We all love reading tips for success from people who clearly know what they’re talking about. It’s as if we hope their good fortune will somehow rub off on us, that one day their advice will trigger an epiphany and we’ll suddenly know how to solve all our problems.
More often than not, we’re simply looking for the right combination of words that will finally motivate us to get up and do something great.
But after skimming through countless quotes and age-old tips, you’ve begun to realize that everyone is just saying the same things.
It’s as if all the secrets to success boil down to “work hard and never give up”. While hard work and perseverance are certainly ingredients for success, it’s about time you read something new.
Here are some unexpected tips for success from top CEO’s.
1. Welcome negative feedback
We all love to hear what’s great about what we do. But when you’re offering a product or service, you should know what’s wrong with it before you push it any further.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, states that by seeking out criticism, you gain valuable insight on what needs to be improved.
This tip has long been supported by Bill Gates, who believes that unhappy customers provide a great opportunity to learn.
2. Seek out failure
According to Inc., Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of Spanx, was always asked by her father “What did you fail at this week?”
Instead of reprimanding her, her dad would give her a high-five. Why? Because he taught her that failure was simply a step to the next great thing.
Failing meant she was trying something new and learning how to do it better next time. It redefined how she saw failure throughout her career and made her fearless when it came to creating her now billion-dollar business. So get up and go fail at something.
3. Do what you want to see published on the front page
You may have heard the old adage “don’t do anything you wouldn’t want published on the front page of the newspaper” used in an attempt to encourage accountability.
But Scott McGregor, President and CEO of Broadcom, prefers a more motivational version. He recommends that you ask yourself this: A year from now, what’s the story I want to see published on the cover of Fortune or the front page of the newspaper?
Whatever headline pops into your mind, that’s the goal you should be working hard to achieve.
4. Don’t wait until you’re ready
Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, always remembers how she almost turned down a life-changing promotion because she felt under-prepared for the role.
After deciding to take it and learning the ropes along the way, she now tells her peers that growth and comfort should never coexist. So if you’re waiting for the “right time” to do something because you don’t feel like you’re ready just yet, then that time is now.
5. Act like someone is always after you
When the only person pushing you to work towards a goal is yourself, it’s easy to make excuses and fall behind schedule. Then, before you know it, three months have passed and you’ve made minimal progress.
Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, recommends pretending you always have someone behind you trying to win the race first. By maintaining this mindset, you force yourself to get up and keep moving. Even when you’re already successful, this is a good way to stay restless and competitive.
6. Don’t be a jerk
The four wise words from Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey. As crude as they may seem, a major part of success is your likeability.
Think about geeky and lighthearted Elon Musk having millions of followers ready to jump on whatever crazy bandwagon he rolls out next.
Now think of “Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, former pharmaceutical CEO who is despised worldwide for grossly overpricing an AIDS treatment drug. So yes, staying humble and being kind can definitely make or break your success.
Most things in the world can be bought or sold, but not a reputation.
With these uncommon tips for success in your pocket, you’ll have a refreshingly different perspective when it comes to motivation.
Now don’t let them go to waste, pick the one you like the best and write down how you’ll use it to achieve your goals. Remember, the time to start is now.