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August 2007

The success habit

How many times do we see business owners looking out the window or at their watch while impatiently waiting for the time to justify their exit?

Why come in late or leave early if your ambition is to excel?

Those who are always looking for excuses not to work are never going to enjoy the fruits of success. The reason is simple. They develop the habit of excusing themselves from work. They develop the habit of escaping from work.

On the other hand, those who develop the efficient use of time are developing an ability to expand their futures. Let’s fall back on the scenario between our imaginary Joe and Bill from our article in March this year. Joe is the one who fades into obscurity. Bill is the one who finds varying degrees of success early in his career and goes on to experience significant success. One of the primary differences between the two is found in their use of time.

From the start, Joe sought reasons why he could leave early. He looked for excuses to get out of work whenever he could and eventually he found those excuses every time he looked. He had a pocket full of them. He carried them around and was ready to roll them off his lips whenever things looked difficult. He thought he was happy, but in reality he was quite unhappy. He just wasn’t finding satisfaction in his work.

On the contrary, Bill seemed to accomplish everything he desired. Early on in his work life, he learned that there was always something to do: a floor to be swept, something he could study, a phone call he could make. He used every shred of time and never made an excuse to avoid anything in his path. He met his challenges head-on and seemed to enjoy the rough times, as though he knew times would get better.

Bill was ready to sacrifice whenever the moment called for it. Joe was always reluctant. A sacrifice to Joe was giving up a game of golf because the work demanded it. A sacrifice to Bill was taking less home time because the business demanded it.

The differences between these two hypothetical characters grow more evident as time goes on. Remember, they started pretty much on equal ground. Neither one had much in the beginning. One attained a great deal; the other found obscurity. One enjoyed the route; the other hated it.

What’s the common thread? How can we define what they were both doing so that we can emulate the successful one and rid ourselves of the characteristics of the unsuccessful one?

We do it by recognizing that it all flows from the habits each man chose to develop. Bill chose to develop habits that would lead to his success. Joe chose the contrary path. Bill found satisfaction along the way and never ran out of goals to achieve. Joe found only an increasing sense of dread and unhappiness.

“Ah, but to escape,” Joe thought, while Bill looked for ways to expand his horizons and take on even more. The outcome of each man’s life was really hidden in the habits he chose to develop.

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Ron Sturgeon is past owner of AAA Small Car World. In 1999, he sold his six Texas locations, with 140 employees, to Greenleaf. In 2001, he founded North Texas Insurance Auction, which he sold to Copart in 2002. In 2002, his book “Salvaging Millions” was published to help small business owners achieve significant success, and was recently reprinted. In June 2003, he joined the new ownership and management team of GreenLeaf. He also manages his real estate holdings and investments. You can learn more about him at He can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, or 817-834-3625 ext 6#.