Short post, but it’s important.
On the outside, successful people tend to look like they don’t have a care in the world.
Everything is going according to plan. They have what they need, when they need it. They have who they need, where they need them. They have their priorities set, their goals envisioned, and all parties involved are aligned.
It appears to be a perfectly synchronized dance.
But the truth is, successful people are only out in the open when they want to be.
They show up when it makes sense. They attend when it’s required — or of their own volition. They put themselves in positions strategically and with purpose, because the other 99% of the time, they’re working.
Successful people, especially the ones in the thick of the journey (and not yet coasting on the wake of their accomplishments) don’t have time for much else. I write extensively about this in my book, Slow Down, Wake Up.
So when you see them, they appear to have it all under control.
But when you don’t see them, they’re working furiously to keep things moving full speed ahead.
What I’ve learned about successful people is this…
As a young entrepreneur and ambitious writer, I take it upon myself to surround myself with as many successful individuals as possible.
I want to learn from them. Study them. Understand them and their motives — so that I can take what is applicable to my own personal journey, and leave the rest.
This goes back to the old saying, “You are a reflection of the five people you spend the most time with.”
I believe that.
And in taking it upon myself to talk to and learn from so many successful individuals — everyone from solo-preneurs who have carved out a nice niche for themselves, all the way up to billionaires several times over — what I have learned is they all live by a very fundamental rule of thumb.
It’s actually quite simple.
Here’s the rule:
Do what you need to do, before you do what you want to do.
What does that mean?
That means even though life hands you endless obligations, invitations, responsibilities, and people to appease, it’s important that you do the things you need to do — the things that will move the needle and get you to where it is you want to be — before you do all the things that you want to do.
And that’s not always easy.
Which is why so few people end up achieving the level of success they envision for themselves.
This article first appeared on Medium