Your Ultimate Secret For Success2018-02-01T10:58:39+00:00

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Your Ultimate Secret For Success

Psst… It’s not really a secret!

Before you read the rest of this article, do a quick Google search for ‘secret(s) to success.’ It doesn’t matter if you make the word ‘secret’ singular or plural. Now take a look at a couple of the lists you get on your search. And yes, your search WILL provide you with lists. The lists will be someone’s idea of very specific characteristics or tasks that you should strive for in order to become successful in your chosen career. You will also likely notice that if you started making a super-list of items of those lists, your super-list would just keep getting longer and longer and longer.

In truth, all of these lists likely fall under a single premise, and that is the golden rule: treat others as you would wish to be treated if you were in their shoes.

Create a relationship with people first! That’s the simple secret to success.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before; it’s not really a secret. We all just need to be reminded of it every now and then. The ultimate secret of success is to make a connection with others, a human connection, to show them you care.

Treat people as though they are special

When you are human – that is, when you act humanely – you are following this golden rule. Consider what happens when you take a shirt back to the store because it is missing two buttons. The ideal would be if the clerk smiled and said, “I’m so sorry about that, and for your inconvenience in having to bring it back. We’ll be happy to exchange this for you. Let me go get you a replacement. We really do appreciate your business.”

So what characteristics did the clerk show? She acted like a human being talking to another human being. She showed she cared with her smile. She apologised for you having to take time out of your busy schedule due to an error on the store’s part, and she even saved you the walk to go get a replacement off the shelf.

Stop and think about the characteristics you like others to show when dealing with you. Perhaps they include flexibility, empathy, even kindness and patience. The secret that’s not a secret is that everyone wants to be treated similarly! Everyone wants to feel like they are special.

Are particular tasks the key to success?

Just as some people will list characteristics they believe lead to success, others will list tasks that need performing. You might hear any of the following:

  1. Practice good time management skills.
  2. Keep your work area organised.
  3. Prioritise daily.
  4. Pay attention to the detail.
  5. Remember you are part of team.

While we can’t really say these are all ways we would like ‘to be treated,’ we can say they are ways we would like others to behave. Nothing is more irritating than waiting in line while a clerk is chatting with another clerk. It’s terribly irritating when an administrator is trying to find a form for you to complete, but his desk is so messy he can’t find it. Or consider how you feel when you give someone a typing task that needs to be completed by close of business, only to find they wrote down the wrong deadline.

When any of these tasks are performed incorrectly, it’s exactly what you don’t want to happen. So remember that others don’t like it when they happen either. If you have a connection, a relationship, with others, you are much less likely to make these kinds of mistakes because you know how you would feel in their shoes.

Building good relationships is the secret to success

Your primary goal is probably to be successful at whatever you do. So the secret is quite simple: you will be successful if you build a human relationship with your customers or clients, if you treat them the way you would wish to be treated. Once you have made that connection, they will come back time and again because they feel comfortable, like you are an old friend. They will also tell others about the great relationship they have with you, thus bringing you more business regularly. What could be more successful than that?

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© 2013 Shirley Taylor.
Shirley Taylor is a recognised leading authority on business writing and communication skills. For almost 30 years she has presented keynotes and training programmes that help people and organisations boost communication skills and develop great relationships both orally and in writing. Shirley is bestselling author of 12 books, including Model Business Letters, Emails and Other Business Documents, which has sold half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into many languages. If you would like Shirley to speak at your next event, visit

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