Yesterday I wrote about how success leaves clues.

One of my brilliant friends responded by saying that success leaves behind a trail of breadcrumbs… or rather croissant crumbs, since successful people wouldn’t settle for ordinary bread.

What a great metaphor!

So today, let’s follow the trail of croissant crumbs left behind by successful people. :)

By the way, when I say “successful”, I don’t necessarily mean “filthy rich, living in a giant mansion, and world-famous.”

Success must be defined on your own terms.

And I would encourage you to define it – by asking yourself “What do I really want?”

But back to croissant crumbs.

People who are ultra-successful leave a LOT of them, and here are five that I believe are paramount to creating and building your dream business (and life).

1. Successful People Have A Dream

Not just a “desire”, but a DREAM.

What’s the difference?

A desire is for something like a paycheck, a new client, a vacation, a new computer, traffic to your website, a subscriber list, accolades, a new house, a speaking gig…

Nothing wrong with any of those.

But a dream is the heart that beats underneath your desires.

It’s a vision for something you can create and build which is like nothing that ever existed before. It keeps you up at night, and whispers in your ear when you’re sitting quietly.

Big or small, it’s magnificent, to you and to the people whose lives you are meant to touch with your dream.

2. Successful People Have A Team

Nothing truly amazing happens as a result of just one person’s efforts.

The top achievers in history have always had a team of partners, associates, and/or employees.

Even if you’re just starting out and can’t afford to hire a team (or perhaps never want to), you must get yourself aligned with at least one other person with whom you can brainstorm, banter, and bounce ideas off of.

Napoleon Hill, in his classic Think And Grow Rich, discussed the concept of a mastermind group, where two or more people put their energy into a project or problem, and that energy multiplies exponentially.

Having resisted partnerships in my own life for a LONG time (I always thought I was smart enough and capable enough to “figure it out on my own”) – and then having experienced the incredible power of a mastermind – I cannot urge you strongly enough to put this into place in your own life.

3. Successful People Show Up Consistently

Despite how many opportunities there are to “get rich quick” or “go viral” and get a ton of publicity overnight, permanent success is the product of persistence.

Even if you have a sudden wave of publicity or a financial windfall, you must follow it up with consistent action, or it’s just a flash in the pan.

Maybe that’s all you want.

But I don’t think so. I think you want to build something lasting and meaningful – not just make the front page or collect a pile of cash, only to lose it all the next day, week, or month.

In order to create that lasting and meaningful success then, simply show up.

Take consistent action toward your dream every single day (with rest breaks, of course) and you will succeed – absolutely guaranteed.

4. Successful People Ignore The Critics

Truly successful people don’t particularly care whether everyone else likes what they’re doing, what they look or sound like, or even who they are.

If the dream is strong enough, and you’re expressing yourself with total authenticity, it doesn’t matter what the critics think.

History is replete with examples of people who persevered through intense societal disapproval and created incredible products, businesses, works of art, or entire movements of change.

And here’s a heads-up.

When you are following your heart and pursuing your dreams, there will be critics.

Seth Godin, in his amazing book Tribes, even urges readers to ask themselves, “How can I create something that critics will criticize?”

In our current society, in order to stand out, you have to infuse your business with 100% of YOU, and you have to push forward with such enthusiasm and belief in your dream that you can’t help but draw toward yourself those whom you are meant to serve.

But in doing so, you simply cannot help but repel the people you aren’t meant to serve.

Who cares?

You can’t please everyone, and the real superstars don’t bother trying.

5. Successful People Take Care Of Themselves

If you bought an expensive car, would you fill it with cheap gas and neglect to wash or maintain it?

With few exceptions, most people would say no. We tend to take care of investments like cars and homes.

We also take care of our families – our kids, spouses or significant others, and even siblings or parents.

Successful people do all of that – but they also know that in order to do it effectively, they must take as good care of themselves as they do everyone and everything else.

What does taking care of yourself look like?

It includes things like treating yourself to nutritious and healthy food (at least MOST of the time), getting as much sleep as your body tells you it needs, engaging in regular exercise of any sort (even if it means just taking the stairs more often or walking to the store instead of driving), and setting aside time to feed your mind with “nutritious” books, videos, recordings, movies, or even just silence.

Sometimes taking care of yourself costs money.

Spend it.

Don’t ever hesitate to invest in yourself. The benefits are priceless.

Think of it this way: everything else in your life comes and goes, but YOU will always be around for your life.

Treat yourself as if you matter every bit as much as all the other things that come and go (hint: you DO).

So there you have it.

Five fabulous croissant crumbs to nibble on and savor.

Bon appetit, and I’ll see you next time!