Rich and successful people.
Be honest with me. What’s the first image that flashed through your mind?
Perhaps these images came to mind!?
Society has an obsession with rich and successful people.
And for a good reason. Rich and successful people defied the odds, broke out of the pack, and made their mark on the world.
Let’s you and I focus on rich and successful people who earned it – entrepreneurs.
You wouldn’t be alone if you looked at some rich and successful people and asked, “why not me?”
And that’s the focus of this post.
Why not you?
Let’s agree that rich and successful people are different. But what’s different about them?
Rich and successful people do things differently than everyone else.
And it’s what rich and successful people DON’T do that’s the focus of this post.
In building my 8 figure business, my biggest success came from what I didn’t do.
It’s no different when I hobnob with billionaires and ultra successful entrepreneurs.
So let’s follow the advice of Jessie Potter who coined the quote,
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”
There are 9 things rich and successful people never ever do.
And neither should you.
So are you ready?
Great, let’s do it!
1. Paralysis of Analysis
Rich and successful people never have paralysis of analysis.
And for a good reason.
Becky Kane’s article, The Science of Analysis Paralysis, shares how overthinking:
- Lowers performance
- Kills creativity
- Destroys willpower
- Makes you less happy
If you love Nintendo, the SONY Playstation, or the Microsoft XBOX you have Nolan Bushnell to thank.
While we can debate the demise of Atari, one thing is for certain. Bushnell made the video game industry what it is today.
How you ask?
In Bushnell’s words:
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
No paralysis of analysis for Bushnell.
And in large part, this was the secret of Atari’s success. Bushnell never got caught up in over-thinking decisions.
How To Stop Over-Analyzing And Start Doing
No decision is worse than over analyzing a decision.Stop over analyzing and start doing to maximize your success.
Rich and successful people differentiate themselves by how they analyze situations.
How you ask?
Let’s revisit Becky Kane’s article. Highlights of her strategies include:
- Make your most important decisions at the start of your day when you’re fresh and full of energy.
- Set a deadline and keep it.
- Know your main outcome. Check out my post on how to create your definiteness of purpose.
- Talk it out with other people
- Decide even though you may not feel ready
In life, there are no guarantees, particularly for decisions you make.
But that’s OK.
If it makes you feel better, check out this article by Harvard Business Review. The authors of the article share that even good data doesn’t guarantee good decisions.
When I was building my 8 figure company many of my decisions led to so-called failures.
But it was from those failures that resulted in my greatest success.
You can read more on my formula to transform failure into success here.
Regardless of the decision, know this:
How you react to the outcomes of your decision, and not the decision itself, that determines success.Click to tweet
And speaking of decisions, check out these three popular TED talks on decision making.
2. Saying Yes To Everyone And Everything
Rich and successful people never say ‘Yes’ to everyone and everything.
Case in point is Daniel Ek. If you’re not familiar with Ek, you’ll know his streaming music company, Spotify.
At a Stanford University talk, (click the picture above to watch) Ek said:
“Be really, really focused, be obsessed about the few things that matter and say no to everything else. “
And the results speak for themselves. Spotify is a market leader with over 50 million customers.
But Ek wasn’t always this way, and Spotify wasn’t always a market leader. What changed, you ask?
Once again, in Ek’s words:
“So I would say my dumbest mistake is just taking on too much, doing too much at the same time which never ever works.”
Ek is a recovering ‘people pleaser.’ And you know what, most people are.
Are you a people pleaser, and you don’t even realize it?
Let’s find out. Do any of these people pleasing traits register:
- Feeling guilty saying ‘No.’
- Saying ‘Yes’ has you feel good because you feel accepted.
- You want to be liked, no matter what.
- Fitting in with everyone is important to you, even at the expense of yourself.
- You say ‘Yes’ hoping you’re future requests will receive a ‘Yes.’
- If you don’t say ‘Yes,’ you feel rude and selfish.
- You fear rejection. Saying ‘Yes’ ensures you’re not rejected by your friends, peers, and co-workers.
Why Saying ‘No’ Is Saying ‘Yes’ To Success
I launched my first company, Embanet, with no money, experience or team.
