Success is defined differently from person to person. Some define success as the amount of material possessions one gains before they are laid to rest for eternity. Others define success as the loved ones who surround one in a time of need.
Power, wealth, knowledge, happiness are words that usually accompany many definitions of Success; however, have you ever sat down and looked at why some people claim the title of successful, and others fill their days with envy?
For simplicity’s sake this article will define success as “the achievement of one’s goals.” However, if one stops reading at this point the likelihood of them being described as successful will suffer the same fate as the Egyptians during their chase of the Israelites when Moses parted the Red Sea. To achieve a goal, especially one with meaning or purpose to one’s life there are several steps which need to be taken. Success does not happen by luck. It is earned. Now that we have entered a New Year, many thoughts are turned toward new resolutions. Most of these resolutions involve a desire of success, and most of the resolutions will be broken before this article can be read in its entirety.
Establish a Clear Definition of SuccessFirst Step that should be taken is to establish your clear definition of success. Do you want to make more money? Do you want to sell more of your product? Do you want to move into management? Do you want to leave a legacy for future generations? The definition is yours, so define it immediately!
Be specific about your definition. I have been around those who have stated, “I want to make more money.” That is too broad. As a matter of fact, if you pick up a lost coin in the parking lot then you have achieved this broad statement, but you have come no closer to your definition of success than we have come to putting a man on Mars.
Take a moment and write down what you want to accomplish this year, five years from now, and ten years from now. Do this every year.
Create your Path to Success (By the way…your parents were right)Every morning you should look in the mirror, and establish which road you are taking that day to move towards success. Every night you should revisit yourself in the mirror, and identify where you are on your path and what is working and what is not working.
There are talkers, and there are doers. It is easy to dream, and hope that success falls in your lap. However, as your parents have told you, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it”. It is tough to walk blindly into the unknown, but people who fail to plan end up failing.
Write down how you are going to accomplish your goals, and revisit them daily.
Identify Challenges and take Advantage of OpportunitiesThere will always be potholes in the road. Sometimes your car will hit these potholes and damage to your vehicle will occur. You have to make the choice if you are going to pull over and wait until the potholes are fixed before you continue your journey, or you will need to identify potential hazards and how to navigate around them.
In addition, look for opportunities. When I first entered the workforce, I was told that most people will be given at least two opportunities in life to establish their career path. What I wasn’t told was how to realize an opportunity has presented itself and to take advantage of it. Keep your eyes open looking for these opportunities. They will present themselves to you at any time, and if you are not ready than you will miss them. However, don’t be the driver who is waiting for the pothole to be fixed because it won’t.
Identify obstacles that will present a challenge, and create a plan to overcome them. There is always a solution.
Fear Failure but don’t Quit when you FailEvery day should be treated as it is your last day. Do not visit your maker with regrets. If you have, you have failed. However, mistakes and misfortunes happen. Again, you will have a choice to continue or to quit. If you quit, the game is over for you. Thomas Edison example tried unsuccessfully over a thousand times to create the light bulb, but he didn’t give up. When asked why he failed so many times he simple said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 1,000 ways that won’t work.”
Record what has gone right and challenges that prevented you from achieving small wins. Repeat the positive and learn from the negative. Your list will grow daily.
Surround yourself with Greatness and Learn from themMark Twain once said, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition, it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly be that kind of a friend for your friends.
People can pick you up or knock you down. It is easier to move while standing then it is on your back. Find a mentor or mentors who will encourage you, and give you sound advice. The more of these mentors you have in your corner, the more information you will have at your disposal.
Write down the names of individuals who are positive, will encourage, and teach. Communicate with these individuals weekly, and keep them updated on your progress. They will continue to push you further.
Nice is not a weaknessIn general, people want to see others succeed and for the most part will help them reach their goals. Whether you believe that statement or not, I promise you that if you are a jerk no one will go out of their way to help you. I’m not saying let people walk all over you, but do you remember the Aesop fable about the slave named Androcles?
A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him. As he came near, the lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain. He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the lion, which was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat from which to live.
But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several days. The emperor and all his court came to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the lion was let loose from his den and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim. But as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognized his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like a friendly dog.
The emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Where upon the slave was pardoned and freed, and the lion let loose to his native forest.
Reflect on how you treated others. Ask yourself, “Would you be happy if you were treated the same way?”
Enjoy Your SuccessThis is a journey of life. Each day will continue to build upon itself. Take a moment, and enjoy the little successes you earn because they will multiply. Ultimately, you will be the one that everyone is talking about when they are discussing the definition of success and granting the title of being successful.