Looking for the X-Factor of Success? Here is Mine

Call it the philosopher’s stone, the X-factor or what you will, you may be looking for that magic formula to achieving your ultimate goals in business or in life – that special ingredient – the secret key that once found can unlock your every aspiration, dream or goal.

It’s something I’ve been asked about from time to time and not been able to answer. There is no text book solution, no magic potion – so if you’re looking for one here, stop reading now.

Even if there was a panacea to business success, few would be happy to share it – but perhaps that’s the point. Everyone’s experience is unique. One man’s formula to success could be another man’s recipe for disaster. As the saying goes, one man’s food is another man’s poison.

However, before I start it’s important to mention that quite simply in my case the environment was right. I was in the right place at the right time, equipped with the right inspirational tools and thirst for success. Even before my graduation I had absolute self-belief that I was the best. It is an attitude that has stayed with me until today.

Even further back, when I started my education I believed with complete conviction that I wanted to be in the top 1% of the class. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to make a distinction between strong self-confidence and egoism – the first of which has its very positive connotations and the second which is often self-destructive.

For the purpose of this post, the only thing I can do is share with you three lessons from my experiences that have worked for me:

Wear your game face every day

I do confess to having a serial competitive instinct – I hate to lose – whether through my years playing ice hockey or as UAE go-karting champion. If you’re on my team in sport or in business, I’m your greatest ally – I will use all my efforts to keep you on the winning team.

Yet, like all things, winning means backing your self-belief and goals by action. Plan your work, but then work your plan. Hard work is something I thrive on. To me it’s not a chore but a natural part of my existence – an extension of who I am.

Incidentally, as I may have mentioned in another article posted some time ago, I don’t believe in what many refer to as a work-life balance. If you want to be in the top 1%, something has to go, so don’t expect to be home by 6pm every night, or that you’ll be able to allocate the whole weekend to family time. It won’t happen – which brings me onto my next and final point below.

Earn your value, and value it!

I was 21 when I graduated and got my first job. From the word go I was the first one in the office and the last to leave – and that’s still the same today. I didn’t do this for the sake of appearances, nor to get brownie points. I simply thought in all sincerity it was the thing to do. As I’ve mentioned above, it was a lifestyle which I enjoyed over many more recreational pursuits.

From the start of my working life I had one simple aim – I wanted to run companies. Everything I did day-in, day-out revolved around that aim. Nothing else mattered, and I thrived on it – but on conditional terms. Every day I walked around with my resignation letter in my back pocket. I stayed true to my own personal values and belief system – that I wouldn’t tolerate any leeway in the attitude I adopted to my own work – would make the very most of the opportunities presented to me, and make it happen through self-belief, conviction and hard work. If anything stood in the way of any of these things, I was ready to leave.

Finding the X-factor

Today I do run my own business as I had always planned, and help other businesses do the same – and my convictions and attitude to my work have never floundered since the day I started my first job.

I can only say that these are the things that have worked for me personally. I hope you can gain some direct value from this, while finding your own way – your own unique philosopher’s stone.

Just remember, whatever your own X-factor may be, never sway from your own set of values as they will guide you to your destination.

So , What is your X-factor?

Posted by Saeed A.


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