2 Habits of Really Successful People (Mad Men Edition)
BY: BILL MURPHY JR

The world has changed radically, but some of the habits that led to success in the 1960s have timeless application.

Years go by, fashion changes, but the things that really successful people do each day are timeless.

Here’s a case in point: Mad Men, the hit television show about the partners and employees in a 1960s advertising agency, now entering its seventh season. I’ve written before about how the real star of the program isn’t Don Draper or Peggy Olson but the advertising agency itself. More than that, if you take notes, you’ll see that the plot lines and characters offer great examples of how to get ahead every single day–and how not to.

1. Trust your creative side.

Series protagonist Draper’s title is “creative director,” which has to be one of the most apt job descriptions ever, given his penchant for reinvention. However, he does seem to understand how his creative mind works. Among his practices, he’ll spend a lot of time thinking about a creative challenge, then forget it, allowing his subconscious mind to do the heavy lifting.

2. Fake it until you make it.

Draper is secretly living another man’s life, and with the development of another character, Bob Benson, it looks as though he’s not the only one. When the firm was small, it would go out of its way to try to look bigger and more accomplished. You don’t want to be dishonest or disingenuous, but you do want to visualize what success would look like and behave as if you already fit the part.

3. Get ahead of your customers.

Here’s the key to advertising. Dealing with people effectively is about finding a way to help them get what they want. The challenge is that so few people are truly self-aware. Thus, your mission is to figure it out for them and find a solution to a problem they didn’t even know about.

4. Think bigger.

Olson rose from secretary to creative director. Joan Holloway is now a partner bringing in new accounts. Both characters have reached higher levels than they originally dreamed of, only to find that the prize for climbing a mountain is often another bigger mountain. Plans change, goals shift, but it’s the people who are willing to dream bigger who actually accomplish things.

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