The Two Areas You Must Master If You Want to Be Successful


We all want to be successful, but for each and every one of us that same success looks a little bit different. Some measure their success by the amount money they have in the bank. Others view success in terms of the number of achievements, awards or honors they have received over the course of their lifetime. And for many, success simply means having the flexibility to decide what will make us feel successful day by day. 

Regardless of what success means to you, there are two major areas of your life you must master if you want to be truly successful—and that is your time and your standards.

Industry expert Kati Whitledge shares her personal trials and tribulations when it comes to achieving her own version of success, and offers her best advice on mastering those two areas in our lives that we often take for granted. 

In addition to hosting the beloved Beyond The Technique podcast, Kati is the owner of the award-winning Be Inspired Salon located in Madison, Wisconsin, and the creative brain behind Meet Your Stylist, an innovative salon software system that matches potential clients with salon professionals based on services, lifestyle preferences, and personality. Kati is passionate about helping others in the industry develop their own success stories, and wants to share her success with all of you by spilling her secrets to mastering her own time and standards, both personal and professional. 


Taking On Time

The first decision you have to make in figuring out your path to success is where you want to spend your time. Kati’s favorite social media gif says, “You have the same number of hours in a day as Beyoncé.” And it’s so spot on. We all get twenty-four hours a day to maximize, and as Kati says, time is the one commodity we don’t get back. 

So, how are you going to maximize your time? Sure, we all have tremendous responsibilities, but we also all have the power to prioritize our time. It’s a choice, and how you choose to define success will ultimately determine how you choose to spend your time.

For Kati, this means getting up before her one-year-old so that she can have some quiet time. It also means checking emails and logging into work before her salon opens so that she can make it to her 4 p.m. yoga class and be home before her husband gets back from picking their son up from daycare.

Success is simply about making a few value-based decisions and managing those decisions each and every day. Kati makes sure to schedule no more than two in-person meetings per day and allows herself at least two totally uninterrupted days during the week to accomplish tasks. She’s mindful about only saying yes to one after-work event per week so as not to neglect her family time, and she’s especially intentional about getting enough sleep. Every choice is purposeful—so, what does that look like for you? 


Setting Your Standards

The second decision you have to make during your journey to success is determining what standards you intend to live by. Kati likes to set standards instead of goals because a lot of times goals turn into wishful thinking. So, why don’t we shift the mindset away from setting goals and move toward setting tangible and realistic standards for ourselves. 

The important piece here, is that unlike goals, these standards are non-negotiable. Outside of work, Kati’s non-negotiables are reading, writing, checking in with her managers, and doing one load of laundry per day. While to some these might seem like items we wouldn’t even include on our checklist, that sort of attitude is exactly how we wind up with six loads of laundry and two un-finished novels sitting by our bedside. 

If you need help determining your non-negotiables, Kati recommends that you think about your environment, your identity, and your values. First, your environment, all of the places and people you surround yourself with. You have to decide who fits into your environment. This is critical because you are who you spend time with, and that decision plays an active role in determining how you spend your time. Are the places and people around you challenging you or pushing you toward your version of success?

Second, your identity, who you are. Think about who you are right now, and then who you want to become. Are there areas in your life where you’re failing to take accountability? If you were the dream version of yourself, who would you be? What do you need to do in order to become the person you were meant to be?

Kati shares some insight from her friend, Dave Ramsey, who taught her about the concept of displacement. In his words, displacement is, “pouring in the good to remove the bad.” Instead of pinning your focus on ridding yourself of your bad habits, put your energy toward bringing new and positive behaviors into your life.

Finally, your values, the attributes and aspects of life that matter to you most. Simply put, your values are displayed by your actions. You may say that you value education, but when you’re asked to sign up for an amazing opportunity, you decide to pass because you’d rather use your lunch break to sit on Facebook. You may value reading books on salon marketing or personal growth, but when the rubber meets the road, you choose to turn on your favorite Netflix series.

As Kati says, you cannot change what you don’t acknowledge. These words are here to encourage you to live by new standards and be wise with your time—all in order to get you to the level of success you truly desire. For Kati, all it took was hearing Brad Sugars say, “If you don’t know where you’ll be in five years, you’re already there.” What will it take for you? 

Use this as an opportunity to create the life and legacy you’ve always desired. 

To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 159, and if you’d like to learn a little bit more about our host, Kati, check out her website and don’t forget to subscribe to the Beyond The Technique podcast for more incredible industry insight. 




Emily Kelly