It's easy to find a multitude of books and articles that offer advice on how to achieve success. From this week's bestsellers - "The Secret" and Wayne Dyer's "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life", to the more traditional school of writing from Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins and Dale Carnegie, the self-help industry continues to be a multi-million dollar - perhaps even multi-billion dollar industry.
We all want to achieve success, yet for most it still seems elusive. How many of us wake up in our 40's, and wonder when we will finally start living our lives the way we envisioned it years ago? Why do some people achieve success in the material sense, yet others with equal talent don't?
If we could package "success" and sell it as a fail-proof formula, we would never have to work again. In our attempt to write the story of success into our lives, perhaps the secret lies in implementing the "little" successes (let's think of them as "sub plots") and working them into our lives at a deeper level. Perhaps we just need to see the little things, in our attempt to write the whole story. If the little things are taken care of, then maybe our chances of writing a positive outcome to our life story will increase substantially.
For example, if I look at what I did to achieve success in different areas of my life, the breakdown would look like this:
1) Success in selling...depended on...
- writing a plan and following it through
- knowing the product and the customer
- visualizing what I wanted from each sales call (I literally "pictured" a successful outcome)
- honing my people management skills
- hard work, persistence and belief in my product
2) Success in marketing/communications/project management...depended on...
- understanding my target market
- doing the research
- looking beyond the immediate task to see how each of my actions would affect varying stakeholders and touchpoints both inside and outside of the company
- empathy and an ability to get along with people
- ability to get "buy in" from stakeholders
3) Success in public speaking depended on...
- an ability and desire to understand and engage the audience
- research on the topic
- organizing the speech to be sure it was clear in the audience's mind
- practice, practice, practice
4) Success in my personal life depended on...
- a decision that I would just "be myself" and see what happens
- reaching out and maintaining friendships
- a desire to share thoughts and ideas with others
- staying open to possibility
In trying to understand what it takes to be successful, another thought occurred to me. Maybe we're already successful. Perhaps what we take for granted, is considered an accomplishment of grand proportions by others.
What is success to you? Have you achieved your level of material success? If so, what tips can you share with others? What do we need to do to write the story of success into our lives?