by Dr. Rob Fazio

Author Simple is the New Smart

Smartcuts for Success

Success is not always easy to come by, but it can be simple.

In my work an executive advisor, surgeons, sport psychologist I am often struck by how many people fall short of their goals because of their need to worry about something. Operating under the common misconception that time and effort equal success – no pain, no gain – many people sell themselves short because they are preoccupied with things that simply don’t matter.

I set out to write a book that made success simple! Simple is the New Smart: in a down to earth, yet down to business style, I do my best to offer tools and techniques to turn down life’s static and turn up the volume simple strategies that drive success. He says those that are aware of common setback and take intentional action in approaching their work and life goals get there faster and more directly, with half the strain and twice the gain.

We all get bombarded with advice. Here are some of my recommendations that I’ve seen add value with velocity:

  1. Selective listening   

What you choose to hear about yourself can adversely impact your performance and your potential. People tend to crystalize negative messages and stop trying, especially if a message is internalized early on without strong enough self-esteem or positive mentoring to counteract it. I calls this the creation of “barrier beliefs,” which I’ve witnessed ruin careers and lives.

To prevent negativity from stunting your growth trajectory, he recommends practicing selective listening – tuning out negative messages that hold you back, while still being aware of them enough to avoid potential blind spots from only hearing what you want to hear. Once you have identified the negative messages from your past that have created your barrier beliefs, take action to override them. These messages are not facts; they are just messages, and we have the choice to listen or not.

  1. Quick thinking

Thinking fast is a critical skill for success and thankfully one that Fazio says is both natural and teachable. Especially in the executive decision-making process, where leaders can so easily gain or lose credibility, honing your quick-thinking ability is a vital step to working smarter to take the “easy way” to success.

Just as many people equate strenuous effort with success, they also mistakenly believe the more important a decision is, the more difficult it has to be make, and that the amount of time you spend on a decision directly improves its value. Calculated speed is a sign of confidence, intelligence, and effectiveness. He recommends streamlining your approach to decision-making and communication to build your leadership credibility.

  1. Perpetual motion

Everyone feels “stuck” at times in their lives or careers, or has bad days when they are just moving slow. Fazio says the difference between those who fall behind and those who persevere to achieve their goals is the ability to maintain perpetual – and purposeful – forward motion.

 The simple secret to maintaining this momentum, according to Fazio, is accountability for your own attitude – not allowing yourself to get sucked into a “what if” whirlpool of spiraling thoughts. If you tend to overthink things, seek help from other people or approaches to get you out of the analysis trap and back into the game. It’s not just about catching yourself when you aren’t staying the course; it’s also about an overall attitude adjustment through intention and focus that will support your drive to success.

 Psychological swagger

Whether you’re in HR, on the trading desk or out on the football field, you influence others by confidence. You have to have an edge, even if it’s not within your comfort zone – I call this Psychological Swagger. It’s about beliefs, behaviors, and brand. Believing in yourself is at the core, acting in a way consistent with your intentions moves you in the right direction, and creating intentional impressions accelerates your path to success.

Cultivating this internal assurance isn’t a “fake it until you make it” situation. It’s a make it so you don’t have to fake it approach. The through core aspects of Psychological Swagger are” Belief, Behavior, and Brand. It’s a cycle of being mentally tough, acting in a way that demonstrates you are confident, not arrogant, and creating intentional impressions through your presence. People respect those who create credibility and command respect. You don’t need to push people around, but you do need to be able to tell it how it is and not give off the scent of fear in order to lead the pack. Some of the most successful executives have a “subtle confidence” and they don’t need to tell people they have what it takes, people can see it and feel it. If you’d like to learn more about your Psychological Swagger you are welcome to subscribe to our newsletter and take a complimentary quiz that will give you feedback and practical tips.

Success doesn’t need to be a culmination of battle wounds. The biggest mistake people make is they get in their own way with worry and lack of focus. Know where you want to go, talk to people who have been there, and be ready to make some strategic sacrifices so you can get there fast. Now stop reading and start writing your success story!

Dr. Rob Fazio is an executive advisor to Fortune 500 executives, surgeons, and emerging businesses with OnPoint Advising, He is the author of  Simple is the New Smart (foreword by Neil Cavuto), and  the Motivational Currency Calculator assessment. For 15 years he’s been featured on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and NBC. He’s contributed to Forbes, the New York Times, New York Daily News, the CEO Magazine, NBC News, Success Magazine, and the Philadelphia Business Journal.