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MCLEOD: 3 things successful happy people do differently

I have a ringside seat to the success and failures of others. As an executive coach, I share in the triumphs and challenges of my clients.

One of things I'm really good at is spotting patterns. There are distinct differences between the way successful, happy people approach life versus those who continually struggle.

Here are three things happy successful people do differently:

  1. They focus on happy jealousy

When a colleague gets promoted or a friend gets a new home, less successful people are jealous because they wish the prize had gone to them instead. Successful people also feel jealous, but it's a different kind of jealousy. Instead of negative envy, they feel what I call happy jealously. They're happy for the other person, and they wish it had also happened to them too. The nuance is important.

Less successful, less happy people tend to have a scarcity mentality. They believe there aren't enough raises and new cars to go around. When someone else gets a prize, it means less for them. When a friend wins a trip to Europe, they're more likely to get dejected, thinking, well what about me? Successful people respond differently. They're jealous but instead of feeling left out, they ask themselves, "How can I make that happen for me?" Rather than sitting on the side complaining, healthy -- or happy-- jealously motivates the successful, happy people to take action.

  1. They don't get defensive about suggestions

As a coach, my job is to help my clients get better results. My best clients welcome feedback and act upon it. Successful people view feedback through a lens of continual improvement. Less successful people have a different lens. They're more likely to interpret a suggestion as a damning comprehensive negative judgment on their entire being.

For example, in a 30-minute coaching call with a successful, happy person, we can cover four or five issues and they'll walk away with ideas and techniques that they can implement immediately. With a defensive person, the results are much slower.

Instead of discussing how they can act upon the advice, they spend their time justifying and defending their current approach, even when it's clearly not working. They wind up getting less help. Meanwhile, while they're defending, the successful person has already implemented three things.

  1. They analyze their mistakes

Successful, happy people don't enjoy mistakes any more than anyone else. But one thing they do differently is they take the time to analyze their mistakes. Less successful people tend to either avoid thinking about mistakes, or they get mired in them. This comes from a place of fear and insecurity. Less successful, less happy people don't have the confidence that they can shape their destiny. They don't like to face their mistakes because it feels hopeless.

Successful, happy people know differently. They're willing to wade through the painful process of unpacking their mistakes, so that they can handle things differently the next time. Ironically, less successful people's unwillingness to analyze mistakes is what keeps them mired in them. Successful people analyze their mistake, learn from it and move on.

Look at the above list and ask yourself: What is preventing you from acting like this today?

You don't need a good job, a great education, lots of money or the perfect family to start implementing these ideas. The faster you start acting like a happy, successful person, the faster you'll become one.

Lisa Earle McLeod is the author of "Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud."