DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS 

Success, each person’s definition of success is different. To some it is material acquisition, for some it is a sense of joy and peace of mind. This is a challenge to someone trying to come up with formulas anyone can use regardless of their definition. In an effort to discover what makes some people successful at what they do and prevent others from doing so, I have studied some of the greatest minds in the self-improvement industry.

The best definition of success I have ever come across is from Earl Nightingale. Earl is  often referred to as “The dean of personal development” as his scope of knowledge and experience is hard to rival. Earl was on the USS Arizona when it was bombed at Pearl Harbor. 1500 people died on that ship. Earl was one of 100 to survive. He went on to own several business and have his own radio program. He recorded a message to help his salesman called The Strangest Secret. Without much fanfare or advertising that message launched what is now known as the spoken word industry. I cannot recommend highly enough you get your hands on a copy of this valuable message.

This post is not just about Earl Nightingale, but the message he brought the world. His definition of success is “The progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Read that quote a time or two more. Let it sink in. What it means is that a person who knows who they want to become and is working towards it is automatically a success. Why is that? It is because of goals. Having a concrete definition in mind of where you want to go and putting forth effort to get there. Even if it may seem you are momentarily moving backwards, you are still learning valuable lessons allowing you to move forward.

Once you pick your goal (mine is to help individuals reduce stress, increase joy and become the best versions of themselves) you will be able to know if what you are doing is working or not. Even if it happens not to be you are still learning what does not work. It was Edison who said “I never failed. I just learned 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb.” When you goal is clear, confusion is minimal and motivation is maximum.

EASY(ER) SUCCESS

This title is a little tongue in cheek. Success does require a great deal of work, focus and discipline. Still, there are things we can do that allow success to have a smoother, and thus, a quicker road in our lives. Who would not want that?

Aside from developing and maintaining an attitude of gratitude, surrounding yourself with positive driven people who want to see you succeed is one of the most important choices you can make. Notice i  ‘choice’. For the most part we can decide who we would like to have in our lives. 

What is the benefit of this? There are many. Just some of them include the following; increased accountability. Now this can not always seem fun at first. Who wants to hear “did you go to the gym today?”. Quite often though knowing we will be held accountable for our  actions keeps us focused on taking positive ones. Encouragement. The opposite side of the coin, when you feel like giving up having someone to pick you up and let you know they believe in you can give you the strength to keep going. I heard Les Brown say once “sometimes you have to believe in others belief in you until you can believe in yourself”. I can say from personal experience that is true. Lastly there is an increased network. There are always people who know people, and knowing more of them only serves you well. I cannot count the times i have had people tell me “I know this person that would like to buy your book“. Through them i am able to reach and help more people. 

These are just some examples and there are a great deal more. Regardless of what you stand to gain, surrounding yourself with good people who want you to succeed will help. 

Feel free to share tips on surrounding yourself with good people or what you can gain out of it in the comments below.

HOW NOT TO GET FRUSTRATED WITH YOUR GOALS

Quite often I hear the resignation in people’s voices after not obtaining a goal. Quite simply they give up. Worse than that is people who try to justify the lack of success in achieving their goal by saying things like “Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be” or things of that nature.

While it is true in a small amount of cases what is far more likely is you may need to change your approach. I once heard Tony Robbins say something that really struck a cord with me. Ok, I have heard him say that more than once, but one that referred to what we are speaking of here. He said, “God’s delays are not always God’s denials”. Now whether you believe in a supreme being or the universe or anything else is not my business. What is interesting is the possibilities this opens up. Perhaps we are not being denied our goal, but just being delayed. Maybe something in the universe has to change to make the situation better? Perhaps there is some very important knowledge we need to obtain to make it an even greater success. Maybe our approach needs to be adjusted to find a better or more rewarding path.

This not only works with material goals, but even more so with personal situations. See if this sounds familiar. You are in a disagreement with another party and you really want to solve it but everything you try seems not to work? You could find yourself thinking “I am never going to make him/her happy”. Again, most of the time the goal of coming to a successful and peaceful resolution is not wrong or never going to happen, we just need to change our approach. Each person and each situation requires a different approach. A fair amount of the time finding the right approach is the hardest part of the struggle. You would not sooner try to run your car on cough medicine than you would drink gasoline to cure your cough. That does not mean either one is useless. They just need to be applied in the right way at the right time.

So when you feel your goal may never be reached take a step back and try to look at it from a different angle. As important as developing a determination to achieve the goal is being flexible in your approach.

When it comes to personal relationships this is even more important and more difficult to remember. Have you promised ‘until death do us part’? Then you made a determined decision. If that decision seems more like a sentence at times perhaps taking a step back and considering a new approach could be the answer. Enlisting the other person can be key. After all it is hard to just be angry at someone who asks “I just want to get back to loving. I feel what I am trying is not working. What to you think we can do to get back to love?”.

So stay determined in your goals and flexible in your approach my friends.

THE TOOLS 

A lot of people come to me telling me how they have read every book, listened to every CD attended several seminars and still their lives are in shambles. They say they know about the gratitude journal and writing down your goals and reviewing them daily. I ask if they actually tried them. Most of the time the answer is “yes”. Sometimes, however, the answer is “no”. If the answer is no then the solution is fairly obvious. If the answer is yes, I ask how long they worked with these tools. Suddenly the conversation comes to an abrupt halt or changes direction.

