Do you know what leads one person to achieve success in life over another? After doing a lot of research, we’ve come up with 10 Keys to Success. Success is within reach, if you are willing to put in the work. But first you need to first learn how to be successful, so you do the right work.
Here at Finally Family Homes, it’s our mission to help youth who have the odds stacked against them to beat the odds and succeed in life. So, what is the secret sauce of success? We’ll fill you in below along with some success quotes to inspire and motivate you.
Defining Success In Life
How do you define success in life? Most people consider success as having a great career, wealth, and respect from peers. But, don’t overlook goals that will support a happier life. Prioritizing relationships, physical health, safety, contributing to others, and creative expression have been shown to improve feelings of happiness.
However, don’t confuse the feeling of happiness with success. You could be quite happy eating cheetos in your parents basement while you watch TV. That doesn’t make you a success. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.”
Success in life means attaining your vision of a good life. It means achieving specific goals that result in the future you have planned for yourself. Success in life is defined by the individual. Your vision of success looks than someone else’s.
If you are looking for the key to success in business vs the key to success in a relationship, your strategies and efforts are going to be quite different.
It’s also important to take care that you don’t let someone else dictate what a successful life for you looks like. You only have so much time in life, so make sure you create a holistic picture for yourself.
The hilariously talented Ken Jeong was raised to pursue medicine, and even though he was a successful physician, it wasn’t what he really wanted. Later, he found his way into acting and comedy and to the delight of audiences everywhere he is now living into his vision of success.
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As Thomas Merton put it, “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” Don’t put your ladder against the wrong wall! If are meant to be a yoga teacher, you won’t feel successful as a “successful” investment banker.
People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”
10 Keys To Success
So now that you know what success is, how do you get there? Believe it or not, despite success looking different for everyone, there is a common list of strategies or keys to achieving that success. And here’s the really good news, once you learn the how, you will be able to use these tools to bring about multiple successes in your life.
These keys or tools listed below, will help you unlock success in your life. They are strategies used by successful athletes, businessmen, and artists. Make sure you have your clear vision of a successful life in front of you as work through them.
The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.”
1st Key: Make A Plan
The very first key for success is to make a plan. This means having a clear picture of what a successful life looks like to you and putting together a well-defined set of goals to get you to that life.
Planning well starts with figuring out what you want and writing it down in detail. It’s important to have clarity on your definition of success. This is the foundation for your plan.
To succeed means to accomplish a goal. If you don’t set goals, you’ll never succeed. If you’d like more in depth help with goal setting, we recommend reading the book, Goals by Brian Tracy or you can read our post How To Set Goals in Life.
2nd Key: Prepare For The Unexpected
Many of the best laid plans have been derailed by a single misstep. Preparing for the unexpected can make the difference between your plans ending in failure or succeeding despite a bump in the road.
So how do you prepare for the unexpected? Start by making a list of things that could go wrong in your plan. Then create workarounds and back ups for each potential problem. Even when I’m driving a route I know well, I usually keep my GPS up and running to help me navigate traffic jams, construction, or missed turns.
3th Key: Prioritize Your Goals
As you create your systems and put your good habits into practice, you’ll probably find there isn’t enough time in each day to work towards every goal. Manage your time wisely, so that the right activities take priority.
If you’re not sure how to prioritize goals, it may help to apply some techniques like a numerical ranking system or the Eisenhower Matrix. Prioritizing your goals also means not letting things that never even made your list get in front of pursuing what did. In other words, don’t let talking to a telemarketer derail your plans to work on your website.
4rd Key: Develop Good Habits
You can have big dreams, great goals, and still fail. The third key of success requires you to turn your goals into actions. Repeated actions in the right direction become helpful habits. And once you form the right habits, you create momentum.
Creating systems for your life as you are forming good habits can help you to stay on track. You can build systems by grouping good habits together. Having a system in place can keep you from having to make decisions on the fly or keep track of doing all your goal-oriented tasks one-by-one.
