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I've Coached Many Successful Entrepreneurs — Here are 7 Lessons I've Learned Along the Way The path to success varies widely among those who pursue it, yet it's bound by a few common practices. From writing down goals to prioritizing well-being, achieving a richer, more fulfilling life extends far beyond financial wealth.

By Chad Willardson Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • Successful entrepreneurs thrive by writing down their goals, connecting genuinely with others, and balancing achievement with rejuvenation.
  • They also emphasize long-term financial decisions, seeking experienced advisors, maintaining composure in crises, and prioritizing health and well-being.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I've spent the last several years coaching some of the most successful entrepreneurs from all over the world. I've seen up close what helps them achieve great prosperity while creating a lot of energy and happiness in their work and personal lives.

The path to success varies widely among those who pursue it, yet a few common practices bind it. My journey has enabled me to extract key lessons from these real-life stories. I'm currently working with a few business partners who are taking some chips off the table in their business with a valuation of $2.85 billion. We recently helped a client and his business partner sell their business to a global public company for $800 million dollars. This experience has helped me uncover seven strategies and principles that fuel success beyond what most people dream of seeing.

Related: You'll Always Have Anxious Employees if You Don't Follow These 4 Leadership Tactics

1. Write your future to achieve it

The first step in deciding what you really want is to simply write it down. Research has shown that people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them than those who don't. Identify what you truly enjoy without yet setting a specific outcome to achieve.

These successful individuals didn't achieve greatness by accident. They took the time to really think about what they wanted their future to be like and intentionally did what they could to create that reality.

Related: How Successful People Use the Law of Attraction

2. Elevate your network

Achieving your goals often involves connecting and networking with those who've already found success or are on a similar ambitious track as you are. People ask me all the time about how to elevate their network, and the first thing I can suggest is that you decide to become genuinely valuable to people you admire.

I don't love the term "networking" and would prefer the idea of "connecting" with others. Keep your commitments and be personable. Over time, your "network" will grow, and your reputation will open new doors.

Related: 3 Powerful Networking Strategies that Never Fail

3. Prioritize both achievement and rejuvenation

High achievers sometimes don't understand the critical balance between work, rest, and play. Burnout is a real threat to sustained success and prosperity. To sustain long-term productivity, it's essential to incorporate periods of relaxation and self-care.

Just like weightlifting only becomes effective when you incorporate rest days for your muscles to grow, the same principles apply to your work focus. You need to create space to step away and recover, especially in this "information age," where most of our time is spent staring at screens and processing new information all day and night.

4. Think long-term with money decisions

Before making any significant financial decisions, consider the long-term impact of your options. Financially successful people understand the difference between an asset and a liability. Ensure you keep your long-term perspective when making money decisions and avoid the temptation to spend or borrow to obtain what society says you need to have.

Related: How to Recognize Money-Making Trends in The Market

5. Stay steady in crisis

Successful leaders' composed demeanor and emotional stability enable them to think, make rational decisions, and find opportunities amidst the chaos. This is how I approached investing in real estate and the stock market back in 2007-2009 when the recession seemed like it would have no positive outcome — I used cash and even leveraged my portfolio to buy stocks in the spring of 2020. When you see everyone else retreating, stay composed. This builds confidence in the people you lead and shows how strong leadership can make a big difference in tough times.

6. Seek experienced advisors

Successful individuals are particularly selective when seeking advice. They prioritize insights from those who have firsthand experience. Don't take advice from people you wouldn't trade places with. Ensure you receive guidance from experts who are grounded in real-world successes and have been where you're going. Seek depth and authenticity that only firsthand experience can offer. People who seem to know it all are typically advisors you should stay away from. Remember, the best of the best stay curious.

Related: 3 Advisors Every Business Owner Needs

7. Health is wealth

Wealth without health or happiness is meaningless. Wanting to be financially successful at the expense of your health or relationships is a surefire path to an empty and lonely life. The successful people I have coached and advised for the last two decades know that true wealth encompasses well-being, family, and the ability to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Of course, success looks different from person to person. This 20+ year journey of coaching and advising some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs has taught me much more than I could imagine. From the power of writing down aspirations to prioritizing health and cultivating valuable networks to understanding the value of rest and recovery, they've taught me (and hopefully you) to pursue a path to a more prosperous, more fulfilling lifestyle.
Chad Willardson

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of Platinum Elevated & Pacific Capital, 5X Best-Selling Author

Chad Willardson is the Founder and President of Pacific Capital, a fiduciary wealth advisory firm. He is also the Founder of Platinum Elevated, a coaching program helping entrepreneurs achieve financial and lifestyle freedom, and a five-time best-selling author.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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