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Professional Corner

Success Strategies of Those People
Who Get What They Want

(You Can Too)

People who get most of what they want in life have more than talent and persistence. Among other things, they know when to break the rules…and which rules to break.

You don’t have to be ruthless or arrogant to get your way. But you do have to be willing to challenge conventional wisdom.

When I was starting out in publishing I carefully studied successful people. Their strategies worked for me…and they can work for you, too.

FIND YOUR PASSION

I know many people who started out with a passion – a dream – and spent their lives pursuing it.

Many others have been just as successful by going out and looking for something that excited them. To find out what you’re passionate about…

Soak up information. A number of people come across their calling almost by accident. But they wouldn’t have had that random opportunity unless they were out in the world accepting challenges. This same serendipity can happen to you if you constantly expose yourself to new ideas, new people, and new sources of inspiration. Reading books and articles and taking classes are great ways to get ideas, but don’t stop there. Take risks – introduce yourself to people. Ask them questions. Try activities that are completely new to you. It’s unlikely that every one of the leads you follow will amount to much, but, sooner or later, one of them will point you in a direction that makes the most sense to you.

Interview yourself. Ask yourself a series of specific questions to find out what you love most. For instance…

  1. List three times in your life when you felt exhilarated.
  2. List your three favorite vacations.
  3. List three recent accomplishments that made you feel satisfied.
  4. List three qualities for which you are often complemented.
  5. List three activities you used to enjoy but think you have outgrown.

Look at your list, and ask yourself what your answers have in common.

Learn by watching and wishing. Whenever you catch yourself resenting someone else’s success, stop and ask yourself, "What does this tell me about what’s missing in my life?"

DON’T PLAN TOO MUCH

You need a strategy to get what you want and to reach your goals. But many people spend too much time cooking up a plan of action. They fail to recognize perfectly good opportunities…or fail to act on them. For a plan that really works…

Stick to the essentials. Instead of figuring out everything you might need to do to reach your goal, identify only those steps you must take – and set aside the rest. For example…Maybe an advanced degree would help you enter a new field. But if you have a chance to learn on the job instead, you might be able to skip graduate school, save thousands of dollars and reach your goal much sooner.

Start in the middle. It’s true that most achievements are the result of many small steps. But if you’re stuck on the first step, there’s nothing wrong with jumping to the middle.

TALK TO THE BEST PEOPLE

The right person is the person that protocol suggests you go through. But the right person may not be in a position to help you.

The best person is someone who has the knowledge and power to advance you to your goals.

Don’t go through unnecessary channels. Although you should always be courteous to everyone with whom you come in contact, put your main efforts into seeking out the people with real expertise and clout. Talk to as many people as possible who have already gotten what they want. Write or fax them a note asking for advice or for the names of people who can help you achieve your goals.

SHOW YOUR ENTHUSIASM

Most people try hard not to show how much they want something. They’re afraid of appearing overeager. But you’re more likely to get what you want if people can see how passionate you are about it.

Enthusiasm shows that you are committed. It creates a personal connection, so that others become invested in your success. And it’s contagious – your excitement gives other people energy. An exception to this rule is that if you are in a situation where exuberance is almost always frowned upon – such as applying for a bank loan or dealing with a conservative company – lower the wattage and confine your enthusiasm to the specific project under discussion.

IDENTIFY THE "TPB" FACTOR

TPB stands for Their Personal Bonus. It refers to what other people stand to gain if they help you get wheat you want. If the focus is only on your own desires, your self-centeredness will turn people off. Before asking for something you want, do research, ask questions and listen carefully in order to find out what the other person needs that you can offer.

DON’T LET OTHERS SET YOUR LIMITS

When someone tells you, "It can’t be done," what they usually mean is "It can’t be done by the rules."

Use that second sentence to unlock your thinking…and to come up with fresh ways to approach the problem.

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HomeParents' CornerParents' Corner ArchiveProfessional CornerProfessional Corner ArchiveCase in ProgressCase in Progress ArchiveInspirational MessagesInspirational Messages ArchiveDirect ServicesConsultingSeminars, Workshops, and MoreSpecial EventsRecommended ReadingRecommended Reading for ChildrenAsk the Experts News FlashCurrent Question and AnswerUnderstanding the LingoAbout the TeamTestimonialsFees, Location, and DetailsTypical Development: MakennaTypical Development: LaceyResourcesPrivacyStatementConfidentiality

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Last modified: January 26, 2013