You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
Instead, you follow an intentional daily pattern that moves you towards your goals with less stress. This has the added benefits of reducing stress and freeing your attention to focus on the things that truly require more brain power.
If you’d like to dig deeper into forming powerful habits, James Clear’s best seller, Atomic Habits.
5th Key: Learn from Your Mistakes
They say “the road to success is paved with failure.” What they don’t say, is that each piece of failure on that road probably looks different than the other. Success most likely came by way of trying (and failing) many different ways. Yes, you can fail your way to success, but almost never by making the same mistake over and over.
Failure is a part of the process of becoming successful, if you make it a teacher. Learning and growing after failure makes it useful.
For example, consider a runner. Every race a runner loses, they can may be moving forward. If they build up strength and try new running techniques, they will likely see progress. They may move up from 5th place to 3rd place to 2nd. Even though they aren’t first, each race is a part of the process of success, moving them closer to getting first place.
I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
6th Key: Try Different Strategies
The road to success is not straight. There are stops and starts, turns and detours. Anyone who says they’ve got the exact path to success for you is probably lying. As the (creepy) saying goes, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Heck, there’s more than one way to get the meaning of that saying across. Let’s make up a newer more pet-friendly one – “There’s more than one way to peel a banana.”
Any way you put it, there’s more than one way to do – just about everything. So, if at first you don’t succeed, try another way. Try a new strategy. Come at your goal from a new angle, at a different time, with a different person. There could in fact be many effective strategies. You just need to find the right one. The only way to find it is to keep changing and keep trying until you find one that works.
7th Key: Take Smart Risks
As you try out different strategies, you may find that you’re trying something entirely new. It might feel scary. Admittedly, taking risks is intimidating, but taking smart risks can have big payoffs. Taking a smart or calculated risk means researching potential outcomes and determining what your chances of success are and if the payoff is worth risking the harm that could be done.
It takes time to develop good risk-taking skills. You may have a few painful failures as you figure out how to take calculated risks in life. It’s best to start out taking small risks. As you get better at it, you’ll probably become more comfortable. But don’t let your comfort be the only deciding factor. Often, taking a risk is the only way to achieve success.
8th Key: Learn from the Experts
Truthfully, there is no one path to success. Nevertheless, a lot can be learned from studying other successful people. Even better is to be mentored or to study directly under someone. Recorded history doesn’t always catch all the details and nuances.
Start with doing some research and study successful people who did something in the same realm of what you are striving to achieve.
Want to innovate?
Want to be a great painter? Study Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso.
Want to own a restaurant? Learn from a restaurateur.
Watch what they do, take notes, and ask questions.
9th Key: Master How to Say No
I think our culture undervalues the importance of saying no. It can be uncomfortable. If you listen to interviews with successful people, you’ll probably hear them talk about turning down great opportunities they knew aren’t right for them.
Learning how to say no is an essential key to success in life. Successful people say no all the time. Saying no means knowing yourself, your boundaries, and being able to determine what is worth your time and energy. Saying no to the wrong thing leaves space to say yes to the right thing. It leaves room for the right opportunity.
10th Key: Invest in Relationships
While the saying, “it’s not what you know it’s who you know” may overstate the importance of relationships to success, it’s certainly not without merit. As a rule, investing in relationships is quite valuable. People are made to be in community. The benefits of being in a safe and encouraging community go beyond success in any one area of life. As James Clear says in Atomic Habits:
One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where your desired behavior is the normal behavior.”
There are many types of relationships that can boost your chances of success in life. For example, the relationship you need most may be a friend who has no “connections,” but supports you when times are tough.
Maybe the relationship you need is with a competitor, someone to challenge you and keep you sharp. In particular pursue a mentoring relationship, which can lead to networking opportunities and invaluable advice. We know that the lack of these relationships that can be the biggest gap between aged out foster youth and success.