I was having a conversation with my 20-year-old son Bryan a few nights ago regarding why some athletes are more successful than those who often have more raw talent. We were talking about the look in person's eyes and he said something to me I'll never forget. "Joe Montana had that look. He succeeded because he expected to succeed."
How right he was. Success comes not to those who want or need it, but to those who expect it and prepare accordingly. In this context, expectation isn't an arrogant assumption of prowess, but rather the choice to believe in creating a future by preparing oneself through the power of informed confidence. Peter Block, author of Flawless Consulting and The Answer to How is Yes, calls this "choosing accountability."
Our ability to succeed comes from a decision to define what success means for us and our understanding of what we do consistently well.
Success in Your Personal Context
Before you can think about being successful, you have to define what success means for you in your life and in your business. It's a critical component of your personal and business foundation. In fact, I'd go as far as to say the personal and business elements are one in the same.
Business is nothing if it is not personal.
Your definition of success is what gives you the stamina and strength to endure the trials and tribulations life brings your way. In business it will help you weather the storm of anxiety you will feel when, for example, money isn't coming in as fast as you want it to or a client expresses dissatisfaction with the work you've done.
A personal definition of success is not a luxury. It is a requirement for anyone who wants to do more than ride this planet until the end.
Success is not measured in money. It is measured in value and satisfaction.
The Success Compass
Your definition of success, too, hinges on the things you do consistently well: Your tangible and intangible skills, the assets of your interface to the world and the basis for being of service to others. What you do consistently well, when grounded in a meaningful-to-you definition of success, creates a compass that directs you naturally...effortlessly to your own True North. That's what I call the Success Compass, and like a magnetic compass is the basic tool for personal navigation.
Your Success Compass is particularly valuable when you feel lost in the fog. It helps you get present in the moment, and presence is the key to stepping out of states like anxiety and other forms of stuckness into the reality that is NOW. And make no mistake: Business -- as with the rest of your life -- happens in the Now.
Developing the Success Expectation
What do you need to do to develop the Success Expectation for yourself? Start by clarifying what success means for you and identify what you believe about life (yes, including business). Articulate your unique value based on the results of that clarification, then work to understand how your unique value manifests itself in the worlds of others. Once you taken those two steps you'll find that connecting with others becomes second nature. You won't have to work at it -- it will be a natural part of the way you live and work.
The day will come when you'll look in the mirror and see someone who not only has the expectation of success, but who is in fact successful. And it can happen any time you want it to.
Why not start today?