“You’ve achieved success in your field when you don’t know whether what you’re doing is work or play.” – Warren Beatty
Ah, Success! We all want it- countless books are written about it, companies strive for it, athletes push their bodies to exhaustion and celebrities go days without eating for it, yet most people have no idea what it truly is.
What does it mean to be successful?
The question, of course, does not have a correct answer because the answer is different depending on who you ask. But
most many people do not know what success is to them. I mean, really have a clear definition or goal. So, since this is my blog I will tell you what success (in business) is to me.
To me, success means to grow and excel in your highest and best use, maintaining your values, and be well-rewarded for your efforts.
Growth is an imperative part of success. Growth is one’s trajectory. The result of vision, effort, direction, and goals. It inspires us to leap beyond ourselves and become better. The energy we realize from our growth fuels our creativity and gives us purpose. In my opinion this is one of the most over-looked, yet critical, pieces of success.
Excellence is the standard to which we hold ourselves. Without it, people settle. It is surprising to me how many people go day to day without giving themselves a benchmark. Show up to work, punch in, do my time, punch out, go home. Living for the weekend. Working to live instead of living to work. As though you can only do one or the other. Others discover how great it is to push themselves at what they do and become great in the process. When we excel in our work our work is no longer a job.
Finding our highest and best use is so critical to being successful because it gives us the environment to achieve our success. To excel in mediocrity is hollow and unrewarding. Imagine Martin Luther King spending his life working as an accountant. He might have been good at it, but would he have been able to succeed the way he ultimately did? Think of the loss it would have meant. Imagine John Lennon as a school bus driver. He may have been great with kids and become the best in his district, but would he have felt the success he did? These are two obvious and extreme examples, but both of these men found their highest and best use and found a success they otherwise could not have found, regardless of their proficiency at other work. The environment in which we place ourselves makes a significant contribution to our success.
We each have our own set of values, and while most of us agree on certain ways of conducting ourselves and morals we adhere to, there are myriad opinions about what is proper, appropriate and right. Some attractive women use their good looks to market themselves and feel it is only using their strengths while others think that is cheap and tacky. Some believe working twelve-hour days before going home to a wife and children is putting in a solid day’s work, while others may think this schedule is selling out your family, while others may feel that twelve hours is not enough. Our internal gauge of morality and values give us the boundaries we need to keep ourselves feeling right about what we do, and without doing what is right we cannot be successful.
Reward gives us the sense of accomplishment that validates our success. And reward can be in so many forms. Financial reward with paychecks, salaries and bonuses. Maybe you are rewarded with perks, like free things or being introduced to people you admire. Reward is having fun at work and friends. Reward is time off to some, or maybe to you it means more responsibility, as in a promotion or advancement. It can be a pat on the back, or a “good job” from someone you like or admire. Maybe it’s having a title that you value. Maybe reward is spiritual to you, and you feel rewarded spiritually doing what you do. Maybe it’s sacrifice or charity. Participation in a worthy goal, being part of a winning team and the comraderie that you can only get in a group. Maybe it means being respected or acheiving professional fame. Or personal fame. Maybe you strive for celebrity or popularity. Whatever reward means to you, without it you won’t be successful.
Those in my company and family know the reasons I have for leaving the very comfortable position I previously held to start my company, BlueRoof.com, and all of my reasons can be found in this post.
For me, one of the best things about being around successful people is hearing their stories. People that are successful have passion for their success and usually have some incredible stories to tell. And when I listen to their stories I grow, and so begins my success…