I had to chuckle when I read the recent Forbes list on what super successful people do before 8:00 am. I’m not saying some super successful people MAY do some of these things, but come on, do you really think having a healthy breakfast will turn you into the next Jeff Bezos? After over 25 years working with both successful, and not so successful entrepreneurs and CEOs, here’s my own list of what I think it takes:
- You need to know what you don’t know. Without exception, the CEOs and owners I met that exceeded even their own expectations, were people who knew exactly what they were good at and what they weren’t. They were smart enough to surround themselves with people who could fill the gaps.
- You need to be well networked. To reach the level of the super stardom like Bezos or Zuckerburg, you need to “know” the right people. It’s not a coincidence that these guys came from Harvard, Stanford, Princeton and the like. You may get a good education at these schools, but more importantly, you build strong, meaningful connections that last a lifetime. And even if an Ivy League school isn’t part of your resume, I’ve rarely met a highly successful owner who wasn’t somehow networked into the right people.
- You need to make the hard decisions. I once had a client that during the recession of the early 90s had to lay off 30% of his workforce. He was devastated, but his comment to me was, “ I either need to layoff 30% now or 100% later”. Whether you’re a business owner, or C-suite executive, you can’t bury your head in the sand and hope your problems go away. Super successful people are willing to do what it takes to move forward.
- You need to have an outlet outside of work. Contrary to the Forbes article, not every super successful person I’ve known exercises before 8:00 am, but I would agree they all have some outlet. The super successful appreciate the need to take their minds off the day-to-day stress of the workplace. I’ve seen top-notch owners and CEOs that were into antique cars, mountain climbing, fox hunting, marathons, art, wine collecting and music. The common denominator was they all had something they were passionate about that had nothing to do with work.
The one item I would agree with Forbes about is the fact that truly successful folks have a tendency to be early risers. That’s probably more out of necessity than desire. I realize I may be comparing apples to oranges. After all, the Forbes list is about what already successful people may do every day, but hopefully this will help you get there.