Dr. Phil’s Sweet 16 Tips for Success – for High School and College Students


Dr. Phil Sweet 16 Life Rules on The DoctorsDr. Phil McGraw shares part of his formula for success with “The Sweet 16,” featured in his new book, Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World. He makes the point in the promo piece on The Doctors television show that success requires living authentically through these 16 rules. I’ve created a matrix of these Sweet 16 with critical soft skills for success that we introduce and coach on in the Career Coaching for Students program. These are skills that are aligned with and critical to teens and college students creating a successful launch from child to adult and being over-the-top happy in career and life. The two lists are independent of each other.

Dr. Phil McGrawFor college students, the heat is high enough to hold their attention on this subject – if it is offered as part of a college freshman seminar or provided proactively by the family as part of a personal career coaching program. For high school students, the ability to internalize these 16 life rules in order to leverage the opportunity to explore and plan for a career that is ideal for them is a tough challenge. However, some students are doing this and reaping the rewards in a big way. Dr. Phil’s Sweet 16 and the Life Skills for Students offered in the Career Coaching for Students program are both critically relevant for those wanting to experience success in life and work.

“I have studied success all of my life and I found that success leaves clues,” Dr. Phil says. “There is a formula for success and I’ve boiled it down to what I call The Sweet 16.”

The first column displays Dr. Phil’s Sweet 16 Rules. We’ve listed 16 “Life Skills for Students” that are key to success. Each of Dr. Phil’s rules align nicely to our Life Skills for Students content.

Dr. Phil’s Sweet 16 Rules for Success

Life Skills for Students™
1 Have a defined “image” and never go out of character.
You must know both yourself and how to present yourself.
Interpersonal Skills
Effectively communicating, building rapport and relating well to all kinds of people requires knowing yourself.
2  Create a perception of uniqueness.
Choose to define your image so that you distinguish yourself from anyone else in the world.
Creativity and Innovation
Adopting traditional or devising new approaches, concepts, methods, modes, designs, processes, technologies and/or systems helps to distinguish you.
3 Play “big,” not just long.
Playing big is different than playing long because even reliable and competent people that play long seldom win big, if at all.
Proactive Thinking
The capacity to think ahead in order to realistically evaluate the consequences of current actions, processes and decisions shows you are thinking big.
4 Learn to claim and accept praise, and acknowledge it in a gracious way, but do accept it.
The goal is to get noticed and acknowledged for who you are and what you do.
Decision Making
Utilizing effective processes to make decisions will be one of the biggest generators of praise.
5  Become “essential.”
If you want to succeed in any situation, it is important to be needed and good to be relied upon.
Initiative
The compelling desire to get into the flow of work in order to accomplish the vision and complete the goal makes you essential.
6 Know your real currency.
Don’t waste time working for what you don’t want.
Self Management
The ability to prioritize and complete tasks in order to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames is valued like gold by your employer/boss but will also help you create self-worth. Also see Goal Orientation below.
7 Always, always have a plan.
If you want to achieve a sustained measure of success in any area of your life, you need a specific plan that begins with identifying what you want.
Planning and Organizing
Utilizing logical, systematic and orderly work procedures to meet objectives.
8 Keep things “close to the vest.”
To be interesting you have to maintain a certain degree of mystery, because it gives you a degree of mastery.
Project and Goal Focus
The capacity to concentrate one’s full attention on the project or goal at hand, regardless of distractions or difficulties gives enables your mind to discipline itself.
9 Always be in investigatory mode.
You have to constantly be gathering relevant information that may empower you to do and achieve what you desire.
Continuous Learning
Check this module out by clicking on the link. Taking initiative in learning and implementing new concepts, technologies and/or methods. Let others be part of the source of your learning.
10 Must “stretch” and behave your way to success, even if it feels like “fake it until you make it.”
Have confidence and be bold enough to stretch yourself, scramble to close the gap if one exists, and grow into new opportunities.
Flexibility
The ability to readily modify, respond to and integrate change with minimal personal resistance.
11 Always keep your options open.
It is important to always leave yourself a face-saving way out.
Goal Orientation
Energetically focus your efforts on meeting your personal goals. Create a personal mission statement. Having a longer-term vision for yourself makes seeing the value of different options easier.
12 Always master the system and figure a way to make it work for you.
You can gain distinct advantage if you know the game better than anybody else.
Problem Solving
The ability to identify key components of the problem, possible solutions and the action plan to obtain the desired result.
13 Create a passionate nucleus of supporters.
Surround yourself with people who share your passion and vision, and support your pursuit of your goals.
Persistence
The capacity to steadily pursue any project or goal that a person is committed to in spite of difficulty, opposition or discouragement. Distance yourself emotionally from those that are naysayers to your goals.
14 Deal only with the truth.
You must resolve to never fail to acknowledge if you have a problem or are in some kind of toxic situation that is draining your life energy.
Personal Accountability
The capacity to take responsibility for one’s own actions, conduct, obligations and decisions without excuses. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone fails at some point. Some believe failing is the best way to learn – as long as you try again. Don’t fear owning your mistakes with others.
15 Recognize and use the ego and greed of others to create a path to success.
If you want acceptance and to be heard and well-regarded, you can create receptivity by being sensitive to your listener’s ego.
Futuristic Thinking
Imagining, envisioning, projecting and/or predicting what has not been realized yet. Others’ egos are not relevant to your long-term goals but may be valuable for your current situation.
16 Pick your battles and never let your opponent have control.
Never put yourself in an untenable position by picking a battle that you don’t need to fight and don’t know with great certainty that you can win.
Persuading Others
The capacity to influentially present one’s positions, opinions, feelings or views to others in such a way that they will listen and adopt the same view. Knowing others better than they know themselves puts you in control.

Carl Nielson is an organizational development consultant, professional career and executive/leadership coach and creator of the nationally recognized program Career Coaching for Students™ . Career Coaching for Students is available as a district-wide high school program, college program and in group and on-one-one offerings through certified career coaches throughout the United States, Canada and other countries. Contact Carl Nielson at carl@successdiscoveries.com or call 972-346-2892 to discuss specific needs. Or visit us at http://www.careercoachingforstudents.net

5 responses to “Dr. Phil’s Sweet 16 Tips for Success – for High School and College Students

  1. hello i am a mom of four teen 15,16,17,18,
    would love a recommendation for a life skills workbook my husband and i can do with our kids once a week? please help
    thanks
    Iris Walters

  2. Pingback: Dr. Phil's Sweet 16 Tips for Success - for High...

  3. Michelle DeCastro

    How can we apply these to our lives? How can we practice these on a daily basis? How can we put verbs into this list?

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