Success only 15 steps away: What is the meaning of success?

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We can look to those we consider successful and learn their methods and priorities. Imitation is a form of flattery.

We can look to those we consider successful and learn their methods and priorities. Imitation is a form of flattery.

1. Do what you love and the money will come. Consider sports figures,politics, veterinarians, doctors, whomever. They achieved their successbecause they loved what they were doing. Consider our profession. Thosewho dearly love our profession will not be found crying about our financiallot-we are a whole bunch better off when we look and the entire sphere ofthis profession. Then once we have determined that we like the work we do,we can learn to live within our means. Successful folks love what they aredoing.

2. Read. Read. Read. CNN's Bernard Shaw, after one of the electiondebates, responded to an inquiring individual about the "importance"of the debate. His reply was clear and simple, "tragically, most Americansget most of their information from the television medium." His message:We Americans need to spend more time reading and less time watching televisedevents. Consider each veterinarian or learned professional - what are theydoing in their free time? Reading? Our standard recommendation is simplethese days, one hour per day reading scientific stuff and one hour per daywith other printed materials, like the Wall Street Journal. Successful andskilled folks read, read, read.

3. Wet labs are great learning tools. We can sit in the classroomfor years on end, and still know so little it is a wonder that the apprenticesystem has not retained stronger roots. A personal observation is that afarrier will never learn the trade in school, but at the knee of anotheraccomplished farrier. A surgeon learns what "good hands" are bywatching another. In this economic environment we just must have time toattend "wet labs" - travel, watch human dentists work their craft,watch a few lameness experts find a problem, ultrasound-the pictures aregreat but bedside learning are the best. Successful folks learn from theground up.

4. Balance in life. Sometimes we confuse workaholic attitudeswith passion. Workaholics, by definition, are rarely successful. Folks withpassion for a job, a mission, a dream and a goal can maintain an eye onthe big picture while achieving success. The balance is, that over time,things will be balanced, but successful folks know when to turn on the heatand when to turn it off.

5. Attitude. Attitude. Attitude. Those who live in the companyof folks with an "N" word vocabulary will not be successful. No,never, cannot, naw. All are signals of defeat before a project is started.Winners, successful folks, start off with, "Yes, somehow we will finda way," and when things are not going as anticipated, accept it asa mere diversion to the ultimate success. Successful folks are optimistic.

6. Successful folks fail. Yup, it is true. The difference betweenwinners and losers is that successful folks dare to fail to achieve success.Successful folks learn that failure is but one of those lessons needed tobe assimilated into one's skills to achieve the ultimate success. Successfulfolks use failures to succeed.

7. Successful folks can focus. In this increasingly clutter-filledworld, successful folks learn to jettison the junk and keep what is good.

8. Successful folks find other successful folks. Success requiresa team. Many like to succeed, but with each individual comes different strengthsand weaknesses. Successful folks identify their weaknesses and surroundthemselves with success-minded, talented folks. Successful people delegateand accept responsibility cheerfully.

9. Successful folks lead. We certainly can govern with fear, brimstoneand fire, but successful folks follow a motivated leader. Successful folksempower those around themselves.

10. Successful folks know Sears had it almost right. As it turnsout, only most customers are right. We cannot keep all the people happyall the time. Certainly lessons are there to be learned by all, but successfulfolks learn to say NO.

11. Listen. Listen. Listen. The older we get the more difficultit seems for us to listen. Time must be set up, and methods establishedto listen and to assimilate to all subject matter related to the centralissues of an enterprise. It has been said that there are but two kinds offools in this world-those who listen to everyone and those who listen tono one.

12. Time killers. Successful folks learn to avoid time killers,the wasted meeting, the wasted chit-chat, the unworthy causes, and the unnecessaryinterruptions.

13. Thinkers. Successful folks take time to think. We can onlyaccomplish so much with work, work, work. But thinking is the fertilizerof dreams.

14. Observers. Ten folks can attend the same play, the same accident,the same movie or the same game and see 10 different perspectives of theevents. Real skill is needed to boil down the entire scene into its mostbasic elements. Successful folks are keen observers.

15. Sick heart. Stay true to one's own heart. Do not have false"gods", or nefarious reasons for doing things and accomplishingdeeds. Successful folks, deep inside, have that extra measure of heart.

Dr. Riegger, Dipl. ABVP, is the chief medical officerat Northwest Animal Clinic Hospital and Specialty Practice. Contact himat www.northwestanimalclinic.com, Riegger@aol.com, telephone and FAX (505)890-6855. Find him on AVMA's NOAH as the practice management moderator.Order his books "Management for Results" and "More Managementfor Results" by calling (800) 598-6008.

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