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What makes individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses successful?

Is it luck? No, it’s not. There are three essential ingredients to self-improvement and growth, and if you keep reading, you can find out all about them!

The first element is –


This sounds a little scary, right? That’s totally understandable. As human beings we are creatures of habit, and we like to have some control over what happens next, so we’re usually drawn to routine and reliability.

But, if we want to grow, change, evolve, transform, then we need to face challenges to expand our boundaries. Instability helps us to understand exactly what we’re capable of and learn more about ourselves in the process.

Successful people are always challenging themselves. They understand that when things become repetitive, predictable and ordinary, our expectations also drop and we no longer live a life that’s bold, brave and exciting! Ironically, in trying to protect ourselves from the unknown we virtually lose sight of the future – and then we get stuck in a perpetuating mundane world – a world that might be safe, but is far from stimulating.

Testing your own limitations can be as simple as making a deal with yourself that you’ll try something new, perhaps once a month or once a week … For example, writing a blog, learning to Salsa dance, or public speaking. The trick is to face your fear, and embrace it.

You might volunteer for a difficult project at work, something you know will stretch your knowledge and your skills, but which you know you’ll learn from.

When you take yourself out of your comfort zone, marvellous things can happen!

An easy way to form new habits and to break old ones is to set an intention for 21 days. This helps you to create the discipline required to commit to change.

So, if you were to place yourself out of your comfort zone every day for 21 days, then you might be surprised by your tolerance. The more you practice being in a state of ‘discomfort’, the more adept you become at coping with it. New confidence will grow and you will see yourself evolving into a better version of yourself! Because if you can be comfortable with being uncomfortable, you will be prepared to handle whatever situation comes along in your own life.

The second element is –


Relevance means being connected to the matter at hand. Why is relevance important? Because it focuses on results – relevance is about achieving the desired goal. To understand your own relevance, you need to ask yourself:

  • What’s my purpose in life?
  • Who am I (what do I stand for?) and why am I here?

This is a bit like defining a Vision and a Mission statement for yourself. Most people don’t have either… Which means they have no real clarity when it comes to defining what they are aiming to achieve in life. This, in turn means that most of us are running around expending energy on all sorts of things that don’t matter. But can you imagine how much more powerful and constructive and productive we can be if we have single-minded focus on the things that do matter?

This is something that is not easy to achieve, but, having clear goals helps to map out a path so that you can keep moving forward, advancing the way you want to live.

A good question to ask yourself when you’re figuring this all out and setting yourself some objectives is ‘what are my strengths?’ Write them down. Get feedback from friends and colleagues to give you greater insight.

When you have made your list, ask yourself whether they are aligned with your work and the way you’re generally living and spending your time.

Some other questions to consider when you’re aligning your personal success with your career or business success are:

  • What do you love about your work or company?
  • Do people see you as an expert or the go to guy/gal when certain things need to be achieved?
  • What sets you apart from everyone else in your environment?
  • Why should people do business with you or choose you for a project?
  • What is your gift or your super power?
  • What’s your area of expertise and in which market?
  • What makes you stand out in a crowd?

Whether you want business success or personal success or both, you must stay relevant. Essentially, this means that you must continue to reinvent yourself or your brand to ensure that you are at the forefront of people’s minds. The consequence of not staying relevant is that people will not think of you and you will be left behind.

One simple way that you can ensure relevance and remind yourself to concentrate on it, is to set yourself an intention throughout the day, especially if you feel that your energy is being distracted. Ask yourself: ‘is what I am doing right now relevant to my work or company?’ ‘Am I making a difference with what I am doing right now?

With this focus, the right attitude and the right mindset you will produce quality work that makes a difference.

Stay RELEVANT! Focus on your authentic self, and the rest will fall into place.

The third element is –


No room for excuses!

When you’re fully accountable for your actions you find out what you’re really capable of, you make mistakes, you own those mistakes and you learn from them.

Accountability builds responsibility, trust and respect – these are big words in anyone’s language.

I have known some great leaders in my time. Leaders who were completely accountable for all their actions including the actions of their teams; they took ownership of anything that came their way, which in turn, built TRUST. Those leaders developed teams that were engaged and motivated – and the on-flow effect was outstanding.

When you are personally accountable you take ownership of your actions and choices. If you are a leader, then your accountability extends beyond your own actions. You don’t blame others when things go wrong, instead you go out of your way to make things right. It’s also a fact that those leaders who take personal accountability have better social interactions with their teams because their accountability builds trust and respect.

From an organisational standpoint, a leader who is personally accountable will be considered dependable, responsible and trustworthy. What follows, is that members of the team will go the ‘extra-mile’ unconditionally too, just because they have appreciation for the leader.

Accountability is not something that is automatic or comes naturally for some people. But it can become an acquired skill. We all make mistakes. When we own, up to them, be present and accountable, we are standing in our own truth. And this is far easier than blaming others. Blaming others gives our power away, by learning how to fix things and resolve situations and problems, is a much more powerful and more rewarding frame of mind.

Tips to become more personally accountable

  • Don’t say yes to everything. Manage your time and resources wisely. Things will fall through the cracks if you over-commit.
  • Watch out for procrastination – this is a sign you are avoiding dealing with the problem. As soon as you find yourself procrastinating, stop and check in with your priorities. It’s likely that you’ll find that the very thing you’re procrastinating about is the exact thing you should be focused on.
  • Ask for feedback – three questions I love to ask as this gives me insight into my blind spots what am I doing right? What opportunities for improvement do you see for me? And what can I do differently?

We all have the potential to be leaders. And we all have the potential to be hugely successful. Simply by following the three pillars for personal and business success we can achieve great things. If we want others to do the same, then we just need to be a role model for this behaviour and give others a good example to follow. The key attributes here are all habits that can be learned, all it takes is a little courage, a little effort and a little understanding.