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Ever since I was 16, I’ve been directly responsible for my own income based on commission sales and my entrepreneurial endeavors. The limit of what I could earn was directly related to how hard I worked. And I found that what mattered most was production. Being a top producer was the key to my success.

It really doesn’t matter whether you want to be a top salesperson, successful entrepreneur, or simply excel at what you do, in reality we are all CEOs of our own lives. Producing at a high level is rewarding in so many ways.

Success isn’t easy, but neither is being unsuccessful! I’d like to share eight key factors that have most influenced my career. And, my wish is that they will help you move to a new level in attaining your goals!

1. Belief

First and foremost, you need to believe in yourself, and in your company, product, or service. Your focus should be on the value of your efforts, rather than on the reasons to give up when you encounter obstacles.

For example, if you believe in your company to a measure of only 60%, the effort you put in will be a direct reflection (60% effort) and your results will be a fraction of this (36% results). However, if you believe in yourself and your product 100%, you will give 100% effort, and you will get 100% back in results. Belief creates results, and results create belief. It’s a win-win circle.

But, what if you’re just starting out and don’t have any results to fall back on yet? Proceed with a little bit of faith that the work you do right now will be rewarded, and apply the suggestions below.

2. Commitment

Practice makes perfect. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his top-selling nonfiction book, The Outliers, one of the “secrets” of success lies in the amount of time you dedicate to reaching your goal. He proposes the theory that you need 10,000 hours of practice to really master a skill. This means you will require at least five years of highly focused effort before you can become really proficient. In today’s world, we all want things now and many people give up too easily, being committed to your goals will give you a great advantage.

3. Goal Setting & Visualization

I was 20 years old when I first became a top producing salesperson and I did it by using goal setting and visualization techniques. Each day I focused on the daily and weekly results I wanted to manifest, and this really increased my sales numbers quickly. As time went on, and I was ready to move to new levels, all I had to do was adjust my goals while continuing to visualize and I was always able to attain my short-term and long-term goals.

4. Role-modeling

Studying someone who is doing something better than you is the fastest way to improve quickly. Let go of your ego, and shadow someone who is extremely good at the very thing you want to do well.

Imagine you’re an investigative reporter and your goal is to find out as much as possible about the way they’re creating their results. Even if you have to pay to watch this person at work, I suggest you do it. The investment will pay off in huge dividends! I once role modeled a person who was the very best at what they did and my income literally increased 400% within two weeks!

5. Be Prepared Physically

In addition to goal setting and visualization, my biggest increase in personal commissions happened the year that I started exercising every day before work. I doubled my income in that year alone and since then, I continue to exercise every single work day in the morning. (I may miss about five days per year at the most). Even if it’s only for 15 to 20 minutes, I burn off stress, increase my energy, and set a positive tone for the day.

I also eat properly, take high quality vitamins, get enough sleep and work on maintaining a good attitude, to keep myself healthy enough to continue to produce at high levels. I believe in this so strongly that I have my sales managers and staff fill in a weekly checklist of these items.

After my company became a success, I spent millions of dollars developing some of the world’s best personal health software (Truestar’s “Synergistic Personal Training System”) and North America’s highest rated vitamins and supplements (Trustar).

6. Continual learning

Never stop learning. The year I started listening to and reading motivational materials on a daily basis, my production increased approximately 200%. Listening to Tony Robbins, Steven Covey, and Deepak Chopra, or other motivational speakers, will help to put you in the right frame of mind to learn profound new knowledge and apply it in your life. Find opportunities to grow and let your learning inspire others.

7. Lose Your Ego

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, states that a key quality of a “Good to Great” company is a CEO who is focused and determined to do what is best for the company, not for himself. As a previous door-to-door salesperson I can tell you that humility is the number one quality required to be really good. You need to be selling your product for the client, or managing your team for the benefit of the company and for the development of the team, not just for yourself. Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra both stress the idea that ego will hinder your growth, and it becomes the main reason for a person’s or company’s downfall.

8. Responsibilty

Ultimately we’re each responsible for our own success. Author Brian Tracy believes that taking responsibility for all areas of success in our lives is even more important than goal setting. This makes sense, because if we don’t believe in or take responsibility for reaching our goals, then what’s the point of even having them?

It’s extremely important to review and reflect upon your results on an ongoing basis, so you can honestly identify where you did well. And even more importantly, where you didn’t! Then you can isolate the places where you need to improve and take action to make a change.

One of my favourite quotes is Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I call it getting caught on the “Hamster Wheel of Life.” Engaging in continual learning and role modeling are two great ways to get off the hamster wheel, but taking responsibility for your results is the quickest way to raise your level of production.

As I said before, success is not easy, but neither is being unsuccessful! The keys I’ve outlined here are the ones I’ve found to be most effective. I recommend that key number two, Commitment, be a top priority in your plan, and that you stick with these recommendations for five years.

Be the one who’s different. Stay committed and may success be yours!