How often do we say the infamous words, “I want to be successful”? It’s interesting, when you ask a child the question of “what do you want to do when you grow up? You get a straight out answer. An astronaut, a fire fighter, a hairdresser, a race car driver… you never get, I want to be successful. Somewhere along the line we lose the creativity of our younger selves and throw our future dreams and visions into the too hard define basket, labelled “Successful”. Then we seem to wander on this path with no guidance or end in sight searching for the holy secret. So what is success? What does it look like? What does it feel like, does it have a smell? A touch? A taste?… Many of us think it is plain silly to think success can have a smell. However, when you think about it, a successful baker would know the smell of a perfectly baked loaf of bread just like a successful florist would know the smell of a perfectly ripened flower. So it’s fair to say that this so called “success” does take the form of many meanings, appearances, tastes, smells and so on, you get the point. The BIG question is though, is there a secret to success?
After reading the books, studying the video’s, meeting the people and endless searching down that very hazy path, it has become clear that there isn’t one. That’s right… there is NO secret to success. Without disappointing all the people out there furiously hunting, do not fear. There may be no secret but there is a formula. After studying, meeting and listening to the likes of Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Tony Robbins, Robert Kyiosaki, and even the ruthless Donald Trump who have all achieved their own version of success and voiced their stories for us to hear, it has become so clear. When they share their stories and the strategies they believe to be responsible for their own success, they are all saying the exact same things, just in their own language. You have Tony Robbins who talks about the importance of your Strategy and your Peak State. Robert Kyiosaki believes in the power of the wealth creation matrix, which is all about structure making choices. The late Steve Jobs kept it simple with his aim for the stars philosophy which as changed the very world we live in. And we can’t forget Richard Branson’s who’s “screw it, lets do it” attitude and a sense of fun and passion has taken Virgin to over 400 companies of which at least 7 have become Billion dollar successes.
So when you combine all of these strategies, philosophies and key characteristics, you get a flow of elements for success, your very own formula for success, which looks like this:
Know Your Story & What You Believe
We all have different paths, experiences, goals and visions and we all have ways of expressing these. Knowing your story is all about creating clarity around what it is that you stand for. In the relatively short period of time you have on the planet, what is it that you want to:
– Focus your energy and attention on
– Create your core values around: Richard Branson’s core values are to experience new things, create new opportunities, break the barriers of impossible and have fun doing it.
– Be known and remembered for after you are gone: Steve Jobs stated he wanted to put a dent in the universe through challenging the status quo. He will be long remembered for creating and inspiring a revolution in consumer technology.
Actor Will Smith summed it up nicely in an interview some years ago when he said “its easy, it’s knowing what you believe in to the core and knowing that you are will to die for that belief!” This may be considered a little extreme but it’s the passion that burns within.
So what is your story? You need to identify:
– What you stand for and believe in
– What you will die for to achieve
– What your core values are that you live by and will vow never to break
– What your world looks like around the future you
Create Your Map
Just as when you are off in your car for a road trip to an exotic location you haven’t visited before, you need a map to get there. Your map needs to include some key things:
Your goals are a descriptive measure of what you aim to achieve. Your goals should follow the SMART principle, which means they need to be
Specific in definition
Measurable in size, time, $
Attainable but still audaciousness
Realistic as to the effort you need to put in to achieve the goals
Timely completion target wrapped around every goal set.
Checkpoints & Look-outs
When you go on a roadtrip, you need to ensure you have checkpoints on your map where you can stop, take a minute to rest and reflect on where you have just come from. This is no different with setting your goals map, you need to incorporate checkpoints where you re-evaluate your position and your goals set and also reflect on what you have achieved along the way.
You mustn’t forget to reward yourself for making progress along the way. Often, we set ourselves huge goals and never really see any reward until the goal is achieved or worse, not at all because the hope and motivation is lost to achieve it. Progress rewards are critical and should be mapped. Don’t feel guilty for rewarding yourself early, you will get to the big reward through your dedication and hard work soon enough.
You can be as smart as Bill Gates, as enthusiastic as Richard Branson, as cunning as Donald Trump or as inspiring as Steve Jobs BUT until you take ACTION on your goals and your map, you will not go anywhere. Action is driven by emotion which is energy in motion. The more positive energy you exert on actioning your goals, the more motion FORWARD you will achieve. You can make the decision to set goals and create your story but you will never achieve your success without the action.
So many people create their stories, map their goals and then begin to take action but then something happens and the flame dies. Time goes on, road blocks appear, too many opportunities/distractions arise and the motive to action dies.
You need to hold yourself accountable to someone or something other than yourself. This person/s needs to be someone who is willing to energise you, motivate you and be stern with you when the time calls for it. Someone who could fall into this category is a mentor. However a mentor should be more about providing guidance, knowledge and passing down lessons they have learned from their own experience. It is important that you distinguish with your mentor whether they are happy to take on the role of keeping you accountable, otherwise keep this relationship separate. Be sure to give back as much as you receive with your accountability partner as they are more than likely looking to you to keep them accountable to their own goals just the same.
Know who your Community is
There is a great guy by the name of Seth Godin who has done quite a few talks on TED.com and he emphasizes the need and importance of creating and belonging to Communities. Communities in Simon Sinek’s eyes is a group of like minded people with a set of common values and beliefs. So, on the path to success it is important to be mindful of who your community is. Who are the people you are hanging around, surrounding yourself with? We all know that we have some people around us are energy suckers and haven’t a positive bone in their body. The question you need to ask is, do these people care about me and are they providing benefit and value to what I am all about? do they believe what I believe? Find your Community and surround yourself with people who believe what you believe.
Just go out and do it!
If you follow these elements, you will undoubtedly achieve your version of success. What does this look like? Only you will know. Will it change along the way? Probably, however if you have fulfilled each of the Success Elements, it shouldn’t deviate too far at all. You are the creator of your own success, just you. It is your choice, but the path is there to follow and it is clear enough and strong enough to lead you to wherever it is you want to end up. So, screw it, just go and do it!