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How to Succeed

A kind heart and a good attitude can take you to new heights of success in your personal and professional lives. Here are seven ways to succeed at work and in life.

By Victor Parachin

Jack Canfield, CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises that has sold more than 80 million books, knows what it takes to lead and succeed in life and at work. According to Canfield, expressing appreciation to those around us results in personal and professional satisfaction. Here are seven other important ways to lead and succeed in life and work.

Accept criticism. Although none of us like to be criticized, the best among can find a grain of truth in criticism and grow as a result?something that happened to physician and best-selling author Bernie Siegel, M.D. Siegel says that he has been fortunate in his life and career to have many good critics. He cites nurses who handed him lists of ways to improve and patients who asked him to stop frightening them with his serious look—and to think in the hallway and smile in their room.

Be the instrument for others’ growth and development. Those whose lives are infused with meaning reach out and help others by coaching and mentoring. They take seriously their responsibility of helping ordinary people do extraordinary things. An example is Ferid Murad, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine. On his journey toward earning a medical degree, he was helped, coached and mentored by many people, and he now does the same for others. He sponsors promising students from less affluent families. “Trainees are like offspring, your children,” he says. “It makes me feel very good when they’ve done well and when they go on and help others. It’s like building a pyramid.”

Develop and maintain an upbeat attitude. Having a positive attitude doesn't mean glossing over problems and denying difficulties. It does mean consciously choosing to focus on what?s positive in your life and the world around you. When you approach life with an upbeat attitude, you will find yourself more hopeful and much happier. Another benefit is that your personality becomes a magnet that attracts people your way. You will have more friendships, deeper relationships and more satisfying encounters.

Be a bridge over troubled water. Never fail to be a friend in deed when you see a friend in need. Often the bridge you build over troubled water is the very bridge you yourself may need to cross. There is the story of a young man who was hiking through the mountains when a sudden storm struck. The entire area was covered with deep snow. Before long, the hiker's hands and feet grew numb as he wandered through the storm and snow in search of shelter. Just then he came upon an older man who had collapsed in the snow.

'Are you OK?' asked the hiker.
'I'm so cold and so tired,' the weary man stammered. 'My legs are numb and I don'?t think I have the strength to go any further.'
The hiker responded, 'Let me help you.'

He then removed his gloves and began rubbing the man's arms and legs. After several minutes of this gentle massage, the man felt strong enough to stand on his feet. The two men, supporting each other, made their way through the storm. Once they reached safety and shelter, the younger man thanked the other for his help.

'Thank me?' said the older man. 'I never would have made it out of there if it wasn't for you. I owe you my life.'
'No, you don't understand,' responded the younger man. 'I was tired, cold and ready to give up. Helping you gave me the strength and determination to carry on. I owe you everything.'

Reject rejection. 'Rejection does not prevent success—fear of rejection does,' says Canfield. 'There's absolutely no rational reason to fear rejection. You ask a successful person to give you career advice, and he says no. You didn't have his advice before you asked, and you don't have his advice after. You're not worse off than when you began, so why be afraid of asking? If you want to be a success, you must treat rejection as an illusion—a negative response conjured up by your mind that really doesn't exist.'

Never take anything for granted. Nick Saban, a professional football coach, was vacationing with his family in the mountains of northern Georgia. He was putting away the equipment they had used after spending the day waterskiing and boating when he slipped off the back plank of the boat. On the way down, he cut his ear and was knocked unconscious as he fell into a lake. Fortunately, he awoke at the bottom of the lake and struggled to come up. Had it not been for a friend who pulled him to safety, Saban might not have lived. 'I came out of the accident with 25 stitches and a life lesson: Never take anything for granted. The accident made me realize how grateful I am for my life, my family and my friend?and how quickly it all can be taken away,' he said.

Put some romance into your work and activities. These words of wisdom are from Anthony C. Scire. In his book, The Power of 2: Win Big With People in Your Work and in Life, he writes: 'Putting some romance into your work and other activities simply means loving what you do, caring about the people you are dealing with, and putting your heart and soul into it. As you promote what you are doing, you need to love people, treat them with kindness and respect, and enjoy being with them regularly.'

Always remember to act thoughtfully and offer a helpful tip. The kindness you extend will find fertile soil in another’s life.

Victor Parachin is a contributor to Advisor Today.

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