It’s a dog eat dog world out there, and if you want to survive (and thrive) you need to perform at a higher level, produce quicker, better results, instantly recover from missteps, and garner the confidence to thrive in times of uncertainty, says successful businessman and author Paul G. Krasnow.
In his new book, The Success Code: A Guide for Achieving Your Personal Best in Business and Life, he 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, regardless your industry or role in the organization, especially new leaders who are just starting out.
Keep reading to learn Krasnow’s best practices:
Fine-tune your focus
Today’s leaders and 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.
“To help you stay disciplined, get rid of distractions and temptations until your work is finished,” says Krasnow. “Turn off media, remove clutter from your desk, and limit office chitchat anytime you have a task to complete. This creates an environment that best allows you to serve your clients and get your work done.”
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.
“Another good rule of thumb is to stop reinventing the wheel,” adds Krasnow. “Make a habit of reusing and modifying resources already at your disposal.”
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 suffered a financially devastating bankruptcy with a line of clothing stores he owned, but went on to join Northwestern Mutual, where he has created an impressive financial portfolio and a strong network of clients, many of whom have become lifelong friends. Paul regularly speaks for multiple life associations in the U.S. and has given seminars for law firms and CPA firms in the Southern California area.