15 Signposts on the Path to Success Article by: Jeff Keller
People on the path of growth apply certain principles that allow them to achieve more and lead rich, rewarding lives. If you’re on the path to success, you are a different person than you were five years ago. You think differently. You act differently. You see the world differently. In short, you’re growing and evolving.
But unlike our physical growth, where we can clearly see and gauge our progress (or lack thereof), it is often difficult to measure our personal and professional growth. There is no simple test we can take to assess personal growth, but here are some “signposts” that we can use to gain insight into where we stand.
As you read through this article, measure your present situation against these signposts of personal and professional growth. Consider if you already embrace these ideals or how you might implement them on a more consistent basis.
1. Don’t Fix Blame or Make Excuses
You realize more and more that pointing a finger at others is not the answer to your problems. Instead, you take personal responsibility for your own results and your own happiness. You focus on your attitude, your skills, your actions, and your discipline.
2. Don’t Look Back
Dwelling on unpleasant events in the past won’t change them â€” and it only makes you feel rotten in the present. So why do it? Part of accepting personal responsibility is the recognition that, at any point, you can change the path you’re on. Learn from the past, but don’t obsess on it. Instead, take action today to create a positive future.
3. Guard the Sanctity of Your Thoughts
You no longer doubt that your thoughts are creating your reality. And, if that’s the case, why would you ever think negatively? You’re disciplining yourself to focus on what you want â€” as opposed to what you don’t want.
4. Have a Sense of Gratitude Every Day
When you’re young, you tend to take everything for granted â€” your health, the roof over your head, and the food on your plate. As the years go by, you suddenly experience the “darker” side of life. Either you or your relatives or friends face serious illnesses. You personally know people in their 30s, 40s, or 50s who die. Instead of complaining about the things in your life that aren’t perfect, you choose to be thankful for the many gifts you’ve been given. You identify with the sage advice of Eddie Rickenbacker, who once said, “If you have all the fresh water you want to drink and all the food you want to eat, you should never complain about anything.”
5. Laugh a Lot More â€” Especially at Yourself.
Several times each day, you find yourself letting out a hearty belly laugh. You take your work seriously but not yourself. Whether you’re with clients, colleagues, friends, or family, make sure to laugh. You’ll feel better and have a lot more fun.
6. Get Excited About Something
When you’re living in the flow of life and up to your highest potential, you’re enthusiastic. You don’t have to go around slapping people on the back, but you’re upbeat and alive. You get up in the morning with a purpose, and you look forward to the day’s activities. People can just look at you â€” or speak with you â€” and immediately pick up on your positive energy.
7. Take Some Risks
No one is asking you to go skydiving or put your physical health at risk. However, the path of growth demands that you venture into the unknown. That’s where you discover yourself â€” and find out what you’re capable of achieving. You begin to get ideas and visions about great things you can accomplish, and you have the courage to go after them! Instead of just thinking about doing something, you take action and do it!
8. Be Less Concerned with What Other People Think
Do you still need to get someone’s approval before making a decision? On the path to success, you’re willing to do what you think is best for you â€” even if someone else won’t like it. On fundamental issues such as your career, your relationships, and your goals, it’s fine to get advice. But in the end, it’s your view that counts. You’ll never be happy following someone else’s plan for your life.
9. Place More Emphasis on Honesty and Integrity
Even when no one is looking, you do the right thing. Your aim is to build solid long-term relationships, both personally and professionally, and you can’t accomplish this unless you’re a person of character and integrity. Aside from being good to others, this is for your own self-interest. You see, whatever you send out in life will come back to you like a boomerang. You know that for people to treat you with honesty and respect, you must treat them the same way.
10. Stop Trying to ‘Fix’ Others
You’ve learned that a little self-development can be dangerous. While you’ve begun to see that there’s a better way to live and you’re anxious for others to “see the light” as well, you recognize that everyone has his or her own path to follow â€” and that you don’t decide the rate at which someone else progresses. So, instead of “converting” others, you continue to work on yourself and find that your example is more powerful than any sermon you can preach.
11. Take the Opportunity to Lift Someone Else
You remember how tough it was for you at each level of your life and your career, and how challenging it is right now! Furthermore, you know that you are where you now are, in large part, because some people believed in you, encouraged you, and helped you. You make a point to do the same for those who can benefit from your experience.
12. See Things in Perspective
Your list of what’s truly important in your life continues to shrink. You work hard and enjoy whatever material comforts you have, but “things” are not as essential to you as they once were. You recognize that your health and well-being and that of your loved ones is what really matters. You no longer let little day-to-day annoyances (at work or at home) dictate the attitude, pace, or results of your day.
13. Listen More … and Ask Questions
You’ve learned to tame your ego a bit and don’t feel the need to always be the center of attention. You realize that when you’re talking, you’re not learning anything. You balance your conversations and make sure to draw other people out by asking questions. You’re more interested in learning about their thoughts, ideas, and insights on various issues, their careers, and their families. Every person has a fascinating story to tell, and you want to hear it!
14. Discover That Discipline Is Fun
You never thought you’d say that! Yet it’s true. To build physical fitness, you exercise several times each week. To develop a successful sales career, you pay attention to the basics, day in and day out. You’re no longer looking for the “quick fix” or “quick buck.” Instead, you know full well that you must put in the effort before you can reap the reward. You find tremendous satisfaction in sticking with something and mastering it over a period of time.
15. Set High Standards for Yourself and Others
Careful, this isn’t about achieving “perfection.” Rather, on the path to success, you simply have the desire to reach more and more of your potential. You no longer settle for less than your best effort. And, as you see more of the potential in others, you encourage them to develop their talents as well.
These are 15 signposts on your road to personal and professional success. I’m sure you can add several more items as well, based on your own experiences. Keep these ideas in front of you on a regular basis to gauge your progress. Apply them consistently and you’ll enjoy phenomenal results â€” plus a tremendously exciting journey!