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Your version of success
January 27, 2014 | By Neil Ducoff | 6 Comments
There are many interpretations and opinions of the meaning of success. It’s such a simple little word – success – yet it can represent the entirety of one’s life-long quest to achieve it. It’s like a thirst that cannot be quenched and a hunger that can rarely, if ever, be satisfied. Be it wealth, independence, status or the right to control your own destiny, true success is very personal and therefore, very complex. Only you can decide where and how high to set your bar for success … and how committed you are to achieving it.
I believe success is the desire to achieve something that you’re intensely passionate about and emotionally invested in. Something you are willing to sacrifice for. Something so worthy that you are willing to put yourself into the most uncomfortable situations to develop, test and hone your abilities. I pity those that have “success” handed to them because it is the journey that defines you, builds character and allows you to truly appreciate what you’ve earned.
Here are some no-compromise thoughts about achieving your version of success:
- It’s what matters to you: You are the only one who can define what success means to you. Chasing someone else’s dream will never fuel the fire in your gut or inspire you to give it your all. Passion, desire and a vision of what you want to become, build or achieve are the purest and most personal motivators for success. Some kids do grow up to be cowboys, firemen, doctors, artists, astronauts, leaders and entrepreneurs. If you want to change the world … you can and you will … in your own way. If it truly and deeply matters to you, you will find your vision of success.
- No shortcuts or free rides: No success worth fighting for has a shortcut and there’s certainly no free ride. There’s a lot of truth to the saying, “It takes many years to become an overnight success.” I’ve been writing, coaching and training for 40 years. I missed too many of my son’s baseball games, flew too many miles and stayed in too many hotels to get where I am today. There have been both amazing and pretty ugly times along the way, and at 64 years young, I’m still fighting to achieve my vision of success. I wouldn’t be as effective a speaker/coach/writer had my journey been easy. Note: If I wanted “easy,” I’d hire a ghostwriter to write my Monday Morning Wake Ups.
- How you earn success: Every day, you earn the right to fight for another 24 hours. Every win earns you the right to take time to celebrate and reflect, and then it’s on to chase the next win. Every loss is a hard earned lesson and an opportunity to get better. Achieving your version of success will not come without experiencing the heartbreak of failure and defeat. It’s how you accept, overcome and grow from failure that leads you to success. If you’re tenacious and courageous, you will get up, dust yourself off and get back in the game. If you give up because the quest was more difficult than you thought…well, you were never fully committed to going the distance in the first place.
- Where you set the bar: For some, the only place to set the success bar is on the top rung. Anything less is unacceptable and a compromise. These are the “crazy” ones that want to change the world and are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. They are relentless, driven and determined. They have no problem betting “the ranch” on their dream and vision. Others set the bar just high enough to make them stretch. They work hard but know their limits and tolerance for sacrifice and stress. Their approach to success is measured but no less impressive – and certainly less dramatic than the crazy ones. For some, their version of success is to work to achieve a comfortable lifestyle that is balanced between career and personal life. They work hard and are fiercely loyal, but do not allow career and business to cross personal boundaries. Lastly, there are those that talk about success too much while doing too little to achieve it – and they are very “successful” at it. I regard myself as one of the crazy ones – and I’m proud of it.
- You’re allowed to modify: Life has a strange way of altering your perception of success. Health, family and other factors can and will cause you to take stock of where you are on your journey to success. Your personal priorities can change. You may want to dial back a bit or a lot to enjoy life (or perhaps even have a life). If you ever reach this point … you and you alone will decide just how successful you are. For me, if I stopped right now, I would claim success. However, I would not be satisfied because I have yet to reach my full potential. There is more to write, coach and teach. I’m in a good place, but not ready to modify my version of success. Where are you?
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