Careers

5 mental shifts that will make you more successful

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Many of the barriers that stand in the way of making more money or being happier are self-imposed.

As Kristi Hedges, leadership consultant and author of "The Inspiration Code" writes, "Being able to understand, examine and even counter the influences on our thoughts and behavior enables us to expand our thinking and change our range of motion."

To break out of a mental rut, consider these five strategies successful people use to get ahead:

1. Stop thinking that a raise is out of reach

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Getting a raise boils down to whether or not you've met and exceeded expectations. To show your boss you've earned a raise, take control of your work by making sure you don't miss deadlines and take initiative.

But that's easier said than done. To help you get to that point, try automating reminders for deadlines and scheduling meetings with your boss to make sure you're completing important tasks.

2. Mentally prepare for difficult tasks

Michael Phelps
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Michael Phelps

From pro athletes like Michael Phelps to TV hosts like Stephen Colbert, many successful people have a mental trick that helps them reduce stress before an important event.

And according to Daniel McGinn, senior editor of the Harvard Business Review and author of "Psyched Up," having a routine before starting a challenging task will not only put you at ease, it will make you more successful, too.

If you know you're going to have to do something nerve-racking, start thinking of a routine that would work for you, he says.

3. Don't be afraid to fail

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Small business investor and host of CNBC's "The Profit" Marcus Lemonis says too many people let fear prevent them from making important decisions.

"You're going to fail at something," he says. "Who cares?"

Instead of being afraid to take a new risk, see each opportunity as a way to learn new skills.

4. Take your social skills seriously

New Harvard University research examined over 300 online and in-person conversations.
Willie B. Thomas
New Harvard University research examined over 300 online and in-person conversations.

Small talk is a lot more important than most people think. Developing relationships with your colleagues and your boss will help you land new opportunities and build your own network, which can help you down the line.

Change up your conversation starters, ask follow-up questions and don't be afraid to share personal stories. These will make others like you more.

5. Identify self-limiting habits

Brian Wong, chief executive officer and co-founder of mobile advertising company Kiip.
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Brian Wong, chief executive officer and co-founder of mobile advertising company Kiip.

Brian Wong, a 26-year-old self-made millionaire, likes to keep himself honest. If he fears a new opportunity, he checks in with himself about why. The mental trick, he says, has helped him go after new and exciting projects.

If you're worried about something, "Ask yourself: 'What's the worst that could happen?'" he says. "It helps you remove mental barriers."

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