22
24
Gini Dietrich

Three Secrets to Your Own Success

By: Gini Dietrich | November 21, 2013 | 
139

Three Secrets to Your Own SuccessBy Gini Dietrich

The best Christmas gift I could receive (well, other than a Cervelo) is being told I no longer have to turn off my phone or iPad during takeoff and landing on the plane.

Merry Christmas early to me!

So, while we were preparing for takeoff yesterday, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across an interesting article on Samantha Collier’s page.

Called “Nine Things Extremely Successful People Do After Work,” I thought, “I’ll bite.”

And I was pleasantly surprised! Of the nine things, I do seven quite consistently. Does this mean I’m extremely successful?!?

Take a look:

  • Unplug
  • Go to happy hour
  • Have sex
  • Plan your weekend
  • Play an instrument
  • Go outside and play
  • Play a crazy sport
  • Focus on family and friends
  • Get eight hours of sleep

Likewise, an article in Inc., revealed the “Eight Things Really Successful People Do.”

  • Make materialism irrelevant
  • Enhance knowledge
  • Manage relationship expectations
  • Practice emotional self-awareness
  • Commit to a physical ideal
  • Gain clarity about spirituality
  • Adhere to a code of ethics
  • Focus on time efficiency

And yet another article, “Early Riser? What You Should Do When You Wake Up,” describes what entrepreneurs who get up early do with their time (I’m writing this at 4:09 a.m.).

The point is, there is no secret to success. It’s different for everyone…and it constantly evolves.

Secrets to Your Own Success

But there are three things I think are imperative to anyone’s success: Eight hours of sleep, a commitment to a physical ideal, and unplugging.

Eight Hours of Sleep. I don’t get eight hours every night, but I do average that throughout the week (I know this because my UP band tells me so). I find I’m much more productive, energetic, and a better leader when I get enough sleep.

Commitment to Physical Ideal. I have always said exercise is like brushing your teeth … it’s just something you have to do every day. I used to have insomnia pretty badly. I’ve had nightmares since I was a kid and they used to wake me up and scare me so badly, I refused to go back to sleep. Then I started riding my bike a gazillion miles every day and my body decided it was too tired to even let me dream. I always have nightmares on my rest days (which is why I unwittingly only take one each week) and I don’t sleep as well. Without the daily exercise, eight hours of sleep is not doable.

Unplugging. This is totally counter-intuitive, particularly in our society, but my New Year’s resolution this year was to stop working weekends. Even if I have a crap load of work to do, I let it sit. I shut my computer down on Friday night and don’t reopen it until Monday morning. I have found I am soooooooo much more productive during the week. There is no more telling myself, “Oh you can do that this weekend.” The work has to get done during the work week. Sure, I don’t totally unplug – I still check emails and the social networks on my phone or iPad. But the work, work? It waits for two days.

These are the three things I encourage among my team…and I challenge you to think about them, too.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

140 comments
akasha968
akasha968

Nice! This is very interesting. I will apply your secrets to get success. Thank you.

samtaracollier
samtaracollier

Hey @ginidietrich this is my first comment on a blog in SOO long! I've been a horrible blog/social media commenter! - big smack to the head. 


And I'm not surprised that you did 7 out of the 9 things - you are one of the most successful people I know! And you're also one of the most busy people I know so it's great that you do all of these things. I've been having major issues getting my 8 hours of sleep recently. I'm going to commit to getting that done before I tackle the other 8. :)

tnfletch
tnfletch

I completely agree with your recommendations and I would also add eat healthy for a strong body and mind. (Or at least try to eat healthy some of the time, I am not giving up pizza anytime soon!) 

SFerika
SFerika

Making sure to get enough sleep and to take time for yourself to recharge seem to be the two things people all too often sacrifice in the supposed interest of something else (typically their job.) Excellent reminder on this going in to the holiday season.

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

On the topic of physical activity, there's a pretty good book about this - http://www.amazon.com/Spark-Revolutionary-Science-Exercise-Brain/dp/0316113514

A lot of the research suggests that we actually think better and are more productive with regular exercise, and particularly right afterwards (he uses the example of students in Napierville, IL who did physical activities at zero hour and had a reading/writing/critical thinking class afterwards saw huge improvements). 

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman

Yes, yes, yes to working out - and on the day(s) I don't do it? I feel somewhat incomplete...

danielghebert
danielghebert

I had 2 of the 3 things you've mentioned down path Gini - I always get 8 hours a sleep, because I typically get up around 5:30 and go to bed fairly early. Also, since last summer, I started unplugging during the evenings and weekends. I don't feel as dependent on my technology anymore, and I do agree with you that I tend to get more done during the day.

The one that was lacking for me was exercise, but have been getting back to the gym lately, at least 4 times a week. I've been feeling much healthier lately, and much happier :)

DebraCaplick
DebraCaplick

Eight hours of sleep? My body won't let me anymore - once I got past 33, I automatically started sleeping less. But with all my furballs, I automatically have the exercise part down. Now if that pesky plantar fasciitis would quit interfering.

JRHalloran
JRHalloran

Ah, the need for sleep! No one can seem to get a full 8 hours anymore. 

I think we should seriously set in motion a "work less" campaign in this country. Seriously. Why do you think people of other countries are happier than Americans? It's because they have more time for themselves. 

Anyway, I really enjoy reading your posts, Gini! Keep it up!

LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

8 hours of sleep!!! Well crap! But I totally win in the getting up early and exercise departments! 

Lori
Lori

Too funny Gini! I'm just editing a post for next week with a very similar title but completely different content! So much can be said about success!

