5 important habit changes to go from ordinary to successful

How do you want others to see you?

Aha! That’s the wrong question that plays tricks on our minds.

Begin with — how do you want to see yourself? You must start from within. It’s the beginning of how you build your character, and it’s how you get into the right mindset to live a life of abundance and success.

This isn’t about deceiving people or hard-wiring something into your brain that isn’t true. It’s a shift in thought. It’s an increase in self-awareness to change the narrative that you can run back and forth in your mind about who you are.

I never used to think of myself as an entrepreneur. The real reason why is that I didn’t do enough thinking and introspection on what that could actually look like. Every time I thought about leaving my old job, I got scared. I thought — how could I possibly pull this off? I don’t have a clue! I’m afraid to reach out to others. I better play it safe.

It wasn’t until the passion grew stronger and I began to speak the words, “Writer, Speaker, Coach” over my life that I actually believed what I was saying and further committed to action. I knew I had the tools, skills and experience to be successful. I simply had to act on it. I had to believe it and do so with consistency.

I picked up my first publishing deal because I consistently lived in the space of self-confidence and possibility.

Two successful books, executive clients and major speaking engagements later, I’m living the life I want. And yet, I’m always mindful of my habits to make sure they’re benefiting my growth.

I throw down the gauntlet now at you. What’s holding you back? Is it the thoughts that run inside your head telling you excuses like: “I’m not good enough” or “I’ll never…”?

Reinvention is about changing your mind and never accepting excuses. It’s about belief, self-motivation, and vision. Truly, this move from amateur to pro is really about the habits you choose and how consistently you practice them. James Clear, New York Times bestselling author of, Atomic Habitsdescribes the importance of asking yourself these four questions when you want to change your habits:

1. How can I make it obvious?

2. How can I make it attractive?

3. How can I make it easy?

4. How can I make it satisfying?

Whatever you’re working on, I hope you can learn from these five habit changes I made to reinvent myself.

1. The long game — No more giving up

It’s hard. It’s hard when you want results right away. It’s hard when you want to grow your business, reach the executive chair, buy a new house, the list goes on. It’s called instant gratification and you must avoid it.

In my work with leaders, I’ve found the biggest challenge they face is practicing patience. Let’s face it — we all want results right away. When we don’t achieve them, we think something is wrong with us or our process.

So we keep spinning, trying something new and worrying. Chances are, if you sit back with a clear mind and accurately diagnose the issue — you’ll realize the problem is your own way of thinking. You must play for the long-term, even when supporting your family, making ends meet, and fulfilling your life goals are on the line.

Trust me, I did a lot of cold-calling and transactional selling when I started my business. Some of it worked. A lot of it didn’t. Where I ended up was realizing I needed to set up a system and richer offerings for people. I needed to think in a transformational way, which can only be achieved when you are in it for the long-term.

Just remember this — Steve Jobs was FIRED from Apple before he came back as CEO and revolutionized hand-held technology. In other words, success isn’t immediate. Results don’t come right away. You have to see things in the long-term and play this way each day. You have more time than you think. Yes, there are accelerators like delegating tasks and services to others. But the biggest win you can achieve is shifting your mindset to focus on long-term wins. When you think this way, you invest your time and money in what is most important.

2. Playing for keeps vs. hobby

I turned things that were my hobbies into activities that are now part of my overall career. A hobby is defined as “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.” It’s something you’re not earning money on. It’s great to start with hobbies. If they’re activities that you love that combine your skills and talents, then I truly believe you should seek to make them your living.

Even recently at a workshop I was attending, someone suggested writing is a hobby of mine. Actually, no it’s not. It’s part of how I make my living. I’m a published author, freelance writer and I publish my writing here on Medium — and get paid. Once I started earning a living as a writer, it elevated the profundity of the activity.

It didn’t necessarily influence my writing, but it made me take greater ownership of applying discipline to my writing each day. I play for keeps. This is my life’s work. When you see what you love most as the work that you want to make your life, you begin to refine your approach. You become more disciplined, patient, strategic and tactical. All necessary skills for success.

3. I can vs. I will

Think about how powerful it is to move from possibility to definite. Both words are potential — they’re both future tense. But “can” is a possibility and
“will” is a definite commitment to doing.

Eliminate “can” from your vocabulary. If a task or project is in alignment with your values, purpose, and goals — then you will do it. Commit! Speak positive affirmations and they will in fact matter to your success. There’s a neuroscience component to this, in fact.

Dr. Christopher Cascio explains in the journal, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience:

“Affirmation takes advantage of our reward circuits, which can be quite powerful. Many studies have shown that these circuits can do things like dampen pain and help us maintain balance in the face of threats.”


“The study also found that self-affirmation increases activity in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and posterior cingulate (PCC), areas of the brain connected to self-related processing. That, says Cascio, suggests that increases on self-related processing act as a kind of emotional buffer to any painful, negative, or threatening information that follows.”

4. Leave past disappointments behind and celebrate the wins

You may live with regret about that job that didn’t work out. You may harbor bitter disappointment about the project you couldn’t quite complete. You may feel frustrated about a relationship at work that went sour and left you wondering about your future plans.

These are real emotions and feelings… ones that are best to be left in the past. Learn from them and move on. I used to get worried about the way others perceived me in meetings. It was because I lacked self-confidence. So, I simply put in more time to prepare and get better at what I do. Suddenly, I stopped worrying so much about what everyone thought. It was useless energy.

Shift your mindset and celebrate the Wins you have in your life. This is what gives you vitality, direction and motivation to keep going. Learn from the losses, look forward and celebrate the Wins. Always move forward.

5. Accept both “good” and “bad” as personal growth

In fact, strike “good” and “bad” from your vocabulary, as well. See it as positive and negative. You can learn and grow from negative things. When you see them as bad, it’s really hard to learn, grow and apply new principles that will make you a better person.

I used to take criticism from my peers very, very seriously. I internalized it and it nearly derailed my coaching career. When I went through coaching training, I constantly got feedback that I was doing too much “problem-solving.” I didn’t take it as a bad thing. I knew that was part of me. I decided, how can I make this something that I learn from and still use to my advantage?

Even times when I’ve struggled with anxiety, I’ve learned to see these moments as trials that I can profit from. Don’t see things so binary. Focus on overall growth in all that you do — it’s the secret to a fulfilling life.

Concluding thoughts

Changes in habits help you to see yourself differently — you can go from feeling ordinary to feeling and living a successful life.

Have a forward-seeking mindset that is self-motivated and willing to find acceptance in growth. Commitment and seeing things through for the long-term fuel persistence and an affirmation-filled mindset that lead to success.

This article first appeared on Medium.

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