Since I was in my late teens, I’ve been obsessed with success. I’ve studied all the great billionaire business owners – Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, Sam Walton. I’ve met leaders and innovators who have literally changed the world. And I’ve set out to discover what makes them different – what do they do or know that has allowed them to reach such great heights?
In my research, I discovered 36 key habits that millionaires have figured out that the rest of the world hasn’t…yet. As you might guess from the title, I detail those in my book, “Millionaire Success Habits,” but I want to look at three of these habits in detail today…because they’re totally counterintuitive to every piece of “success advice” you’ve ever heard.
Habit #1: Don’t Create Goals, Create Vision
We make resolutions every year in January, determined to make this upcoming year better than the last. In corporate life, meeting those goals might determine your bonuses or promotions. And completing a goal can give you a sense of achievement, a feeling of completion that we don’t always find in the day-in-day-out of life.
But millionaires don’t set goals – they focus on vision. The difference? Looking back vs. looking forward. When we focus on the future, we may see our goal – but we can’t see the path that got us there. So it’s like we’re starting out on a road trip without a map or GPS. Will we get to our destination? Maybe, but we’ll probably make a lot of wrong terms along the way. And how will we know that we’ve actually arrived when we do get there? When we can’t see the path, so often it’s hard to even know which step to take first…or next.
How to Create Your Vision
Vision, on the other hand, requires a different perspective. Here’s how to do it: let’s pretend it’s a year from now, and you’re looking back over the last 12 months. It was the best financial year of your life – you’re making the money you want, you’re living in the house you’ve dreamed of, you have a job you love. You’re spending quality time with your family, you’re looking and feeling great, and you have more confidence and clarity than ever before. Whatever that vision looks like, write it down in detail.
Now, imagine yourself standing on a map, having reached the destination of your vision. Look back over the last year to today. What were your turn-by-turn directions to arrive at your vision? Where were the potholes? Were there detours? They say hindsight is 20/20, so when you can clearly see the path that will help you accomplish your vision, you can anticipate those obstacles, plan for them and navigate them more easily.
Habit #2: Don’t Create a To-Do List
Ah, the to-do list. The staple of so many high-achievers. You probably have at least one or two going at any given time, right? But the to-do list is a double-edged sword. You start out the day with great aspirations for what you’ll mark off your to-do list…and then you come home at night, disappointed because you didn’t accomplish everything you thought you would.
So instead of a to-do list, create a never-do list!
We’re all too busy as it is – the most frequent complaint I hear from students and members of Mastermind.com is, “I don’t have enough time!” or “I need someone to teach me how to make a day 36 hours instead of 24!” It’s not that we don’t have enough time – it’s that we’re just filling our days with things that don’t serve us, don’t serve God/the Universe/whatever we believe in, don’t serve our bigger future and don’t serve us making more money or creating the business we desire.
How To Make a Never-Do List
Keep a notepad next to you throughout the day and write down everything you do, even the little stuff like getting a snack or answering emails. If you’re so inclined, even write down how much time each of those tasks takes. Do this for a couple of days, and then review your lists to look for patterns. Maybe scrolling Facebook or TikTok is stealing valuable minutes from your day. Maybe managing your meeting schedule or answering every email the second it comes in is splitting your focus and preventing you from deep work. Find the activities that aren’t serving you and put them on your Never-Do list!
Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do them at all…yes, you probably need to do your books periodically. You do need to answer emails at some point each day. But set aside time for those activities each week or day (or delegate them – more on that in a minute!) and don’t let them take priority over the things you actually need and want to be doing! Then, at the end of the day, you can look back and be satisfied with what you did – and what you didn’t do – to keep moving towards your vision!
Habit #3: Don’t Work On Your Weaknesses
How many teachers, parents or friends have tried over the years to teach us how to get better at the things we suck at? We are raised to focus on improving our weaknesses – but in fact, that may be the biggest lie we’ve ever been told and the thing that stunts our success the most.
You might be sitting home right now thinking of things that you’re weak at and how they’re holding you back.
“If only I were better at math, I could manage my finances.”
“If only I had a better education, I could own my own business.”
I make no secret of the fact that I have dyslexia. I still can’t read very well, I don’t have a huge IQ, I don’t have a great vocabulary and I don’t articulate well. I could spend thousands of hours each year improving those weaknesses – but would that make me successful? Maybe…but maybe not.
So what has made me successful? My strengths! I’m enthusiastic, I care about people and I know how to observe people who are successful and model that behavior to achieve my own success. That’s what I needed to be successful – and your strengths are what will carry you through to success, too.
In his book, “Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance,” Marcus Buckingham says
The radical idea at the core of the strengths movement is that excellence is not the opposite of failure, and that, as such, you will learn little about excellence from studying failure.
So instead of studying your own failures and getting caught up in what you don’t do well, go put that effort into getting even better in what you’re good at already! Strive for mastery in your field or a particular skill. Invest your time and energy into what will get you the fastest and best results.
How to Deal with Your Weaknesses
And what about those things that you’re not strong in? Delegate, delegate, delegate! Find those people whose own strengths complement your weaknesses, and hire them to do what they’re best at. When you take this approach, not only are you successful in your life and business – you give someone else the opportunity to be successful in their own life and business! It’s truly a win-win!
The Truth About Success
In the end, where you choose to spend your attention is the greatest indicator of success. Stop fretting over what you don’t know, can’t do, or don’t have time for, and focus on positively impacting the elements that are within your locus of control. And whether you’re a millionaire (yet) or not, these three habits will serve you well in your business, in your career, in your relationships, and in your life.
Want to dig deeper? Grab My Book Millionaire Success Habits HERE