How to Achieve the Success of Others

We all do it. We see someone else who has a level of success that we admire and we want that same success for ourselves.

  • “If his book can become a bestseller, mine should be too!”
  • “If she can get on Fox News to talk about her initiative, I should be able to get on as well!”
  • “If his blog is getting tons of traffic, so should mine!”
  • “If she has 20k followers on Twitter or Facebook, so should I!”
  • “If he is writing all kinds of guest posts and articles that are being posted all over the web, my articles should be too!”

Sometimes we even discount them as if their stuff isn’t as good as our stuff. You know what I’m saying, it’s what happens when we find ourselves making little snide comments but really we’re just trying to justify that we think we deserve more. But, it’s not a question of being better or whose material is superior… it’s a question of doing the work that it takes to get to the level of success you want.

Don’t get me wrong, content is the foundation. If your content (or product / service) stinks then you’ve disqualified yourself from the beginning but content is also very subjective so it’s sometimes hard to gauge.

What we often forget though is the amount of work that someone put in to get to where we see them today.

Chris Brogan‘s blog didn’t magically shoot to the top rankings of blogs on the internet. Neither did Seth Godin‘s. Both Chris and Seth have been blogging for YEARS and years (before blogging was cool). They have stellar content and  have learned to refine and steadily built along the way.

There are, however, plenty of people who indeed do have sub-par content but they achieve success by working it with extreme tenacity and zest. Hard work pays.

Several of the best-selling books you see did not make the lists on their own by some random chance, they entered into a 6-8 month pre-launch strategy that comprised of a strategic pre-sale campaign and fully coordinated launch that included publicity, interviews, major leveraged deals, etc.

That guy with the killer website… he didn’t build it himself. He hired the best team and he plopped down $10,000+ to get his site build in a way that makes you drool.

The all-star writer that has articles popping up all over the net, he’s spending hours upon hours writing and reaching out. His articles aren’t getting picked up by themselves. He’s proactively going after the mediums he wants to pursue. He’s personally making phone calls, sending emails and doing whatever he can to create the relationships that give him and “in.” — > Notice I italicized “personally” above? That is because you need to know that you can’t always have someone else doing your work for you. You need to do some yourself and contribute, especially where relationships are concerned.

My point is that what you see is merely the culmination of their work. You see the results and the results are what you want…. but… you can’t skip the work that it takes to get there.

Don’t get discouraged when you aren’t getting the results you’d like… yet. Just keeping working. Keep plowing away and you’ll get there. Don’t be like so many others and give up just before success occurs. It’s coming… but only for those who are willing to work hard enough and long enough to achieve it. It’s often much closer than you think.

And one last thing… don’t try to copy the success of others. Use it as a guide or inspiration that gives you something to shoot for but Create Your Own! If you’re always focused on theirs, you’ll never be able to focus on yours and without focus… it won’t happen.

Waiting Until the Time is Right

I’m not a huge NASCAR fan but I have always been intrigued by the phenomenon of DRAFTING and how it serves as a great example for achieving success in certain aspects of our lives and work.

Drafting is basically when two cars run very close together, front to rear, in order to reduce the drag caused by wind resistance. In other words, by running close together they improve their aerodynamics and are able to go faster together than they could alone.

DRAFTING isn’t what really intrigues me the most though.

It’s how drivers use drafting to win that is.

You see, at just the right time the second car is able to create a little extra momentum as a result of drafting the first car. It’s called the “Slingshot Pass” and it usually occurs as they go into a turn. The second car capitalizes on the wake created by the first car and dives down with a little extra burst of speed to take the lead.

It often happens towards the end of the race or at a pivotal point when the second car has waited for what the driver feels is the best, most strategic time. If he moves too soon he runs the risk of the same tactic being repeated on him as well. If he waits too long he risks it not working and not having enough time to try again.

There’s a lot we can learn from this idea but to me, one of the prime points is this…

Sometimes it’s not a great idea to rush to be first.

Sometimes it’s better to be second and wait until the time is right to take the lead.

The Title on Your Business Card Doesn’t Really Matter to Them

My wife and my kids could care less about the title on my business card. They aren’t impressed by the superficial things or how important I may or may not think I am. What they REALLY care about is how important THEY are to me and whether I example it in my actions versus just my words.

Do I spend good, quality time with them or do I put a higher priority on time spent on other things? Do I put their needs first? Do I make them feel like I truly care?

That’s what really matters.

