Uniquely successful people succeed because of the structures that govern how they think, how they work, how they play, how they interact with family, friends and colleagues. Here are five traits we see regularly. I hope you can use some of these concepts to get more out of your lives and achieve a more successful 2014.
Uniquely successful people never start the day after 9 a.m. They start much earlier. They get to work early because they want alone time -- time without interruptions of meetings, phone calls, email or staff wanting answers. They use their alone time to think about the challenges of the day or to contemplate plans for the future. Alone time is good for you.
Uniquely successful people never see problems; they see opportunities. Problems are challenges, to be sure. However, successful people see them as great tools to expand their success. A problem within a group at a company could be resolved with better communication. Or a business problem properly debated could lead to higher order thinking. Often times it can mean the idea doesn't work, but a tweak can turn it into a far better result.
Uniquely successful people never go it alone. They assemble experts and trusted advisors to share ideas, pare problems to the essentials and delegate instructions that will equally save time and solve challenges. Uniquely successful people -- and this is important -- are never defensive. They thrive on constructive criticism; it leads to better decisions. Richard Branson, the great English entrepreneur, has said he's succeeded because of the spirited give-and-take between himself and his team.
Uniquely successful people never do anything without a written plan. A plan can be as all-encompassing as the steps it will take to become CEO of a large company or as basic as tackling a home improvement project. Plans should be written with as many specifics as possible, including potential obstacles, solutions to consider and necessary action steps. The writing forces you to first articulate a goal and then the steps needed to achieve the goal. The most successful people take the plan a step further. They use their written plans to review and measure their progress and stay focused on the most important task. Furthermore, they understand the consequences of failing and the rewards of achievement.
Uniquely successful people never forget their loved ones. Balancing the passion in business with the loved ones in our lives is no easy task. Time with family opens yourself to new ideas. Last week I had a phone call with a client who took a small skiing trip over the holidays. He was excited to share his stories with me of getting the little ones into skiing gear, watching them have fun on the slopes, cooking meals together, the laughter and the stories. But what he appreciated most was the opportunity to see how his life fits in with the bigger picture. Not a bad thing.