climbing ladder to success


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Successful people seem to be different to everyone else. Everything seems to fall into place for them. They have it easy. Why aren’t we so lucky?

I used to think like this. I then started to challenge the common misconception that successful people are just lucky or are born into it.

I realised that if I wanted to be like them, I had to do like them. I’m not fully there yet (are you ever?!) but I’ve taken steps along the path.

Here’s what I have learned.

Successful people have a dirty secret. They fail. A lot.

It is exceedingly rare to attempt to make a success of yourself or something else without failing at something along the way..

All of the big names in technology and marketing (and, well, everything!) all started out just like everyone else.

It is true that some people have things handed to them on a platter but I’m talking about the 99.9% of us that work hard to try make something of our lives for ourselves and our families.

There is a universal truth to having a go at succeeding:


This is just how we are wired. We adopt, adapt, progress.

Failure should not be seen as some sort of dirty word. It is a necessary step on a journey to success. Either you fail at something or watch someone else do it. The only unforgivable action is failing at the same things twice. After all, the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, right?

Simply copy/pasting a successful approach will usually guarantee success. But even when it does succeed, have you learned all of the nuances that made it succeed? Can you repeat it confidently and respond effectively when something inevitably doesn’t go as planned?
Failing and learning and applying this learning is how you succeed and build your knowledge.

Some people think that luck plays a significant part in it. Sometimes it does, you get a lucky break. But the real truth of it is that hard work and repetition creates “luck”.
Failing, learning and repeating are the true path to success.

There is nothing worse than those snake oil peddlers that say “You must under-promise and over-deliver!”

This is essentially dishonest, isn’t it? It is an attempt to fool an audience and an attempt to fool oneself.

It like saying “I am not going to tell you everything you’re going to get. Then I’m going to surprise you by giving you more than you thought and we can all pretend it’s amazing!”.
Why not go right to setting lofty goals and then strive to overachieve on them?

“Ah, but if you fail then you’ll look stupid!”. So what? You’ll have learned a ton in the process and your integrity will be intact. And people like integrity.

I’m sick. I lost it. My dog ate it. I was busy. It was raining. Blah blah blah.

When I was younger I always had an excuse ready. The truth is I was usually out on the town and focused primarily on having a good time rather than getting my life and business sorted out.

There will always be things that happen that you need to respond to. But those things should not be to the detriment of your success. Respond. Move on.

You will never be perfect and there will never be perfect circumstances. What do you do?

• Have a plan – you will know the impact of the challenge immediately and be able to re-plan accordingly
• Find the positive – At the heart of every failure is the seed of an equal or greater opportunity.
• Communicate – at home and in your business relationships. If something is not going according to plan, let other people know early. Determine the desired outcome of the conversation before you start it. And make it happen.
• JFDI – Get on with it!! There are few things more detrimental to success than procrastination and perfection. And those two feed each other. Get it 80% right and get it out there.

The status quo is not something that is accepted by successful people.

The contingency plan, the issue resolution, the constant tweaking and testing and improving. The next project.

All of these are critical aspects to ensuring that not only do you achieve success, but you captialise on it and take things to the next level.

The next level should always be the goal. But remember this:


“The greatest enemy of progress is not stagnation but false progress”
Sydney J Harris
Planning and careful consideration of your next move should always be high on your agenda. Make worthwhile progress, not do nugatory (I love that word!) work.

Not only will you achieve and sustain great things, you’ll be the person who knows how to “knock it out of the park” and opportunity will come looking for you.

Successful people are confident in their abilities.

They do not always seek the favour of those around them. They lead. They inspire. They show by example. They lift contributors up and motivate them. They give credit where it is due.

Giving credit to people around you who contribute to a success puts you in a position of power.

This power is not to be taken lightly. Pretty soon you’ll be recognised as that leader. And you better put it to good use.

Don’t just be honest. That goes without saying.

Be ethical. Do the right things for the right reasons.

Admit your mistakes before you have to. Own up. Own it.

Be sincere. Give advice and help people and sincerely want them to do better.
Contribute to other’s success and give them credit for the win.

Be a decent human being. Everyone is just winging it. Help them along if you’re further down the path.

Everyone has things in their lives they wish they could change or do over. Make a conscious decision today to be a better person and follow through on that.

Your world, and that of those around you, can only be a better place.

