I really love success stories and want to learn as much as possible about other people’s achievements so that it may inspire my own motivation as well as help me in teaching my clients how to reach their own goals. I am sharing this article (and the link) I wrote for Strategy Magazine–hope it’s helpful to you!
Success stories inspire me. Not only do I enjoy hearing about the successes people attain, but I am also genuinely interested in finding out about these individuals’ backgrounds and the circumstances that propelled them to succeed. Although it may seem that luck was a huge factor in their success—and being in the “right place at the right time” certainly can play into it—I would venture to say that the majority of successful people had to work extremely hard and persevere through challenging times prior to “making it.”
With summer around the corner, many people tend to associate success stories with achieving weight loss and being bikini-ready, but spring also offers a great energy and opportunity to start working toward becoming successful in other fields of life as well.
I am here to help you get started on this journey with these tips and ideas for “writing” your own success story.
Define success. We all have our own definition of success. What is yours? Make sure you are not comparing yourself to others because their definitions are likely very different from your own.
Visualize your success. What does it look like? How do you look? How do you feel? How would you know you’ve achieved success? How would others know? The more you visualize, the more likely you are to follow the path to success.
Identify where you stand presently in your journey. This will help you figure out the steps you need to take in order to achieve minor and major goals along the way.
Learn from past mistakes…and successes. We are often so focused on the errors we have made in the past, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the positive steps that helped us reach past goals. Learn from everything.
Identify past, present, and potential future obstacles and challenges. Is it a person, an environment, or a circumstance? Did you overcome them in the past, and if yes, how so? What will you do if (and when) obstacles rear their ugly heads again?
Reflect on your own self-sabotaging behavior. Ironically, people oftentimes engage in behaviors that can impair their opportunities, stunt their growth, or damage their credibility. Be honest with yourself as you process your feelings regarding success and all it entails—hard work, responsibility, challenges, criticism, sacrifices, etc. There is a chance this type of reflection will lead you to reevaluate your goals, and that’s ok. At the same time, it may give you just that extra fuel you need to get your engine revved up.
Practice sharing your “story.” Envision yourself as the successful person you were meant to be—what kind of story would you like to share with people who come to you for advice on the life you have made for yourself? For some people, it may even be helpful to write a letter from their older (successful) self to their younger self.
It might get uncomfortable. In order to become successful, you will often have to step out of your comfort zone—whether it’s public speaking, writing, testing out a product, approaching potential clients, or just marketing yourself. Utilize the passion you feel about your goal to get you through it, and know that you will be stronger because of it.
Stop procrastinating! If you keep postponing the beginning of your journey, this is one of those opportunities to reflect again on what is keeping you stagnant. Is it fear, anxiety, not knowing how or where to begin, disorganization, a lacking skill-set? Find a mentor, friend, or family member who is willing to help you fill the gaps, sign up for extra training, or peruse the world of information offered in books and on the Internet. You don’t have to be extroverted to get the help you need.
Be kind to yourself. Although reaching the ultimate goal is the sweetest part, reward yourself along the way to help you stay focused and keep motivation humming. As tempting as it is to be critical of ourselves, refrain from negative self-talk and encourage yourself with positive words instead (e.g., “I didn’t fail, I figured out what doesn’t work.”). The way we speak to and about ourselves not only affects our behaviors and the outcomes, but also impacts how others perceive us. If positive thinking and self-talk feel awkward to you, remember that with practice and repetition, you can retrain your brain to reframe negative situations into learning opportunities.
Perfect vs. Ideal. For you perfectionists out there, this would be the ideal time to let go of the notion of perfection. I am not asking you to settle for a lower standard, by any means. However, being more realistic and accepting of “good enough” will prevent you from the aforementioned negative self-talk or from continuing to make progress just because you are not satisfied. It’s great to set the bar high; just don’t set it at a height that isn’t realistic. (This is where you would again need to reflect on self-sabotaging behaviors…)
Stop and smell the roses. Every day. Enjoy and celebrate all the little pieces of good fortune in your life, and you will find yourself feeling positive, happy, and perhaps even already successful in ways you couldn’t see before.
It’s never too late! Every day presents us with a brand new opportunity. You are never too young or too old to start on your journey to success.
Now go out there and become your own success story. Maybe someday I will be inspired by you!