Before we discuss attaining financial success, we first have to take an honest look at our values. For many people, success doesn’t have a financial component to it at all. There are many business speakers who say you shouldn’t hang around with poor people. They say that in order to become rich, you must associate with the rich. They will tell you that in order for you to become rich, you must be involved with the rich, act like the rich, smell like the rich, drive a car like the rich, eat like the rich and dress like the rich.
The element of truth in this is that it’s helpful to spend time with people who are involved in economic endeavors; people for whom making money is not a complete mystery. You may be put in touch with people who can help you with investments and business deals, and you may benefit from an insider’s perspective.
But really—do we want to be the kind of people who avoid other human beings simply because they won’t add numerical value to our bottom line? I am here to tell you that some of the richest people I know are the poorest financially. They are rich in spirit. The accumulation of money is not their goal, but rather the accumulation of meaningful life experiences and time for the things they love.
Remember, becoming financially well-off is just one of many possible goals. Life is not all about the dollar; it’s about time well spent. If making money is what gets you revved, the more power to you. Business is truly exciting, and playing the game is invigorating. So yes, making money can certainly be part of the good life. But before you go believing it’s the only important thing, take a moment to reflect honestly on your priorities.
A truly successful person is one whose life is significant. I sometimes ask myself, if I was to die tomorrow, what mark did I leave upon this Earth? I want people’s memories of me to be good ones. I want to think I was a force for positive change. A small kindness perpetrated today can echo for generations to come. That said, making money can be an opportunity for you to do good; and making lots of money can be an opportunity for you to do lots of good.
Here are seven of my steps to success that I use whenever I start a new company or try a new venture. As a popular motivational speaker and conference keynote speaker, I’ve had the opportunity to share many of my steps to success and business tips in an effort to help others personally and professionally develop. I believe these 7 steps will helps you in your quest for success. Vance Havner said it perfectly, “Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.”
1) Listen To Your Intuition – It’s the voice of your spirit. Once I have listened, I then begin to visualize to materialize. It all starts with a goal and believing in yourself. Believe that you can do it and believe that you are worth it. Give yourself permission right now to make your life matter. So many people don’t believe that they can achieve much in life. Give yourself the gift of goals. I write down my goals so that I can map out the means of getting there. It doesn’t matter if it’s a financial, physical, intellectual, or spiritual goal. Start to imagine what it feels like to have already achieved your goal. Feel it and get into commitment mode. How bad do you want to achieve the goal? What resources will you utilize to go after it? What sacrifices are you willing to make? If I am writing it down on paper, I am also writing it down in my head and imprinting it on my soul. I know I am fully committed. I will do whatever it takes to make the dream a reality.
2) Own It! – Define your goals very clearly and precisely. It helps you map out and anticipate obstacles. It also helps you break the big goal down into smaller goals. Short-range goals are the stepping-stones on the way to achieving big things. Big goals don’t get achieved overnight, but the little goals add up quickly, and when the big victory finally happens, it will feel like it happened overnight. My overnight success took almost sixteen years to accomplish, so I was not surprised when it happened. I’d spent every day of my life working towards it. It took action. I created niches and got in the trenches with the mindset of persistence, determination, integrity, enthusiasm, optimism and having a can win attitude.
3) Just Suck It Up! No Complaining. – Your attitude can be your best friend or your worst enemy. You have complete freedom to choose how you will act and react every second of the day. There’s 86,400 seconds in a day. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. Obstacles will come, oh yes they will. For me, working hard and overcoming struggles is a daily business. I have found that from the birth of a dream to eventual reality has really been a marathon and not a sprint. It takes time. “Success is not a result of luck. It is a result of how you spend your free time.” I always have a few different goals, so that when I need a break from one I can focus on another. Very few painters work only on one piece at a time—they work on many. Put passion into all your actions, and have many actions devoted to different passions.
