A glance at the inimitable Natalie Massenet or powerful Marissa Meyers might make the climb to success seem daunting, but consider this: Most self-made successful millionaires started from scratch. That was certainly the case for Daniel Ally, a millionaire and business expert who recently penned an article for Entrepreneur. By changing his habits, Ally transformed his life in three years. At 21, he was living at his parents house and earning $8 per hour, and by 24 Ally was a self-made millionaire with an impressive resumé. Read on to discover the habits that could catapult your career.
As Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit." These words rang true for Ally, who knew he wanted to be successful in business from a young age, but couldn't shake his old habits. Ask yourself, What do I envisage for my life? Then, take a look at your current daily routine. Are your daily habits conducive to your goal? If you sleep in every day but want to become a motivated, healthy leader, start by tweaking small habits like the time you rise. It might seem insignificant but starting small will have a roll-on effect.
Language is a powerful tool to share your message, persuade others, and build strong relationships. When you open your mouth, whether it's at a board meeting or chatting to a new client, you give out subtle information that allows people to form an opinion about you. "Millionaires know how to share their message in simplest terms," Ally explains. "They use their words with precision and possess deep meaning in what they say." He recommends developing your communication skills by joining your local Toastmasters club or perusing the dictionary each day.
On the path to success, you'll be met with many opportunities to stray from your personal values. New opportunities make us question who we are, so Ally says it's vital to define your true values early, and ensure your personal and business life are congruent. "When you're living a life that is based on integrity, your reputation will grow, enriching yourself and many others in the process. Never put your reputation in jeopardy by failing to remain congruent with your highest values and ideals," he says.
We know how important it is to articulate your goals by writing them down on paper, but Ally created two powerful habits to go one step further. Firstly, he wrote down his goals every day to build momentum. Secondly, he focused on prioritizing top-level goals. "Instead of pursuing $100 actions, this habit will promote you to embody $1000 activities," he explains. "Once you accumulate more profitable activities in your day, you'll add money to the bank, making you a millionaire in the process."
Throughout a career, we're confronted with a number of decisions, both big and small. Regardless of their perceived size, Ally says they all contribute to the person you will become. Learn to make bold decisions based on rationality and gut, rather than succumb to insecurity and fear. "Most people are afraid to make crucial decisions because they are conquered by fears," he says, which in turn, causes you to forfeit opportunities. When faced with uncertainly, make the decision to be bold. "Soon enough, you'll find the answers you need."
Assumptions can be dangerous. They give us a false sense of security and stop us from discovering the truth. Asking a question or seeking out advice is exposing, but it's also a humbling habit to develop. "To become a millionaire, don't answer your questions, but question your answers," he says.
Too often we hear people say they'd give anything to reach their career goals or follow in the footsteps of someone they admire. The harsh reality? That's not true. A major difference between a person at the top of their field and someone stuck in a mid-level role is effort and perseverance. If you say you want to reach a goal, acknowledge that you need to dedicate time to master the skills required.
It takes only seven seconds to make a first impression, so what will yours be? If you want to be perceived as motivated and goal-oriented, go to the gym more often. If you want other's to see you as someone who values detail, take care with grooming. Small tweaks to our appearance can send a powerful message in the workplace. The old wisdom prevails: Fake it until you make it.
"The only element of success that you can control is your effort," Ally points out. Great leaders dedicate themselves to important tasks, but also search for better ways of operating. If you need to assist with an administrative job, surround yourself with competent people and seek out advice to finish the task efficiently, then channel your effort into a project that utilizes your talent.
In the early stages of a career, finding your breakthrough moment can be tough. Success relies on good relationships with the right people, so building a network is vital. That's where the Rule of 500 comes in. In essence, it suggests that to build your network, you need to reach out to a minimum of 500 people per month. "[The] concept changed my life," says Ally. It forced him to over shoot for his goal, and learn how to build relationships in the process. Even if 500 seems like an unnecessary number to attain, the key is that it forces you to develop good, ambitious habits. "Good habits are as addictive as bad ones," says Ally. Your habits become part of who you are, so make them count.
Discover more powerful habits of self-made millionaires over at Entrepreneur.
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