• July 2013

Three Things Successful, Happy People Do Differently

By Lisa Earle McLeod
Keynote Speaker and Author
McLeod & More, Inc.

I have a ringside seat to the successes and failures of others. As an executive coach, I share in the triumphs and challenges of my clients.

One of the things I’m really good at is spotting patterns. There are distinct differences between the ways successful, happy people approach life versus those who continually struggle.

Here are three things successful, happy people do differently:

1. They focus on “happy jealousy.”

When a colleague gets promoted or a friend gets a new car, less successful people are jealous because they wish the prize had gone to them instead. Successful people also feel jealous, but it’s a different kind of jealousy. Instead of negative envy, they feel what I call “happy jealousy.” They’re happy for the other person, and they wish it had happened to them, too. The nuance is important.

Less successful, less happy people tend to have a scarcity mentality. They believe there aren’t enough raises and new cars to go around. When someone else gets a prize, it means less for them. When a friend wins a trip to Europe, they’re more likely to get dejected, thinking, “Well what about me?”

Successful people respond differently. They’re jealous, but instead of feeling left out, they ask themselves, “How can I make that happen for me?” Happy jealousy motivates the successful, happy people to take action, instead of sitting on the sidelines complaining.

2. They don’t get defensive about suggestions.

As a coach, my job is to help my clients get better results. My best clients welcome feedback and act on it. Successful people view feedback through a lens of continual improvement. Less successful people have a different lens. They’re more likely to interpret a suggestion as a damning, comprehensive negative judgment on their entire being.

For example, in a 30-minute coaching call with a successful, happy person, we can cover four or five issues and they’ll walk away with ideas and techniques that they can implement immediately. With a defensive person, the results are much slower.

Instead of discussing how they can act on the advice, they spend their time justifying and defending their current approach, even when it’s clearly not working. They wind up getting less help. While the less successful person is busy being on the defensive, the successful person has already implemented three things.

3. They analyze their mistakes.

Successful, happy people don’t enjoy mistakes any more than anyone else. But they take the time to analyze their mistakes. Less successful people tend to either avoid thinking about mistakes, or they get mired in them. This comes from a place of fear and insecurity. Less successful, less happy people don’t have the confidence that they can shape their destiny. They don’t like to face their mistakes because it feels hopeless.

Successful, happy people see it differently. They’re willing to wade through the painful process of unpacking their mistakes, so that they can handle things better the next time. Ironically, less successful people’s unwillingness to analyze mistakes is what keeps them stuck in them. Successful people analyze the mistake, learn from it, and move on.

Look at the above list and ask yourself: What prevents you from acting like this today?

You don’t need a good job, a great education, lots of money, or the perfect family to start implementing these ideas. The faster you start acting like a successful, happy person, the faster you’ll become one.


About Lisa Earle McLeod

Lisa Earle McLeod is a sales leadership consultant. Companies such as Apple, Kimberly-Clark, and Pfizer hire her to help them create passionate, purpose-driven sales forces. She’s the author of “Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud,” as well as “The Triangle of Truth,” which The Washington Post named a “Top Five Book for Leaders.” She has appeared on “Today,” and has been featured in Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. She provides executive coaching sessions, strategy workshops, and keynote speeches. Click here to learn more: www.lisaearlemcleod.com.