There are not that many people, statistically, who are independently wealthy. I’m not one of them, just for the record. I’ve got a family and bills too. Don’t we all?

I used to think that if I could just make £30k a year I had it made. This was in the 80s mind you.

Then I thought if I could just get to £50k, £75k…£100k, £200k…

It didn’t stop. I always made more and I always needed more. There’s always something to spend money on. There’s always something shiny.

I think we’re magpies in disguise.

School doesn’t educate our children on how to manage their affairs. To create and sustain business. To invest in themselves and in their future. Why do we all have to learn this the hard way?

There were times when all I could afford to eat was boiled spaghetti. I had no money in the bank and no money coming. Then I got to a point where I knew that no matter what happened I would always have more money coming.

And then I realised I needed to learn about money. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” was a great read. I recommend it.

Learn what it takes to get money, invest it and grow it. Let your assets pay for toys. Just this week I ordered a brand new motorbike paid for by one advertising campaign using Bing/Clickbank. Cost me nothing really.

Be smart about what you do with your money and it will allow you to leverage it not spend it.

Having a good idea is one thing. Following through and realising it is an entirely different thing.

I once sat having a coffee with a friend, brainstorming new business ideas.

We looked at the world and thought about the services we could provide. It wasn’t easy and a lot of stuff sounded like complete and utter rubbish.

We used the idea in MJ DeMarco’s “The Millionaire Fastlane” as a model. He was a limo driver and set up a service to allow people get quotes for hiring limos. Simple. $10m.
We looked at other stuff like tradesmen, hotels, skip hire….any kind of service that we could aggregate and simplify and take a cut.

We wrapped up and were leaving and thought about getting a taxi. “That’s it!”, I exclaimed. A service to allow you to get a taxi to come to you, anywhere, anytime. We decided to look at it later.

A year later, Uber rocked up. $1bn.

That said, I’ve got 3 other businesses on the go. None of them worth a billion…yet. But I’m not eating plain spaghetti anymore either! Did I tell you I got a new bike? :)

I am a self confessed magpie. I collect stuff. Material things. Ideas.

Evernote has been a huge help to me. Clipping web pages, PDFs, taking notes and ideas. Allowing me to clear my mind and focus on other stuff. Not worrying I’ve forgotten something hugely important.

• Films to watch with my son as he grows up.
• Adventures to have and places to go with my boy.
• New business Ideas.
• New Products
• New Funnels
• New Tools

Literally, the list is endless. If you’ll pardon the pun.

A lot of ideas you generate won’t go anywhere. Especially if you don’t do anything about them. But try this:

Write down 10 ideas a day. Review them once a week. Pick one. Implement it.

Follow through.

Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg. They all started out naked and screaming and went on to have an idea. And followed through.

The rest is history.

I’ve already written another blog post on how to listen.

But the power of listening is an amazing thing. My life and outlook literally changed beyond recognition when I learned to really listen. And not just to feedback, but to everything being said to me.

I read a really good book by an FBI Investigator that demonstrated the power of actively listening.

People like to talk. They feel valued when they are listened to. They feel better about you when you listen to them.

I remember one time meeting a guy at a bar when I was staying in Philadelhpia. I was having dinner and minding my own business. We struck up a conversation over the baseball game that was on.

I asked him what he did. Where he lived. If baseball was his favourite sport. What he got up to in his spare time in Philadelphia (I’m from Ireland and have always been fascinated by the US).
Maybe two hours later, and after a couple of beers, this guy tells me I am the most interesting person he ever met. He knew nothing about me.

The next night we had an amazing meal by the water. Seafood to die for. We also visited a blues club that had people walk in off the street and sing or play to their heart’s content.

I continued to listen to this guy.

I gave him credit for his ideas. I treated him with respect and integrity.

I gave him some ideas about how he could generate some extra income. After all, driving trains wasn’t making him rich (his words not mine).

Last I heard he was buying a boat and catching his own seafood. And myself and my family were invited out to Philly for a free holiday.

So try really listening to the next person you speak with. Don’t formulate your next answer as they are talking. Listen. And be amazed at how much better your relationships with people become.

I’ve picked up these pointers from mentors, reading books, observing successful people I’ve been surrounded by. I try to implement them in my life constantly.

Got any other tips to improve your life? Leave a comment below. I love listening to you!

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