What is success to you? I ask because, success isn’t objective. If it was, everyone you perceive as successful would feel successful. The reality is that we can often confuse tick-box success measures with what really matters to us. It can lead us to constantly chase success, without really knowing what it is.
The good thing is that success doesn’t have to be a single event. It can be whatever you want it to be: a series of events, a feeling you nurture or a lifestyle you maintain. Once you have that vision, it’s up to you to get there. This is your success after all. So how do you do it? Whatever success means to you, adopting these 3 habits will ensure you achieve it:
1. Learn to Fail, Fail to Learn
What is key to success? It’s learning! What do we need to do to learn? Fail. Ouch.
Maybe that goes against everything you were ever taught, but we weren’t born knowing it all and having it all. Gaining knowledge, skills and experience isn’t just about consuming second-hand knowledge, although this way of learning can be a great way to start. It accounts for about 10% of your overall learning, with 20% coming from the learning you get from others (coaches and mentors, for example). With that remaining 70% of learning being from your own experiences, it’s time to accept some failures along the way.
Learning isn’t about getting it right every time. If that’s what you’re doing, you are in your comfort zone and you are not stretching yourself. A fear of failure or success can prevent us from experimenting and exploring beyond what we already know. It also holds us back from happiness and fulfillment. Understanding this fear and experimenting with it can help you move beyond it.
2. Build True Resilience
Why does it feel so good to reach the peak of a mountain? It’s because of the climb. Resilience is that mountain: it’s the journey we look back on when we have achieved our goal. It’s how you pick yourself up after every fall. It’s how you try again and how you keep going. Resilience is what makes success feel good. That’s all your hard work, grit and talent that you persevered with through the tough times.
We are not born resilient. In fact, our brains instinctively take us in the opposite direction. When faced with a difficult situation, we might feel fear, worry, or doubt. This is our brain protecting us. To stay feeling ‘normal’, we accept this protection. To move beyond and achieve success, we step outside our comfort zone. Being resilient does involve a level of discomfort.
3. Embrace Your Vulnerability
We can learn and we can keep going, but for real success we also need to bring our true selves in to that mix. Vulnerability is a trait we don’t identify with success. This is because we have packaged success up as something macho; vulnerability therefore becomes something we fear.
Being vulnerable in the right moment with the right audience can be life-changing. It is a strength that takes us out of our comfort zone, able to explore our identity and capabilities. Breaking down some of the barriers we have with vulnerability can bring other people into our journey, which can be an enriching and positive experience.
Perhaps these were not the secrets you wanted to read when you clicked to read this post. I get it! You want to be successful. You want to feel, see and be success. Yet learning from failures, building resilience and being vulnerable don’t sound quite as exciting, do they? The climb up that mountain is not always going to feel exciting. It is certainly not always going to be easy. But that feeling when you reach the peak? That is everything.