4) Self Talk is Powerful – Tell yourself that you are going to have a life that counts. You are going to make an effort to never give up. You are full of enthusiasm and determination. You are ready to work hard and play hard. You will be the master of your time. Let go of your mistakes; today is a new day. Don’t let your past infect your future. I believe that your best days are still ahead of you. Optimism is power. Be ground zero for an epidemic of positivity. You are going to be a doer and not a procrastinator. You are going to be a dream activator and not a dream-denier. You are going to hang out with others who lift you up and encourage your self-actualization. Shed your bad habits, and let good habits take root through repetition.
Take a look at my latest motivational video about owning your greatness!
5) Stay Away From Life Suckers – Life is about making progress. People are going to try and talk you out of your dreams. They will suck up your time with nay-saying, or criticize you and pick you apart. But you tell them that Derek said to back off. Stay away from those people who are imprisoned by negativity. They’re not even doing good for themselves, so how can they possibly be doing good for you? Get around high achievers, mirror their good habits because greatness is contagious!
6) Don’t Worry About Failing – Try, try and try! Failure and rejection are absolutely nothing to fear. With each failure, I became one step closer to success. Seriously, after each failure, change your approach. Don’t keep banging your head against the wall over and over again trying the same dang thing and then complain that is’s not working. You have to change your approach, period. Look at it through a 360 degree lens. There is always a way. Just look at the technology and medical advances the past 50 years. It is unbelievable. Remember the old Disney cartoons, now look at what Pixar and Disney create. It’s incredible. They have failed many times and yet they kept persevering and trying a different way until it worked.
Failure is in the mind. So don’t let your mind play tricks with you. Never let the inner me become your enemy. Don’t let a failure keep you down or allow the voice of other people’s opinions ring inside of your head. When was the last time someone’s opinion paid your bills? Ignore them. Failure is a great teacher and in a way has been my friend all along. Remember Thomas Edison’s quote: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Failure is also a test. Failure might be telling us that we need to change direction and execute a different plan of attack or a new strategy. Your mindset has to have the right perspective in order to push through the negative self talk, the uncertainty, the fear and the discomfort.
7) Stay Creative – Your imagination is powerful. Sometimes you will have to sit quiet for thirty minutes, so you can clear your mind of all the noise and open the doorway to your creativity. To be successful, we must be strategic in taking risks and utilizing our creativity. Creativity is the taxi that will take us to untamed and uncharted territory, it is in these places that we become all we can be. You will be amazed at what ideas or revelations come to you when you just put aside all the distractions of modern life and turn off the TV! It wastes your time and all that you are doing is watching others live out their dreams. Get it? Got it? Good!
Now listen, I can shout at you until I am blue in the face, but if you don’t have the inner desire to say “I am doing this for me”, then no amount of motivational speaking will light the spark.
I hope that you can envision a better future and live a life without limits. As long as you still have breath in your lungs, there is time to start over. As long as there is blood running in your veins, you have time to make your dreams happen. We have the rest of our lives from this moment on to realize our ambitions. I am a big believer in dreaming big and taking the big leap in life. You have one life, own it and live it. A lot of people ask me “Derek, what do you think the meaning of life is?” I tell them to give your life meaning. Find your passion and breathe life into it so that your purpose can help change the world. Once you are confident about your own ability to achieve, you can help create a world of achievers through your example.
Remember my definition of H.O.P.E. – Helping One Person Everyday! Be the example.
Never limit your life, and never give up!
To your success,
Motivational Speaker, Conference Keynote Speaker, Trainer and Author of 6 Inspirational Books
Motivational speaker Derek Clark’s motivational speeches have rejuvenated the hearts of audiences worldwide. As a top ranked motivational speaker, TEDx speaker and a leading conference keynote speaker, he is hired by many organizations and companies to inspire employees, educators, sales managers, sales force, foster care workers, mental health workers, child welfare workers, social workers, department of children and family services, judges, attorneys, police, teachers, youth, juvenile justice as well as federal, state and county employees.