Your success as a leader and in life lies in your commitment and action in investing in yourself. But this is not about undertaking an MBA at an elite Business School or beating others in the next round of promotions. It is far more fundamental to your enduring success. It’s about investing in who you are as a person, your character and your convictions. Investing in ‘you’ can be more challenging than you ever imagined.
Active Knowledge Question:
What is your current plan for investing in you?
‘You’ Is About Others
Investing in yourself is an endless activity and has nothing to do with the context of ‘self-interest’. The pursuit of self-interest, as it is typically understood today, is the antithesis of success.
Many people believe success lies in getting ahead of others. It is about wealth, position and power, and success lies in getting more of them than all those around you. It is a competition against others to win the next promotion, pay rise, larger house, better car etc.
Self-interest is seen as the competition you are in. But this context of competition is chasing the outcomes rather than focusing on the catalysts that underpin success.
Investing in you is about being able to depend on yourself rather than trying to beat others. It is investing in your capability to succeed, and so you may then also uplift and enable others to be successful. Your full potential will only be realised when you can enable others to be successful.
There is a ‘science’, a process, that enables success, and understanding and actioning these elements is the starting point of investing in yourself.
It is about building the muscles – the traits and disciplines – that will allow you to be an Achiever; a person who can set the right goals and deliver on them.
And if you want to compete against someone truly worthy, then compete against yourself. That’s right:
- Compete against yourself.
- Adopt the mantra of ‘better every day’ and no matter how good you did yesterday you are going to do better today and better again tomorrow.
- And imagine the compound effects if you improve every day. Before you know it, your achievements will be beyond your wildest dreams.
But competing against yourself will be the toughest competition you have ever been in if you genuinely compete.
Catalysts of Success?
I believe there is a series of traits that allow a person to be ‘naturally’ far more successful than those who do not possess these traits. If you are aware and looking for them, you can readily recognise the traits, but more importantly, you can develop and strengthen these traits within yourself.
In combination, I call them the Achiever Trait. The Achiever Trait describes the characteristics that collectively represent the engine that underpins and drives the ability of any individual to be successful. Build the engine, strengthen its components and keep them well-tuned, and success will be your daily reward. And a life of enduring success will become effortless.
Investing in yourself is strengthening your Achiever Trait from which all else will flow. There are six elements at three levels comprising your Achiever Trait, which will mould who you are as a person. And weave wisdom, courage and strength into your character. They are not what you might expect as they start with the core of who you are and build out from that core.
At the core of who you are is humility or the lack thereof.
Humility may be described as a virtue, but it is not one I believe is held in high regard in today’s society. Rather it is seen by many as a weakness. It is, however, the seed of great leadership and great businesses and should be studied and pursued. It is the core to enduring success.
Humility is a virtuous strength that allows you to place someone else before yourself, to uplift them and invest in them. It is not a sign of weakness or lack of ambition but rather a willingness to hold power in the service of others. It is reflected in the business leader who places the business, its employees and its customers before themselves. It allows that business leader to promote the strengths of everyone involved in the business and lead it to greatness by not placing their self-interest at the forefront.
Humility allows you to learn and be grateful, not to take yourself too seriously, to seek continuous improvement, to take failure in your stride and to work with the best at their best. It is a foundational trait upon which all else can be built as it allows you to be open to continuous improvement and learning and to win the trust, support and effort of everyone you work with. Humble people are the greatest leaders.
Gratitude is seeded through humility.
From the core of humility, you are able to look upon everything with thanks. You are able to wake up each morning with a positive outlook on life and with an excitement about what the day will hold and what you can achieve. It’s not about seeing everything through a false lens but instead about viewing life with a lens that looks for opportunity – that creates a positive energy.
If you are grateful in your life, you will be a person who gives. And if you are a person who has thanks and giving as core traits, then positivity is generated, and success will flow. You may want to say it’s the Universe or God blessing you but do good things, and good things will happen to you, is my experience.
You continually strengthen your body’s ability to deliver and perform at its peak.
Your physical, mental and emotional health are vital for your enduring success. If you are not physically well, if you struggle to find a clarity and focus of mind or if your emotions sway backwards and forwards, then your ability to achieve will be impaired. The extent to which success is impacted will depend on the extent and duration of your weakened body state.
Yes, it is about a healthy regiment to build and sustain your physical body. But it goes far deeper into your mental and emotional resilience. Daily meditation is vital, but your beliefs and words also impact your whole well-being. And importantly, how you define success will have a profound effect. Body, beliefs and words form a triad of vitality.
