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Success Secrets People Doing Business At Home Should Know


By Susan Ford Collins

Most people complain about how the companies they work for are run, but when you're running your own, there's no one to blame but you. You're the visionary, the secretary, the manager and the janitor. You're the one who gives out bonuses and who holds back your salary or disbursement. So, the truth is, you need to know far more about success and leadership than most people.

As a researcher at the National Institutes of Mental Health years ago, I kept waking up in the night wondering what we could learn if we started studying healthy, successful people instead of ill ones? Weeks later, I proposed my idea in one of our high-powered weekly conferences and my colleagues all laughed. Red-faced, I decided to agree with my dream instead of with them. I spent the next 20 years shadowing "the greats" of the planet. Since then I have been teaching to individuals and teams in business, education and government the skills they were consistently using... but didn't always know how to pass on.

Take a few minutes to answer this Success Quiz. Then I will share with you how Highly Successful Entrepreneurs answered these questions...

1. How often do you acknowledge yourself for what you accomplish?
Circle one: daily weekly monthly annually

2. How often do you fall asleep thinking about what you didn't get done or you're afraid will happen? Circle one: rarely sometimes frequently

3. Are you able to maintain your confidence when obstacles and failures confront you? Circle one: rarely sometimes frequently

4. Do you pride yourself on doing "more-better-faster"?
Circle one: rarely sometimes frequently

5. Do you make time to learn the basics of new skills before you start using them?
Circle one: rarely sometimes frequently

6. Can you stand up in a meeting and say you don't agree?
Circle one: Yes No

7. How often do you push so hard that you can't slow down to rest?
Circle one: rarely sometimes frequently

• Do you start more things than you finish?
Circle one: rarely sometimes frequently

8. Do you share your dreams with others or keep them to yourself?
Circle one: rarely sometimes frequently

9. Do you spell out the details of outcomes you delegate?
Circle one: rarely sometimes frequently

10. Would you rather (Circle one)
Ask an expert for input or figure it out yourself

11. Do you need to know how you'll reach your goal before you take action?
Circle one: Yes No

12. Can you comfortably move into the unknown when you have a clear outcome in mind?
Circle one: Yes No

13. Do methods and solutions come to you out of the blue?
Circle one: rarely sometimes frequently

14. When you are stressed, do you spend time away from the task?
Circle one: rarely sometimes frequently

So now let's compare your answers...
1. Highly successful entrepreneurs (HSEs) make time each day to acknowledge themselves for the successes they're having. But the successes they have in mind aren't just the usual ones. For them, success goes beyond finishing "business to dos." It includes things that keep their lives in balance... like eating a good breakfast, exercising, spending time with family and friends, dropping off the dry cleaning and remembering to pick it up. Most people don't acknowledge themselves for doing these things, but what happens to your productivity when you leave them undone? For HSEs, success also means saying NO to actions that violate their values and dreams. Deletion Successes can be the most important ones of all. Too bad the higher ups at WorldCom and Enron didn't know this!

2. People who "succeed big" know the last few minutes of their day are most important. Your brain is in the Alpha State then so it's the perfect time to think about what you want both tomorrow and long term. And the worst time to beat yourself up over failures and oversights. Plan how you'll make corrections instead. What you think is what your brain creates... so as you fall asleep, focus on what you do want instead of what you don't want. That tiny change will enhance your ability to move your business ahead.

3. If you are Success Filing, that is acknowledging your successes each day, you will have the confidence to keep moving ahead when obstacles besiege you, when everything goes wrong and everyone disappoints you. Remember... When your Success File is full, you feel Success-Full. But when it is low, you feel dependent and needy, at the mercy of other's opinions and in need of their agreement. Outstanding entrepreneurs are willing to put off low priority items, but making time to Success File is a number one.

4. Constantly priding yourself on doing more-better-faster lands you in The Success Trap, working longer and harder and raising the quantity-quality bar higher and higher. And it can also land you in the hospital. For staying power, you also need to pride yourself on slowing down to learn new skills and technologies, and on allowing your mind to wander into future possibilities. Creativity and innovation may be more important than productivity in today's business world.

