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What does it take to achieve – to be more successful?

Skills? Focus? Passion? Desire? These are commonly considered some of the most important factors necessary to be successful.

And yes, those are all extremely helpful in any pursuit of greatness. But before any of those attributes can drive your vision, there is one important factor that every great achiever must master. They all have the right MINDSET.

Without the right outlook and clarity, success isn’t much more than blind luck. Some would even argue that the probability is less than that.

All great athletes, business people, and achievers have a calm confidence that promotes achievement, making them an inspiration for others and ultimately, be more successful too!

So how do you go about it? How do you develop a successful mindset that will propel you into the elite? It’s not as easy as flipping a switch; however, there are steps you can take, there are habits you can integrate, and there are processes you can incorporate right away that will begin to get your mind into a state of success.

Yoga class a cross legged palms up meditation positionIn your personal development, one extremely valuable tool to improve mindset is meditation. Proven benefits of meditation include the ability to increase focus, clarity, and reduce stress when necessary.

Any successful entrepreneur has these qualities. He or she must have clarity of purpose and direction; they must have the ability to focus at their fullest potential; and they must be able to properly deal with stressful situations – to reduce stress on command when necessary – and overcome challenges.

Major corporations like Apple, Google, Nike, AOL Time Warner, Deutsche Bank, and many more have begun to promote meditation and mindfulness practices at work to help employees ward off stress and increase productivity. Further, many successful entrepreneurs have adopted daily meditation as part of their high powered lifestyle. Business moguls Russell Simmons, Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, and Rupert Murdoch are among the many that utilize mediation to get their mindset dialed in.

Another poignant example of creating the proper mindset – a mindset that allows the beholder to be more successful – is evidenced by the research done by Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy.

Cuddy’s work was made famous in her Ted Talk, which is one of the most viewed of all time. Cuddy is a body language expert, and along with collaborators Dana Carney and Andy Yap, they published some of their findings in 2010. They reported that ‘power posing’ can change your life and your hormone levels. Power posing is the practice of holding two poses associated with power, confidence, and fearlessness (think Superhero).

The study revolved around analyzing the differences between two groups of people. The first group practiced high-power poses, while the other practiced low-power poses. High-power posers experienced elevations in testosterone, decreases in cortisol, and increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk. Low-power posers, on the other hand, exhibited the opposite pattern.

Higher levels of testosterone (in both men and women) lead to increased feelings of confidence. Meanwhile, lower levels of cortisol lead to decreased anxiety and an improved ability to deal with stress.

A CBS News report noted the following regarding Cuddy’s research: “Believe it or not, her studies show that if you stand like a superhero privately before going into a stressful situation, there will actually be hormonal changes in your body chemistry that cause you to be more confident and in-command… Make no mistake, Cuddy’s work is grounded in science.”

be successful with the right mindset to overcome challenges - benefits of meditation to increase focus and reduce stressThe mindset of a champion is something that greatest athletes in sports all have in common and it surely helps them to be more successful.

The overwhelming majority of elite athletes work with sports psychologists to fine tune their mental games. In elite competition, there are many very good athletes. However, the truly great ones have a mental edge over their competition – they have the mindset of a champion. And that is what allows them to perform their best under the most pressure packed situations. Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams are just a few that immediately come to mind.

The iconic basketball coach Jim Valvano used to take a unique, yet genius approach to helping his players adopt a winner’s mentality. Valvano would hold a practice, usually right before the NCAA Tournament, in which he and his NC State Wolfpack team would practice cutting down the nets in their gym.

Cutting down the nets is a tradition for the team that ultimately wins the NCAA Championship. By cutting down the nets in practice, Jimmy V was able to allow the players to experience winning. They began to feel like champions, and they soaked in the celebration. Having the players visualize greatness reinforced the winning mindset.

In 1983 this vision came to fruition, as Valvano’s Wolfpack won the NCAA Tournament. NC State was a longshot to even be invited to the tournament with a mediocre 17-10 record entering the ACC Tournament. Consequently, it was very likely they needed to win the ACC Tournament to even have a spot in the NCAA Championship field.

And so they did, beating titans North Carolina and Virginia along the way. Ultimately, they were heavy underdogs entering the title game against a superior University of Houston team that included NBA Hall of Fame players Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. NC State grinded out a 54-52 victory, and a celebration ensued – Jimmy V and his team cut down the nets. Their vision had become reality.

If you are going to be more successful, you must have a mindset of success. Learn from those who are or have been among the elite in their industry. Emulate some of their habits that promote productivity. You can achieve anything with the right mindset. You can be, do, and have anything you dream.

Susan Sly is a best selling author, work life balance expert, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of four children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.




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