The same goes for those we work with. Yeah, the person with the heftier title carries more weight in being able to sign the check or fire someone but at the end of the day… a title alone will only go so far. It’s how we treat others that makes the difference. If we show them we care by giving them our time and focusing on serving their needs then they will care for us more in return. And, that word “care” translates to increased loyalty and team engagement… necessities for any organization or initiative to thrive.

As Mark Sanborn said, “You don’t need a title to be a leader.” What you do need though, if you want to be effective, is a genuine desire to care for others. That’s done best when we stop trying to put the focus on us and shift it onto them.

The Dangers of Looking for an Easier Way

As we get busier and as our organizations grow we tend to look for better ways to do things. Easier and more efficient ways. While the quest is indeed a positive thing, there is a dark side we must avoid.

It’s what happens when we start to lose the very essence of what was making us successful in the first place.

I’ll give you an example that temps me from time to time…

I’ve always been gifted at “connecting” with others. I’m a good networker and understand the value of relationships. One of the ways I have remained successful in maintaining my business relationships is by giving people individual attention. I try to give way more than I take. Why? Because they matter to me as people, not just as platforms, and I want them to know that I value them enough to spend purposeful time on them.

In my work marketing and promoting books, there is always the temptation to “look for an easier way” when I have a book I want to get others to review or share. That temptation is to send out a blanket, bulk email to all of my contacts at once.

Sure, it would save me time but the dark side is the effect it would create. People can sniff out a mass email pretty quickly, you know it yourself because you’ve undoubtedly received them too. People try to use language that “appears” personalized to the mass recipients but it’s not and you can tell it.

If I did this “Time Saving” move, I kill my effectiveness and my relationships. Why? Because I’d be inauthentic with those I value most and they’d know it.

So, while it’s much more labor intensive to sit down and email, call or connect with each one individually… it’s the SMARTER thing to do (not the EASIER).

My point is this…. As you grow, no matter what is you do, don’t sacrifice SMART for EASY. Don’t cut corners because they’ll eventually cut you back. Make certain that you are constantly aware of what has contributed to your success and seek to maintain it. Systems and automation is fine but only when they don’t replace what it is that makes you who you are.

Attention Doesn’t Create Results. You Need Engagement Too.

Regardless of what type of business or organization you are in, you likely seek attention. You want people to take notice and to become aware of what it is you have to offer. That’s why you spend money on ads, Facebook promotions, mailers, postcards, or whatever it is that you do to try and raise your visibility.

It doesn’t matter if you are trying to generate traffic to a website or blog, get people to come for Sunday services or eat dinner at your restaurant… it’s all basically the same.

You’re doing what you can to be seen and heard in hopes they will respond (“they” being your potential customers or visitors).

But here’s where many fall short.

It’s one thing to generate traffic or to get seen, it’s something entirely different to get someone to take action.

Attention alone doesn’t create results (the kind of response you’re looking for). You need engagement too.

Let’s take the web as an example. It’s one thing to drive 1000 visitors to your site but it’s something totally different to get a large % of them to take action, once they are there, on what it is that you are trying to get them to do.

The golden nugget there is “take action.” Without action, visibility is relatively useless (unless you’re simply trying to pepper your potential audience with name recognition).

I see a lot of people focused on the front side of the equation, the visibility side, but I think we need to spend just as much… if not more time… on the engagement side. The, “What happens when we get their attention?” side.

It starts by asking questions. Are we offering them something compelling enough that makes them want to engage or are we simply tossing up more clutter into the world of 1000 messages screaming for attention each day? Is what we want them to do clearly understood? Are we providing them with a path (steps to take) or are we “assuming” they will understand? Are we trying to engage them or are we simply trying to push information on them? Are we being intentional and do we have a plan?

The questions go on but the point is this… if you want results, don’t just focus on getting someone to your front door. Balance that out with how you’re going to get them off the porch and to step inside… and then how will you get them to stay a while and/or come back again? Those things won’t happen unless you engage.

Time is Finite. Are You Using Yours Effectively?

There are only 24 hours in a day. We can’t manufacture more time. It’s a finite resource that we have to manage. Sure, you can squeeze a few more hours of work out by skimping on sleep or neglecting your family but that’s no way to live.

How you spend your time tells a lot about you and what you value most.

You can’t get back the time you didn’t spend and you can’t replace the time that you did.

How are you spending your time?

Does where you spend it reflect the values you claim to live by?

Are you keeping what really matters a priority?

In your business, are you trading time for dollars? If so, what will you do when the intersection of time and capacity overlap and become a ceiling that limits you?

These are all questions to ask yourself now because when you ask the right questions you can find the right answers. And, when you do… you’ll find the map to use your time more effectively because you’ll be more focused on what matters most.