Whether managing an award-winning successful business in London, publishing a book, competing in various ultra-marathons, or taking on projects with big vision, there are certain characteristics I've needed in order to succeed. I don't profess to know any great secret to getting things done but I have learned along the way that there are a few methods—all learned, I might add—that help me see a project through. Discipline is essential if you want to succeed at anything. Whether you are an artist, musician, writer, photographer, or whatever, it is important to invest in yourself. This may mean removing distractions while you work (phone, Facebook etc.), getting regular sleep, and eating healthy. People with good self control are less conflicted and make better decisions.
Patience. It may sound like a no-brainer, but it's super important. I have rushed into bad decisions that could have been avoided had I been patient and done some research or thought before pulling the trigger. Sometimes the first idea is not always the best idea and exercising a bit of caution can never hurt. Things that lead to impatience are: stretching yourself too thin, looking at the minute details, and negative thinking. There are ways to overcome it, though. Delegate work to people, look at the bigger picture, and give yourself a break from time to time. It's not the end of the world after all. Write the bad experiences into a journal, learn from them, and move on.
Vision. It's a word that gets thrown around a lot. When I take on anything big like training for an ultra-marathon—which means 16-20 weeks of mammoth training through winters, rain, sickness, and being away from my family for extended periods of time at the weekend—I have to visualise each of those situations. I have to look into the future to mentally prepare myself for each of these things. If something goes wrong, like it did earlier in the year when I got the flu, I have to adjust not only my plans but my expectations, too. Same with publishing my book. It got derailed a few times and came out later than expected, but I never believed for a second it wouldn't happen. We all have our Everests. Just make sure you know what you are getting into.
Community is your battery. Surrounding yourself with the right people will spur you on and inspire you to no end. They will toast your success when it happens and dry your tears when you fail. One of the things I love the most about my endeavours in writing, running, and music, is the people I get to share it with. I don't care who you are and how successful you are, it means nothing unless its shared. You also get to give back to all those who have given to you, and that feels pretty darn special.
Be Passionate. No one wants to hear from you if you don't believe in what you are doing. You must love what you do, do it for that reason alone, and put the hours in. There is no magic theory and if you start out with the intention of being “discovered,” then you've failed before you've even started. I work a day job to allow me to do all the things I love. I get to write and publish, practice my craft, be a musician and athlete, and fill my life with things that matter on an intellectual level. If you do what you love for long enough, then beautiful, life-affirming things will happen.