WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION?

Have you ever thought about the quote above? Most of us live our lives trying to meet the expectations of our boss, our peers, or even our family. This can often leave us trying to meet goals that do not align with our values. This cannot only make it very difficult to achieve, but leave us feeling defeated and like we failed. Not only are these feelings unpleasant to experience, they can dampen our ability to push forward. It was Winston Churchill who defined success as “Going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” I am rather found of that quote. If we can keep our enthusiasm for another day, to me, that is a success.

My favorite quote about success comes from Earl Nightingale which reads, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Meaning if we have a clearly defined goal and are working toward achieving it, we are, by definition, a success. If you googled ‘success quotes’ you would uncover a million more. What matters most is what you consider a success? Is it pleasing your boss? Is it living up to the goals of your friends? Or is it something bigger?

To me, a successful life begins with successful days. Put enough together and you have a successful life. What defines a successful day? Perhaps you did something to make your spouse feel loved and beautiful? Then the day was a success. Maybe you did something stupid that upset your spouse, but you learned from it and now you can do better in the future? Again, that day would be a success. If you are like me, you might even do both in the same day.

The point is here that you get to define what success is for you. The more you look for accomplishments, the more you can develop a mindset to chase bigger and better ones.

THE 4 LETTER WORD THAT NO LONGER OFFENDS ME

For those of you afraid to open this post at work, or to show the children have no fear. As a bartender and DJ I must confess to having uttered my fair share of four-letter words in my day. As an author and motivational speaker I try to find more intelligent and creative ways to express myself today. This post is not, however, about those kinds of four letter words. This post is about a four-letter word that used to frighten me far more growing up.

What is this scary and offensive word? GOAL. When I was growing up and I am sad to admit through a good portion of my early adulthood this word is something I not only shied away from, I ran in the opposite direction! Why? In school goals are things we were graded on. Your goal was to get an A on the test. If you scored a B- you did not meet the goal. Your goal might have been to complete your paper or project in three weeks. If you were a student like myself, the day before at three o’clock in the morning you were up driving your mother crazy as she drove you crazy with such inspiring phrases such as, “You had three weeks to complete this paper. Why didn’t you start earlier!” I actually recall trying to write a paper on ‘Bucky-balls’ or spherical fullerene molecules named after Buckminster Fuller. Working with my good friend Russ, and only after completing his paper and being wired on espresso in the wee hours of the morning I turned in a paper that opened with the question, “Bucky-balls chemistry’s next big thing or kinky sex toy?” This sounded great between Russ and I the night before. The chemistry teacher, however, did not enjoy our humor. I did not do well on that goal.

As you can see my history with the word ‘goal’ has not been the best. Introduce Earl Nightingale. Even a passing reader of this site has heard me mention his name countless times. Earl was a motivational speaker and author among countless other occupations. I encourage you to listen to his great work The Strangest Secret In it, Earl informs us the difference between successful and not successful people is that those who succeed have goals. Naturally, this made me want to assume the fetal position in the corner, but I listened on. He explained goals in a way that helped me not only not be afraid of them, but understand how they can serve us.

Here is what he said, and please understand I am paraphrasing. Imagine a ship about to start a voyage. There is a captain at the helm. He has a destination all mapped out and knows exactly where he is going. In the event he gets off course, he can make corrections and get back on course. The odds are 9999 times out of 10,000 he will get there. Now imagine a ship without a captain at the helm. It has no crew or destination. We just start the engines and let it go. If it makes it out of the harbor at all it will crash or end up on some deserted shore a derelict.

The ironic thing is most of us begin our day like the second ship. We just start our engines and away we go. Imagine if we began our day more like the second ship. With our end goal for the day, week or year mapped out in front of us. If things happened to get off course we can make adjustments and get back on course. With this analogy I could see the power and benefit of goals. I now look forward to coming up with goals and working to achieve them.

I encourage you to do the same. Write down a goal and look at it as you start your day. Notice how you are doing. If you find you have gotten off course, that is ok, just make the necessary corrections and you will be on your way again in no time. If you get completely lost, feel free to utter another four-letter word of your choosing, and start out again.

START BY WINNING

I did a video on my YouTube channel last year about people walking up on neutral. This is actually something most of us do. We wake up with no really opinion of the day. If the coffee turns out ok, our day gets a little brighter. If the morning drive into work is good, so much the better. Boss in a good mood? Then so are we.

This works out great if everything goes as in our example above. What if we discover we are out of coffee? What if there is construction and up late for work? This would certainly put the boss in a bad mood. Then what? Our day goes downhill.

When we wake up with a sense of pride and determination to have a good day things go a lot different. First of all, we feel like we have a lot more control. Second, our mood is not dependent on the circumstances, but can exist despite them.

How can we start our day this way? First, read or watch something inspiring. If you feel you midst watch the news, put that off for a little while. Read a few pages of an inspiring book, watch a motivational video on YouTube. (Personally I recommend the channel ‘Neil Panosian’) even put on some inspiring music.

Second, have your goal written down to view somewhere. Perhaps even write down a goal for the day. Know what you are going after.

Finally, start the day with a win. I like going to the gym, but do whatever works for you. Take the dog for a walk, make your bed. Anything that gives you a sense of accomplishment.

Follow these rules and you will start, and more than likely, end your day as a success.

LET’S START TODAY!

Here is another great secret of success that is simple, and easy to apply. Start now. Quite often we hear friends say, or even say ourselves, “Starting ____ I will ____.” Fill in the blanks with words of your choice. Starting Monday, perhaps on your next birthday, in the new year, or the worst day, ‘tomorrow’, which never quite seems to get here. Whether your goal is to get in shape, start your own business, improve your attitude or any other worthwhile ideal, the best place to start is right where you are, the best time to start is now.

When someone is able to put off beginning to work on their goal it is a sign they very well might have a weak ‘why’. Those with a burning desire to start something new often cannot wait to get started. This could possibly be your first step, increase your desire, or strengthen your why. I have written several posts on how to do this, but to recap in brief, you can look up information such as how quickly you will notice results if you take back control of your life from cigarettes, or what everyday out of shape is costing you. Recently, a few of my friends have begun lives of sobriety. Everyday is a challenge for them, but getting to a point of enough is enough have propelled them to get on track so that they are determined to succeed. Even if they slip, they have such strong whys that they will not be stopped.

How about you? What goal have you been putting off? Perhaps you believe you do not have the necessary resources to begin? I heard Tony Robbins say once, “It is not a lack of resources that is the problem, but a lack of resourcefulness.” If you are passionate enough about your goal you can find a way to get the money, people or whatever resource you need. Just watch a young child who is saving up for a trip to the toy store. They will do extra chores, start a lemonade stand and whatever else they need to do. With the internet, we can connect with people and resources around the world. With public libraries we all can have free access to the internet.

What can you begin to do? Work on coming up with a name for your new business. Start to create the perfect logo. Watch YouTube videos on healthy eating. Taking action is one of the most powerful things you can do to improve your life. By doing so, you begin to recruit and harness another power available to you – momentum. If you begin by incorporating one healthy snack into your day, or going to the gym once a week you can build on that. Once you start on the path to your goal you build excitement as well. You can begin to see it start to take shape.

What if you take an action and fail? People put way to much importance on failure. Failure itself is nothing but a learning experience. The sooner you fail, the sooner you can learn. The only way to never fail, is to never try. In which case your life will be a failure. The only way to make sure your life is not a failure is to never give up. So start today. Do what you can with what you got and soon you will find your life is so far beyond what you expected. It will never get there if you don’t begin.

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.