I had a vision, but no idea of how I would achieve it. Being fresh out of my MBA program, I was both naive and hungry.
In the beginning, I said ‘Yes’ to everything and everyone. Saying ‘Yes’ was both needed and crucial for success.
By saying ‘Yes’ to everything I found what worked, and as important, what didn’t.
Over time I built momentum, customers, and success. Ultimately, Embanet became an 8 figure business that forever changed its industry.
But, and it’s a big but, this only happened because of an inflection point.
What’s the inflection point, you ask?
I realized that if Embanet was to grow and prosper I had to stop saying ‘Yes’ to most things. I needed to free up my time to focus on the important things.
Saying ‘No’ isn’t easy. In the beginning every time I said ‘No,’ I cringed on the inside.
Social programming had my head spinning. But as usual, social programming is wrong.
My secret to saying ‘No’ and feeling good about it, came down to one question I asked myself.
What’s the question, you ask?
The question that helped me build an 8 figure business is this:
Will saying ‘Yes’ to this request get me closer to my definiteness of purpose for my company?
In other words, if I say ‘Yes’ to this request will it help get me closer to my goal?
How To Say ‘No’ And Feel Good About It
The rich and successful figured out how to say ‘No’ and feel good about it.
So, you ask, how can you do the same?
- When you say ‘Yes’ to everything you’re thinking short-sighted
- If you’re not excited at the beginning, you never will be.
- Those ‘small’ projects end up costing the most with your time and focus.
- Saying ‘Yes’ all the time decreases your value because you’ll work with anyone.
- When you’re working, you’re not practicing, and mastery eludes you.
Still not sure on why you shouldn’t be saying ‘Yes’ to everything’?
I’ve read Knight’s book, and it’s a game changer.
You’ll both laugh from hilarious stories and walk away with solid, life-changing strategies.
Knight strikes a chord with the silent majority on why it’s not only OK to say ‘No,’ and how it’s both needed and healthy.
From friends to family, to business, Knight covers it all.
May you read and prosper!
3. Confusing Activity With Achievement
Rich and successful people never confuse activity with progress.
Coach John Wooden, considered to be the most revered coach in the history of sports, says it best:
“Don’t confuse activity with achievement.”
Rich and successful people cut through the noise and focus on achievement.
What’s the difference between activity and achievement, you ask?
Let me illustrate with a story.
Back in my Embanet days, I hired a sales person. For privacy, let’s call this fellow Alex.
Alex was enthusiastic and ready to take on the world when it came to sales. Everything out of Alex’s mouth sounded amazing.
After speaking with Alex, I even felt that world domination for Embanet was around the corner.
As I made my rounds throughout the day, I would pass by Alex’s desk several times. Alex was on his computer researching, taking notes, sending emails, and making calls.
Every day Alex, full of confidence and excitement, shared with me that ‘today is the day’ he’ll sign up a new client.
Alex got an A+ for activity. There wasn’t a moment wasted when he was at the office.
But Alex never made it to his three-month review.
Alex confused activity with achievement.
Alex was also an order taker and not an order maker.
By being busy all the time, Alex assumed he was on the path to success.
Yes, Alex’s activity kept him busy, but in the wrong activities.
Alex failed in three key areas.
- Speaking with THE decision maker
- Ensuring the prospect needed our services
- Booking on site presentations
All the research, phone calls, emails, and busyness was a fools game.
How Not To Confuse Activity With Achievement
I was able to build my first company, Embanet, into an eight figure one with the help of knowing my priorities.
Here’s how I did it with my ‘5 to thrive’ strategy.
Your 5 To Thrive:
- Create and define your definiteness of purpose
- For every activity you’re about to start, ask if it moves you closer to your definiteness of purpose
- If the answer is ‘Yes,’ start and finish the activity.
- If the answer is ‘No,’ skip the activity and find another one.
- Rinse and repeat
Rich and successful people know their outcome BEFORE they start. And so should you.
Follow your ‘5 To Thrive’ to get you started. Be consistent, work your tail off, have patience, and watch your success grow.
4. Share Goals
Rich and successful people never share their goals until they achieve them.
But wait a minute, conventional wisdom is all over you to share your goals.
Afterall, you’re more likely to succeed from support and peer pressure, right?
