By Richard Morris – CEO TheGivingMachine
Over the years, I have read a fair bit on self-improvement and business strategy areas and of course, these genres always attract new authors with new ways to look at the world and make the most of it. I thought that it was high time I shared my essential ingredients for success and add to the dizzying mix of opinions.
I guess the first thing to consider is what success actually means. It could mean reaching a specific destination or it could be a state of travel on the way. So for example, making a £1million is a destination but making £1m a year is a state of travel that then needs to be maintained.
I’ve used money as an example but success that means something is a very individual thing and it can take a great deal of soul searching to understand what exactly means to you. It’s what makes you tick and gives you a sense of satisfaction making life feel good. For me, it centres around the state of the key relationships around me, the impact (positive I hope) that I have on others (work and personal) and a feeling of health and vitality in order to fulfil my goals. It is a state of being for me and I can feel if I’m in the ‘zone’ or have veered off course.
So let’s assume you’ve defined success in whatever terms work for you, the first key ingredient is the ability to evolve. Having been involved in several startups, my own experience suggests that it never, never goes exactly to plan. You never get it right the first time so it is essential that as an individual and as a team or company you can take in what feedback the marketplace gives you and evolve as quickly as possible. That might mean a change in service, market – whatever it takes to be on a success path.
The ability to evolve means that we need to have the capability to learn and not keep repeating behaviours or habits that don’t move us further forward. As I’ve mentioned previously in other articles, we are hardwired to become habit based creatures. We can avoid the pitfalls of the same old habits by actively learning new things, allowing our opinions and outlook to change based on new information and changing our instinctive responses based on experience and feedback from others.
The second key ingredient is a huge helping of perseverance. Life can be tough and sometimes we just need to dust ourselves down and get on with it. Winston Churchill is famously credited with saying ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going.’ We live in a world where instant success is sometimes peddled as a new paradigm but this is not the norm. We all benefit from a bit of encouragement from others at key times of energy depletion – a bit like the crowds around the London marathon runners. Sharing that energy helps so many carry on well past what the point many thought they could.
Of course, these ingredients relate just as much to our personal lives too. Perhaps reaching and maintaining a healthy body is a key success element for you – it certainly is for me. In my case, perseverance manifests itself as a commitment to maintaining an exercise plan when I don’t always want to.
We’re all on our respective journeys and we can help each other be successful and persevere. With the festive season being on us, I know I’ll be accosted with an onslaught of mince pies, peanuts, Christmas puds, dates and crisps so if you see me weakening, just give me that nudge to do the ‘right thing’ please…