Features of the Book
Estimated Reading Time: 1–2 hours, 112 pages
Personal Success is an in-depth guide intended to help professionals gain a winning edge and become the best in their fields. In addition to personal anecdotes from his own career, Brian Tracy also provides the tips, tools, and techniques necessary to develop key success skills and overcome common obstacles. Each chapter ends with action exercises to help readers practice the lessons. The chapters can be read in any order.
In order to achieve personal success and gain a winning edge, individuals must:
Set goals: Write down specific career objectives and create action plans to achieve them.
Face their fears: Regularly engage in tasks like public speaking until they no longer feel intimidating.
Develop optimistic mindsets: Think positively, expect the best from others, and avoid toxic self-criticism.
Network continuously: Attend events and forge connections with more successful, experienced professionals.
Work hard: Beat out the competition by arriving a little earlier, staying a little later, and practicing self-discipline.
In Personal Success, motivational speaker Brian Tracy argues that some professionals achieve more success and wealth than others because they have a winning edge. A winning edge can be defined as being three percent better than the competition in key competence areas. To gain a winning edge, professionals must develop champion mindsets, work hard, and implement proven success methods.
Obey the Laws
To become a top performer with a winning edge, a professional must embrace the following laws:
- The Law of Cause and Effect. This is essentially the same as Aristotle’s Principle of Causality, which states that there are no coincidences in life. To achieve career success, individuals must increase the amount of effort they put into their professional endeavors.
- The Law of Attraction. This is the idea that every person is a living magnet that attracts the people and opportunities that best align to his or her emotional thoughts. To attract different circumstances, professionals must change their mindsets.
- The Law of Correspondence. To create their desired outer lives, which include their careers and relationships, professionals must improve their inner lives, or states of mind.
Decide on Exact Goals
To set and achieve powerful career goals, professionals must follow seven steps:
- Set specific goals. Instead of writing general goals, such as “to be rich,” professionals must set specific benchmarks, such as their exact desired salaries.
- Write them down. Professionals who write down their goals with clear action plans earn 10 times more than those who do not.
- Set deadlines. The most successful individuals identify specific dates to achieve their goals as well as any relevant sub-deadlines.
- Make lists. When professionals write down itemized lists of tasks that need to be done to accomplish their goals, they are more likely to succeed.
- Organize lists. When individuals’ lists are organized, they are better able to prioritize how they spend their time.
- Take action on lists. By getting started on tasks immediately, professionals will not waste any time procrastinating.
- Take action every day. Professionals must put some effort toward their most important goals every day.
To determine which goals are the best to start with, professionals must write down 10 that they want to achieve in the upcoming year and then begin with the goals that will have the greatest impact on their lives.
Develop the Habits of Courage and Self-Confidence
A professional must have a clear vision of his or her desired future as well as the courage to do whatever is necessary to achieve it. Many professionals are too afraid of failure to even try to achieve their goals. To unlearn fears, individuals must “fake it until they make it.” This means regularly facing nerve-wreaking situations and pretending to be courageous. Over time, the subconscious mind will begin to turn this false sense of courage into reality.
Be True to the Inner Self
In order for professionals to be true to themselves, they must have integrity. This means always being honest with themselves and others, living consistently with their own personal values, trusting their intuition, and keeping their promises.
Develop a Positive Mental Attitude
Studies show that 85 percent of success is determined by attitude. The more optimistic professionals are, the more persuasive and collaborative they will become. To cultivate optimistic mindsets, individuals must:
- Reflect on their goals throughout the day.
- Use mistakes and setbacks as learning opportunities.
- Feed their minds and consume optimistic ideas through inspirational books, podcasts, and seminars.
- Control their attitudes.
- Prioritize and nourish their feelings of self-worth.
The Need for Other People
Ninety-five percent of a professional’s emotions are determined by his or her inner dialogue, or explanatory style. To develop explanatory styles that enable them to stay calm and clearheaded in stressful situations, professionals must:
- Engage in positive self-talk. They must refer to problems as challenges or opportunities, and not self-criticize after making mistakes.
- Program their subconscious. When professionals act cheerful and optimistic, they begin to actualize those feelings.
- Develop positive expectations. Professionals who expect great things from themselves are seldom disappointed.
- Become an inverse paranoid. Instead of expecting the worst from others, professionals must believe that everyone is trying to help them.
Develop a Bias for Action
To earn promotions and higher salaries, professionals must develop reputations for always finishing work quickly and thoroughly. Top performers accomplish this by developing orientations, or habitual thinking patterns in which they continuously identify specific actions that they can take to achieve their goals.
Satisfy the Most Important Customers
To advance their careers, professionals must satisfy three types of individuals:
- Their bosses. They must develop reputations with their bosses for being the “go-to” people in the office.
- Their staff members and coworkers. Cultures built on open communication are the most satisfying to work in.
- Clients. Professionals must identify what makes their clients happy and work to provide them with value.