Once again, conventional wisdom is wrong.
Are rich and successful people lucky, you ask, or is there something to this?
Coleman Cox would have a thing or two to say about luck and success. After all, it was Cox who coined the phrase:
“I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have”
And Cox isn’t alone in his thinking. Science confirms that you’re more likely to be successful if you DON’T share your goals.
Entrepreneur and thought leader Derek Sivers concurs.
Why Rich and Successful People Don’t Share Goals
You can read Sivers’ article here or click on the picture above to watch his TED talk.
As far back as 1926, scientists found the brain does unusual things with goals.
In my earlier blog post, I talk about how the brain filters out your field of vision to help you achieve goals.
Sharing your goals with other people causes your brain to change your motivation. Sivers references what scientists call social reality.
When you share your goals, and people acknowledge you, two things happen.
- Your brain believes you’ve either met your goal or are well on your way to achieving your goal.
- You, in turn, are less motivated to do the actual work.
It’s a powerful 1-2 punch that keeps you down for the count.
In 2009 Gollwitzer published an interesting study.
Gollwitzer had 163 people take part in four separate tests. Each person wrote down a personal goal. Half the people announced their goal to everyone. The other half kept their goal to themselves.
Everyone had 45 minutes to plan out how to achieve their goal. The participants could stop at any time.
The people who shared their goal, on average, stopped after 33 minutes and felt close to achieving their goal.
The people who didn’t share their goal, on average, used all 45 minutes and felt they still had a long way to go to achieve their goal.
When it comes to goals, follow the lead of rich and successful people and never share them until achieved.
And the next time you even think of sharing your goals, stop, and follow the wise words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”
5. Try And Please Everyone
Rich and successful people never try and please everyone.
Trying to please everyone makes you a ship without a rudder. You’ll drift through life following the whims of others and achieve nothing.
When you try and please everyone, you’re a bonafide people pleaser.
How do you know if you’re a people pleaser?
- Saying ‘No’ physically pains you
- You’re terrified of conflict
- You won’t choose where to go for dinner
Check out the full list here.
Still unsure why it’s not OK to try and please everyone?
Story: Trying To Please Everyone Makes An ‘Ass’ Of Yourself
One day, a long time ago, an old Miller and his Son were on their way to market with an Ass which they hoped to sell. They drove him very slowly, for they thought they would have a better chance to sell him if they kept him in good condition. As they walked along the highway some travelers laughed loudly at them.
“What foolishness,” cried one, “to walk when they might as well ride. The most stupid of the three is not the one you would expect it to be.”
The Miller did not like to be laughed at, so he told his son to climb up and ride.
They had gone a little farther along the road, when three merchants passed by.
“Oho, what have we here?” they cried. “Respect old age, young man! Get down, and let the old man ride.”
Though the Miller was not tired, he made the boy get down and climbed up himself to ride, just to please the Merchants.
At the next turnstile they overtook some women carrying market baskets loaded with vegetables and other things to sell.
“Look at the old fool,” exclaimed one of them. “Perched on the Ass, while that poor boy has to walk.”
The Miller felt a bit vexed, but to be agreeable he told the Boy to climb up behind him.
They had no sooner started out again than a loud shout went up from another company of people on the road.
“What a crime,” cried one, “to load up a poor dumb beast like that! They look more able to carry the poor creature, than he to carry them.”
“They must be on their way to sell the poor thing’s hide,” said another.
Moral Of The Story
The Miller and his Son quickly scrambled down, and a short time later, the market place was thrown into an uproar as the two came along carrying the Donkey slung from a pole. A great crowd of people ran out to get a closer look at the strange sight.
The Ass did not dislike being carried, but so many people came up to point at him and laugh and shout, that he began to kick and bray, and then, just as they were crossing a bridge, the ropes that held him gave way, and down he tumbled into the river.
The poor Miller now set out sadly for home. By trying to please everybody, he had pleased nobody, and lost his Ass besides.
If you try to please all, you please none.
How To Stop Pleasing People
So, my dear reader, are you a people pleaser?
If you are, no worries as we’ll have you on your path to success in no time, with the help of Vanessa Van Edwards.
