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Follow the Leader: How to Find Success

What defines success? Some would say the title or position they hold in their company. Others, the level of respect they are given from their colleagues. Still, others find success not in where or how they work, but in how they live.

To put it simply, there is not and cannot be one definition of success.

Thus, there is not one way to gain success. There is not a magical set of steps that will lead you to it, nor a guidebook you can follow to help you achieve it. What you can do, however, is take cues from the people who claim to have achieved it.

  1. Plan Ahead

Success is not stumbled upon. It requires planning and perseverance. Successful leaders prioritize tasks and manage their time because they know that their time and their energy is valuable. They’re intentional about the projects they work on and the meetings they take.

Elon Musk takes this to the extreme by breaking his day into five minute intervals. The belief is that by breaking your day into smaller increments, you’ll see a productivity boost throughout the day because you don’t waste time on unnecessary tasks. You’ve started your day with a plan of attack.

For many, especially beginners, starting with five minute intervals is like jumping into the deep end of a pool before you learn how to tread water. There are many other time management techniques that work just as well. The most popular of which is the Pomodoro technique. This time management system is built off of an interval model in which you spend 25 minutes working on one project and then 5 to 10 minutes resting. After your ten minutes is up, you return to the project or move on to a different project.

Each person is different, and everyone will have a different technique that works for them. Don’t be afraid to switch up your routine and find the best way for you to stay productive.

  1. Question Everything

Don’t ever be afraid to try something new. Taking risks leads us to discovery and innovation. It’s what drives us forward. Even in more traditional industries, there is always room for improvement and growth.

The “don’t fix it until it’s broke” model is only good so long as you can identify when something’s broken. When it comes to how you do business, it’s the little things that can make or break your success. Those little things don’t necessarily mean your business model is broken, so much as they’re keeping you from realizing your full potential.

Don’t be afraid to question why you’re working this way, or how your business functions. In the process, you might just find a few cracks that need repair.

  1. Focus on Relationships

It’s one thing to be in charge of a team, but it’s another to lead one. Leaders take responsibility for the growth and encouragement of their colleagues, partnerships and relationships. They see value in people. They celebrate successes together and grow from failures together.

Leaders also recognize individual strengths and weaknesses. The Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak partnership is a testament to the opposites attract mindset. These two men were the catalyst to the smartphone frenzy, but they were polar opposites in mindset.

Steve Jobs was always the ideas guy. He lived and worked in his head with little thought to practicality. Wozniak was the doer. He found ways to make Jobs’ ideas a reality. Both pushed the bounds of what was possible and ended up leading the tech revolution. Without one, the other would not have succeeded. It was their mutual respect and willingness to work together that created the technology few can live without today.

  1. Stay Healthy

This may come as a no-brainer, but to be successful, you have to be healthy. The most successful leaders make time for themselves. They exercise daily, make sure they eat the right types of food, get enough sleep and take the breaks they need to stay focused and productive.

They know that when their body or mind suffers, their work suffers. They prioritize their health because they have a future-focused mindset that knows it’s not worth the long-term setback if they don’t take care of their bodies now.

It’s true. There is no one way to achieve success. But would success really be so attractive to us if there was? We don’t crave success because it’s easy. We want to be challenged. We want to see everything we work for pay off. Success is alluring because it’s elusive.

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