Be a Hard Worker
Most self-made millionaires are not geniuses; rather, their success stems from their willingness to work harder and longer on their goals than anyone else.
Become Dedicated to Continuous Learning
The difference between the top 20 percent of income earners and the bottom 80 percent is that the top 20 percent are always learning new and improved ways to do their jobs. According to Tracy, the path to becoming this kind of continuous learner is made up of three parts:
- Reading every day. Individuals must devote one hour every day to reading something that can help facilitate their career advancement.
- Listening and learning. To make the most of their time, individuals can consume audio learning programs while commuting, working out, or waiting at the airport.
- Going back to school. It is important for professionals to continue to develop new skills and take advantage of every training opportunity that arises.
Become a Competent Speaker
The best way for professionals to become adept public speakers is through regular practice. Consequently, taking courses on public speaking or joining the local chapter of Toastmasters International can be highly beneficial.
Associate with the Right People
Before they can establish successful reputations in their fields, professionals must learn to “fly with the eagles.” This means they must seek out positive, successful people to emulate. Tracy recommends that professionals conduct mastermind sessions, which involves identifying three to four ambitious, goal-oriented people in their communities and inviting them out to coffee to “pick their brains.”
Top performers network at least two times a week. They accomplish this by joining the local chapters of business associations and volunteering to sit on their committees.
To build lasting bonds with people during networking events, it is important for professionals to act like go-givers. Go-givers do not start professional relationships by asking new acquaintances for favors. Instead, they identify how they can help new acquaintances’ businesses by asking open-ended questions and engaging in active listening.
Knowledge is Power
To become top performers, professionals must look to the highest paid people in their fields and determine which of their essential skills have allowed them to stand out from the competition. Professionals must then resolve to develop these essential skills.
Dress for Success
The better dressed and well-groomed professionals are, the more credible they will appear to the outside world. Consequently, professionals must also build appropriate, well-fitting wardrobes.
Commit to Excellence
To gain a winning edge, professionals must set high standards for themselves and refuse to compromise. Rather than trying to ascend to higher company ranks through office politics, they must focus on the quality of their work. This requires them to:
- Know their value. Professionals must identify the value that they bring to their companies and the skills they can develop to increase this value.
- Focus on the customer. Professionals must learn how their unique skills can help fulfill their customers’ unique needs.
- Deliver results. A professional must focus on one goal at a time and achieve it as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
For professionals to plan strategically, they must first define seven things:
- Vision: What they want their careers to look like in five years.
- Values: What matters most to them in life.
- Mission: The positive changes that they want to bring to the world.
- Purpose: Their reasons to get out of bed in the morning.
- Goals: Their personal objectives.
- Priorities: The most important tasks to complete in order to achieve their goals.
- Actions: The steps necessary to tackle their highest priorities.
Accept Responsibility for Results
Top performers accept responsibility for 100 percent of their work. This means they do not complain, make excuses, or blame others when things go wrong. As a result, their colleagues view them as courageous and respectful.
Be a Team Player
When people work together as a team, they can achieve so much more. The five key elements of a peak performance team include:
- Shared goals. They take the time to clarify and agree on their objectives.
- Shared values. They identify collective principles, such as punctuality and open communication.
- Shared plans of action. They clearly define each member’s role and responsibilities.
- One leader. They have one leader who ensures all of the team members have the resources they need to excel.
- Continuous review and evaluation. They meet regularly to discuss their progress.
Professionals who stay within their comfort zones cannot achieve a winning edge. Instead, they must always be looking to accomplish their goals in better, faster, and cheaper ways.
The production of new ideas is essential to career advancement. When implementing new ideas, professionals must be patient and remember how common it is for ideas to fail.
Put Fortune on the Right Side
The following seven actions can help professionals increase their good fortune:
- Decide to become the best. Professionals must make the conscious decision to never settle for anything less than excellence.
- Set clear, specific career goals. Without clear-cut goals and action plans, it is impossible to achieve a winning edge.
- Focus on contribution. Professionals must concentrate on creating both value and revenue for their companies.
- Accept responsibility. In addition to being accountable for their mistakes, professionals must also volunteer to take on new responsibilities whenever possible.
- Look for moments to shine. Professionals must be on the look out for any new work opportunities that will allow them to demonstrate their deservingness of a promotion or raise.
- Identify limiting skill to success. Professionals must recognize their weakest skills and resolve to improve them.
- Decide to never give up. Professionals must be committed to working tirelessly until they have achieved their goals.
Three Keys to Success
Professionals can use three tools to take the reins and become the architects of their own success:
- Self-discipline. Professionals must be willing to pay the price for success in advance.
- Proven success methods. By reading literature about leadership and taking courses on success, professionals can improve their skills and move up in their industries.
- Ask others the way. Professionals must not be afraid to ask others what they need to learn to be successful and where they can find the resources.
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