Success means a lot of things to a lot of people, but the bottom line, for most of us, is that success doesn’t come easy. Most people who see someone else’s “overnight success” cannot fathom the months or years of hard work, lost sleep and sacrifices made to achieve that success.
Of course success is more than money or power. I tend to subscribe to definition #1 above rather than #2. You don’t have to have any of those things to truly be successful, and you can be successful in many things that won’t ever provide them. In business, success merely means that you’ve achieved your goals and dreams.
A few months back I came across these little bits about “success” that I thought would be worth discussing:
Having dream nobody else believes in and holding it through hardest of times.
Success is achieved by first having dreams and then doing what most are unwilling to do to achieve them. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person that didn’t have a dream. The only problem is that for most dreams are just that; something unreal and unobtainable. Sure, some of my dreams may never be reached, but that’s only because I’m working on other dreams at the moment. But the point is you have to have goals, and then you have to go after them. There will be set-backs, hard times and people along the way that do nothing but try to hold you back, but if you give up, then you’ve lost your dream and your path to success. In the words of Peter Quincy Taggart, “Never give up. Never surrender.”
Handling resentment from those closest to you and keeping a good attitude.
First of all, I know that at times I’ve been envious of other people’s success. I’m not proud of that, but sometimes it’s there. So it only stands to reason that there are some out there that will be envious of yours. They’ll resent that you had opportunities they didn’t have. Or that you had help from people in high places. Or that somehow you were “lucky.” Someone once told me that the definition of luck is being prepared when an opportunity arises. Those that are not lucky are simply not prepared. To be successful you need to be able to not let that kind of resentment get to you, especially from those close to you. You have to let it roll off your back and keep doing what you need to do.
Maintaining your integrity when faced with temptation.
There are many who find success that have no integrity whatsoever. But that kind of success is usually both fleeting and unsatisfying. Integrity helps build success that is more than just being about fame or money, but about knowing that what you do has purpose and value to others. There are many temptations on the path to success. A little lie here, a little cheating there. They are often so small and so easy to to think, “what’s the harm.” But maintaining rigid integrity is essential to find purposeful, life fulfilling success. And make no mistake, sometimes maintaining your integrity means going against every fiber of your natural inclinations. It’s not always about being right, but about doing what is right.
Being so honest the prison warden would trust you with the keys.
I love this one. It lends to the integrity issue, but speaks directly to your honesty and trustworthiness. Now a prison warden certainly could trust me with the keys, but how about the banker with the keys to the safe? If you knew you could lie or steal and never be found or suspected, would you? I’m an honest person, but I know I’d struggle with that one. But that’s the kind of honesty that you need to have to find real success. Someone needs to know that your word is your word. Forget the contract. Forget the extenuating circumstances. If you said it, others need to know–not just believe–that it’s true.
Being gracious when you have the power to retaliate.
Now see, retaliation is one of the most wickedly enjoyable things in life. And I know all the “right” reasons to retaliate. “This will prove to them…,” “They’ll get what they deserve…,” “They’ll never learn unless…” All of this and more goes through my head when an opportunity for retaliation comes up. But success isn’t about retaliating. Retaliation doesn’t bring in new business, it doesn’t strengthen your team and it doesn’t help you overcome obstacles. When you’re thinking of retaliation you’re focusing on the negative. Success isn’t achieved through negative actions, it’s achieved through positive actions. Let things go and focus on the positive. Your own success will often be the best retaliation there is.
Saying the right things to yourself when those around you are saying the opposite.
There is an extreme amount of power in the spoken word. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If you’re only speaking negative things, then that’s where and what you are. I believe that what you speak you often bring about in your own life. If you speak positive things, then you are bringing about positive things into your life. Staying positive with both your words and actions can be difficult when those around you are dwelling on the negative. Solution: find new people to be around you.
Staying so prepared that even though your dreams are delayed when the door opens you’re ready to walk through it.
Remember the definition of luck from above? Achieving success means being prepared for success. That’s where most of us go wrong. We want success, but we are not prepared for it. We don’t have the knowledge or the education to grab success when it comes knocking. You don’t do successful things only once success comes. You have to do successful things long, long before you even see a hint of success. And then you must continue to do them even when success still seems far off or long delayed. Those who act successful are successful!