Is there a job you’ve always dreamed of having? A business you’ve always wanted to start? A career you thought could never be yours?
When I found out that sales was the field I wanted to work in, I went above and beyond being a loan officer and opened my own financial lending business. Then, years later, realizing my other passion was hockey, I thought of a way to be surrounded by what I love. So I started Gold Star Sports Management and we now work with players who are household names, such as Pavel Datsyuk, formerly of the Detroit Red Wings- now with SKA St. Petersburg in Russia, Artemi Panarin with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nikita Kucherov with Tampa Bay Lightning, and Nikita Zaitsev with the Toronto Maple Leafs, among others.
My dreams were big—so big that I was hesitant to share them with my friends—but I didn’t let that stop me. Instead, I went for it, giving it all I have. In my new book, Rule #1 Don’t Be #2, I explain in detail the lessons I learned on my way to success, and what I do every day to stay there. Here are my top five to get you started:
- Begin With Your Dream – What is it you really want to do? We all have a dream. For many, it’s to own their own business and to be their own boss. Some want to be the best athlete or musician they can be. Others want to write a best-selling book. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s your passion. It should be something you can’t wait to get of bed for in the morning and never want to take a sick day from. Every success story began with a dream. So write yours down and put it in a place where you can see it every day. Walt Disney once said, “All of our dreams can come true, if we just have the courage to pursue them.”
- Give it Your All: Dreams don’t work unless you do. I’ve observed our athletes winning in what sometimes seem to be insurmountable odds, but the one thing they have in common is they give it everything they have. They rarely make excuses and do everything possible to avoid stopping short of the finish line. The same is true for business. If you want it bad enough, you will work for it. The key is to give it everything you have, every time. I’m not satisfied at the end of each day unless I know I gave it my all. You will have to do the same, but it will be worth it. Pain is temporary but quitting lasts forever. Work so hard that your signature will one day be called an autograph.
- Pick a Good Team: Part of your success can be attributed to collaboration with others. None of us can go it alone—at least not very far. There is generally no such thing as a “lone wolf.” You must depend on the cooperation of co-workers, business colleagues, family members and friends. I am the author of several best-selling books, but I didn’t do it alone. I had an editor, a cover artist, and a publicist to help me come up with a publishable product and get it in the stores. While the books were my dreams and the results of my hard work and determination, I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without the help of those colleagues who had knowledge and skills in different areas than I do. Also, surround yourself with positive people. Naysayers will only bring you down. Part of having a good team is having people who look for solutions instead of problems. You can do amazing things if you have the right team.
- Don’t take shortcuts: We all want to get “there” faster, hoping to take a more direct route in reaching the finish line of success ahead of the rest. Most times success is a road you have to travel. Sometimes you will need more training, but often it’s more time. Malcolm Gladwell says that “10,000 hours is the magic number of greatness” whether it’s playing the violin or shooting hoops. I always say an overnight success usually takes ten years. Do your homework, plot your course and eventually you will get there. When things don’t happen right away, just remember: it takes six months to build a Rolls Royce and 13 hours to build a Toyota. There are no discounts on the price of success.
- Stay Positive: Failure will happen, but don’t let it get you down. Instead, learn from it. Part of achieving your dream is being able to deal with less-than-positive results. I remind myself that in every challenging situation, I either succeed—or I learn from the unsuccessful outcome. But I am still committed to the win. Stay strong and never give up. Choice, not circumstances, determines your success. I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done.
Those are my rules for staying on top of your game and achieving the dream you have always wanted. It won’t be easy, and in most cases it won’t come quickly or without a lot of hard work. But it is possible, and you can reach the success you deserve. As I always say, success is never owned. It’s rented, and the rent is due every day. Keep working hard and I will see you at the top.
Daniel Milstein is the CEO and founder of the Gold Star Family of Companies, operating in over 40 offices worldwide, specializing in financial services, sports management, publishing, and film production. Under Dan’s visionary leadership, Gold Star has been named among Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America. He is a best-selling author and shares his other strategies for success in his new book Rule #1 Don’t Be #2: You Get What You Work For, Not What You Wish For. Learn more at DanMilstein.com.