Fashion designer Leona Edmiston is a household name these days.
She’s achieved incredible success over the past 30 years, dressing the rich and famous like Elle Macpherson, Britney Spears, Paula Abdul and Susan Sarandon, to name a few.
Widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading designers, Leona’s brand encompasses 30 stores.
And we’re thrilled to have inducted her into the 2016 Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame. (Her full story is in the Breaking Through Keepsake Booklet you can download here now for free.)
Recently, we asked Leona to tell us the secret to her success.
And one thing she said really struck a chord…
She told us a big part of her ability to break through in a highly competitive industry was that she followed her own path…
“Run your own race! Don’t be too influenced by others. Develop your own signature – you have to provide a point of difference in the market place.”
— Leona Edmiston
And it turns out, this tenacious commitment to march to the beat of one’s own drum, is a common trait we’ve seen all the women in this year’s Hall of Fame possess.
It’s not that these women have succeeded because they’ve had it any easier than others – it’s just that they’ve found a way to get past the obstacles that hold so many others back.
But how do you do that when it can so often feel as though there are nothing but obstacles coming your way?
How do you stay true to yourself and your instincts when so many people around you seem to be shouting “NO”?
And how do you go about finding and preserving what Leona Edmiston calls your “signature” in the process?
If these questions resonate with you, I thought you might like my Top 5 Tips for “running your own race.” These are the things that have helped me over the past two decades, as I’ve dealt with these same challenges, and asked these same questions, on my own entrepreneurial journey:
My Top 5 Tips for Running Your Own Race
1. Avoid comparing yourself to others.
That’s a sure-fire fast-track to frustration and demotivation. And can be terrible for your confidence.
It’s only natural to look to peers, mentors and role models for inspiration and guidance – but don’t attach your self-worth or sense of progress to what they’re doing or achieving.
The best person to compare yourself with is who you were yesterday, or last year or 5 years ago. If you know you’ve made progress based on where you’ve been, count that as a win and keep on moving.
2. Define what “success” looks like for you.
If you don’t set a goal, it’s really hard to know when you’ve reached it. What are your goals? What does success look like for you?
For some, success in their businesses means creating a multi-million dollar enterprise. For others it means being able to replace their full time income and never having to work for someone else again and for others it’s all about having flexible work hours so they can spend the time they want with their kids.
The key is that it’s what YOU define as success – not what anyone else says.
Clarifying your goals can be incredibly motivating. Having clear, tangible goals has helped me prevail during tough circumstances and I highly recommend you take the time out to document your goals at least once a year (I like to do this once a quarter).
3. Some rules were made to be broken.
Following your own path often means being prepared to give the status quo a bit of a rattle.
Like Hall of Fame inductee, Lisa Messenger, who has completely disrupted the magazine publishing world with her new approach.
And Beverley Honig of Honeylight Enterprises, who championed the idea of turning unwanted shipping containers into beautiful, environmentally friendly living spaces.
“Those people who trailblaze must possess the strength and courage of heart to work against the norms and those who say it won’t work.”
— Beverley Honig
And it was the same for me when I made the decision to move our services to being delivered primarily online. At the time, online business was still very new and much of what we did was based on live events. Being known as a business network, we were really going “against the grain” by not having as much of the typical meet, greet and canapé style events that were so prevalent at the time. But, as the market began to evolve and people embraced online learning, webinars and virtual networking, we were perfectly positioned to give our community exactly what they needed and wanted.
4. Back yourself.
When it comes down to it, there will be a few crucial moments in your business when you need to back yourself. Trust your instincts. Trust your experience. Trust the insight you have into your market and your product. Even if others around you are shouting “NO”, if it’s a big enough YES for you, then you’ve just got to go for it.
Remember, this is your business and your vision.
And when you back yourself, it’s incredibly empowering for your team. Every big decision I’ve made that has really backed my instincts has led to breakthroughs in my business, in my team and in my leadership.
5. Say NO a LOT more.
It’s hard to run your own race when you are busy running someone else’s. Most successful people I’ve ever met say NO… a lot.
And that’s because they understand that it’s crucial to protect your time, your focus and your resources, so you can get closer, every day, to YOUR vision.
So, that means it may be time for you to start considering saying NO more often – whether it’s that new contract that isn’t core to your business; or the friend of a friend who wants to take you out for coffee to “pick your brain”; or that next “bright shiny object” that’s going to take your eye off the main prize.
I’m presented with “opportunities” all the time, but I find navigating my own path to success is as much about the opportunities I say NO to as the ones I say YES to.
Learn more about the strategies for success from this year’s Hall of Fame inductees here in this free Keepsake Booklet.