NOT miss a day.
Be sure to be cleared by your Family Physician before beginning any exercise program. We want to make sure you’re up for the task!
2. Take notes as you read your books.
This sole habit really propels your self-guided learning and reading comprehension to a whole new level. Reading a book is one thing, but being able to recall all the important bits and pieces 6+ months later, is a whole other level.
Grandma was right when she said “writing it down will ingrain it into your mind”. Don’t get caught up in reading as many titles as you can. Rather, slow down and write out “longhand” notes and thoughts as you go through your books.
Personally, I keep different colored spiral-bound notebooks so I can keep genres and thoughts separate. Find what works for you.
3. Keep a hobby.
Keeping a hobby allows you to have something that you enjoy learning about and to look forward to doing in your time away from work (you ARE making time to be away from work, right?).
A hobby could be a number of things: learning sailing or flying, discovering more of the deep sea or outer space, etc. It could also be bird watching or enjoying different coffees, chocolates, or cigars in the world.
Keep it something you truly enjoy doing, and will look forward to. You never know when this can become one of your keys to success.
If you don’t have a hobby yet, that’s OK! Think about something that piques your interest, and start exploring it. Maybe it’s Yoga, or Yoga on Surfboards while out in the ocean. Whatever it is, spend some time developing this hobby!
4. Keep what’s truly important, important.
Work is important as it puts food on the table, a roof over your head, and allows you to help lots of other people. It gets you paid to do something you love and are passionate about. But it should NOT be your whole world.
Family, friends, and time are invaluable. THESE are the things that actually matter in life. To achieve long term successes and be HAPPY with them, one should find that balance. Human connection is what drives us, and allows us to get the most out of life. It’s one of the most important keys to success.
Take a step back and look at the last two weeks of your life. Have you had a meal with a friend or a loved one WITHOUT being distracted by your phone, tablet, TV, or something else? Is being with them your priority, or is this what you first tick off your calendar when you “need it”?
Take a few hours each week to slow down, and connect with those whom you care about most.
5. Fail, but fail taking the best road you can come up with at that time.
Coaching sports for the last 16+ years has taught me valuable lessons that can be applied to my business, and you can (and should) apply to yours. The first lesson is that we tend to fail more often than we like to admit.
Just look at the Hall of Fame college basketball coaches. The vast majority of whom have LOST 20 percent, or more, of the games they’ve coached. Take a step up to the NBA Hall of Fame, and nearly ALL hall of fame coaches have lost 30 percent or more of the games they coached. If this was school, the best of the best would often receive a “C” in their jobs, if rated purely by statistics!
Game planning has a lot to do with mitigating your weaknesses, and exploiting your strengths. Business development and personal development is the same. In his book “The Power of Negative Thinking”, Bobby Knight talks about how this is what he means when he says “Think Negative”. Unfortunately, most people focus more on their strengths than their weakness – this kind of thinking could be a liability.
We need to be honest with ourselves and know that we will fail more times than not. But we must make intelligent mistakes and do something about it.
Find a mentor or a coach, someone who has done what you’re looking to do. Get them to share their wisdom and experience that will be one of your keys to success.
6. Just go with it.
Cliff Ennico talks in his book “The Small Business Survival Guide” and in his YouTube presentation about his journey to becoming the small business lawyer. It began when he said “yes” to a presentation. He didn’t really know much about presentations at that time, but he put A LOT of effort to learn about it beforehand.
This is a way to start a great and exciting new journey. It also helps more folks and puts more dollars in your pocket. Don’t forget keys to success 2 and 5 on our list. Be sure to recognize your weaknesses, and seek out a mentor to help you along the new path, and READ lots of books to get up to speed on it.
Don’t be afraid to “just go with it”. Of course, don’t do anything that would hurt you or others – personally or business-wise. Be smart, but don’t be afraid to take calculated risks.
7. Plan your vacations before the year begins.
Yes, you read that right.
Think back to when you were in school. How did many kids get through their days in elementary school? They looked forward to recess…and then to lunch…and then to school being done. We seem to have lost that mindset, as we’ve been sucked in to this mentality. It’s awful, and it is literally killing us.
So how can we change it?