Highlights of Edwards post includes:
- Eliminating toxic people from your life
- Know your goals
- Do activities that have you feel good
Do yourself a favor and read the full post here.
And while you’re at it, pick up a copy of Edwards book Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People.
Finally, put aside five minutes to hear the master herself talk about how to stop being a people pleaser.
Click on the picture below to watch the video.
6. Say These Phrases
Rich and successful people never say seven specific phrases.
Words are everything. The ‘little’ things we say to ourselves and others define our beliefs and world.
For me, as an example, I look at the word ‘impossible’ as ‘I’m Possible.’
A small change that makes a huge difference.
Ilya Pozin provides great advice in the Inc. magazine article 7 Things Successful People Never say.
Following Pozin’s lead, below are the seven things you should never say:
- I can’t do that
- This is how I’ve always done it
- This will just take a minute
- This is not my fault
- That’s not in my job description
- It’s not fair
- I don’t need any help
You can read the full explanation for each of the seven phrases here.
Take your lead from rich and successful people and choose your words wisely.
7. Play The Victim
Rich and successful people never play the victim.
Or as songwriter Ralston Bowles says,
“Don’t let your struggle become your identity.”
You can call it playing the victim, making excuses, or shirking responsibility. Call it whatever you want.
But know that rich and successful people do none of this.
So, are you playing the victim?
Do any of the following sound familiar?
- I don’t have the money
- I don’t have the time
- I’ve never done this before
- I don’t have the skills
- The conditions aren’t right
- I’m not good enough
- I don’t have anything new
Let’s put these excuses to the test with Richard Branson.
Branson started his mail-order record business with no money and while he was a student.
Down go excuses one and two.
Not only had Branson never done this before, but he also suffers from dyslexia and was a poor student.
In fact, Branson named his company ‘Virgin’ because of his inexperience.
Down go excuses three and four.
When it comes to the conditions being right, I wonder how Branson felt when he was arrested for importing records without paying taxes.
But this didn’t stop Branson who made everything right.
Down goes excuse five.
Branson has gone on to disrupt many industries and win with his over 400 companies. Think air travel, cell phones, banking, and insurance to name a few.
Branson could have easily said I’m not good enough. And last time I checked, there’s nothing new about air travel and cell phones.
Down go excuses six and seven.
And speaking of Branson, check out his article about his journey and approach to life.
To Play The Victim Or Not, My Own Experience
Let’s make this personal.
When I started my first company, Embanet, I lacked the money and had no business experience or team.
Having nobody on my team forced me to learn everything on my own. As a result, there was never enough hours in the day to get things done.
As if this wasn’t enough, many thought this thing called the Internet was a fad. I was also reminded, every day, by others that I wasn’t good enough.
And by the way, did I mention, that I brought nothing new to the table. I’m not a programmer. Instead, I leveraged other people’s software.
I was also competing against established companies who were doing something similar.
Despite this, I built Embanet into an 8 figure company that led the industry and changed lives.
If I can do it, so can you.
Unlock Your Success With 3 Steps To Stop Playing The Victim
In an earlier post, I’ve shared the many mistakes I made on my journey to success. At times it felt like my middle name was ‘failure.’
And I knew a thing or two about excuses and playing the victim.
I played the victim card early on in my journey. I played it a lot.
My delusions of grandeur fueled the fire. I believed my MBA degree entitled me to success. No matter what I did.
Playing the victim was easy. Too easy.
After all, who could blame me? Many of my MBA friends went on to lucrative corporate careers with lavish perks.
My ‘corporate office’ was the attic in my parent’s house.
After a year of hard work had me with ZERO clients and nothing to show for my effort.
The list goes on and on.
So, you ask, what changed?
I made the decision to change.
After much reading, researching, talking to people and experimenting, I found the way.
And don’t get me wrong. Even now there are moments where I catch myself going down the rabbit hole of playing the victim.
These are the exact steps I take to stop playing the victim.
1. Own All Your Actions And Outcomes
Owning my actions and outcomes, every one of them, was a hard pill to swallow in the beginning.
If something went wrong at Embanet, I took full responsibility for it. Even if I had nothing to do with it.
As much as I wanted to pass the blame, I continued to own all outcomes.
