Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Success Redefined


What is success?

If I were to line 100 people up, and ask them all what success is, I may very well get 100 different answers. Here’s what Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary has to say success is: 1. Outcome. Result. 2a. degree or measure of succeeding, 2b a favorable termination of a venture; specifically the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. 3. one that succeeds. It also defines succeed as to prosper, thrive, flourish; to attain or be attaining a desired end.

Success is. . .

Success is something I’ve talked about, written about, fretted about, and wondered about all my adult life, and yet what it is, I’m not completely sure I knew. However, I now believe I know a little about that word that speaks so many things to so many different people. In this learning, I have decided to redefine the word success. Here is my all encompassing, and extremely simple definition: Success is getting or doing what you want. I think that says it very well and at the same time gives all the flexibility in the world to have it apply to everyone.

Success is positive

So, now with this new simple definition of success, anyone and everyone can now readily and often as they wish succeed, and thereby call themselves a success, take joy in the most meaningful accomplishment, and feel good. Feeling good is something that I am confident that each and every one of us wants. Some people go about getting it in very strange ways, but I still believe that this is the main goal. We all want to feel good. Getting or doing what you want would feel good, so we could even shorten new definition of success to two words: feeling good.

How others view success

In all of the business books I’ve read, seminars I’ve attended and the like, the word success has long been associated with wealth, the attainment of wealth, and generally related to money and getting more of it. Those who get the money in certain quantity succeed, while those who don’t yet have it do not succeed until they get it. In this, success is more a journey toward something that is hard to come by, and is only achieved by a small number of dedicated, focused people.

Goals and limitations

In addition, I’ve seen it also related to achieving a specified numeric goal where success is not possible for everyone, but only those who “succeed” at hitting or exceeding the goal. It might be a certain number of sales, certain dollar numbers attained, a certain score in a game, one more touchdown than the other team, first in line at the Wal-Mart Black Friday sale event, or millions of other ways in which we have money or numeric goals given us or we take on ourselves for some reason. The reason we take them on is to feel good by achieving them, but we only feel good if we achieve them and this is not possible for everyone, so again, success is a limited and elusive thing.

Success and failure

Where the word success has been used in my experience, though it may not have been said directly as such, failure is the only result in not achieving success. Of course, failure has always had a negative feel to it and our simple definition of success begs us to redefine failure as well. Failure, then, is simply not getting or doing what you want, or more directly, failure is getting what you don’t want. And in the way that I’ve always associated failure in the past, the vast majority has to fail because success has always been so hard and so limiting. No more.

What you think matters most

My goal in sharing this about success is to offer you hope of another and far better way to view success. Since in the past in my own experience success is so hard and so limiting and failure is something that happens much more often, this new definition of success as getting or doing what you want can completely change your outlook on performance. Because you and I live in a world where people put goals on us and where we also make choice from our past experience, we may need to keep this new definition to ourselves, but that is the most important and beneficial place to keep it. What you think matters most.

The new judgment

So, take this new definition and call yourself a success when you want to and let everyone else have their own rules. Since it is about how you feel more than anything else, choose to feel good and you are automatically a success. Whatever you are doing, do what you love to do and you cannot help but feel good and thereby have and be a success again. You can be successful all day long every day if you want to. No more will you be ruled by the outside ruler-makers—you are the ruler of your thinking now! Just feel good, and you rule.

You alone get to choose

You alone get to choose your success by feeling good by doing what you want, and getting what you want, and more easily by just choosing to feel good. Based on this, you can look at a tree and be successful. You can feel love for your spouse or child and be successful. You can take extra care of that customer at work and be successful. You can spread joy among your coworkers and be successful. You can do your best regardless of the numbers and be successful. You can get fired and be successful. You can get promoted and be successful. It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, it only matters how you feel about it while doing it. If you feel good, you are successful at it regardless of what any other may think about your performance. It is never about them, it is only about you and how you feel. And, yes, I said get fired and be successful. I got fired once and it was one of the best days of my life. Seriously. It was a massive success because of how I felt about it, and it was a massive success which has led me to what I do now!

Success is contagious

The question may surface about what will happen with the world of number-crunchers and goal-setters who are demanding specific performance numbers from us? Will my new definition be at odds with them? Interesting questions, and I will answer them with a question or two: if we feel good and are doing what we love, is it possible to do that poorly at the same time? I think not. If I create my own loving definition of success and feel successful because I feel good and am doing what I want to do, wouldn’t that attitude and demeanor become contagious since I believe that inside, we all want to feel good? I say, let them set all the goals they want, while we choose to feel good about what we are doing and let those natural results speak for themselves. Whether it hits their mark or misses it is not important in the scheme of things, but our feeling good is. In fact, just imagine a sales organization or any other business where everyone is feeling good and doing what they love. The service level would be off the chart! Customer loyalty would soar! Employee morale would be at the highest levels! In short, the organization would ROCK! In fact, I don’t think there is any other possible result. Let it begin with you, so. . .

Go forth and succeed

Now that you have a new and better definition of success, you can now go forth and succeed virtually EVERY day. Yes. Every day! Go practice and have fun. You get to choose. Now everyone can be a success as well. No more living by the success rules of others where only a select group win and everyone else loses, you can now be a success any time you choose. Wear it like a crown and feel the sheer joy of being a success. You deserve it. You are feeling good and you are a success!

--Terry Minion

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