The Graduate’s Guide to Success: 
Nine Habits to Adopt Today for a Lifetime of Achievement

Getting a formal education is the first step to success. But your habits are 
what make the difference in your career. Author Paul Krasnow reveals 
the habits that will help you achieve a life of success.

          Edwards, CO (April 2018)—With graduation coming up, all your hard work is about to pay off. You’ve invested in an expensive formal education to ensure your bright future. That’s half the battle, says Paul G. Krasnow. But it takes more than a formal education to guarantee a great career.

          “Getting your degree is the first step in building the kind of life you want,” says Krasnow, author ofThe Success Code: A Guide for Achieving Your Personal Best in Business and Life (J & K Publishing, 2018, ISBN: 978-0-692-99241-8, $24.95). “But after that, you must develop the habits that let you leverage it into a job you love.”

          These habits, along with a strong work ethic, are your most valuable skillset and the real differentiators that fuel your career—not necessarily your formal education. It’s also important to hit the ground running after graduation. There’s no better time to set a path toward financial success than right now, when you’ve got youth on your side.

          Krasnow’s habits are what helped him build a career from the ground up. Following early success in the clothing industry, he experienced a financially devastating bankruptcy that forced him to rebuild his life from scratch. He went on to join Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he’s been a top producer for 40 years and has won many “Top Agent” titles.

          In The Success Code, Krasnow lays out the no-fail formula that took him to the top of his industry. Keep reading to learn his best practices that will bring you unprecedented success for years to come.

Fuel yourself with motivation. Krasnow says that one advantage of being young is that you have hunger and “the spark.” Hunger is the drive that pushes you to work hard. “The spark” is the excitement, energy, and anticipation of fulfilling your dreams. Seize this motivation and let it fuel your ambitions. And speaking of ambitions: If you haven’t done so already, figure out exactly what you want to accomplish in your life and write up a description of the vision you would like to bring into fruition. Let this vision motivate you to strive for exactly what you want for your life, and accept nothing less.

Solidify your work ethic now. Today more than ever, you must have an iron-clad work ethic to succeed in your career. This means being punctual, professional, responsible, self-disciplined, and productive. Be honest with yourself about which of these qualities you already possess and which you need to work on developing. Don’t feel discouraged if you currently fall short in many of these areas—they can take time to master. Instead, commit to sharpening each of these qualities to the best of your ability, and people will start taking notice.

Finetune your focus. Today’s employees have greater responsibility and less time to complete their work. This forces them to multitask, yet most people are terrible at multitasking. Plus, they are constantly interrupted by email, smartphones, and social media. Krasnow says success often comes down to your ability to tune out all of this “noise” and get focused.

“To help you stay disciplined, get rid of distractions and temptations until your work is finished,” says Krasnow. “Turn off media, remove clutter from your desk, and limit office chitchat anytime you have a task to complete. This creates an environment that best allows you to serve your clients and get your work done.”

Engage with your clients. Building and nurturing solid client relationships is the cornerstone of any successful business. To foster engagement, Krasnow says to commit to a personal code of integrity to ensure clients that you will work hard for them and that they are in good hands.

“Strive to be honest and authentic with your clients and your associates,” says Krasnow. “People will always be able to tell if you’re being friendly just to make a sale or establish a connection. You will earn your clients’ trust if you are upfront about products they don’t need and honest about the products they should use. Finally, show up for them in thoughtful ways. Get to know your clients and show genuine interest in their lives, and check in even when you have nothing to sell them.”

Get some grit. From time to time, you will inevitably fail, lose, or experience some kind of a professional or personal setback. When this happens, Krasnow insists that you’ve got to deal with the loss and move on. There’s no benefit in wallowing or succumbing to fear or anger.

“If you are resilient, you can bounce back from anything and get on with your life,” says Krasnow. “You have to believe that you can overcome anything, and then put that belief into practice. Take a short amount of time to mourn your losses and process your emotions—just don’t dwell on them. Next, take responsibility for where you are today and resolve to address any behaviors that need to be changed. Finally, get back to your normal routine, and do it better than ever.”

Work smarter, not harder. Krasnow recommends doing an audit of how you currently spend your work time. Take a moment to identify your most important recurring tasks, determine how long they take, and identify tasks that could be completed more quickly. Then, learn to prioritize your daily goals. Create a to-do list and divide your tasks into three categories: critical, high-priority, and low-priority. Tackle each task in order of priority.

“Another good rule of thumb is to stop reinventing the wheel,” adds Krasnow. “Make a habit of reusing and modifying resources already at your disposal.”

Never stop competing…with yourself. Krasnow recommends using a practice he calls “the push-up principle” to achieve personal goals by starting at your current skill and ability level and consistently moving up from there. This process naturally leads to self-improvement through small, manageable steps.

“If you can do only five push-ups today, try doing six push-ups tomorrow,” says Krasnow. “The push-up principle is incredibly simple, but it can create a long legacy of achievement. Set some reasonable goals and immediately start working to achieve them. Once you’ve proven to yourself how simple it is to execute your goals, your confidence level will begin to rise, and you can continually build on this momentum.”

Hone an ideal image. Your appearance should reflect the quality of your services, says Krasnow. Therefore, it pays to think of your health and wellness as an investment in your success. Without a strong, fit body, it’s difficult to have the stamina to do your best at work.

“Be sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and have given up bad habits like smoking or excessive drinking,” says Krasnow. “Then, once you’ve got your health under control, build a wardrobe that communicates the exact message you want to send to clients and associates. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but your clothing should fit well, and your eyewear, briefcase, purse, phone, and other accessories should be stylish and contemporary. Remember, everything matters.”

Become a whole person. Your success, and, ultimately, your happiness, lies in your ability to become a “whole person.” Krasnow says this means having a balanced and rich life in all areas of your existence. No matter how much fulfillment you get from your career, you still need to expand your life and enjoy all it has to offer.

“When you are happy in life, it shows in your confidence and in your work performance,” says Krasnow. “Make time to be present with those around you. Develop a few hobbies outside of work and find some ways to enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you want to give something back, you can even do some volunteer work. Another great way to round out your life and find deeper meaning is to explore your spiritual side through worship, prayer, or meditation. It’s a great way to connect to your purpose.”

          “Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of just getting a job,” concludes Krasnow. “The people who did that without considering the consequences of their decisions early on are now entering their second careers. Instead, develop the habits that lead to success and use them to build a career. When you realize your potential now—and not years down the road—you can put it to work starting today.”

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PaulKrasnowAbout the Author: 
Paul G. Krasnow is the author of The Success Code: A Guide for Achieving Your Personal Best in Business and Life. He is a financial representative at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he has been a top producer for 40 years. Early in his career, Paul suffered a financially devastating bankruptcy with a line of clothing stores he owned, but went on to join Northwestern Mutual, where he has created an impressive financial portfolio and a strong network of clients, many of whom have become lifelong friends. Paul regularly speaks for multiple life associations in the U.S. and has given seminars for law firms and CPA firms in the Southern California area.

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About the Book: 
The Success Code: A Guide for Achieving Your Personal Best in Business and Life (J & K Publishing, 2018, ISBN: 978-0-692-99241-8, $24.95) is available from Amazon.