You have the education, the experience, the skills – all the essentials for professional success. But, what’s going to take you from good to extraordinary?

You have the education, the
experience, the skills – all the essentials for professional success. But,
what’s going to take you from good to extraordinary?

It’s about focusing on your heart:
passion, determination and grit, and your mind: dealing with pressure,
competition and the grind. These are the areas that differentiate those who do
well and those who excel.

What are you doing to develop these
characteristics that will make a difference when it’s crunch time?

Lay a foundation of values

Start with who you are.

What’s important to you and what are
your values?

This establishes a foundational path
for how you act and who you are. Aligning your professional and
personal life with these values helps to ensure you don’t sacrifice what’s
important to you in order to achieve your goals.

Set your goals

Once you’ve established your values –
which stay relatively constant throughout your life – sit down and think about
where you want to go. Set your aspirations and be open to how you’re going to
get there.

  1. Start with long-term goals, those you
    expect to accomplish within five to 10 years. Take your time to think about
    them and write them down.
  2. Determine your annual and short-term
    goals, which should support your long-term objectives.
  3. Then, focus on your daily actions.
    Ask yourself, “What can I do today to help feed my goals?” Write those down,

If you need to revisit your long-term
goals more regularly at first as way to motivate and steer your daily actions,
then do it. At one point in my career, I wrote out my goals every morning as I
started my day. It was a way to get me going in the right direction and focus
my attention.

Very likely,
over time, you’ll find that you’re surrounding yourself with the things and
people that encourage your aspirations. Working toward your objectives just
becomes a part of you.

Once you have
that momentum, a reality check with your goals every quarter is typically
enough to see your achievements and determine whether there’s a need for

Develop your heart and mind

After you’ve established your goals,
it’s time to focus on your getting-better agenda.

What’s it
going to take to achieve and elevate your success?

The first thing is to acknowledge
that you can no longer cling to your education or your vast experience as the
paradigm of success. There’s something more.

The intangible characteristics that
come with developing how you feel and think can make a real difference.

Just as you would diligently work out
to build your physical body – you have to set aside time to feed your heart and
mind to strengthen them. Become more diligent about what you put – and allow ‒ into your heart and mind.

Consider using the concept of cause
and effect. Most people will address a challenge with, “What do I need to do?
Where do I need to start?”

What if you worked the problem the
other way? What if you ask yourself, “What effect or what outcome do I want for
myself professionally?”

Then, go a little deeper: “How do I
want my mind to perform and what do I want in my heart?” The results can be much
more rewarding when you define the desired outcomes before determining how to
make them happen.

When you focus on the desired
outcome, you can start to determine the resources you need to get there. Seek
out the experts who have gone before you who already obtained what you want to achieve:

Having the mindset of a continuous learner is critical to strengthening your
heart and mind.

If your heart and mind are fed, your
goals are established and you have a set of values you follow, it’s easier to prepare
for what lies ahead and take on challenges as they arise.

Prepare for the stressful times

In order to succeed at the highest
level, you’re going to have to go through a tremendous amount of opposition and

It’s never easy. When it appears that
people are effortlessly successful, it’s because they’ve done the work to get
there. It’s like the duck gliding effortlessly across the pond ‒ what you don’t see is its webbed feet paddling furiously
below the surface.

Devote time now to process your way
of thinking so that when you’re faced with tension or stress, you’re ready.

Take a look at athletes. Those who go
into a game unprepared for the pressure in the final minutes are the ones who will likely falter. But those who have rehearsed the
scenario – prepared by practicing, visualizing and getting their mind right –
will do what it takes to win.

Certainly, in business, it’s the same

Highly skilled people often don’t
want to prepare for a big moment because they trust their skills. But these
people can stumble and fall when the stakes are high.

Go beyond your skills to focus,
rehearse and prepare for challenges that are sure to arise. It’s in those
moments when you’ll find yourself reaching success milestones.

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