In this week’s installment on Lifelong Learning, our Founder shares a blog post on all of the professional steps involved in becoming successful.
Everywhere you look and a large amount of what you read people are talking about attracting, finding, hiring, developing and retaining talented people. It would appear, at least from everything that is out there, that it would be easy to find a rewarding and challenging place to work. It appears that you would be able to show your talents and potential to these desperate employers.
Good luck with that.
Like most other things in life if you want to become successful you have to put in the work. That is easy to say, but what do you mean?
Let’s be systematic and outline some steps. But first, please remember success is not a reflection of your job alone. It is a reflection of who and what you are as a person.
Here, you have to do some serious self-reflection on what you think you need to do to represent the best person you can be. This is very personal, isn’t it? There is only one of you on the planet. Let’s be systematic; what are your values, your strengths and weaknesses. Are there things that you already know you need to improve on. Write them down. Is there anything that you have wanted to do forever, but never had the time to do? What about your physical being. Do you need to improve your health, your weight, your condition? Be brutally honest here. Never forget that the easiest person to lie to is your reflection in the mirror.
Next let’s establish some action items and goals. There are many sources that tell us that setting goals is an important aspect of becoming successful. So, make it real, write it down. Make a list of what you want to get done, what you want to achieve. This is where you have to remember that your goals need to be achievable. Don’t be unrealistic. In this area it is extremely important that you are very specific.
Finally, for this first phase, you have to make a commitment to yourself that these lists are things you are going to work on every day. No slacking off. In leading a team we have to be able to communicate to a group of people what you are trying to do. Then you have to have the discussion, the debate, as to whether or not that is the right thing to do. You MUST have that debate. Once everyone has had their say and you have reached a common understanding then and only then will you and your team be committed to make it happen. This time you are the team. You have to be all in, totally committed to making this happen.
Find someone or something to be your lighthouse, you beacon, your spiritual guide. Don’t laugh at this. It is important. Find someone with whom you can talk. You will get discouraged and they can perk you up. Make no mistake, you are the one that has to get this done, but there will be times that you will need help and encouragement. I used to find a piece of music that motivated me. Those of you that have listened to any of our Podcasts know that the song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is one of those inspirations for me. Another thing that has helped me often is to have a pad handy or talk to your phone. When something strikes you record it. It is much too easy to forget those brilliant ideas you had in the middle of the night. A long time ago, I was a Data Processing Manager at a dealership. We were open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I used to go to bed with a pad and a pen on the nightstand so that when I woke up with that brilliant idea, in the middle of the night, I could write it down I wouldn’t lose it. Isn’t that strange? Of course, I am sure you guessed it, I couldn’t read my writing in the morning, so I stopped doing it. Oh well.
Remember your goals from Phase One. Now might be a good time to go back and review those goals and break them down into more manageable chunks. Allow yourself the opportunity to succeed at those goals. Make them shorter and more easily achieved. As you begin to have more success at achieving those goals you can make them bigger. Remember Collins and Porras in their book Good to Great. They wanted us to create BHAGS. Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
Similarly remember those aspects from Phase One that had to do with your appearance. Dress for success. Exercise regularly. Eat the right food. And don’t be surprised if you have to make some changes. Sometimes you will have external influences over which you have little if any control. Focus on those things in your plan, in your activities, over which you have control. The things that you can influence.
Things are building you can feel a difference. You feel more in control of your life. This is a good time and it is a good place where you have your mind. However, you will have setbacks, you will fail at some things. Don’t get discouraged. Failures and failing are part of life. Edison famously said “I have not failed I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
One of the things that has worked well for me is even though I knew I had failed I never took it personally. Remember that the mission you have is important. It is not necessarily going to be easy. Not everyone can be all they want to be. This where you might need that support figure. You don’t need to do this alone. Finally, trust your instincts, trust you gut. Intuition and contemplation are best when they work together.
Achieving your potential is a lifelong process. Your skills and abilities are dynamic, they’re constantly changing. That is true because you are constantly learning. Samuel Beckett wrote “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” If you follow his advice and continue on the path to lifelong learning you will achieve your potential and you will have become successful.
The time is now.