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What’s wrong with it? I asked the air conditioning repairman as he took apart my air conditioner.   He said, “One of two things, either you ran it without a filter, or you ran it too cold too long.” Now, I’m no expert, but I was pretty sure that I wasn’t getting the full story. A minute later, my husband Jason came outside and I repeated what the tech had told me. Seeing Jason, the repairman back peddled and said that wasn’t what he said. Incredulous, I realized that since I wasn’t born a man, this guy wouldn’t believe that I ran a construction company that once replaced 200 air conditioning A-coils on an air force base.

It has been so long since someone has treated me like a “dumb girl” I didn’t know how to react. In another time and place, I might have taken it personally; today I realize that his behavior was just a symptom of his thinking.

As an entrepreneur I’ve learned that inventers, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs face ridicule and criticism because most people subscribe to ‘the way it’s always been done mentality’. Successful people know that in today’s fast paced world, what got you here won’t keep you here and thinking differently is the only way you can be successful.

Here’s 5 ways successful people think and how you can think differently for your success:

  1. Don’t Be a Sheep: If you’re in a burning building and you see everyone running to the right, look for the exit sign and make sure the door is not to the left. I see this all the time in airports, a crowd of people will blindly follow each other on one escalator when there’s another going in the same direction and it’s empty. Why? Because people are sheep. Don’t be a sheep. Watch the trends, be a forward thinker, look for answers to problems, find solutions to things people complain about. How many times have you thought, “If I had an app that could do this…” well you don’t, so how about making one? You don’t have to know how to write code, you can hire that out. If you don’t create the product or solution, I promise you someone else will.
  1. Ask Better Questions: My friend and best selling author Randy Gage says if you ask the wrong question then the answer doesn’t matter. He’s right. If you are willing to be curious about everything you will find answers and solutions to problems you don’t even know you have. Conflict comes from missed connections, most people look for better communication strategies; I looked for connection misfires. That led me to uncover Proclivities: The Science of Connection. I wanted to solve the mystery ‘Why do you do what you do?’ The last 6 years of research allowed me to answer that question so today I speak, coach and consult with companies and organizations and help them solve their employee problems. Today’s job market is fierce, so companies need to step up their game and create environments to have more engaged employees, higher sales and reduce voluntary turnover. What started out as a personal question evolved into a revolutionary idea and business today. What question are you always asking, how can you find the solution to create lasting impact?
  1. Look for the Patterns: Everything in life has a flow, a pattern, or a rhythm. Whether it’s the stock market or a business, everything has a life cycle. Stocks go up, and then they come down. The really skilled stock traders are able to anticipate the direction a stock is going to go based on the patterns of the charts. They take that data to create algorithms to get the information faster and with more precision. They don’t just guess the direction of the market, they consider the variables and watch for signals. If you want to make a dent in the universe, you have to ask yourself where are the patterns that you see and what are the possible outcomes. Then test your theories repeatedly until you have enough data points to conclude that you are on to something.
  1. Reverse Engineer: Begin with the end in mind. Alice in Wonderland said, ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there’.   If you want to build a spaceship to take people to Mars, you have to know where Mars is, what conditions are on the planet and then work backwards to put the elements in place. You don’t start out with “I need some money to build a spaceship to go somewhere to do something.” If you start anything out that way, you’re guaranteed to fail. Even something as simple as weight loss starts out with a goal and then works backward to create the steps. You need a plan for everything that matters in your life. If you want to create a company you need a strategy, if you want to build your network, you need a strategy. Where are you going and how are you going to get there?
  1. Don’t Settle. The status quo is not where you want to play. When you were a child, you just forged ahead, you didn’t have enough knowledge to be scared, you just went for it and knew you were going to be all right. Life hasn’t changed, you’re dying anyway, and you’re already naked so why not go for it? Tony Robbins said “Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure” and he’s right. If you’re spending your time building a life you don’t want, what are you building it for?

Success comes when you look at the world differently, when you see what others don’t.   True success means living life on your terms. If you’re living the life your parents thought you should, or dreading Mondays instead of jumping out of bed excited to do meaningful work, it’s time to make changes. Start today, tomorrow is never promised.

What do you think about this?  Did I miss anything?  How do you define success thinking? Leave me a comment and let’s talk about it!

Seanlai is CEO of The Retention Experts and is an internationally known speaker, author, coach and consultant. She is the founder of Proclivities:Science of Connection and Seanlai helps companies and individuals connect and strengthen leadership, retain talent and increase their profitability. Her new book, The Mysterious Power will be available in stores 2nd Quarter 2016. Connect directly with Seanlai at or  via twitter

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