Know how: Create your own recipe for success — and put it in writing

Fred Dawson
Guest columnist

I was in my hotel room in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1979, wallowing in the misery of a job I hated when I did something that I later learned we all must do.

The first thing I did was to make a list of all my personal attributes that I might offer to my next employer. Not realizing it at first, but what I had listed sounded very much like what I had learned in Boy Scouts — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, etc. — with a good dose of details like working with people; positive mental attitude, caring, relentless.

Preparing my own personal financial balance sheet did not take a lot of time; few assets, high credit card debt and mortgage. You must do this also, and keep doing it annually.

Thirdly, I learned many years later that I should ask five to 10 people/friends who knew me well to write me a letter telling me what my unique abilities are. I think this is crucial. We all have unique abilities that we do not recognize as such because they come so easy to us. Because they are so easy they can’t be unique, right?

Wrong, Grasshopper! You may be stunned what your friends write you (and it must be written) so you can refer to it when you are listing your personal attributes.

Lastly, you must have written, big, hairy goals. In fact, you must go through magazines and cut out those things pictured there that represent as close as possible those things you aspire to. Tape them to your mirror in the bathroom so that they are the last thing that you see at night and the first thing you see in the morning.

Your brain will continue to “work” as you sleep for answers to attain those goals.


Fred Dawson is a wealth manager and executive vice president at Basset, Dawson & Foy, Inc.

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