A Few Rules For Winning (written October, 2006)

Among the people who start businesses and other worthwhile careers, there are winners and losers. Here are a few simple winning rules for you to use and come out ahead.

#1) Set Goals. Know what you want to accomplish over the long-haul. Don’t just dream about the perks and trappings of success. Have a clear picture of how you’ll earn those perks. People who aren’t clear on what they want are easily side tracked and miss opportunities. After you know what the work will involve, allow yourself to picture, too, the new house, the new car or whatever you want most. It could be something less tangible such as being able to put what you want in your grocery cart without looking at every price. If you’re willing to work for the things you want, you have a right to them. Then either share your goal with someone close to you or write it down and refer back to it.

#2) Get Organized. Decide what will be your first steps to put you on your way toward your larger goals, then plan when you will complete each of them. Every morning, ask yourself what are the three most important things to accomplish before the day is over. Write them down and do them, or if something interferes with one item, put it on tomorrow’s list. Always do the most important things first.  If something isn’t very important, consider that it may not even be worth doing. Decide too, which people are most important to your professional and personal life and be available for those people when they need you.

#3) Do Things The Way You Know Is Right. Forget the quick and easy or the cheaper ways to do things. When you’re aware of the one best ways of accomplishing something, that’s the way you should do it. Be tough with anybody who suggests otherwise. Shortcuts have a way of catching up with you. Whether you’re making cabinets or cookies, the people who stand to benefit from your efforts will know the difference; so of course, will you. When you advertise, the cheaper the advertisement, the less effective it probably will be.

#4) Follow The Golden Rule. Treat people the way you like to be treated, and you’ll have no trouble winning people to your side. When you’re in a situation where you don’t know what someone expects of you, simply ask yourself what you would expect in their shoes. Also do a little more than your competitors. Work a little harder or deliver the goods a little sooner. If things go wrong, be prepared to make good on your promise. You’ll be known as a person who accepts responsibility.

#5) Use Your Talents Wisely. Are you doing so many routine tasks that you’re exhausted or burned out at the end of the day? Are you spending time performing tasks a teenager working at minimum wage could be doing? Think of your time as valuable and put it to use doing things that will bring you some return. Also, know where your talents lie and consider them as a valuable resource. Do you work well with your hands? Are you skilled at bringing other people to your way of thinking? Whatever your talents are, build your career or your business around the things you do best. If there’s no one to hire you to do the things you’re good at, then find a way to become your own boss or sell your services independently.

#6) Believe In Yourself. Once you know what you want to do and have decided on the best way to do it, don’t let anyone talk you out of what you’re trying to accomplish. There’ll be days when you feel discouraged, and there may be people who will try to discourage you, too. Whatever your original vision or intention, stick to it, especially when the going gets tough. Keep focused, too, on the long-range goals you’ve set for yourself, and measure your progress as you get closer to achieving them.

#7) Be A Team Player. Even if you work by yourself, you have colleagues – suppliers, neighbors, customers and other people you’re involved with in some way. Learn how you can be helpful to them and look for ways you can cooperate whenever possible. Don’t assume that a stranger is an enemy or is in competition with you. Someone you don’t yet know could hold the keys to your eventual success. Or there may be something useful you can learn from an unexpected source. Don’t shut people off; be open and be aware. Nobody really makes it in business or entertainment or sports or MLM without help along the way.

#8) Overcome Obstacles. Almost any course you set for yourself has certain hurdles to surmount. When you run into difficulties, think of them as challenges. With each one, you’ll be stronger, wiser and better prepared for the next one. In time, you’ll be able to prevent problems before they occur and create a smoother path for yourself. When you advertise, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Overcoming the bad and making it good is your goal.

Follow these simple rules to success. You’re a winner!

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.