The 12 Habits of the Truly Successful

Most people define success by the dollar amount in their bank account. And while money provides a certain amount of security and peace of mind, we often confuse that feeling of safety for success. From an evolutionary standpoint, the absence of financial fear is tied to our instinct to survive. Since we unconsciously view money as the factor that determines whether we live or die, it’s no wonder we’re unhappy, stressed, and constantly focusing on what we don’t have. The good news is that we’ve evolved far beyond our lizard brain. If you’re looking to thrive instead of survive, it’s time to redefine the term, “success” on your own terms.

I’ve been coaching clients for years and I’ve noticed that those who define success on their own terms are not only the happiest people I know, they are the wealthiest across all dimensions (finances included!) If you’re ready to create more joy, success, and abundance in your life, check out how the truly successful incorporate these 12 habits:

1. The truly successful have a positive mental attitude. This doesn’t mean they sugarcoat or deny their problems. Instead, they habitually focus on what they want, not what they’re trying to avoid. It’s the difference between “I take steps to create a thriving business which energizes me and serves others” and “I work so I don’t lose my home.”

Try it: When you notice yourself focusing on lack, reframe your internal dialogue to focus on what you want. Ultimately, what you say is what you’ll see.


2. The successful take steps to create sound physical and mental health. While illness and disease impact us to varying degrees, the successful don’t define themselves by their limitations. Instead, they take action to change what they can. After all, your health is your wealth and can’t be bought.

Try it: Incorporate daily self-care practices that sustain health (ex. drinking water, exercising, connecting with yourself, etc.)


3. The quality of our lives is a direct reflection of the quality of our relationships. The happiest and most successful individuals actively work to create harmony in their relationships by learning to be the best friend, partner, and family member they can be.

Try it: Take responsibility for what you bring to the relationship. You can’t change others, but you can change yourself. Click here to get your free cheat sheet.


4. Moments of transition, change, and discomfort give rise to our greatest growth. The successful embrace these times rather than avoiding them. While fear and doubt may continue to exist, the successful adapt and stretch their limits to create more freedom.

Try it: Don’t wait until you’re “in the mood” or “ready” for change. Acknowledge your fear and act anyway.


5. The truly successful look ahead, not behind. They focus on what they’ll create, not on the circumstances that brought them to this point. 

Try it: Identify and focus on one goal. Whether it’s a project, vacation, or a skill you want to hone, focus your thoughts, energy, and actions on how it feels to get closer to something that matters to you.


6. The successful have an internal belief that they are capable of accomplishing any goal. They have faith that if they set their mind to something, they’ll find a way. It’s the reason I love Marie Forleo’s phrase, “Everything is figureoutable.” This shift in mindset is the key difference between dreamers and do-ers.

Try it: Create a fearlessness list: List the times you’ve felt you couldn’t achieve something, but persevered anyway. Then, ask yourself if what you’re feeling now resembles how you felt in those moments. If so, remind yourself that you conquered self-doubt in challenging situations before and you can do it again. Take action and then add your new win to the list.


7. Abundance is less about what you have, and more about what you give. The successful are willing to share their gifts and talents with others. Whether it’s by volunteering, mentoring, or supporting loved ones, you can always give even when you don’t have money.

Try it: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by sharing your abundance with those around you. Not only will you feel good, your mindset will shift, helping you to create more of what you do want and less of what you don’t.


8. One-third of my coaching practice focuses on helping clients find a labor of love, a way to simultaneously make a difference in the world, their lives, (and their bank account). The reason most people stay stuck in this area is because they don’t know what’s possible. Most accept the unwritten “rule” that work=unhappiness. The truly successful are willing to challenge their preconceived notions, creating space for creativity and resourcefulness.

Try it: If you already love what you do, great! Find a project or hobby you truly enjoy putting your time and energy into. If you’re still trying to figure it out, it’s time to get out of your head. Write down what your ideal day would look like. Ignore any preconceived notions: Would you work outside? Would you wake up at noon? What kind of people would you interact with? The first step to create what you want is to figure out what you want. Brainstorm with a friend or coach to help you get outside your head and into your heart (as cheesy as that sounds!)


9. Only the young and foolish think they know everything. The smartest and most successful know there is always more to learn. They have an open mind on all subjects. The successful are willing to hear others’ opinions even if they don’t agree.

Try it: When listening to someone you disagree with, most of us zone out and mentally prepare our rebuttal. Instead, ask yourself what you can learn from the interaction. Appreciating another’s worldview opens us up to new ideas. After all, if we continued to put more effort into rigidity than flexibility, we’d still think the world is flat.


10. The truly successful are motivated by pleasure, not pain. They are tapped into what lights them up, no matter the goal. It's the difference between being taking action to feel the joy of achieving your goal and taking action to avoid the pain of a missed deadline. Many people think that being motivated by discomfort or their inner critic propels them forward. That type of motivation may temporarily push you, but it prevents you from taking the actions that make you a game-changer. Resourcefulness, creativity, and aligned action come easier to those who are moving toward what they want instead of running away from what they don’t.

Try it: The next time you’re struggling to take action, focus on how good you’ll feel once you achieve your goal. Use this free worksheet to guide you.


11. Empathy is what separates leaders from dictators. The successful know that their greatest source of strength is their ability to tap into their human side and relate to others in an honest, genuine, and vulnerable way. Simply put, the successful look to connect & commend rather than compare & compete.

Try it: In moments when you feel compelled to compare, look for opportunities to serve others. Not only will this help you to focus on your strengths, it will shift your mindset to gratitude and abundance. This, in turn, will lead to greater success.


12. The truly successful don’t find time, they make time. They know that the key to having more success, freedom, and energy lies in their ability to create systems that work for them, not against them. Rather than putting out one fire after another, they learn from their mistakes and anticipate challenges moving forward. Whether it’s procrastination, home organization, or go-to strategies to avoid distractions, the successful are proactive, not reactive.

Try it: None of us were taught time-management skills in school. It’s time to learn and create these systems now. Rather than being at the mercy of your ever-growing “To-do” list, take one hour each week to plan, organize, and prioritize. This may seem like a lot when you’re already crunched for time, but investing one hour each week will save you thousands of hours (and dollars) each year.


Want to learn the step-by-step system the truly successful use to stop procrastinating, start prioritizing, and create extra hours each day? Download the newest system - it's free!