What is success? How do we define it? The potential for success is given to each of us at birth. It is not luck or chance or the result of believing that life owes you something. Success is not power, wealth or independence. Once gained, there is no guarantee that the success you have achieved will be maintained indefinitely. The path of success can be a bumpy ride with highs and lows that you need to ride while being smart with your decisions.
Success is a choice and a mindset. Successful people know that they do not have control of everything in their lives. However, they can make choices and determine the course for the most important aspects of their lives. Success starts with understanding what drives you. Feeling successful can be a result of; a sense of achievement, a level of happiness, specific priorities, time allocation and management, passion and wisdom.
Sense of achievement
Achievement is task-oriented behaviour that allows performance to be evaluated according to a set of criteria. This can be driven by extrinsic and/or intrinsic motives. For example, you may engage in work for intrinsic reasons because the work is challenging, satisfying, enjoyable, makes you feel appreciated, reinforces your self esteem and sparks your curiosity. Alternatively you may be extrinsically motivated by financial reasons, praise and recognition, consequences and punishment or peer pressure.
“Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success. “ David Joseph Schwartz
“It is time for all of us to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever — the one who recognises the challenges and does something about it.” Vince Lombardi
“It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.” Mabel Newcomber
Level of happiness
Your level of positivity shapes your success. When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable. Positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration and pride are not just great at the time. Recent research shows that regularly experiencing them creates an upward spiral, helping us to see more, respond more flexibly and in new ways and be more creative. Positive emotions make us more open to different ideas or experiences, feel closer to and more trusting of others, act as a buffer against stress and help us cope when we face difficulties. Happiness is a state of mind that allows you to be content and appreciate each moment for what it brings.
“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get.” Unknown
What is most important to you? What are your values and what do you think are the most important factors required for a meaningful life? If you value family, but you have to work 70-hour weeks in your job, will you feel internal stress and conflict? If you don’t value competition and you work in a highly competitive sales environment, are you likely to be satisfied with your job? As you move through life, your values may change. Values are priorities that tell you how to spend your time. Don’t float aimlessly on a sea of possibility – Be a master of your own ship and know where you are heading.
“Good things happen when you get your priorities straight.” Scott Caan
“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” H. L. Hunt
“Nobody’s life is ever all balanced. It’s a conscious decision to choose your priorities every day.” Elisabeth Hasselbeck
How much time do you spend on the things you want to do well at? Effective time management can make the difference between a mediocre and a superior performance. Time management refers to numerous techniques and skills that can help you to make use of the available time in the most efficient way and to accomplish goals, tasks and projects within the predetermined period of time. This includes prioritizing tasks, planning, scheduling, organizing and delegating functions.
“No amount of gold will buy you time that has passed.” Chinese Proverb
“Lack of time is actually lack of priorities.” Timothy Ferris
“I think anything is possible if you have the mindset and the will and desire to do it and put the time in.” Roger Clemens
“Deadlines aren’t bad. They help you organize your time. They help you set priorities. They make you get going when you might not feel like it.” Harvey Mackay
Passion is the energy that pushes you to keep going. It is the glue that holds a business together and gets it through its most difficult times. To be successful you need to be passionate about your work and driven to be the best you can be regardless of your job or your work. It is an emotion that comes from within you. Ultimately it is about your attitude. To be passionate about anything you have to care about it and to be passionate about your work you must be motivated to be the best that you can be.
“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” Napoleon Hill
Wisdom is a never-ending search based on a desire for curiosity and learning. We benefit from constantly observing, analysing and processing the world around us and learning from the mistakes we make. Wisdom enables you to understand your business, your customers, your market and your industry. You need to be aware that you and your products or services are not perfect and that it takes more than a great product to win a customer. This results in a more realistic depiction of potential challenges. Wisdom comes from a willing to ask questions that might expose your ignorance, being open to other people’s ideas, trying new things, asking for help, listing openly to criticism, admitting when you are wrong and being open to change your opinion based on new information.
“Many receive advice; only the wise profit from it.” Publilius Syrus
“Wisdom is not the product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” Albert Einstein
Everyone has a different definition of success and we need to try to find the one which best suits us. Once you have figured out what is important for you personally you are better prepared to focus on your visions and goals. What do you need to do to feel achievement and happiness? What are your priorities? How do you want to spend your time? What do you feel passionate about passion? What is your area of specialty and what do you want to learn more about? Work out what drives you and re-evaluate this constantly as your circumstances change.
How do you define your success? What do you do to achieve it?