It amazes me when faced with a project such as building a garage for example, we choose all of the best tools. Why not? Using the best tools makes the job quick and easy. In the project of building up ourselves or our lives we tend not to look for the best tools. Sometimes we get them and don’t actually use them. Can you imagine buying the best drill and then leaving it sit on the ground as you use an old-fashioned screw driver?

What about the people who ‘try’ (a word that should be removed from the vocabulary of successful people) and then give up? Using our analogy of the garage it is like starting with the drill, and then going back to the screwdriver. “Well I didn’t see the results!” you may find yourself saying. Maybe you need a little instruction on how to use the tool or maybe a little more practice? Sticking with our building a garage metaphor, the more you use a drill the better you will become at doing it and the more efficient you will become. Just like the difference between a nail gun and a hammer. Sure both will get the job done, but one will be a lot quicker and easier. You will achieve your goal with a lot more ease and less time and energy wasted.

Here is another secret. Use the hammer until you find the nail gun. Start building your dreams as you look for and learn new tools. Take a look at your own ‘toolbox’ are there tools there you know could change your life but you haven’t put them to use? Dust them off, start putting them to work. Remember the tools only work if you do. Even a hammer will not pound a nail in unless you pick it up and put the effort in.

Feel free to share this post with anyone you think could benefit from what we learned.

NEVER LOSE AT LIFE AGAIN!

Earlier in the week we looked at how to make life one long party. Today we are going to discover how you can never suffer another loss in life. Is this really possible? The short quick answer is yes. In fact, not only is it possible to not lose going forward, you can even look back and turn some of the things you feel were loses into wins.

How good would it feel knowing whatever you were about to attempt you would do so without the fear of losing or failing? How much more might you attempt? Not only is this possible, but it can be relatively easy after a little practice. Your brain will actually begin to wire itself to work in a way that will keep you from feeling defeated or lost.

Every great person I have studied (and probably the ones you have studied as well) have gone through challenges that may have stopped most of us. I have written about Walt Disney being turned down by over 300 banks trying to get a loan for Disney land. Seriously, can you imagine yourself walking into a bank after hearing ‘no’ over 300 times? I know I can’t. Thomas Edison and how many different things he tried for a light bulb. How many times do you try something before throwing in the towel? Even something we really are passionate about can seem pointless when we suffer to many defeats.

So, how did these wonderful people do it. Certainly they had to have a large dose of both faith and passion, but they had something else as well. They had a different way of looking at what many of us would view as failure. Edison said it best. Obviously most of us would think, “You tried to make a light bulb this way, it didn’t work so you failed”. Not Edison, this is what he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”. 10,000? Are you kidding me? What in your life have you tried that many times? I can tell you in my own life the answer would be none.

What attitude do the great leaders have that allows them to persevere even when the odds seem stacked against them? They understand that a situation is only a failure if you do not get anything out of it. Guess who decides if you can get anything out of it? That’s right you do. If we look back on some of our most challenging times we have had we will often see we have learned some of our most valuable lessons. Maybe in Walt Disney’s case when he kept being turned down for the loan he learned new ways to present his case?

What about those times in life that just suck? You know the ones where nothing good seems to be found and you can’t find a lesson in it anywhere? You can use that to better appreciate the good times that don’t suck. An example is as follows, the other day my lady and I went to a new cupcake place and from the moment we walked in were treated terribly. The lady was very rude and not helpful at all. After we had purchased a $4 cupcake we discovered it was dry and the frosting tasted like it came from a can. We stopped at a coffee shop to wash down said cupcake and were greeted with a very helpful, silly and fun staff. The place was roomy and very pleasing. In fact, it is where I am writing this now.

So you see I appreciated the good service I got here a lot more thanks to the poor service I received there. When you are sick, it allows you to stop and appreciate your good health that can be easy to take for granted. Once you start doing this you will find your mind automatically does this for you.

YOU ARE THE CEO

It is amazing how people will but more effort into a work project than a life project. I have the honor of dealing with plenty of entrepreneurs on a daily basis. I see these people take so long to decide who they want to work with, who they will surround themselves with and work 12 to 16 hour days perfecting and growing their business. Which is great. It shows they have the spirit and determination to succeed.

The funny thing is I seldom if ever see these or any other of my friends work this hard and give this much thought to their personal lives. Maybe it is time to treat our lives a little more like a business. This does not mean having our lives devoid of any emotion. Quite the opposite. Emotion is the currency of a successful life.

Let us look at a business. A successful business has a lot of features to it. Successful bottom line, fulfills a need to people, invests in research and development as well as marketing. A good deal of the success of any business has to do with the people in it, especially in charge of key positions.

Now let us look at a successful life. A successful life is measured by peace of mind and heart. We do that by helping others, or fulfilling a need. If we want our life business to grow we need to invest in research and development. That means reading things that will improve or expand us. We also need to market ourselves and our ideas. We also need to make some shrewd decisions as to what people we have in our life business. Remember some people belong in your heart, but not always in your life. Do not sacrifice your emotional well being out of a feeling of social obligation. We only have this one life we need to make the most of it!

Feel free to share your ideas for a successful life business in the comments below.