Everyone seems to be looking for the secrets of success. There are thousands of blogs, books and programs touting inside information that promise users the success they seek. Finding the inside track to success has become so elusive that many people spend their entire lives chasing it without ever achieving it.
Here is a tip: One of the biggest secrets of success is simply realizing that you have the power to choose the direction your life takes at any moment. Yes, you. With your own decisions, your own actions and the resources you already have avaiilable to you. Amazing, isn’t it?
So why do we settle for feeling stuck, held back, marking time and living uninspired lives that don’t fulfill us when we could be living an incredible life doing what we love, with people we love, in ways that give us a sense of meaning and purpose?
The truth is that the gift of choice comes with the responsibility of using it over and over throughout our lives. Success, and all the resources and tools we need to achieve it, are all right there for us, waiting for us to claim it.
And yet, often we don’t. As you read the paragraphs above, you may have a sense of empowerment, relief or excitement about the potential ahead. Some of you may feel doubt, disbelief or unease reading those same words. When we look at the secrets of success, a critical part of making them work for us is that we have to be brave enough to claim the power of them and act on them in our lives. It’s not enough to know something. We have to put that knowledge into action.
I once worked with a client who wanted to be a professional recording artist. We put all the pieces together – picked the songs for his pitch demo, hired musicians and produced studio arrangements, had a photo shoot, and set up a showcase at a major club in Nashville. Representatives from three different record labels had confirmed their attendance and we were ecstatic at the response! Two days before the event, the client called out of the blue and cancelled the showcase, leaving all the musicians, the club owner, the label reps and the audience members hanging.
Why would someone do that? Especially when it looked like there was a very strong possibility that he was about to step into his life-long dream?
The answer is a surprising one, though not at all uncommon. He and his wife were afraid of what success would do to the life they had together. She freaked out, he did, too, and they called the whole thing off. They didn’t know what to expect from success and did not trust that they would be able to navigate it if it came to them.
For any of us chasing success, there is one important question that must be asked and answered; are you so afraid of the unknown, with all its incredible opportunities, that you are willing to stay in the status quo of your comfort zone even if it means feeling unhappy and unfulfilled, settling for less and wasting our talents?
This question has huge implications. When I talk with people about their dreams, their disappointments, their what-ifs and their roadblocks, I hear the same paradigms and excuses people use to rationalize their decisions to stay exactly where they are, even if they are not satisfied in that space.
Here are just a few:
- I am too young.
- I am too old.
- I have been doing this so long, I don’t think I can do anything else.
- I’m not good enough or smart enough.
- My partner/children/parents/spouse/friends wouldn’t support me.
- I don’t have confidence that I could succeed with something new.
- What if I fail and lose everything
- At least I know what to expect if I stay where I am.
There are others as well, but these particular excuses continue to show up time after time for people of all ages, races, genders and socio-economic backgrounds, no matter where they come from. For better or worse, it is one of the elements of human nature that most of us apparently share.
Yet another of the secrets of success is willingness to take an honest soul-searching look at your life, your beliefs, your talents, your wants and your fears to know exactly where you are and exactly where you want to be.
If success has so far been elusive for you, make the choice to let go of the excuses, decide what it is you want from life and have the courage to pursue it. It’s all within your power if only you are brave enough to move out of your comfort zone and go for it.
In Part Two of this series, we’ll explore more of the secrets of success and give you an experience of finding out how and where you can start claiming success of your own in the areas that matter most.
In the words of Disney heroine Merida, "You control your destiny -- you don't need magic to do it."
About the Author
Originally from Nashville, Cathey lived a successful dual career as a psychotherapist and a working musician before moving into full-time marketing and communications. She received her BA in Broadcasting, working at the Nashville CBS television affiliate before getting her Master’s degree in Social Work.
A born networker, she has produced events ranging from national conferences and gallery crawls to multiple-artist music events throughout the southeast and midwest. Cathey has worked with nonprofits, community groups, start-ups and solopreneurs as well as SMBs of all kinds.
She is a certified life coach and currently serves as VP of Marketing & Communications with Best Year Yet® Worldwide, helping change the world for the better one person, business and organization at a time. You can easily identify her in the mix by her slightly twisted humor, multiple music references in Best Year Yet® posts, and that little bit of Southern twang that will be there until the day she dies.
Start your own Best Year Yet® today at http://bestyearyet.com/