Each person is phenomenal. Each person is abounding in their potential for greatness. It may sound like a cliché, but clichés exist for a reason: they’re rooted in truth. And the truth is, you can achieve your personal vision. In fact, we all do. Whatever we choose to see when we look in the mirror, or when we picture the future, is exactly what we prove to be true. We live what we believe – about ourselves, our lives, our work – and others.
Why is this important? Does it matter what I believe, or will destiny play out, regardless of my choices and actions? Ah well, this is certainly not the blog for the existentially inclined, and we’ll leave these weighty questions for the philosophers (and our personal blogs). Rather, I prefer a more practical approach. Studies show, time and again, that taking intentional action on a consistent basis bears measurable, predictable results.
Einstein famously defined insanity as
“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
That’s because it stands to reason that if you repeat the same action over and over, you’re bound to get the same results. If you don’t, that’s a fluke. And we certainly can’t navigate our lives or our businesses by fluke.
It’s important to realise – and to believe – that success in both your business and your personal life is achievable. The only question is, how? Let’s step through the basics of success:
What does AWESOME look like for you?
For some people, success looks like a fancy car, a big house, and private schools for the kids. For some people, success means annual family vacations and a house in the suburb. For me, success means authentic, loving relationships; knowing I’ve done the very best I could in every area of my life; and always seeking honestly for truth and wisdom. The important thing is to define what success means to you. Not your boss. Not your spouse. Not your parents or your teachers. No one else knows what motivates you. No one else truly feels what matters to you. Only you know what sparks your passion, and only you will know if your life is spent in the fulfilling pursuit of that passion, or sold out to mores of your particular station in life.
This is equally true in business. Why do you work? What drove you to start your own business? What kept you from doing so? Do you want to be rich and famous? Do you want to be the best? Do you want to serve your community? Do you want to spend time with your family? You demonstrate what you value by what you’re willing to sacrifice, so define for yourself why you get up every day and do what you do. That definition truly is the starting point for the journey towards your own personal awesomeness. How will you know you’ve reached your destination if you have no idea where that destination is – or worse, if you don’t even have the right map or the right road?
Do you want it?
Now you know what success looks like in your life and your work. It’s time to ask yourself, “Do I want this?” Do you want what you have now? Are you content and/or fulfilled? If so, fantastic! Keep going (or skip to the end of these steps and see what you need to do next).
If you don’t want what you have now, fantastic! Grasp hold of this opportunity to define what you do want, and go for it. Change course. It’s never too late (or too early) to identify your true priorities and build your philosophy around those. What results from this step is authenticity. When you take the time to be clear about what you want and why you do what you do, you’ll find yourself so much more motivated to keep on doing it. You’ll have the buy-in you need to keep on keeping on – and you’ll find that your motivation is contagious! It starts with you and spreads out to everyone whose life yours touches – your spouse, children, staff, employer, customers, colleagues, stakeholders and friends. Your passion will infect them, and theirs will re-infect you. With an honest definition of personal and business success, stripped bare of the dry numbers and dull stuff the numbers can buy, you’ll find it easier than you ever imagined to picture what you want, and shoot for it. Why? Because it’ll be important.
Define the ten key stops between here and there
In the distance there’s a shining light. It twinkles in the darkness and, as you stare at it, you feel a timid smile stealing across your cheeks. It pleases you. You’ve defined your own success and it seems to grow slowly but perceptibly on the horizon, like a beacon, calling you on the journey towards it.
As the light of your clearly-pictured success grows, it seems that dawn breaks and the darkness that once surrounded you starts to dissipate. You can see the way! There’s just one problem: the yawning chasm between you and your goal.
Here’s the thing: now that you know why your goal matters to you, you know that it matters. It’s important. This means that, despite the distance and the danger, you simply have to get there.
Now’s the time to identify what lies between where you are and where you’re headed. It won’t take very long for you to see that right in front of you there’s an obstacle that must and can be overcome. Just beyond that is another, and another after that. You’re bound to be able to recognise at least ten stumbling blocks between you and your success. Each of these represents an opportunity for business and personal growth. Make a note of each one and include an honest assessment of just how much of a challenge this particular obstacle represents.
Start with one small thing
Pick the thing in front of you, and get started on it. What do you need to change in order to get one step closer to your vision? Now change it. Start small, and be consistent. Is your goal regular exercise to be more energetic and confident? Well, start with ten sit ups and a short walk every day. Or whatever exercise you prefer. Do you want to learn to speak eloquently in public? Start talking to yourself in the mirror for five minutes every morning. Pick a topic at random and don’t rehearse. Just jump in and start speaking. Would you like to be an artist? Pick up a pencil and draw a line. Every day.
Do it. Do it now! Commit to it and keep at it until it becomes a habit. When your new behaviour has become as entrenched in your day as brushing your teeth or taking a breath, start on the next one. Don’t rush: no one said this was a quick process. Becoming our best selves takes a lifetime.
These four steps will help you to identify your goals, establish practical steps for achieving those goals, and get you started on the path to achieving those goals. Next week, we’ll take it further as we develop a practical guide for creating success in our lives and our businesses.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. How has your success been defined until now? Do you own that definition, or was it passed on, second hand, from someone or somewhere else? Have you achieved success? Tell us about that. We can all learn from one another, and that learning is the very foundation of lifelong growth.