Most things in life these days come with in­structions or manuals. For example, when you buy a car, it has a rather thick manual to answer just about any question you have. When you buy a trampoline, it comes with instructions on how to assemble it. Even when you buy a tree, it comes with instructions on how to plant it and care in­structions afterward.
However, being successful in business…I have yet to see an official manual or instructions for this. I sup­pose this is because there isn’t only one type of business model or industry; therefore, there couldn’t be only one cookie cutter business manual. In my experience of working for and with successful people in several industries—such as retail, restaurant, human resources, non-profit, IT, multi-media, advertising and marketing, PR, and event planning—I have found that they pos­sess many of the same qualities and/or follow the same steps or schools of thought. There are the same common threads woven into their success.

Never Stop Learning

Having a degree is ideal. Often it will open doors and opportunities that may not have been an option with­out one. Nonetheless, with our ever-evolving climate of technology and invention, a daily aging degree just isn’t enough anymore. Every day there are new apps, tools, websites, and discoveries that anyone who wishes to be and remain successful in business needs to be aware of and educated in. To be successful, you must be a life­long learner. Attend retreats or seminars, if you are un­able to be there in person, watch them on your laptop, or listen to the recorded version. Always be reading a book, and I don’t mean a Harry Potter edition, although enjoyable I’m sure; always have an arsenal of educating material on hand to further your education. Knowledge is key.

Dream BIG & Set Goals

We hear this so often in life, but that is because it is so true. Learn to dream big, look for the bigger picture, shoot for the stars. These are statements that are in suc­cessful people’s vocabulary. As Michael Jordan once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Take the time to discover your gifts and develop them. Become self-aware of your talents. Realizing that you are not going to be stellar at everything is a positive attribute. It will help you narrow in on what you are gifted at, and what truly brings you joy. Develop your dreams and your goals.

Not sure what they are? Start with a vision board. I used to think that vision boards were adolescent. Cut­ting objects and phrases out and sticking them onto a board? How is that going to help me reach my goals? Well, I will be the first to admit I was wrong! Vision boards are an integral part of successful thinking and action. Having your goals visually in front of you is a great tool to help you clarify, concentrate, and maintain focus on what your goals are and will ultimately help you achieve them. Dream big, and collect the tools and people in your life to help you achieve those dreams.

Coaches & Mentors

A guiding hand, a sounding board, a knowledgeable support system, an experienced leader, these can all be defined as coaches or mentors. No one person can be successful alone. It takes a village. Successful people surround themselves with fantastic teams. They dele­gate their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths. Surround yourself with people who make you a better person, a better leader, less stressful, and more joyful.

Kelly Frost is the CEO and founder of FROST Executive Services, a full service consulting company specializing in multimedia, advertising and marketing, website design & development, graphic design, and business management. She is also an executive producer of a video podcast show, an author, photographer, and filmmaker.