How many times have you said to yourself, “I’d like to be more successful”?
How often do you look at people around you and wonder what it would be like to have what they have? Their clients, their opportunities, or their material wealth?
I certainly have. Not necessarily in an envious or jealous kind of way, although as human beings it’s nearly impossible to avoid from time to time.
Everyone has a different definition of success. It’s one example of just how unique each one of us really is. Many measure it in something tangible like dollars and cents or hours of freedom. While others base their definition more on impact, contribution to society, or mastering new skills.
None are right, none wrong.
Regardless of how you define it, there are three universal laws that you must obey if you hope to achieve your vision of success.
The best part is all three are in your control.
1. Define It
Society makes it easy to be lured into someone else’s vision of what it means to be successful. As children, you are taught that words like smart, wealthy, grounded, professional, influential, powerful are closely associated with success. It even goes a bit further. People suggest certain job titles that come with the promise of success.
“When you grow up you’re going to be a doctor or a lawyer.”
On top of that, there are countless messages from marketers and advertisers. You are inundated thousands of times a day with images of what success is supposed to look like.
Here’s the risk. It’s too easy to have success defined for you, by other people. And while many of these people have the best intentions, you end up heading down a path that isn’t entirely a personal decision. You end up working towards the goals, dreams, and aspirations someone else thought were a good idea, or a worthwhile endeavor.
Don’t let this happen to you. The first rule of success is, you have to define it for yourself. And spend time periodically reviewing how you define success. For many, the definition changes over time.
Success is hard. It’s even harder when you aren’t deeply connected to the purpose and the vision of what you are working towards.
Take some time to evaluate the path you’re on. Is it the one your chose or someone else’s plan for you?
2. Embrace The Risk
Having a defined vision of success is important. But are you willing to accept the risk that comes with working towards it?
The pursuit of success is not nice, neat, and orderly. It’s hard, it’s messy, it’s unpredictable. But most importantly, it comes with no guarantees. Success and risk go hand in hand. Here’s the paradox – working towards success means you are willing to work without the guarantee of success.
If outcomes and achievements were guaranteed, people would be more diligent about working towards their own definition of success. Instead, many choose the safer, more predictable, and comfortable path. The problem is success is rarely found in your comfort zone. And success certainly isn’t going to be handed to you.
Instead, success is earned by the many who are willing to explore the edges of what’s possible. Success is the potential (remember – no guarantees) reward to those willing to expose themselves to risk, to learning, to mistakes, to new perspectives, and a consistent and focused effort.
3. Chase It Down
This law is simple.
Success can’t be shipped or delivered to you. And while patience is a virtue in many aspects of life, it’s not when it comes to success.
Success is reserved for the people willing to do whatever it takes to chase it down. It’s awarded to those who are flexible and able to adapt when necessary. It’s handed out to the people who learn how to knock down obstacles and navigate the whitewater.
Success is for people with stamina and staying power. It’s for people who don’t talk themselves out of going for it just because “it’s hard” or “will take too long.”
The question is:
Is your vision of success so important, so clearly defined, that that you are willing to assume the risk and chase it down no matter how difficult it is?
If the answer is no, is it time to reevaluate?