Go back to being a little kid – plan your vacations at the beginning of the year. This allows you to be more productive and focused, as you know you have a break coming. More importantly, it allows you to keep your batteries full. If they’re draining, you have prepared for a break in sight to recharge.
If you don’t take the time off to refresh and reboot, your body will eventually force you to take a bigger/longer breaks due to illness or severe fatigue.
Start right now by looking ahead 1-3 months, and planning a 3-day weekend. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but it does have to be something relaxing that you’ll enjoy.
Try to get at least 3 mini-cations a year, plus a longer 1-2 week vacation somewhere further from home.
Only get a limited number of days off a year? Use your days creatively to extend current days off work, or to extend the weekend. You may be pleasantly surprised by how refreshing taking a Friday and Monday off can prove to be!
8. Learn a new language.
Learning a new language – ESPECIALLY in today’s interactive world – is incredibly valuable. It’s one of the keys to success that gets overlooked.
Learning a new language lets you step out of your comfort zone, study a new CULTURE, and helps you explore something completely different. Not only does this teach our brain to work at higher levels, but it also expands our ability to positively affect others through our ideas, thoughts, and businesses.
Art imitates life, and it’s a bit like Jim Carrey in “Yes Man”. Who doesn’t want to meet new, interesting people, or to expand the reach of their service or product?
While we may not all turn into polyglots, and learning a new language wont tap into your brains full potential as Bradley Cooper does in “Limitless”, it will challenge you in new ways, and literally open whole new worlds to you.
Classes, local cultural centers, colleges, apps, websites and software are a number of options for you to get started.
Apps and software that allow me to learn a language on the fly are great with my travel schedule. Duolingo and Rosetta Stone are great when I can sit down and give my full attention, while Michel Thomas’ CD’s keep me learning when I’m driving, or want a little less screen time.
Choose what works for you. Finding someone who is fluent in your desired language and speaking with them is great practice! Not only can they help you learn, but you will also learn more about a whole new culture!
9. Eat healthy.
Yup. C’mon, you had to KNOW that was going to be on the list! Junk in = junk out. ANY diet that you adhere to, will work…. for about six weeks.
There are numerous reasons for this. The biggest one being that diet is so restricting. Your lifestyle is negatively affected and that keeps you from staying the course.
Interestingly, a recent Israeli study shows that the Flora in your gut actually needs time to adjust to the new diet as well. It has a huge impact on whether you succeed or not! So how do we get you eating high-octane fuel?
Start small, and be consistent.
Keep a food log for a few days – 3 to be exact: 2 weekdays, and 1 weekend day. This allows you the freedom to live your life, and to get an actual picture of what you REALLY eat. Now, take that food log, and head to a local Registered Dietitian. Have them work with you to make a personalized plan.
10. Ensure you get quality sleep.
Sleep is vastly under-rated, especially nowadays. Just look at how many hundreds of “energy drinks” there are now. Hell, there is even caffeine and guarana chewing gum! It seems that everything we ingest today is geared to giving us an instant burst of energy, so we can sleep less, and be more productive…right?
Not necessarily true.
Thomas Edison found sleep to be one of the secrets to his solving some of the hardest problems he faced. Dmitri Mendeleev had the vision of the periodic table of elements appear to him in a dream.
When we sleep, the brain is still running, advancing the wiring of the body (nervous system) to adapt to physical demands (such as weightlifting or running) placed on it during the day. The subconscious continuously works to figure out tough problems we have been trying to solve. These are incredibly useful for us, especially when it comes to our work.
I’m no sleep expert, but there are a few simple things you can do to help you get adequate quality sleep.
- The bedroom should be for two things: sleep AND sex. Resist the urge, or break the habit, of plugging your cell phone next to your bed, or having a TV in the bedroom. This will allow your brain and body to shut down and rest/recover.
- No screens in the bedroom. So many reasons as to why screens in bed are bad…
- Figure out how many hours you need to be at your best. Personally, it’s 8-9 hours. While I tend to average closer to 7.5 most night, when I know I have a big presentation or project coming up, or if I feel that I’m getting a bit worn down, I make a point to carve out 9 hours to sleep.
Adopt these 10 keys to success. Be consistent with them for 90 days (start with just one, and slowly add others!) and experience the difference these simple actions can have on your journey to success!