What is success?
I’ve never met anyone that didn’t want to be successful, but I also haven’t met many people who genuinely thought they were successful.
Is “success” achieving your goals?
You may not have realised it, with the current situation going on, but we’re into a new financial year and the first quarter of the calendar year is over.
So, how did you go with your goals and KPIs for the quarter?
If you hit them, does that make you successful? Or, if you didn’t, not successful?
Our desire for success and its impact on our lives, both personal and professional, fascinates me.
What is success (and what isn’t success) and how you can attain it?
What is Success?
The Oxford dictionary defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”
For John Wooden, the late great college basketball coach, “success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
Whereas Richard Branson’s definition is, “too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with. In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are.”
They’re all similar, but different.
There is no one definition of success because success is personal. What “success” is, is unique to each of us.
The problem is, we often look to society to try and define what success is. Is it having more money? A better job? Bigger business? A new car?
And, when we do that, our definition of success becomes blurred with the definition of more.
So, when we do get more money or a better job, we’re not happy. We don’t feel successful because there is more money out there for us to make, and better jobs, bigger businesses and flashier cars.
It goes on and on. We can get trapped continually chasing success and never getting there. Never feeling like you’ve made it, or being able to relax and be happy with what you’ve got.
Success is not needing more, and it’s definitely not defined by what anyone else thinks. Instead, success is what you want it to be. You choose, you decide, and don’t be influenced by what you think others will think.
So, what do you actually want?
We’ll look at this in the next post, but first, there are a couple of other misconceptions people make when it comes to success.
Don’t Chase Success
I alluded to it earlier, but another mistake is people try to chase success.
There once was a hungry cat who spied a little mouse playing.
The cat felt very happy and thanked God for sending the mouse to him. So he started walking towards the mouse to catch and eat him.
Conscious of the cat approaching, the little mouse jumped up and started running. Well aware that if he was caught – that would be it!
In response, the cat chased after him.
Running to survive, the mouse noticed a tiny hole on the floor and realised that he could fit through it and escape the cat.
A small child had watched these events unfold with his father.
As the mouse got away, he asked, “the cat was big, powerful and hungry compared to the small mouse, how come the mouse survived?”
The father explained to the son, “The cat knew if he failed to catch the mouse that wasn’t it. Yes, he might still be hungry, but he’d survive. On the other hand, the mouse knew that this was his last chance – fail to avoid the cat and he’d be eaten.”
The moral of the story is that commitment is not enough to reach your goal or achieve what success means to you in today’s competitive world. Instead, you need to have determination, like the little mouse in the story, to get there.
You also can’t chase what you want. What happens when you chase something? It runs away, just like the mouse running away from the chasing cat.
So, instead of chasing success, focus on attracting it. And don’t just be committed to what you want, be determined to get it.
There are four drivers of success, of which determination is one. The others are resilience, focus, and motivation.
The great news is these drivers are all skills that anyone can learn.
You Are Already Successful
Now, there is one final, crucial point to make – you are already successful.
That’s right. You’re not currently at a point in your life or career where you don’t have “success” and aren’t “successful”. Or to put it another way, you’re not working from a place of “no success” to get to somewhere in the future where you achieve “success”.
But that is how, unintentionally, we can view the present and what we’ve already got and achieved, when we have this goal of being successful.
We look at where are now, and it’s zero, nothing, the bottom of the mountain.
However, that’s not true at all because, no matter where you are and what you’ve done, you’re already successful.
Sure, there might be other things you want to do and achieve in the future, but not having done those things doesn’t invalidate what you have done in the past.
And successful people attract more success. All you have to do is change your mindset from “you’re not successful” to “you are successful”.
It’s not some clever mind trick because it’s the truth. You are already a successful person, and you’re enough as you are.
This is powerful because now that you’ve changed your mindset, you can separate the present (and the past) from what you want to do and achieve in the future.
You are already successful, and there are things, “successes”, that you want to get out there and do.
There are things that you want that you don’t yet have. Not having them doesn’t define you (and neither does wanting them).
It’s a freeing thought and one that will allow you to attract what you want and enjoy the journey.
Success is not what you think it is. Instead, it’s so much better because it’s personal to you.
You get to choose what it means for you and, instead of chasing it, you can learn how to attract it.
The first step is to change your mindset and realise that you’re already successful – freeing you up to be happy now and enjoy the journey of achieving what you want in the future.
Sharn Piper – CEO
M: +64 27 733 4333