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Top Ten Tips For A Successful Life

By Kay Hannaford

It seems everyone these days is looking for the Top Ten Tips for Everything, so here’s my list of Top Ten Tips for a successful life:

1 Invest in yourself
2 Invest in yourself
3 Invest in yourself
4 Invest in yourself
5 Invest in yourself
6 Invest in yourself
7 Invest in yourself
8 Invest in yourself
9 Invest in yourself and last, but by no means least
10 Invest in yourself

This has been on my mind to write about for some time and now’s the time. Last week I attended the graduation event for 19 people who had completed an 8 month leadership program to which I had contributed. Listening to each 2 minute personal account of their learning experiences brought tears and bursting hearts to most in the room and cemented my resolve to reinforce the importance of putting ourselves forward for these (often challenging) experiences.

One of my most profound learning experiences came from abseiling over a cliff many years ago. It doesn’t get much more challenging than that (perhaps climbing Mt Everest, but for a sooky girl who didn’t do such things, abseiling at Morialta Falls WAS my Mt Everest). Hallelujah, I learned to overcome my deepest fears and, if I could do that, I could do anything!

Since then I’ve learnt other profound things from how to calm my mind in silent meditation for 9 days, how to have confronting conversations that freed me from years of angst to learning how to scrumble a tea cosy and yarn-bomb my neighbourhood. Oh, and professional accreditation. Lots of horizontal learning and now I’m also enjoying the vertical.

These days, when people contact me to enquire about coaching or mentoring, I know how much it will help them in developing the skills and confidence they are seeking. Even when they are excited about the prospect they sometimes baulk at paying the going rate for these services. Yet they think nothing of spending two or three times that sum on a website or glossy business cards and brochures. Or business outfits.

I did the same thing when I started my first business and I soon learned that hard-earned cash is much better invested in getting support for yourself and learning new, smarter ways to think and do things than in looking good!

Branding and marketing are important but we are our own best investments and, even if we have an organisation that supports our development, it’s foolhardy to rely just on an employer to guide and pay for our learning.

Long ago, I learnt that I am ‘it’ as far as my life and career is concerned and if I don’t invest in myself and my own development, both personal and professional, no-one else can be counted on to do it for me. I started budgeting $5,000 per annum for my own development and I made a commitment to undertaking at least one new learning program each year. Sometimes that investment has been in updating my technical expertise, sometimes in expanding my self-awareness and personal development and sometimes attending conferences and workshops in topics of interest to extend my understanding and connections. Sometimes it’s enabled me to travel and take up unexpected opportunities, but always it has been the key nutrient that feeds my mind and my body and soul. It still is and I have no intention of stopping this practice. Ever.

What I have learned over the years is priceless. It has been stimulating, life-changing and continues to be enriching beyond anything I could have imagined.

So if your employer doesn’t have the budget to support your learning, or even if they do, make that commitment to your own development and put aside an annual sum to invest in yourself and the things you most want to master to give you that extra edge in your career and that extra zing in your life.

That’s my Ten Top Tips for success!

PS That’s a scrumbled tea cosy!



Kay Hannaford



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