:-)

Lori

Latest blog post: Is Life Supporting You?

KateNolan
KateNolan

I think unplugging is they key to achieving a lot of these. Once you've taken that time away it's easier to see everything with a clear head. Then the clutter of blogs, facebook, videos, etc. isn't just hanging out in your brain. Then you can add in the family, friends, exercise, and hobbies that are meaningful and fulfill you. Gotta quit the digital addiction first!

I'm realizing, as I re-read Quiet by Susan Cain (yes, I'm that big of a fan), how much environment dictates my mood and, thus, my success in any project. So I'm focusing on clearing out the digital and physical clutter. Do I really need this blog in my feed? Do I ever comment or take action on the content? Do I really need these books and miscellaneous paper? Um, well, yeah... ;)

Anyway, really great post and it comes at that time of year where I (and a lot of others, it seems) are reflecting and planning for 2014, so thanks!

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

Great post Gini! Ugh...I get the nightmares, too. Waking crying and screaming sort. And as my habits get more messed up during sales season...they get worse. I very much know that exercise would help...but just can't manage to sort my schedule out. Ugh...I guess I need to start running again. Oh yes, you are an early riser... one that texts meaningless series of emoticons at 5:44 am...which I know because of course I sleep with my phone on and beside me... 

Digital_DRK
Digital_DRK

Doesn't sex consist of , Happy Hour, Crazy Sport & Physical Ideal combined? 

Unplugging is a challenge, I do unplug from my full time job, however i use "plugged in" evenings and weekends to pursue my "wanna be" future career..

I'm usually up at 5am,  6am on weekends.  

danielleserrano
danielleserrano

I think that the unplugging one is very interesting.  Last year, I served as President of the Student Association for my school.  Although I didn't go to the office on the weekends, I was flooded with calls, texts and e-mails.  With today's technology, I feel that it is impossible to "unplug."  My iPhone is attached to my hip and of course my e-mail is linked to my phone so with every e-mail I receive, I also get a notification.  I think that unplugging is something that really takes some restraint.  Although in the long run unplugging feels great, their is a bit of anxiety that occurs prior to doing it (or at least for me). 

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. I am not even close to the kind of shape I like being in but if I don't get regular exercise I can guarantee that I will find multiple ways to get into trouble and that my normal loving curmudgeonly self will morph into the guy who uses a fire hose to keep the kids off of his lawn.

Unplugging is important too. It takes a certain amount of discipline but I have found that if I take at least one full day off of work my productivity increases.

Latest blog post: What Kind Of Blogger Are You?

RobBiesenbach
RobBiesenbach

Getting enough sleep is definitely a key to success, but I'd argue we all need different amounts. For me, 7 hours is plenty sufficient and I can get by fine on 6.

Gotta work on unplugging, though. If I'm in front of the TV at night I'm doing email, reading blogs and news, scheduling tweets, etc. There are only a few shows that require and get my full attention.

Latest blog post: Rob1

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@JoeCardillo I have found I am certainly much more productive when I exercise. During the summer, I ride at lunchtime and you should see what I accomplish when I get back. Now, though, I'm riding early, but the results are pretty comparable. My brain functions A LOT better. In fact, my team will say to me, "Have you been for a ride today?" That's code for, "You're grouchy."

EricPudalov
EricPudalov

@RobBiesenbach I think you're right, Rob.  Just as with diet, different people require different amounts of sleep, and I suppose it depends on what you're used to.

I'm curious as to what shows get your full attention...because as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes that's enough to keep me awake late!

tnfletch
tnfletch

Yum that sounds good too! I love any food with cheese really, I'm from Wisconsin I think it's in our DNA!

Digital_DRK
Digital_DRK

@ginidietrich @JoeCardillo  Agreed,  my summer kayak evenings/weekends really help center me emotionally, which in turn helps my "processing" side.  Winter time - little more challenging with just the gym.  New Years resolution - Yoga and meditation.  "Staying in the Moment"   

KateNolan
KateNolan

@ginidietrich @KateNolan I rarely re-read, there's always something new on the list, but this is one where there's more to "get" with another read-through.

KateNolan
KateNolan

@belllindsay @KateNolan Oh, you have to read it! It's a like a nice, warm hug that says "you're ok". I'd started to think I was crazy, just couldn't function at work, and this helped really point out why that was. So... a nice, warm hug that says "you're not crazy, you're ok". There's my review!

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

@EricPudalov If I am not expecting important calls the phone gets turned off and put inside a drawer. Can't do it for the entire weekend but significant chunks of time.

I also turn off the sound so that notifications are less likely to entice me to check the phone.

Since I love writing and prefer to compose at the computer it is not unusual to see me writing during the weekend, but I don't post most of it.

And I make a point to avoid work stuff unless absolutely necessary. It hasn't been easy because I spent most of the past seven years working 7 days a week.

But it has made life more enjoyable overall.

Latest blog post: What Kind Of Blogger Are You?

RobBiesenbach
RobBiesenbach

@ginidietrich I traveled Monday/Tuesday on early flights and got 4.25 Sunday night and 4.5 Monday night. Tuesday I got 9 plus a nap!

Latest blog post: Rob1

RobBiesenbach
RobBiesenbach

@EricPudalov Ha! Great question. I close my laptop for the following shows: Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Downton Abbey. Used to be true for Modern Family and Parks and Rec, but not as much anymore, sadly.

Latest blog post: Rob1

belllindsay
belllindsay

@KateNolan Remember the classic "I'm OK - You're OK" book?? Totally '70's self help. My mom had it on her bedstand! LOL