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How to succeed when others are failing

Ask anyone you know about the meaning of success and you will be sure to get as many different answers as the individuals you speak to. Success is one of those concepts that mean different things to different people. The free dictionary defines success as ‘ the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.’

I also like this definition by Earl Nightingale, a famous radio speaker and author ‘Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.

I would like to add yet another definition. Mine.

‘Success is the achievement of something desired, planned and attempted, for which you were created’.

Any one who has a creative bone in them knows that when you create something, you do this with its intended function in mind. You don’t make a vehicle and put wheels on it if you intend for it to be used on water. Similarly, you wouldn’t put wings on one if you intend to use it on the road rather than in the air. When you were made, certain personality traits, gifts and talents, were knit into your being based on who you were created to be (whether you believe in a deity as the Creator or not is not really relevant here). Attempting to do anything you neither have the inclination nor gift for could result in frustration or failure and ultimately you giving up. Not to mention the misery that often accompanies trying to accomplish something that you were not built for.

We like to tell our children that they can be anything they want to be. This is not strictly true and we do them a disservice by doing this. While they may have the potential to be whatever they want to be, they will only succeed at that for which they have gifts, talents and appropriate training for. Even if they did succeed at anything else (a few people are annoyingly good at most things they put their hands to), they will not have the fulfilment that comes from doing what they were born to do.

So how does one lead themself to this place of success?

1. The first thing is to be clear about where your passions lie. This is often where your success lies. Are you passionate about fitness? Then perhaps you should be a fitness instructor, or a nutritionist. Are you passionate about telling stories? Then perhaps you should be a journalist rather than trying to make that job as a banker fulfil you. What are you passionate about? What would you do even if you weren’t paid to do it?

2. Secondly, know what your gifts or talents are. Are you good at organising people and events? Then event planning might be more up your street than teaching Maths. Do you excel at making beautiful things that others would pay to add to their collection? Are you skilled in creating order out of chaos? What do you do easily that others would struggle with? Don’t just put it down to chance; this is where your success lies – in the place of your natural gifts.

3. Thirdly, what has your training or experience prepared you for? I am not just talking about your university or college education (or lack of it as the case may be). Life’s experiences can sometimes be a bigger teacher that whatever they taught you in the classroom. Don’t discount your failures either. We often learn more from failure than from success as long as we are willing to learn those lessons. What skills have you acquired in your journey so far? You may have to asl other people who know you well to help you identify your strengths and talents, as this can be an area we have blind spots due to a variety of reasons. Many times we don’t value our skills until someone else has pointed it out, because they seem very natural and we therefore take them for granted.

4. And finally, what are you happiest doing? If you wake up every morning with a sense of dread at the thought of going into work or running that business, then something is definitely wrong. You will only really succeed at something that brings you some degree of pleasure and a sense of fulfilment. You may last for a period but it will only be a matter of time before discontent sets in.

So, today stop and think. Are you succeeding? Are you earnestly and intentionally pursuing a worthy goal? Are you on the right train? Remember that success is a journey, not just a destination and there is a lot to learn and experience on that journey. Don’t settle for second best when you can have the best. Do something today that will set you on the right track. Make the choice to succeed. And if you think Coaching would be helpful in pointing you in the direction, I would only be too happy to help.

To your success,


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