How To Climb The Ladder Of Success

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I attempted to make contact with a very successful businessman recently, Benjamin Spero of Spectrum Equity Investors. He is an investor and is involved in hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions (that’s just a guess from me, but it is probably somewhere around that number). Obviously his success and wealth are at a high level. Of biggest note to me is that he is only one year older than I am.

I say attempted to make contact because I did get a response from him. He mentioned thanks for reaching out to him. He said he is involved in many business transactions and that he may not have the time right now to assist me at the level I need. He did mention to me to reach out to those at the company I work for who could spend more time working with and mentoring me.

This is good news because that is something I am doing already! I am in contact with our VP’s in technology here at my company and I was even able to book a one on one with our CEO, which is currently scheduled for this coming Tuesday. This small piece of advice from Benjamin was very helpful in that it cemented to me I was doing the right thing within my company and online with fantastic people, some of which I refer to here on my website.

How to climb the ladder of success

After making contact With Benjamin, I realized that I have learned a bit about how to have some measure of success. I’m by no means an expert at it or raking in millions of dollars. But I have certainly increased my exposure and prominence at my day job and have made progress on my other endeavors (like my book and website).

My level of success is by no means top of the line. My yearly income from everything I do does exceed six figures, but there are people who earn millions and even billions of dollars in this world. So I am only speaking on how I’m able to earn a low six figure income.

Decide how you want to live

For me personally, I had to give serious thought toward what I wanted my life to be like. It was so easy to just get through each day. But when I finally took time out to think about what my life must be like, it was more than what I had. I did not want to struggle to make ends meet. I wanted to be able to travel the world. I wanted to meet new, interesting, and successful people. I wanted to expand my understanding of the world and see what I am truly capable of.

I’d be willing to wager you want the same thing. Why else would you be here on my website? I had to get clear on the life I wanted to live first. Otherwise, what is the point of any of this? It’s like a house with no foundation. Who would want more responsibility in their life without a reason for it? There would simply be a crumbling and lack of action for someone who wants to just get by in life if they were put in a situation to lead/manage without desiring a life of prominent success and significance.

Think about it – put a teenager who is only concerned with partying in a position to manage a project. Will they even care? What about an adult who is primarily interested in being as comfortable as possible. What would they do in a situation where they were asked to speak to a group of people or lead a team? Your philosophy of what your life should be like is absolutely an essential piece in climbing the latter of success.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses

What are you best it and what can you make a big difference with. Are you technically minded or are you better at marketing? Look at what you have been successful with in the past. This is your best shot at showing qualification and value. I’d never dream of trying to be a marketing manager, but I certainly feel I can compete in regards to websites and leadership.

You and you alone control your destiny

I talked to a woman who went on and on about how her manager was the cause for all her problems and just did not understand her. Her end result was getting fired from her previous place of employment. If you tend to hold grudges or seek to blame other people for your situation, chances are, you will be blocked from really achieving the success you are capable of.

Do not be disillusioned

I talked to an employee here at the company I work for during the day and he was boggled at why he wasn’t getting paid a six-figure income because of his ‘knowledge’ and ‘skill’ using a proprietary piece of software. He couldn’t believe he wasn’t noticed for his magnificence.

I remember thinking this way. It’s very easy to do – we are each the center of the universe in our own minds. Everything really does revolve around us. In order to not have our own ego block us like a road block, it is imperative to take a step back. Start with realizing we don’t know much of anything and to get what you want will require diligence, learning, and hard work. It will require you to network with other people. It will require sacrifice…

Understand the perspective of the successful people you are around

To climb the ladder of success, you must either persuade others to follow your vision of how things should be, or you must align yourself with the vision of success of those who are in charge. It really is that simple. You can gripe and complain about ‘management’ all you want. But until you take time to align yourself with their initiatives and show how you are exceeding those initiatives, you will be like a moth caught in a spider web, unable to escape and move forward.

Second of all, take the time to talk to those in your circle of impact. This is your boss at work and possibly their boss. I’ve found that these type of people are more than willing to sit down and mentor especially if you do the preparation and seek to be proactive and add value without needing to be told what to do. Give it a try :)

Don’t ask for permission to take meaningful action

It feels comfortable and less risky to sit back and wait to be told what to do. I know this from experience! Think about other people though – do they have this same mentality? Are they waiting to be told what to do in every precise detail? If so, why aren’t they achieving a high level of success? Can you expect to do so following that same practice?