You unearth your self-beliefs.
What do you think of yourself, both consciously and subconsciously? How you think of the world around you and how you interpret events and actions have a profound effect on your ability to achieve and be successful. You must be conscious of how you have trained yourself to react, respond and interpret events in your life and appreciate how they may impact your ability to achieve.
Believing in yourself is vital, not through arrogance nor pridefulness but a simple, quiet confidence.
Choose your words with extreme care.
The power of words (spoken and thought) should never be underestimated.
The words you speak and think to yourself and others profoundly influence your and their ability to be successful. Words of encouragement and recognition feed and grow. On the other hand, words of criticism intended to cut and hurt can crush a person, including you.
You allow yourself to play freely in what I see as the clouds.
The cloud represents your dreams, passions, imagination and the freedom you allow yourself to play with what is possible and what you would love to do in life. The concept of play is important as play is seldom frivolous and usually, quite purpose focused. And for adults, I believe, it is usually centred on role-playing. It allows the imagination to be released, for things to happen that we can only dream of, and it is our dreams that allow us to nurture the passions that make the impossible possible.
As adults, we rarely allow ourselves to play as we did as children. Life is far too serious to play as there is wealth to be built – or so we have allowed ourselves to believe. Play is our exploration, and it ignites possibilities. You should play all the time, and opportunity will be the reward.
Introspection and Willpower
Your efforts and ability to seed and grow your Achiever Trait lies in the practice of introspection and the development of your willpower. These are some of the most important muscles you must constantly refresh and strengthen.
Introspection is the practice of looking at yourself in the mirror with open eyes and recognising who you presently are and what you need to change to grow. It is being honest with yourself.
Willpower is your commitment to relentlessly focus on what needs to change. And not blaming others or finding a thousand excuses. This is where your conviction comes in. If you have the conviction, you can do it.
Define For Yourself What Success Looks Like
Pausing, reflecting and defining what success really is for you will strengthen your ability to invest in yourself.
Today, maybe more so than ever, life for many is about quick riches and chasing the dollar. Success is almost exclusively defined by wealth, and the game is to get as much wealth as you can, as quickly as you can, with the least effort.
If you become a sporting star, it’s not about your skill at the game – it’s about the money you can make from endorsements. If you’re a businessperson, it’s about start-ups, IPOs and exits before it all goes south.
It seems for many that work is what you must do so you don’t have to work anymore. The dream is to be able to retire and only then can life commence.
Success is reflected in wealth, position and power as only through these can you be free to do as you want, to surround yourself with the possessions and experiences you desire, and to create the life you dream of.
Success is often defined by others. It is highly competitive and seems to be elusive for many, no matter how old. Age and time do not necessarily yield success, and there is a tipping point where many abandon all hope of being successful.
This is a game you do not want to play – it is designed so you cannot win. But you can change the rules and make success something that is readily within your reach. A life of success is not for the few and is a life filled with satisfaction and abundance. It is a prize worth believing in, especially with the knowledge that it can readily be yours, no matter what age or economic state you may be in.
There is a better way to define success.
Developing a clear picture of what success means for you and being centred in that view is critical to developing a life of enduring success. Ultimately, I believe there is only one true measure of success, but the source of that success can be and is infinitely diverse. Why infinitely diverse? Because it is up to you, and you alone, to discover what it is you wish to achieve in your life, to set your priorities and to then journey forward in their achievement. I believe success should be viewed as a journey and not a destination.
Success is, quite simply, achieving what you set out to achieve. And feeling good about your efforts and outcomes. To do this you must be running with your playbook, the things you want to grow in and not what someone else thinks you should be doing.
Reflect on what you enjoy and what brings you that sense of achievement and pride. What is it you want to grow in and be better at.? Who do you want to be as a person? This will then become your journey of success.
Get this right, and you will discover the power of success in your life:
- Success is the fuel of life. It energises and enlivens us. Without success, our lives can become dull and then dead.
- Without success as a catalyst in our lives, we will not and cannot reach our potential.
- Striving for success is an enabler. It draws our best to the surface and allows us to see what we are really capable of achieving.
- Success comes from within. Only we can make ourselves successful through our beliefs, thoughts and actions. Success cannot be given to you by others.
- Success is a renewable resource. We can generate it every moment of every day and can bring an abundance to our lives that we never thought possible.
Invest in you. Create and strengthen your ability to be the success you truly want to be. And from this foundation, you can then enable others to be successful and become the catalyst of success in any community or business.
An entirely new level of performance.
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All the best in the success of your business,