You think you have what it takes to succeed?
You think you know what patience and persistence really look like? A lot of people talk about it — but the real question is, can you walk the walk?
In fact, according to a 2016 small business roundup, over 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first four years. And of all the small businesses started back in 2011, only 4 percent made it to the second year, and 3 percent made it to the fifth year.
Entrepreneurship is the quintessential example of what it means to push through to the end. It is the profession that unapologetically reveals whether you have what it takes to see your vision through to the end, or you’re just another Wantrepreneurs talking a big game.
So, what are the differences between a winner and a wannabe?
1. A winner never stops practicing what got them to where they are in the first place.
Anyone can achieve a small amount of success.
A good amount of people then ladder that up to moderate success. But the real difference between the people who become wildly successful and those that fall off track is that the winners never forget what got them their first win.
They never stop practicing that original skill, that foundational piece that was so influential in their journey.
Don’t forget where you came from. Your first win was your first win for a reason.
2. A winner never says, “I’ve figured it out. I’ve got the answer.”
There is no answer — not a permanent one, anyway.
You might have discovered your next move on the chessboard, but the moment you proclaim (to yourself and the world) that you’ve got it “all figured out” is the moment you begin defending what you’ve got, instead of fighting for how much more you can have. There is always room to grow.
There is always more to learn.
Stop looking for the destination.
A winner doesn’t see the finish line. They see the next wall they’re prepared to run through.
3. A winner is hyper-aware of how they spend every single moment of their day.
You really want to become successful?
Then you need to be prepared to be intentional with the entire structure of your routine and day to day lifestyle, start to finish. The way you relax has to be as intentional as the way you work. The people you spend time with have to be as important to you as your own goals and aspirations.
Every single aspect of your life has to be done purposefully.
That’s the marker of someone determined to design their life.
4. A winner owns their mistakes so they can learn how to improve, faster.
You’re not a winner if you can’t own up to your own missteps.
It’s not just about accountability; it’s about having the ability to take a good, hard look at yourself and question deeply how you can continue to improve.
People who take accountability just to say, “See? I took the blame,” miss the point entirely. This isn’t about proving it to someone else. This is about using those moments as opportunities for your own growth.
A winner welcomes these moments.
5. A winner is focused on mastering their craft, not proving their talents.
You can always tell the difference between a winner and wannabe in the way the person treats what they do.
A winner cares far more about becoming the best at their craft, regardless of how many people know it, whereas a wannabe wants the entire world to know how great they are and simultaneously struggles to spend adequate time mastering their craft.
The two move opposite of each other.
6. A winner sees their failures as opportunities to prove themselves again.
When a wannabe falls down, they stay down.
They wallow, and they wonder how it “all went wrong.” They struggle to see the lesson, and they usually end up taking great pride in where they used to be, which comforts them as they lie face-down on the pavement.
A winner does the opposite.
They see their downfall as another opportunity to climb the climb again. To prove that they weren’t a one-hit-wonder. To demand of themselves greatness, again and again.
7. A winner only spends time with other winners.
The vast majority of people don’t understand what this actually means.
Winners spending time with winners have nothing to do with external success or what has already been achieved. A winner recognizes work ethic, drive, passion, vision, and most of all, dedication. Those are the defining characteristics that even the most successful people look for in the up-and-comers.
It’s not just about what you’ve done to prove yourself already.
It’s about who you are, and the early signs that show where you’re headed in life.
8. A winner knows that success can’t be judged by the day or even the week. It has to be judged over the long term.
Nothing great happens overnight.
It may appear that way. It may look from the outside like it happened suddenly. But anyone who has ever built something of value knows that success doesn’t hit quickly. It comes after months and years of hard work, and a constant focus on improvement.
That’s why winners have unrelenting patience. They weren’t born with it. They’ve just learned, the hard way, that great things take time.
9. A winner does not care about a title.
Titles are for people who judge their worth externally.
At best, a winner will use a title as a simple means of explaining what they do. But when push comes to shove, they will not refer to their title and statue to gain leverage over others — especially in a company setting where, “Because I am the CEO” tends to be a point of diplomacy.
True winners, who are in their hearts leaders, know their value. And their value is not defined in a title.
It is exemplified in who they are, what they do, and the way they do it.
This article originally appeared on Medium.