A Principles-First Approach To Success

Four themes that have consistently worked for me in business

Stephen Moore
Jun 25 · 6 min read
Photo by Aishath Naj on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered why, no matter how hard you ‘grind’, no matter how much you ‘hustle’, you aren’t achieving the success you want?

I used to think about this question a lot. I was doing what I thought were the right things. I was pumping out content. I was pushing my business onto anyone who was listening. I was taking on work from anyone who offered it.

But I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Turns out, I hadn’t done any of the necessary groundwork. I hadn’t built the foundation of my business properly. What reputation does my business have? What relationships am I developing? What I am doing this for? Am I taking the right opportunities?

I was failing because I was focused purely on the destination, and not on building the best possible path to it.

So what can you do to help you achieve the success you want so bad?

You can start by taking the time to get crystal clear on your principles.

You need to introduce principles that make you a better person and improve your own work. Principles that when applied, increase the chances of ‘making it’. Principles that will help to build a brilliant reputation for your business, find the right clients, and increase your work satisfaction.

Since growing my business, four principles have served me well and if implemented can do the same for you.


1. Be Humble

Humility is a vital part of success. Being able to appreciate what you have, and what you don’t have, helps keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, no matter what heady heights you are reaching.

Humility is also being grateful for the opportunities and the jobs you get, the people you meet, and the chances that come your way.

Humility and gratitude will carry you very far in your journey to success. As Gary Vaynerchuck says, “One is greater than zero.”

You should never expect anything, but you should expect to earn everything.

These are the ‘humble beginnings’ for a reason, and you should take nothing for granted.

How can you be more humble?

  • Accept that you don’t know everything. Once you come to terms with this, you can start to ask the right questions. You can start listening to others. And this will help you learn, and improve.
  • Accept that you have weaknesses. Acknowledging these weak points, and being willing to listen to other’s advice, or asking for their feedback, can turn them into strengths.
  • Appreciate that others are putting their neck out for you. If you are new to the game, and people are taking chances on you, you should be eternally grateful to them. Catching your big break is so hard, so thank your lucky stars someone is taking a chance on you.

2. Be Honest

Be honest with yourself. There are limitations to what you can do right off the bat. You haven’t developed all the skills required to achieve everything. So know your limits, and set realistic targets, goals and ambitions.

Be honest with the people you work with or around. They’re your support network. Trust is a two-way street and you’ll need their trust to make anything of your new venture — so prioritise earning theirs first.

Be honest with clients. They’re the be all and end of business—without them you are and will be nothing. Honesty between you and your clients will help you to form strong relationships, and good relations with good clients is a hallmark of a successful business.

How can you be more honest?

  • You need to keep your word. If you make promises, you sure as hell better keep them. More importantly, make sure your actions match your words. Don’t practice this ‘do as I say, not as I do’ bullshit.
  • Take responsibility. This means being willing to accept responsibility when things go wrong, and admitting a mistake or an error in judgment
  • Develop a culture of openness. There is nothing worse than bad-mouthing someone behind their back. So get it out in the open. Just be sure to think before you speak because once it’s out, it’s out.

3. Be Brave

Jim Carrey hit the nail on the head with the following truth bomb: “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

Don’t turn down great opportunities because of doubt, fear, or insecurity. Don’t hold back from new friendships, new business partnerships, and new clients. In the end, when the dust settles, you’ll only live to regret the missed possibilities.

When chasing success, risk is always going to be a huge part. It takes real guts to make the moves and decisions required to earn success, and sometimes you will have to bet big to get what you want.

So buckle up and throw down your chips. Fortune favours the brave.

Push your projects and ideas to the limit. Take on challenges that seem unsurpassable. Charge head first into the unknown. When you reach the outcomes, you will be surprised by what lies beyond there.

How can you be braver?

  • Acknowledge your fears. Identifying what is actually scaring you is the first step to overcoming them. Don’t hide them away. Bring them out in the open and begin to deal with them.
  • Change your mindset. We spend too much time worrying about screwing up. But what about what could have been? Don’t fear failure. Fear regret.
  • Find role models. At times in your journey, your head will drop and your spirits will be tested. It is important to have people you aspire to be like to help you motivate in those moments where you feel like giving up.

4. Be Proud

Life isn’t always rosy, and it isn’t always full of wins. So when you achieve goals, be sure to celebrate (at least a little bit).

Step back and reflect upon the accomplishments you make along the way. Every small step is really a big step, just on a really long ladder. Be amazed at your work. Allow yourself to feel that warm, proud feeling rise from your body.

It is such a simple thing to do, yet it’s constantly ignored as everyone pushes relentlessly towards their next objective. Of course momentum is necessary for success, but so is the occasional beer and revelling in self-glory.

This is great for your morale and your mental health. It will also help to motivate you and encourage you to push on towards the next objective.

And really, if you can’t enjoy your achievements, what’s the point in grafting so hard for them?

How to be more proud?

  • Break your goals down. Learn to take a big task, and make it many smaller tasks. Use these smaller tasks to build up confidence, and momentum. Then you can see notable progress and think, “Whoa, I am doing bloody great!”
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. If you constantly measure yourself against others, and others who are undoubtedly further ahead in their journey than you, then how are you ever going to feel proud of what you achieve?
  • Don’t let others talk down your wins. There is always someone out there with a big mouth who will try to bring you down. You’ve just got to say fuck them and continue to believe in yourself.

And there you have it — my four principles: humility, honesty, bravery, and pride. Build these principles into your life and not only will you grow—but so will your approach, attitude, and ultimately your opportunities.

They will also help you to be happier.

That sounds pretty freakin’ great, doesn’t it?

Start developing these foundations today, and build a solid platform to begin your journey to success.

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Thanks to Michael Thompson.

Stephen Moore

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Founder, maker & general creative. Get My Free 23 Page PDF Guide — ‘The Startup Checklist’ here 👉 http://eepurl.com/dchj6j

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