To reach success, we have to strive for the best we can be in every aspect of our lives, including how we feel about ourselves, and how we treat others.

One of the great things about America is that many of us get second and third chances (if we’re willing to try). And if things go well and we take advantage of opportunities, those bad moments can be nothing but a footnote in our success story.

Famous people who have overcome difficult odds to become real success stories:

Samuel Walton (1918 – 1992) Growing up in the Great Depression of the 1930s, Walton had to do numerous odd jobs to help his family survive. After the war, he took out a loan to buy a small grocery store. He went on to build this into the giant Walmart supermarket chain, amassing a fortune of over $23 billion (1992).

Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011) Steve Jobs struggled with formal education, dropping out of college. He went on to be the co-founder of Apple Computers, and a leading exponent of the personal computer revolution. His net wealth in 2010 was estimated to be $8.2 billion.

J.K.Rowling (1965 –) For many years she struggled as a single mother living on benefits. After writing the first draft of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone she was rejected by many leading publishers. But, once published, Harry Potter soon became one of the best-selling books on record making J.K.Rowling one of the best paid modern writers.

Howard Schultz. (1953 –) Born to poor Jewish parents in Brooklyn, New York. Schultz was the first member of his family to attend college. Working his way up from a salesperson for Xerox, he became CEO of Starbucks, and oversaw its rapid growth, leaving him a net worth of $1.6 billion by 2013.

Oprah Winfrey (1954 – ) Oprah Winfrey was born in rural Mississippi and brought up in inner-city Milwaukee, despite her difficult upbringing, she became one of the best-known American TV personalities and the founder of the highly successful Oprah brand.

A Few Common Sense Secrets to Success:

Regular exercise. When asked the secret of his success, Richard Branson replied: “exercise”. We are talking about physical activity that keeps our bodies fit and strong. The benefits are a sense of health and youthfulness, increased physical and mental energy, wellbeing, productivity… and success.

Out-learn the competition. Successful people out-learn everyone around them. They’re obsessed with learning. They’re voracious readers.

 Make time for family. You don’t necessarily have to give up your personal life and enjoyment completely. Draw up a schedule that includes time for work and also allocates time for weekends away, hobbies and family life. Too much of anything isn’t a good thing.

Go to Bed Early and Wake up Early.   Getting a good night’s sleep and also waking up early gives you the opportunity to reflect on the day ahead. With a clear head you will arrive at work, ready for anything that comes your way. The saying “the early bird catches the worm” is definitely true. Habits of successful people should include an early start and will also allow you to get more done.

Understand what you can control.  Focus your energy on situations that you have control over at work and don’t waste your time with concerns where you have no influence.

Plan your day ahead.  This will allow you to deal with daily tasks effectively and will make you a more efficient individual and will help you to stay focused and be prepared for what lies ahead.

Ask, Ask, Ask. There are always people that we can learn from and there is no shame in asking people that are more specialized in a particular field. A part of successful people’s habits… is to ask when unsure about anything. Everyone has a mentor that helps them on their path to success.

Walt Disney always asked people to give him their “best”.  We too should expect that from employees and especially ourselves.

“Take responsibility for your life. If you are accountable, you are in control”. — John Tschohl

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About The Author

International service strategist and speaker

John Tschohl is an international service strategist and speaker. He is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Described by Time and Entrepreneur magazines as a customer service guru, he has written several books on customer service. He will release shortly the 11th Edition of Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service. The Service Quality Institute has developed more than 26 customer service training programs that have been distributed and presented throughout the world. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge. He can also be reached on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.