Here at Inc.com, we frequently round up things you can do to be more successful. That makes sense–we all want to know what we can do to achieve more, but as Hubspot founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah recently pointed out in one of his LinkedIn Influencer columns, success isn’t just a matter of what you do but also of what you believe.
Think about things in an unproductive way and it’s highly unlikely that your actions are going to end up driving you toward success, so if you want to accomplish your goals, it makes sense to start not with tweaking your daily habits (though certainly that’s a good idea down the road) but with examining your core beliefs. So what kind of thinking does Shah feel characterizes the “delightfully successful”? He says they share several core beliefs, including:
Business owners are often told not to “ask for permission.” Go out there and do what you want to do–approval will follow initiative. Another way to say that (which is perhaps less grating to those who think “don’t ask for permission” sounds self-centered or entitled) is “don’t wait to be selected.” Successful people believe they can select themselves.
“Once upon a time most people had to wait: to be accepted, to get funded, to be promoted–to somehow be ‘discovered,'” writes Shah. “Not anymore…. You can do almost anything you have the desire and skills and drive to do; you don’t need to wait for someone else to discover your talents. You get to discover yourself. The only thing holding you back is your willingness to take the leap and try.”
If you have not yet achieved the success you dream of, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you lack a certain something–character, skill, or maybe simple luck–to get ahead. Successful people, on the other hand, know that success only looks predictable in hindsight, and no one is predetermined to fail.
“Success is never inevitable. It’s easy to look back on an entrepreneurial path to greatness and assume that every vision was clear, every plan was perfect, every step was executed flawlessly, and tremendous success was a foregone conclusion,” says Shah. “Success is never predestined. If you’re willing to work hard and persevere, who you are is sufficient–because when you work hard and persevere, who you become is definitely more than enough to do something significant.”
Service Beats Selfishness
You might think that the truly great have tunnel vision and focus maniacally on their personal goals. Nope, says Shah. The truly great get that way by trying to be of service to others. “When you’re in it only for yourself, initial success is always finite–and fleeting. When you’re in it for others, they succeed–and so do you,” he writes.
What beliefs do you think are the foundation of success? Let us know in the comments.