Everyone wants to be and has a right to pursue success. It’s defined in different ways for each person. But it’s safe to say that success is accomplishing the task that one sets out to complete resulting in some form of acknowledgement or reward fo a job well done. That’s not the official dictionary term, but let’s just say it’s appropriate for many.
I think many people bastardize the term and use it in cases where instant riches, accolades and treasures are gained through a lucky break or none of the real work it takes to get there. Case in point, look at how many reality stars are getting instant Hollywood success by acting a fool, while real, struggling, dedicated to the craft actors are being pushed to the side. The same can be said in the business world, specifically technology. Look at how a few lucky kids came up with ideas that were born out of boredom or a fad, and caught the eye of investors and big tech companies who bought them out making them instant millionaires in the process. Who wouldn’t be salty at these types of situations. So where does that leave the rest of us?
Well for one thing, it leaves us still having to live our lives and run our own races. I like to look at the instances above as flukes and exceptions, not the norm. I also believe, as my parents taught me, that if you really want something in life, you have to work hard fr it. Nothing is given to anyone, and we all have to pay our dues. Sure, there may be people who come into our lives who make that road a little easier by lending a helping hand. But you know the saying, God helps those who help themselves. For those of you struggling and not interested in hearing platitudes and affirmations, you might be asking, so how the heck can I help myself? It’s very simple and I’m going to share this simple formula that has worked for me with you.
Plan it. Create a clear vision of what your end goal looks like, what you need to achieve it, and how you plan to reach it. What is your strategy to get the resources, information and access to knowledge leaders to help you along the road to success? As I say with everything, it all starts with writing it down so that you’re clear. Writing it down gives you the beginnings of a blueprint. You can’t just say I want to be successful and leave it at that. Start by doing your part.
Make a commitment to do something. It’s easy to talk about it. I am all for affirmations and prayer because I believe they keep you motivated and on track. BUT without action they are useless. You have to make a commitment then stick to it. You have to put in the time or success will elude you. Even if you have to use a calendar to keep you to your commitments, do it. I know sometimes we have a tendency to get riled up about something, then a few weeks later, the interest wanes. If you set reminders in your calendars for the things you have to do, it’ll keep you focused. Be light on the lip service and heavy on the action.
Examine who you hang around and pattern the good traits of the successful. You know that old saying that you’re the sum total of the five people you hang around the most. If they’re messy, you’re likely to be messy. If they’re successful, you’re likely to be successful. Take a look around. Are there people you need to prune from your inner circle? Find the common link that keeps your tied to the successful people in your circle, then document it. Tap into it, refine it and repeat it often in your own success formula. These people should be smarter, stronger and more successful than you are so that they can help lift you into greatness.
ABE- Always Be Educating…Yourself. Granted, not everyone can afford to invest a lot of money on schools, programs, coaches and such. But that shouldn’t be your excuse for not trying. I wrote an article a while back about low cost ways you can continue educating yourself until you can afford to pay for advanced education. I shared that you have the most powerful tool at your fingertips- Search Engines. You have libraries and bookstores all chock full of books, newspapers, journals and magazines. You have websites, blogs, videos, and podcasts a click away. What’s your excuse for not educating yourself again? Yes, you should make an investment (read: pay money) to get advanced training and seek guidance from professionals. But you have to start somewhere. Ignoring these resources or just refusing to use them makes you stupid. I cannot give a pass to anyone who doesn’t first look to these resources without complaining how broke they are.
Write a goals list each week. Each day should include a smaller task or series of tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the goals for the week. Every night you should be reviewing the big end goal and making sure you’ve checked off each task for that day. If you didn’t, don’t stress. Just move the task to the top of the list for the next day, then get it done. Now is not the time to complain about all the reasons why you can’t achieve something. Just keep pressing through your goals list. Trust me, each week you’ll see yourself getting closer to your main goal.
Don’t just aim for success, aim to make a difference. It’s not all about you. Sure, everyone wants to be well-off and sometimes well-known. But success shouldn’t come down to how much money you have in the bank, how many fans you have or material things you’ve acquired. That stuff can be purchased. Truly successful people affect other people. They reach back and help pull the next person up. Or rather, the next person who wants to help themselves and pay it forward. They say on the airlines to put your own mask on first before helping others with theirs. But I challenge you to actually help others once you have achieved success. Sometimes people get caught up in their success and trying to maintain it, they forget to give back.
Not phased by this advice? Is this stuff you’ve already heard? Well perhaps it means that you should be TAKING ACTION on this stuff you’ve heard before instead of just reading it. Listen, stop making things so complicated. If you’re doing all of what I said above and you couple it with action (because wishing doesn’t make stuff happen- my Daddy used to say if IF was a fifth we’d all be drunk) you will find success. There is no magic pill, formula, book or program that will create success for you. I don’t care what the flashy websites and landing pages say. Success comes from hard work, taking action and from the fight within to make it happen.
You want to sing, then SING. You want to own a company, then do it. You want to improve a skill, go for it. You want to get that promotion, do what it takes to make it happen. Don’t let what other people’s perceptions of you and definitions of success keep you from finding your own.
Til Next Time,
I define my own terms for success!
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Adrienne Graham is the Founder & CEO of Empower Me! Corporation (www.empowerme.org). She is a strategist that helps people grow their career, business or network in any economy. She is the voice behind Views from the Top Radio Show, and the creative visionary behind Empower Me! Institute and Empower Me! Magazine. Her writing and shows focus on Career Management, Networking Strategies, Entrepreneurial Success and Small Business Management. You can also find her causing a ruckus on Forbes.com.