Seven Essential Habits to Own and Hone for Greater Success
In today’s competitive business climate, you’ve got to work harder than ever to stay relevant and in demand in any industry. Author Paul G. Krasnow reveals the habits that will help you achieve your personal best and thrive in business and in life.
The business world gets more competitive every day. To stay in demand in this tough environment, you need to perform at a higher level than ever before. You have to get better results (and get them quickly), instantly recover from missteps, and garner the confidence to thrive in times of uncertainty. To do this, you need a modern-day skill set that gives you the edge over your competitors and helps you efficiently reach your goals. Successful businessman and author Paul G. Krasnow says there’s no time like the present to start focusing in on the qualities that can make you more successful than you ever dreamed possible.
“In today’s business climate, you’ve got to give your peak performance 100 percent of the time while upholding your values and building trust with your clients and associates,” says Krasnow, author of The Success Code: A Guide for Achieving Your Personal Best in Business and Life. “It’s no longer enough to just show up and put in your time at the office. Employers today expect more from you…and so do clients.”
In addition to perfecting the hard skills you need for your industry, Krasnow says you must also focus on developing trust and engagement, two components lacking in many business interactions today.
“And there’s absolutely no room for timidity or fear,” adds Krasnow. “You must be confident enough to bounce back when things don’t go as planned.”
Krasnow—who doesn’t believe in the word “try”—is no stranger to adversity and loss. Following early success in the clothing industry, he experienced a financially devastating bankruptcy that forced him to rebuild his life from scratch. He went on to join Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he created an impressive financial portfolio and won multiple “Top Agent” awards.
In The Success Code, Krasnow lays out the no-fail formula that took him to the top of his industry. The best thing about the habits he outlines? Anyone can master them. Whether you’re just starting out in your career, looking for a better job, or already dominating in your industry, they will help you thrive and surpass your own expectations.
Finetune your focus. Today’s employees have greater responsibility and less time to complete their work. This forces them to multitask, yet most people are terrible at multitasking. Plus, they are constantly interrupted by email, smartphones, and social media. Krasnow says success often comes down to your ability to tune out all of this “noise” and get focused.
Engage with your clients. Building and nurturing solid client relationships is the cornerstone of any successful business. To foster engagement, Krasnow says to commit to a personal code of integrity to ensure clients that you will work hard for them and that they are in good hands.
Get some grit. From time to time, you will inevitably fail, lose, or experience some kind of a professional or personal setback. When this happens, Krasnow insists that you’ve got to deal with the loss and move on. There’s no benefit in wallowing or succumbing to fear or anger.
“If you are resilient, you can bounce back from anything and get on with your life,” says Krasnow. “You have to believe that you can overcome anything, and then put that belief into practice. Take a short amount of time to mourn your losses and process your emotions—just don’t dwell on them. Next, take responsibility for where you are today and resolve to address any behaviors that need to be changed. Finally, get back to your normal routine, and do it better than ever.”
Work smarter, not harder. Krasnow recommends doing an audit of how you currently spend your work time. Take a moment to identify your most important recurring tasks, determine how long they take, and identify tasks that could be completed more quickly. Then, learn to prioritize your daily goals. Create a to-do list and divide your tasks into three categories: critical, high-priority, and low-priority. Tackle each task in order of priority.
Never stop competing…with yourself. Krasnow recommends using a practice he calls “the push-up principle” to achieve personal goals by starting at your current skill and ability level and consistently moving up from there. This process naturally leads to self-improvement through small, manageable steps.
“If you can do only five push-ups today, try doing six push-ups tomorrow,” says Krasnow. “The push-up principle is incredibly simple, but it can create a long legacy of achievement. Set some reasonable goals and immediately start working to achieve them. Once you’ve proven to yourself how simple it is to execute your goals, your confidence level will begin to rise, and you can continually build on this momentum.”
Hone an ideal image. Your appearance should reflect the quality of your services, says Krasnow. Therefore, it pays to think of your health and wellness as an investment in your success. Without a strong, fit body, it’s difficult to have the stamina to do your best at work.
“Be sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and have given up bad habits like smoking or excessive drinking,” says Krasnow. “Then, once you’ve got your health under control, build a wardrobe that communicates the exact message you want to send to clients and associates. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but your clothing should fit well, and your eyewear, briefcase, purse, phone, and other accessories should be stylish and contemporary. Remember, everything matters.”
Become a whole person. Your success, and ultimately your happiness, lies in your ability to become a “whole person.” Krasnow says this means having a balanced and rich life in all areas of your existence. No matter how much fulfillment you get from your career, you still need to expand your life and enjoy all it has to offer.
“When you are happy in life, it shows in your confidence and in your work performance,” says Krasnow. “Make time to be present with your spouse, your kids, and your network of friends. Develop a few hobbies outside of work and find some ways to enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you want to give something back, you can even do some volunteer work. Another great way to round out your life and find deeper meaning: explore your spiritual side through worship, prayer, or meditation. It’s a great way to connect to your purpose.”
“No matter where you are in your career right now, you will absolutely benefit from adopting the habits that lead to a successful life and career,” concludes Krasnow. “You really can unlock your potential and be as great as you dare to be. Stop waiting and start becoming the best you yet.”
Paul G. Krasnow is the author of The Success Code: A Guide for Achieving Your Personal Best in Business and Life. He is a financial representative at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he has been a top producer for 40 years. Early in his career, Paul suf¬fered a financially devastating bankruptcy with a line of clothing stores he owned, but went on to join Northwest¬ern Mutual, where he has cre¬ated an impressive financial portfolio and a strong network of clients, many of whom have become lifelong friends.