Winning Mindsets to Achieve Success

Once, a smile supposedly launched a thousand ships. With challenges of today’s competitive market, the go-getter needs the ability to coordinate dozens of shipping lanes, land transportation, disparate work teams, and mountains of red tape. In short, it takes more than a winning smile to succeed; it takes a winning mindset.

Know how to set worthwhile goals

It is far easier to achieve short and long term success when you are goal oriented. Knowing how to set goals is not a talent that you are born with. This quality must be nurtured like any other life or business skill. Setting goals may seem like a simple thing, but the most successful people understand that goals have to have two components in order to be valid:

  1. They must have specific end conditions
  2. They must not rely upon the influence of outside forces.

Proven teachers in all industries agree when it comes to setting valid goals. As expressed in USA Today Bestselling indie novelist Dean Wesley Smith’s blog on “Goals and Dreams” and taking control of your own career, a goal is something you can accomplish on your own. Goals that require other people’s direct input to accomplish are dreams. Selling ten thousand units in a year is not a goal. Building one hundred widgets to sell, understanding the pricing scheme necessary to recoup initial investment and competitively applying that knowledge when bringing the widget to market, attending a fixed number of trade shows in the calendar year, and/or pursuing advertising strategies that will help discoverability of your product are all achievable goals.

This does not mean that goals have to be easily achieved. The successful mind is one that knows its own abilities and is not afraid to push their limits. Likewise, the successful mind has a way to generate lots of different sizes of goals. Five year plans, one year plans and one month plans are all valid scopes for valid goal setting.

Understand that failure is a teacher

Wise owlThe United States Army and the corporate world both reward success in a similar way. They generate additional work with increasing challenge factors for their successful workers until those workers fail. As Walt Bettinger, CEO of Charles Schwab, explained to the New York Times, succeeding at a task is not a means of developing long term successful mindset. Everyone is going to make a mistake eventually. The ability to do so, own that mistake, and then accumulate lessons learned from that mistake is vital in building a successful mindset.

This may seem counter intuitive – how can failure make a person successful? To clarify, the failure itself is not what builds success. The mind that can attack the what, why, and how of that failure and devise strategies for doing better on the next go around is a mind that is building the tools for ultimate success.

Own the vision and accept responsibility for your decisions

That barista gave me decaf, but it’s too busy for me to demand my drink. We would have delivered on time if Joe had given me what I needed to finish my drawings. My ex-girlfriend just did not understand what my life goals were, so she constantly blew her stack every time I ended up working late; she should have just assumed I was working sixty hours a week!

Delegating authority and passing the buck are tried and true habits in life and business. We do this every day. In fact, they are essential components in keeping the psychology healthy and happy. However, this habit can be detrimental. The article “Lead From the Top: 5 Core Responsibilities of a CEO” explains a person who can own the vision and take responsibility for their decisions is one who has much more likelihood in achieving long term successes.

The matter of ownership makes all the difference in the world. When a person owns a situation as simple as getting the right coffee after being served the wrong cup, then that person can take likewise ownership over a full personal or business project.

Ownership is one leading factor to seeing any project through to completion. This does not mean that a person needs to be belligerent with those around them. However, the successful minded person is one who steps up and claims victory with both hands.

Don’t pollute yourself or sabotage your efforts with too much negativity

A person with a successful mindset understands the importance of outlook on success. Goals, responsibility, and lessons learned are all important elements needed to achieve success. However, an optimistic mindset is also useful. The Forbes article “Success Follows the Incurable Optimist” explains that the first and last person who can block your forward movement in life and business is you. A mind that expects failure will seldom embrace challenges, and therefore loses out on opportunities through a passive approach to life. Likewise, a person who can only see the negative side of every opportunity is the toxic personality that can influence others into losing hope.

The two most important qualities a successful mind employs to achieve success are attention and effort. Unrestrained negativity will impact both of these qualities. Your attention will wander when a task or project is considered inferior. You procrastinate when expectations are considered impossible to meet.

This is not a suggestion for optimism to the point of overconfidence. Risks need to be appreciated before they can be mitigated. However, admitting defeat before giving it your best shot is one sure fire way to fail and to fail regularly. Trying to approach each day or project with openness and a can-do attitude will result in high energy. This combined with the previous items will give a mind all the tools it needs to become successful.