You know that feeling, right? It’s exasperating.
And over there is THAT guy who’s getting all the attention and all the breaks.
If only you had the same breaks, surely you could have had instant success just like THAT guy did.
It’s easy to fall into that kind of thinking – but negative emotions like jealousy and envy only serve one purpose: To keep you from achieving the level of significance you’re capable of.
On top of being negative, that thinking is just plain old wrong – and I’ll tell you why…
What Do The Boogie Man, The Tooth Fairy, and Instant Success Have In Common?
All three are fictitious creatures.
When someone bursts upon the scene in any industry and becomes successful quickly, it’s easy to assume that they got a big break that lead to their “instant” success.
What we often fail to realize is that big breaks come to those who have worked their ass off for years laying the foundation for those opportunities. Let’s face it: the press doesn’t lavish attention upon a “nobody” doing all the right things. The world only notices people when they begin to appear above the horizon.
And so we buy into the illusion of instant success.
Don’t believe it. It’s not a real thing.
The real secret of big breaks is ridiculously simple, and yet largely overlooked by people in business. It’s something I call right work.
Right work is the one thing all the insanely successful super people who I’ve ever known have in common. Let’s talk about what that means.
Busy Work vs. Right Work
Being busy doing something doesn’t necessarily get you anywhere. On the other hand, being busy doing the right kind of things can lead to amazing accomplishments.
I could keep you busy 12 hours a day sorting socks, but that doesn’t mean your day would have been well spent or that any of your activity would get you any closer to achieving your goals.
You need to learn how to do right work. When you build a strong foundation rooted in right work, you attract opportunities and big breaks. In fact, they begin to appear seemingly out of nowhere.
Let me give you a couple examples of people whose ground work paved the way for their apparent sudden success.
A Familiar Success Story
Firepole Marketing readers should recognize this graph…
To the uninitiated, this graph might appear to tell the story of “some guy” named Danny Iny who caught a lucky break in January of 2011 by getting a guest post accepted on Copyblogger, right?
Hardly. If you’ve done any reading about Danny, you know that he has been working like crazy as an entrepreneur since he was 15 years old. All that time – learning, winning some, losing some, and making connections.
So, sure: Danny got a big break online by landing that post on Copyblogger. And it very likely played a part in the eventual success of Firepole Marketing. But I’d wager his success could more accurately be attributed to all the right work he did for years before anyone online noticed him. Danny knew how to be successful in business – because he had his priorities and expectations straight.
Another Insanely Successful Person
If you don’t know the name Mary Jaksch, you should. She’s a talented writer and editor, a hugely successful blogger, and one of the highest quality humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Mary is a Master of Mastery. In her life she has mastered music, psychotherapy, Zen, martial arts, and is now a high-level blogger and successful online entrepreneur.
Back in 2008 it appeared to many people online as if super blogger Leo Babuta picked her randomly out of the crowd and brought her into his blog Write To Done as a partner.
What all of us on the outside didn’t know is that Mary had been building the foundation of success her entire life. Right work shone through in every single field she mastered.
And when she decided to start blogging… heck, the blogosphere didn’t stand a chance.
As a fan of Write to Done (and a skilled writer/editor) Mary began corresponding with Leo – volunteering to help with the blog whenever Leo needed it. Her volunteer work was quality work. So when Leo said yes to Mary’s proposal to be partners, he may have provided her with a big break, but she earned it years before by laying a foundation of right work.
So there are two examples: The first – a guy who is an amazing business mind and has spent his entire adult life honing his expertise. The other – a Master of Mastery who has successfully re-invented herself many times over.
Two very different people – but with something very important in common: Right work.
So What Is Right Work?
There is a set of common characteristics among insanely successful people. I call it right work because these are qualities that build coalitions, bring people together, and push processes forward.
It’s amazingly simple to do right work – and it’s totally devoid of all the metrics, conversion ratios, or other analytical details we all normally obsess about.
What I refer to as right work is simply a combination of hard work, integrity, and altruism – which is an unselfish concern for the welfare of others.
While the insanely successful people I keep referring to work extremely hard, they all care about something bigger than themselves, their wealth, or their personal status.
The breaks enjoyed by insanely successful business people are a direct byproduct of the way they live and work.
How To Do Right Work And Create Your Own Big Breaks
Right work is really just a very simple set of principles that successful people intentionally live by. Check yourself – and see if you are following in their footsteps.
1: Have An Intense Love Of What You Do
Do you go to sleep and wake up thinking about your work? Not in the “ache in the pit of your stomach” way. I mean in the enthusiastic, energized, “can’t wait for tomorrow” kind of way. If not, maybe you should think about that. Successful people are so excited by what they do that at times they can’t tell if they’re working or playing.
2: Cultivate A Passion For Learning
The insanely successful don’t stop learning when they graduate from school. In fact, that’s usually when they accelerate their education. They’re in the position to get big breaks because they’re always on the intellectual prowl.
3: Spend Your Time On The Right Things
Successful people aren’t just busy – they’re busy doing the right things. They spend their time on tasks that will get results – and delegate the other stuff.
4: Develop Confidence And Fortitude
Most people fold up the tent and quit too early. When things get tough and you’re experiencing resistance, consider that you’re probably about to push through to something really significant. The insanely successful have confidence in their path and their plan. They push forward no matter what the obstacle is.
5: Live Without Hesitation
To hell with waiting for the perfect tool, the perfect conditions, or the perfect timing. Do you know when the insanely successful execute their plans? Now. Better to execute today and have some contingency plans than to sit and wait for those perfect conditions that will never appear.
6: Practice Sincere Engagement
It’s appropriate that this post is appearing here on the home turf of the King of Engagement. All of the insanely successful people I’ve ever known are experts at engaging others. If you can’t make sincere connections with your customers, your peers, your employees, and your partners – you have an uphill battle in front of you, my friend. No one gets there alone. Sincere engagement is key. But it must be truly sincere. Engagement isn’t a tactic you can fake to get what you want – it’s a way of living.
7: Help Those Who Deserve It: A Love of People
Lastly – every insanely successful person I know is generous with their time and sincerely love helping talented people get ahead. Winners don’t have to push other people down to succeed. When put in a position to help someone who has laid the foundation and done right work, they usually step up and give the deserving a hand.
If you already practice the seven principles of right work, good for you. You’re on the right track. If not, and you really want to be successful in your business, take them to heart. Practice these principles in your life and see if the world doesn’t start to look at you through a different lens.
Presently, I am on the hunt for someone who has done right work and laid the foundation for their business to do something amazing. I have decided to hold a Free Airfare Giveaway and fly one lucky person round trip to anywhere in the Continental United States to do something positive for their business. I am happy to extend an invitation to all Firepole Marketing readers to enter.
So what about you? What is your definition of “true success?” Share your thoughts in the comments section.