What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
That’s truly the billion-dollar question, and it’s timeless. Brush aside the image of what success should look like, and consider what success means to you. I ask each of my high-performing clients this question, and invariably, the answer involves rising above the inevitable challenges and overcoming their own perceived limitations.
When we look at those we admire most and glean the best insights from, rarely do we see the whole story: the struggle, the triumph, the self-doubts, the rising, the fear, the courage. If we’re lucky, they write an autobiography, or someone makes a film based on their life, and we get a glimpse into the incredible journey. For the most part, however, ultimate success feels unattainable to many, if only just out of reach.
What if succeeding at anything was as simple as having a few things in place? That just sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Consider the possibility that you — yes, you — can succeed at anything. I believe the anatomy of success can be broken down into five pieces.
Vision sets the foundation for the life you want. Without vision — that purpose, that why — we can easily fall victim to our circumstances, fail to take ownership and get sidetracked when something easier or shinier comes along. Every single area of life will flourish with vision, and struggle without it. If I don’t have a vision for my family, others will enrol us into theirs based on their agendas and beliefs. If I don’t have a vision for my marriage, it becomes increasingly difficult to draw the line when work keeps cutting into our date nights. If I don’t have a vision for my health, exercise and healthy eating fall by the wayside when I get busy. Consider what you want, why you want it, what that looks like and what impact it will have when you get it and keep the vision front and centre.
Those with 100 percent commitment are unstoppable. When we fully commit to something or someone, regrets are impossible. There is no failure; only feedback. With true commitment, there’s no taking the easy way out. No quitting out of fear of rejection or failure. No mediocrity; only excellence.
What does commitment look like? Taking risks. Persisting. Putting your heart into it. Not letting circumstances get in the way. How committed are you today to your life, your relationships, your career, and your health?
“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” Remember that one? If you cringe at the word authentic… look, I get it. Authenticity is one of those words that’s thrown around lightly, like a sprinkle of parmesan on a supreme pizza that already looks super busy. Thinking of it this way gives people reason to justify “being themselves” at the expense of others. At the end of the day, few of us legitimately want to be jerks; we want acceptance, belonging and understanding. We want to come as we are, and be good enough. If we aren’t okay with ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to be?
Authenticity should be the easiest thing in the world. It should be completely natural. It should be the norm. But it isn’t. In a world of people-pleasing and fear of rejection, being our authentic selves is an acquired skill, and a fine art. Those who dare to discover who they are and what they stand for are the ones who unapologetically and profoundly impact their world. Consider where you’re itching to be free of the opinions of others, and how you can shine in the glory that is your uniqueness, without crushing the glory and uniqueness of the person next to you.
As the saying goes, a man is only as good as his word. Trust is fundamental in relationships, and our relationships are often a reflection of our own character. Any time we say we will do something and then don’t, we’re out of integrity. When we are out of integrity — even on seemingly little things, like not showing up to a committed event on time — it chips away at trust: trust with ourselves, trust with loved ones, trust with clients. The painful truth is that those who do not live with integrity are not trustworthy. Those without integrity will not reach their ultimate vision of success.
If I tell my kids a consequence will happen if they don’t clean their room and I fail to follow through with that consequence when the room remains a mess, they learn that mom is not trustworthy in her word and that I am easily swayed by emotion or convenience. This puts a kink in my vision for my parenting. If I tell my husband that I’ll be home by 6 p.m. with his favourite dinner and I forget to pick it up, I demonstrate that I’m not reliable or that he’s not a priority to me. This puts a monkey wrench in my vision for my marriage. If I show up late to a client meeting, my actions show a lack of commitment. That puts a damper on my vision for my business.
We all fall out of integrity at some point or another; it’s inevitable. Inconveniences happen sometimes, even despite best efforts and great planning. The key is to acknowledge the break of integrity, and then recommit. Consider where you must acknowledge and recommit, and be prepared to absorb the potential consequences of breaking integrity. Only then can you move forward to fully receive the success you seek.
Animals in the wild routinely engage in fierce competition, not to crush their opponent, but rather so that both parties can refine and strengthen their skills. Think of a group of young lion cubs. They playfully taunt, tease and romp, albeit in a fairly aggressive way. They don’t go in for the kill; they go in for the fun. And while they often walk away with a few scrapes and bruises, they emerge stronger, faster and more resilient, ready to take on a real threat, should they come across one. In the end, they are not opponents; they are on the same team.
The underlying tone is an outward-focus of bringing out the greatness in each other. In this form of competition, there is a profound sense of oneness. A sense that we all want the same thing. We are on the same team, and we can all “win” in the bigger picture. A piece of the pie for you is not one less piece of pie for me. This elusive pie in the sky is abundant, with more than enough delicious pie to go around. In different variations, too — apple, cherry, lemon-merengue, gluten-free! A rising tide floats all ships, so let’s rise together and have a big pie-eating party.
Really, could it be that simple? It’s okay if you have your doubts; I expect some of that. Humour me, and put these five principles to the test. You just may get everything you want, and more.