It’s like the fisherman who waits by the sea waiting for a fish to jump into his sack to be eaten. Would being proactive and going after the fish instead yield a better result? Take the time to talk to those in your circle of influence or even a little higher than your circle of influence and learn what drives them. What problems need to be solved? What opportunities are there? What could you do right now without being asked that would make a major impact for success?

Do what you are afraid of

Are you afraid of public speaking? Do that. Are you afraid of getting a raise and bonuses because it will mean more responsibility? Do that. Are you afraid to talk to people of importance due to fear of feeling like a fool? Do that. Are you afraid of being successful because it will mean losing old friends? Do that. Are you afraid your life will be consumed with your work? Do that. Are you afraid of failing over and over even when you try hard? Do that. Are you afraid you will lose money with the risk involved? Do that.

Be absolutely curious

As of writing this, my daughters are 4 and 1. They are insanely curious. Perhaps it is from watching ‘Curious George’ the cartoon. Either way, there is little wasted time doing nothing. Our 4 year old is always drawing or building something. Our 1 year old is always walking around getting into something. This creates many possibilities for what they might experience.

Being curious is simply asking, “Why are things this way in this case?” And then explore the ‘why’. Being curious is like having many extra tickets in the raffle lottery. You greatly increase your chances of winning when you become curious about the world around you. You increase your capability to understand and act on information and situations. Being curious is an essential state of mind for the successful.

Keep your body in excellent health

Every moment you are unable to move and have energy and vibrancy is a potential opportunity lost. Let’s put it this way. There are billions of people in the world and probably many who want to do what you do. Do you have the stamina to outlast them? Do you have the energy to stand out? A healthy body is like a new car engine, ready to take you where you want to go. Ask yourself, “Are you living as healthy as you could be?”

Be resourceful and resolved during good times and bad

Chances are that on your quest to be successful you will feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. You may feel like everything you do is going unnoticed or just flat our failing. The wise person understands that many failed attempts often precede the successful one. Thomas Edison failed to create the light bulb thousands of times until he stumbled on the correct way to do it.

If any person could just take a quick moment and draw up a plan and be successful, then everyone would be doing it. You’d have multi-millionaire’s and statesmen all over the place. Because this is not true, this appears to be evidence that perseverance and diligence are required to achieve a breakthrough. I don’t know the time frame, but perhaps life-long is the best time frame to attach to it…

Be thankful for what you have

In a world with celebrity’s, higher-up managers, people who appear to be more successful, it is easy to make comparison with other people. I for one wish I had the success of Dwayne, “The Rock” Johnson. Wouldn’t it be great to have millions of dollars and be in movies? Wouldn’t it be great to have fans? Then again, what sorts of problems does that create for him as well?

This final piece of advice is like the ladder trying to be climbed for success. If you are not thankful for what you have, how can you possibly be thankful for anything more you have. It’s like being stuck on the lowest rung of the latter without being able to take a step up because your muscles have cramped.

When you become thankful for what you have, it’s like opening the gates to move forward and begin having more come in to your life. Be thankful and also know you are worth whatever increase you get. If your philosophy is that you are worth it, then you will receive it with the time and effort you put in.

I attempted to make contact with a prominent business man. He responded back to me. I didn’t get the chance to pursue further contact and mentoring with him, but I did get a response and am thankful for that. His advice will further help me as I seek to do, learn, and earn more in my career and personal endeavors. May it be the same for you.

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Updated: May 16, 2011 — 10:59 AM

2 Comments

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  1. I am a 61 year old who finally went outside the inner circle to finally get the 5 year raise I deserved to climb that ladder of success. I had to start all over because when I was 39 years old I decided to get out of the workforce to have my first child. I had the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom but learned to get back in the work force slowly but surely as my baby got older. I was cafeteria manager for a year and wind up being the school receptionist as he went to school. Finally as he got older I got back into the CORPORATE WORLD of working. My is it different from when I left it 20 years ago.

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