I have had the privilege of working with professionals from diverse industries with distinct skill sets.  As I have developed these relationships, I discovered an interesting finding that separates the successful and unsuccessful.

Many people would say the separation is money.  And I would politely tell them that they are wrong.  Others would say that is work ethic.  I would agree to a certain extent, but I would also have to disagree.

One of the biggest separations from the successful and unsuccessful is the way the successful positively shapes associations.

If you were to think of associations as connections, it will help you understand this though process.  Once you understand associations are like connections, the final thing to comprehend is that a connection can be formed at any time, anywhere, and with anyone.  These associations define those who successful.  

Shaping Positive Associations

So you know that the ability to shape positive associations is the difference from the successful and unsuccessful.   Now let me share with you how to shape positive associations.

1.    Relationships

The most successful people and organizations first focus on relationships before they focus on anything else.

American author, salesman, and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “People are basically the same the world over.  Everybody wants the same things - to be happy, to be healthy, to be at least reasonably prosperous, and to be secure.  They want friends, peace of mind, good family relationships, and hope that tomorrow is going to be even better than today.”

Caring about the needs and wants of others will always lead to a mutual trust and respect.  It is this trust and respect that brings about success.  All great things happen as a result of great teamwork.  Teamwork only exists with a mutual trust and respect.

What relationships do you need to develop and nourish in order to bring about your desired success?

2.    Reading

English writer Joseph Addison said, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

Reading is great mental stimulation for the human mind.  Successful people understand that reading increases knowledge, decreases stress, expands vocabulary, improves memory, sharpens focus and concentration, and improves writing skills.  For these reasons, the successful continues to find a way to read daily.

Yes, the most successful people are readers.  It doesn’t mean you have to read a 600-page book.  There are many ways to accomplish your daily reading goal.  A few ways are by reading a blog, magazine, journal article, newspaper, etc.  Get creative in the way you decide to read.  However you decide to read, just read.

Another English writer William Godwin put reading into great perspective by saying, “He that loves reading has everything within his reach.”

You will expand your mind the more you read.  What do you need to start reading today to help expose your mind to new things?

3.    Listening

When it comes to communication, many people think talking is more important than listening.  In this case, I would have to politely disagree with anyone who believes this thought process.

I have never heard one person say that talking is more important than listening.  However, there are people that love to talk, but have a hard time listening.  I hope this isn’t an issue for you.  Listening takes discipline.                                                                                                                       

If you are great listener, then you need to be careful about what and whom you are listening to.  Remember, what you are listening to should be positive, encouraging, and uplifting.

At the end of the day, you are not competing with anyone but yourself.  Your success isn’t determined by any external factors.  Your success is driven by your ability to internally positively push yourself in the above three categories.

Zig Ziglar said it this way; “You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.”

The most important words in Zig Ziglar’s quote are the first three words when he said, “You can make….”  It is our choice to separate ourselves from the practices and habits of the unsuccessful.  We have to choose to be successful.

What can you do to set yourself up for success?  Feel free to leave a comment below or email me directly.


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