Success is a strange phenomenon. It is a subjective measure used to define how well life is going. But the way we think about success, define it and go about achieving it differs radically from person to person. If you are determined to thrive and not just survive in the modern workplace, you may ask ‘How can I develop my strategies for success?’. While there are no easy answers, there are some simple steps that can help.
Design Your Own Version of Success
The first strategy is simple – design your own version of success. Ignore how others define success or how you think you should define success. Instead, figure out what success means to YOU and YOU ONLY. Ask yourself what life would look like if you were happy and content. Take into account your finances, career, relationships, lifestyle and personal life. Consider what a truly meaningful and successful life would look like for you. What would you be doing, where would you be and who would you be with?
As you begin to consider your own version of success, go to your dream. It does not matter what it looks like or how different from your current reality it is. Give yourself permission to design it and go to it. Commit what success looks like to you to paper – write it down, create a mood board or draw a mind map. Do whatever works for you.
Move from thoughts to action
To design your own success, you must move from thinking and talking to doing. Pick a starting point. It doesn’t have to be the best, most perfect or outstanding starting point. Rather, it should be a tangible, practical place to start. Commit to it and begin doing something every day for the next six weeks that moves you closer to your version of success.
Get a Mentor
A mentor is the modern day fairy godmother. Not easy to identify but when you find the ‘one’ she is capable of supporting, challenging and advising you. Choose a time that works for you both and ask your mentor to check in with you every 10-14 days. Chat by phone, Skype, FaceTime, email, face-to-face or a combination. Share your action plan, seek accountability i.e. “I will have this done by Thursday next week and will forward it to you”, look for advice, ask for help and request support when you need it.
Agility is not just for companies. Flexibility and a willingness to change are key skills in the 21st-century workplace. You will step outside your comfort zone, encounter problems and realize that you may need to change track as you design your own version of success. Be prepared for this, assess alternatives, be flexible and quickly plan for them.
Be open to opportunity
As you seek out your own version of success, open your mind to opportunity. Begin to look at everything you do, everywhere you go and everyone you meet as potential helpers. Leverage your personal and professional networks, ask questions, begin new work processes, learn new skills or instigate a new role. If opportunity doesn’t knock on your door, find a door to knock on and build your own opportunity behind it.
Learn from Failure Always
Accept that things go wrong, that the choices you make may not work out or that you made the wrong decision. That is acceptable. What is unacceptable are pity parties. You might feel crap for a few hours or days but then remind yourself that success and failure are two sides of the same coin. Speak to your mentor, look for help, restrategize, dust yourself off, get up and go and learn from what happened. Not the easiest of tasks but without doubt one of the most important things you can do.
Every day we compare ourselves to others. Catch yourself doing this and stop yourself from comparing your start to somebody else’s middle or end. Such comparisons are unhelpful and unfair, not to mention confidence quenchers that build fear and stifle performance. Instead, give yourself permission to follow your own path at your own pace in your own time.
Think Evolution Not Revolution
Defining and reaching for your own version is a process of evolution rather than revolution. No version of success is ever perfect so instead of yearning instant perfection, choose slow sustained progress towards your own version of success.
Remember success is seldom achieved overnight or easily won. Prepare yourself for a hard slog that leads you on the right path towards meaning and engagement.
By Sinead Brady