In life, as in business, we constantly strive for success. Collectively people spend billions of dollars every year learning how to be more successful in their business and personal lives. Self-help is now a multi-billion-dollar field with its own writing genre. Everyone has their own opinions on how to find greater success or happiness. It would be impossible to discuss every suggestion here, but below are 5 consistent themes that help put people on the road to success.
Keep your eyes on the prize
To increase the odds of success in any field we must keep a goal in mind. This is why many people take the time to write down their goals at the outset of each year, in hopes that those goals will begin to manifest. As important as our focus on this goal is,we must keep in mind exactly what constitutes our individual vision of success. We need to understand that our definition of success will change over time, and we will need to adjust our near-term goals along the way.
Our business may start out with one goal in mind, while over time we learn that another goal is more consistent with our desired work-life balance or worldview. At the same time, we may discover that a particular area of our business – or even something in another industry – brings us more happiness, or a different lifestyle brings us more personal satisfaction.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Though it may seem obvious, we must continually remind ourselves that things won’t always go our way. There will be twists and turns along our journey. What may at first seem like a major setback may be a blessing in disguise, while in other cases what appears to be progress may be a big step in what we later discover to be the wrong direction. In the same vein, we need to accept that we’ll never please everyone. We need to learn to let go, and also learn to say “no.” After all, not every opportunity is worth taking. Some may not fit our broader goals, while others may provide near-term satisfaction at the risk of longer-term success. This is every bit as true for either business or our personal life
Learn to Grow
We all have room for improvement in areas of our lives and our businesses. As we move through different phases of our lives, we all have weaknesses we must overcome, bad habits to break, and perspectives to broaden. We all face adversity in some respect, and from these challenges will emerge lessons for us to learn. Each of us will invariable face obstacles in different areas and at different times. Many of us will grow up in more sheltered environments, or have businesses that encounter early success, and we will naturally face our challenges later.
Others may start their lives by being thrown in the deep end and encountering obstacles early on. This will leave them much more capable of handling challenges later in life or in business. In any case, many of these challenges will teach us lessons that will impact our visions and our goals; they are not to be ignored.
There is nothing wrong with coexisting, but each of us must learn to be our own person both in business and in our personal lives. We can’t let others define or dictate our happiness. Granted, we must make sure that our goals are consistent (or at least compatible) with people important in your life, a spouse or partner for instance. However, it’s important to learn that no friend, family member, business partner or client will be ever-present. People drift in and out of our lives. You may have someone early in your life who you can rely on for guidance or support, who may not be around later to help you. These people can be tremendously helpful for parts of our lives and teach us valuable lessons, but perhaps the most important lesson they can teach us is not to rely on them indefinitely.
Enjoy the Journey
If no other portion of this guide speaks to you, let this be your take-away. It is true for any area of our lives – personal, business, marriage, and family – and the message is simple. No part of life should be about the destination; our success and our happiness are to be found in enjoying the journey and relishing the struggles. In all areas of our lives we must find something that we love to do; find an area of a business that we love, a lifestyle we want to live, or a person with whom we want to share our lives.
We shouldn’t be settling with a job we have trouble tolerating only because we we think will make us rich (and yes, there is a difference between wealth and success). The same way we shouldn’t be settling in marriage. In any of these there will be trials and tribulations, and naturally we will grow and change over time. The key is to look at life and business as a journey, and find satisfaction in tailoring your trip to your liking.
Finding success in life, as in business, is a process. The path is never the same for any two people, nor is it straight or free from obstacles. There are twists and turns, but we keep making progress. With each failure, we pick ourselves up and move on with new knowledge and experience. Becoming successful is not an overnight endeavor, but hopefully these steps will set you on your own course toward finding success and satisfaction in life and in business.