July 2013 is the month when I will be turning 40. Yippie, life for me is about to begin. Got me thinking today about what I can give you as I begin my celebrations of this landmark in my life. I finally decided that I would empty myself of 40 tips which I feel are important as you seek to become a candidate for greatness. Enjoy this unedited version of my outpouring.
1. Be a continuous learner – This is a process that should never stop in your life.
2. Turn challenges into opportunities – Identify a need, meet it and see if you balance sheet will not improve.
3. Think beyond the present – If you can think of the future it will affect how you manage your life today.
4. Use your talents effectively – Stop envying the gifts and talents that others have. Identify your space and occupy it.
5. Be more organised – Success emanates from careful planning. Don’t just expect things to happen. Plan for them.
6. Be willing to work – Don’t be fooled; it is almost impossible to achieve greatness without working hard and/or smart.
7. Manage relationships – You were not born in your own planet, you have people around you that can propel you forward. All the money you want is in the relationships you are yet to make. Don’t burn bridges all your life. Seek help from those around you.
8. Be bold and daring – Greatness will entail that you take risks. Do things that others shun from. Attempt the previously impossible. You greatness is covered in that.
9. Cultivate an investor mentality – Realise that for success to come your way you have to invest your time, treasure and talent. Deploy your resources where there is return on investment you put in.
10. Be open to criticism – Criticism will surely come. It is how you handle it that determines how far you make progress in life. Be open to correction and counsel.
11. Manage your thoughts carefully – Your life is shaped by what you think about. If you can manage your thoughts then you can manage your life even better.
12. Implement your ideas – If you can transfer your thoughts to become something your hands can work on then you become a winner. Don’t sit on your ideas expecting them to undergo metamorphosis on their own. Don’t bury your dreams alive.
13. Have hope and faith – Whatever you lose, don’t lose hope, don’t lose your grip. Have faith that somehow things will turnaround in your favour.
14. Manage your confession – What you say to yourself daily is what you will believe. What you believe you promote, what you promote you become. Stay positive always.
15. Be excellent in all you do – Whatever you find to do, just add a touch of excellence to remain competitive so that you stand out. Anyone can achieve mediocrity. Don’t stay at mediocre level if ever you happen to find yourself there. Aim higher.
16. Learn to manage failure – You are not the first one to fail. Use every failure as a learning point to do even better on your next attempt.
17. Manage your expectations – Frustration is a result of false expectations. Be real with yourself. Don’t over promise yourself. Be objective in your expectations.
18. Manage your time and money – Be disciplined with what occupies your day and your budget. At any given time in life you are either managing time or money.
19. Sharpen your skills always – The world is forever changing which places a demand on our skills to also keep changing in line with the new needs of mankind.
20. Think beyond yourself – As long as you aim to enrich and lift just yourself up you limit how far you will go. Lift others as you rise.
21. Watch your friends – Find like-minded people who share your ideals and passion for growth. Your friends can grow you or bring you down outright.
22. Manage information – The information you have or do not have governs how far you will progress. Always seek to enrich your information power base.
23. Watch who you partner with – As you setup businesses, be careful who you select as your partner. They can either build your dream, steal it from you or simply mutilate it. No matter how well resourced they are, they have to share in the dream first.
24. Start what you plan and finish what you start – Don’t just settle for being a good starter. Rewards are for those who finish the mandates. Finish strong.
25. Be a great listener – Human beings love to hear themselves speak. However, take time to listen to your stakeholders (your customers, suppliers, friends etc.).
26. Be a good role model – Do all you can to ensure that what you do does not stumble others. You may not know it but other people are learning from you.
27. Honour your word – Your word should be your bond. You should not promise what you know you are not willing to deliver. Keep your promises.
28. Introspect always – Take time to carefully assess your own decisions, own progress and rate and appraise yourself objectively. Have “me times”.
29. Celebrate your victories – They may seem small but note them and celebrate them. Stand on every victory so that you aim even higher.
30. Have a mentor and mentor others – You will make better strides when you learn from those you admire and have walked the road longer. Just as you are mentored, take time to mentor others.
31. Manage stressful moments well – You will be stretched in life. Don’t bother worrying about what people are thinking of you. Stay on you track. Do the best you can with what you have. People have expectations on you but manage those situations with tact.
32. Be patient; shortcuts are not recommended – Follow the process. Greatness is not an overnight process. It may take varying amounts of time. Remain steadfast and resolute knowing that your chance to shine will come.
33. Be flexible; change is imminent – Learn to move with the times. Manage the process of change carefully. Change is said to be the only constant in life. You are forever changing physically, mentally, socially etc. Don’t change your values unnecessarily for the sake of change.
34. Manage your reputation – What do you want to be known for after you are gone? Spend time to ensure that you promote what you stand for. It is your reputation that sometimes gets doors to be opened without a single request from you. People will seek your advice just because of what they know about you.
35. Identify your purpose and live it – Your purpose may not bring you millions of dollars but it will help you to live a fulfilled life. Take time to know why you are occupying space. You are not your career. No one can impose purpose on you. You just have to find what you are passionate about and do it.
36. Stop feeling sorry for yourself – You are not a victim; you are not down trodden. You may be down but that does not mean you are out. Yes, you may fall from time to time but that should not define your end.
37. Take responsibility for your actions – Own up when you mess up. It can’t always be someone else’s fault. Your maturity is when you are able to say “I am the one who did wrong; I am sorry”.
38. Be decisive – Not all decisions you will make in life will be great ones but keep making decisions all the same. Every decision you shall make will have varying degrees of consequences but do not shy away from making them.
39. Be a consistent giver – You don’t need to be a millionaire before you can extend your hand to those less fortunate than you are. Making a difference begins with however little you have. Giving is not always about money anyway, you can give wisdom, you can give time to listen to a distressed individual. Just give of yourself.
40. Learn to be content with what you have – This is not a license for aiming low and settling for half achievements. This is a call for you not to exercise greed just because you want to look better than the next person. Watch the motive behind your accumulation.