5. It is essential for you come to a complete stop from time to time. Why? Because unless you do, you can't gear your mind back enough to learn and you will slip behind. Highly successful entrepreneurs schedule time to learn the most efficient tools available, rather than slogging along with equipment, programs and procedures that weren't designed to do what you need to do now. It is essential that you master the basics before you attempt to gear up into production. Otherwise the mistakes you make will trip you and your clients up later on and take more time in the end.

6. You have to be able to disagree with the pack to stay ahead. For some people, getting others' agreement is more important than getting their result. Not so for HSEs. They can stand up, disagree and then so powerfully communicate the details of the scenario they see, hear and feel, that other people take on the details of their vision and team up with them. They lead the way by inspiration, not perspiration.

7. When you push so long and hard that you can't slow down to rest you've gone over the edge. HSEs use this feeling to signal that they're overusing the 2nd Gear of Success. Yes, Success has three gear-like phases and unless you know precisely when to shift, unless you can use all three Success Gears as circumstances require, you'll burn out your transmission... and that means your body. And the time lost will set your business way back. Read The Joy of Success for specifics on the Three Gears of Success and Leadership.

8. Highly successful business people share their dreams with people I call Codreamers. People who hold the details of their dream along with them. People who contribute additional information and perspective. People they can call when they come out of a meeting so devastated that their dream seems to have been literally erased from their minds. One phone call to a Codreamer can get you back on track. Who are your Codreamers? And who are your Codreaders? Make sure you know the difference!

9. Going so fast that you can't gear down to spell out the details of the task you're delegating may seem strategic at the time. But in the long run it will ruin your business. To get the support you need from coworkers, customers and vendors, you need to share precisely what you have in mind. Or fall victim to Sensory Fill-In. When you only provide a sketch, they automatically fill in the details they have in mind instead of the ones you have in mind. And who is responsible for the errors that result? Well, you are of course.

10. Would you rather ask an expert or figure it out yourself? That all depends. If you are climbing the learning curve, ask an expert and follow their directions is what works best... with one exception. When you know next to nothing, making a salesperson your expert may set you up to buy what's best for him or her but not for you. Consult an independent expert before you make that purchase. On the other hand, depending on experts when you're creating something new, may take you back to how it's already been done. Listen to their input but, as its creator, know you are the ultimate expert when it comes to your dream.

11. When we were kids, we were rewarded for doing things by the book. But as the head of your own business, that simply won't work. These days, having to know how upfront will hold you back. What you need is a thoroughly detailed outcome... and the appropriate method will find you. Highly successful businesses frequently start as hunches or middle of the night Ahas! Most business leaders I interview tell me they rarely know how but they always know what.

12. The ability to venture into the unknown is a must today. The marketplace is changing so rapidly that top CEO's tell me they don't have a ten-year plan or a five-minute plan either. Flexibility is key. Can you think on your feet? Can you seize an opportunity others fail to notice it? Can you abandon your plan... your ten-year-ago or five-minute-ago ideas... and take the next step to your dream when it presents itself?

13. For years I interviewed inventors and creators and over and over I heard the same comments. I woke up in the night with a clear image in my head or a voice telling me what to do. Or I was taking a shower when my idea hit me. Jeff Bezos, creator of, was so sure about his hunch that he packed up everything he owned and moved across the country in pursuit of his dream. And we all know he found it!

14. When you're stuck, instead of sitting and staring at your computer screen, get up and do something else. Go for a walk or switch to a project that requires another mindset altogether. HSEs constantly tell me their most creative solutions come when they walk away from their desk and WHAM! The solution comes to them out of the blue... or out of the right brain. They tell me they strategically use the Alpha State to "program in" their problem and trust their mind to deliver a solution when they wake up. And it does.

To find out whether you are using all 10 Success Skills... at the right time... and whether you are leading the people around you to use them, read my latest book, The Joy of Success: 10 Essential Skills for Getting the Success YOU Want, HarperCollins paperback 2004. Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup fame wrote, "I have been reading books on success for 30 years. This is one of the most sophisticated and useful ones I have ever read. I highly recommend it."

Contact: Susan Ford Collins, Founder and President of The Technology of Success, 305-892-2702 or email [email protected]. For more information, go to my website

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