I immediately stopped blaming others.
Shortly into the process, something interesting happened.
I felt liberated, free and empowered.
I didn’t know what life would throw my way, but I did know I would own it and take responsibility for it.
My change in attitude empowered my team who saw, through my actions, that I had them covered. No matter what.
2. Ask What’s The Lesson
For every failure, setback, disappointment and heartache I encountered, I asked one question:
What can I learn from this situation and what’s the lesson?
On paper, the question is an easy one to ask. In reality, it’s painful to deal with when you check your ego at the door.
Many times I realized that my actions caused the situation.
It’s a humbling experience.
Check out this post for a framework and system to turn failure into a spectacular success.
Stay with me on this one.
On those days I felt down, I’m talking lower than low, I stumbled upon gratitude.
Instead of beating myself up, I looked around and asked where in my life can I express gratitude.
Try it. You’ll be amazed at what happens.
To this day I find that there are still times where I’m living life with my eyes closed until I practice gratitude.
The simple things, right in front of me that make all the difference, suddenly come alive.
Check out this post which goes in depth on the power of gratitude.
8. Wait For Perfection
Rich and successful people never wait for perfection. Ever.
Or as Scott Allen says,
“Done is better than perfect.”
I’ve yet to meet a successful entrepreneur who launched a start-up that was perfect.
My personal motto is:
eBay started out trading Pez candies. LinkedIn traces its origins to a failed online dating site.
Let’s agree that neither eBay nor LinkedIn was perfect when they started.
But done is better than perfect.
In this post, I share how Embanet became an 8 figure company that led the industry and changed lives for the better.
Sounds impressive, right?
Until you read this post, where I share how I made every mistake you could ever make.
Looking back now and knowing what I know, I should never have launched Embanet.
Good thing I didn’t realize this back in the day.
And a good reminder why done is better than perfect.
Rich and successful people never wait for perfection. Neither should you.
Rich and successful people never complain.
Ready for some tough love?
When you complain, know three things. The people you complain to don’t care, it hurts your image, and you’re harming yourself.
Check out this article on complaining. You’ll learn how complaining impacts your wealth, friends, and health.
And while you’re at it, check out this article that talks about how complaining affects your brain. (And it’s not good.)
As bad and unhealthy as complaining is, most people don’t realize they’re even doing it.
Let’s talk about how you can uncover if you’re a constant complainer and how to stop.
How To Stop Complaining And Unlock Your Success
Hullinger’s strategies to stop complaining include:
- Define what a complaint is for you.
- Track how often you complain and about what.
- Stop associating with chronic complainers.
- Transform complaints into solutions.
- Deploy the ‘but-positive’ technique.
- Replace ‘Have To’ with ‘Get To.’
You can read Hullinger’s full article, strategies and tips here.
Attitude is everything.
When building the team at Embanet, as an example, I went out of my way to NOT hire negative people.
There were times when my choices were to hire:
- A highly qualified, experienced and negative individual
- A less experienced but positive individual
The positive individual received the job offer. Every time.
Complaining is negativity that sucks the energy and life out of people. There’s no room for this in life or business.
As the saying goes, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it.
Follow the lead of rich and successful people who never complain.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you want to be rich and successful, I have great news.
Help enough people solve painful problems, and you’ll achieve your goal.
As I like to say, being an entrepreneur is really an excuse to help people solve problems.
The truth is rich and successful people aren’t different than you.
By mirroring what rich and successful people do and don’t do, you can speed up your journey to success.
In this article I’ve combined the following to help you:
- my in the trenches experiences of building an 8 figure business
- interactions with billionaires and ultra-successful entrepreneurs
- research on the habits of rich and successful people
There are no guarantees in life, including being rich and successful.
But if you follow the steps I’ve shared in this post, you’re well on your way to success.
Apply these nine strategies every day. Start with the first one and stay with it until you master it.
Be patient. Be persistent.
Once you’ve mastered one strategy move on to the next one.
Do this until you’ve mastered all nine strategies.
Before you know it, you have created the momentum that can bring you the success you desire.
Your success is waiting for you.
So what are you waiting for?
Here’s to you and your success!
Your Raving Fan,
Books To Read and Prosper