by Michelle Steffes

Finding your way to success may or may not mean becoming a millionaire to you.  In the process of growing my own career, I have been studying both millionaires and the everyday West Michigan entrepreneur.  I have discovered there are critical changes you can make in your every day that can lead you to reach your fullest potential.

Studies have shown, on average, that millionaires do not discover their true passion or niche until about the age of 45 and they make their first million around 54.  Notably, many have a long, painful track record of failed attempts over the course of their careers. In addition, multiple others have had to start over entirely or completely alter their path along the way to riches. The following are 10 key practices millionaires and successful people share:

1)   VISION – Dream BIG and keep dreaming! Do not lose sight of what is in your heart to achieve. Keep it in front of you every day. Write it, post it, speak it and believe it!

 “All successful people men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.”  – Brian Tracy

2)   GOALS – Set clear, measurable goals with time frames for completion based on your dreams. Write down at least 10, prioritize and then break each one down individually by asking the following questions and recording your answers:

  1. What connections do you need or whom should you speak with?
  2. What obstacles do you think you may encounter and what solutions do you have to overcome them?
  3. What knowledge or skills will you need and how will seek to gain it?
  4. What are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it and how will you cope?
  5. How will you motivate yourself to stay on track and/or who will hold you accountable?

“If you don’t change the direction you are going, then you’re likely to end up where you’re heading… “ – John Maxwell

3)   BELIEVE! – Believing in yourself is paramount to your level of success. The Good Book says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  You will never make it any further than you believe you can.

 “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford

4)   INTEGRITY – Success cannot be achieved at any level if integrity and trust are compromised.

“You build trust with others each time you choose integrity over image, truth over convenience, or honor over personal gain.” – John Maxwell

5)   GROW – One of the top traits of successful men and women is their diligence to learning.  Download and listen to podcasts, YouTube or audio books every day while getting ready, while driving, any time you can listen effectively. Read books and take notes.  Sign up for free webinars, etc… The time you commit to learning what is required for your success is never time wasted and can be done in a way that fits into your busy schedule.

6)   REFLECT – Consistently take time each week to reflect on what you have done well, what you need to change or improve and what you will work on the following week. Write it down.

7)   STAY FOCUSED – Intentionally organize and allocate time slots per week to work on sections of your goals. Write them into your calendar and treat them as a priority. Do not get distracted by ringing devices, texts or emails. Stay focused on each task until it is completed.

8)      TAKE RISKS – Successful people are willing to make many sacrifices now for the payoff later. They are creative and ambitious thinkers. Often, they will continue on with their passions long after others will quit despite the failures, disappointments and losses they face.

“Any great achievement is preceded by many difficulties and many lessons; great achievements are not possible without them.” – Brian Tracy

9)   VALUE OTHERS – The most successful people in the world have not achieved it their on their own. They have invested into the lives of many others and others have invested in them.  They are consistently looking for opportunities to pour value into those around them, expanding their own boundaries in so doing.

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”Zig Ziglar

10)FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT – You may have heard this old addage but it has been highly effective for many. How you are seen by others can truly determine your success or failure. Ask yourself, Who do you tend to hire?… Those who dress, act and reflect success? …. Or those who appear as if they are on a sinking ship?

Interestingly, 50% of the top millionaires in the world are not college graduates and 75% of all US Presidents fell into the lower 40% of grade point average. No matter what your background, age, career goals or stature, you can maximize your fullest potential. The only thing stopping you… is YOU!