Last week, I was interviewed on the Coventry Radio Plus 'Talk Business' show on what factors I felt contributed to my success. Weirdly, my first thought was "eh? I'm not successful. Why do they want to interview me?" I wondered on what planet the host thought I was successful. OK, so this is a good insight in to my little insecure Gremlin that takes over sometimes but then on the other hand, it made me realise that we all measure success in very different ways. I usually think that people see success as meaning rich, and I am, by far, not in that category. So then I got to thinking - I wonder what factors this guy is measuring me against to come to the conclusion that I am indeed successful.
Perhaps it's that I've chosen to change career twice (first a Probation Officer; second a Professional Services Marketing Manager) to run a business dedicated to helping people in their 20s/early 30s going through the career confusion I did.
Perhaps it's that as of this week, I quit my two-day, safety net of a part-time job to focus solely on my coaching business.
Perhaps it's that I'm married and own a house at the age of 33, which in London, is pretty good going.
Perhaps it's that I'm working on carving out a life that suits me, my values, my ambitions, and my passions.
None of these things make me what is often defined as successful - a high powered corporate job, big pay cheques, luxury handbags, designer clothes, exotic holidays, on TV/radio, thousands of followers etc. It struck me that we can go our whole lives thinking we're not achieving much simply because of the yardstick we're using to measure our success against. One thing I've learnt along the way is that, often, we've created a yardstick to use based on measurements/a scale that means nothing to us. Once in a while we need to make sure we're using a relevant measuring tool that matches what we value in life. Being interviewed for this radio show helped me reflect on how successful I actually am if I focus on what's important to me.
Here are the factors that I said in the radio interview have helped me get to where I am today:
1. Have a purpose, belief or reason behind what you do
I'm often seen as flaky, trying new things and not necessarily sticking to them. That's usually because I don't stick with something if I can't see a reason to or it's not in line with my values. It's very hard to be successful at something you don't enjoy or that you do for reasons that aren't your own e.g. for money, status, to keep your parents/partner happy, because it sounds good to others etc.
2. Persistence (aka passion)
I've always had a problem with the word 'passion' until I read a definition of it, which didn't imply you had to be jumping out of bed every morning or oozing with enthusiasm every day to be passionate about something. Passion is more about an inner conviction and unrivalled determination to persist because you believe in what you're doing. You have to keep going to be successful and it helps if you're passionate about what you're selling/providing. For every ten no's, they'll be a yes, which is why you can't give up. The next opportunity might be the big yes you've been waiting for.
3. Have a clear vision of your end goal
This is essential in determining what to work on each day, what opportunities to say yes to, and which to say no to. Otherwise you're just scrabbling around in the dark, unlikely to end up anywhere in particular.
4. Say yes to scary opportunities that stretch you out of your comfort zone
If you don't try new things, your life will stay the same. If you want something you've never had before, you've got to be happy to step out of your comfort zone and do things you've never done before. I'm a firm believer that we'll never feel 'ready' to do something scary so you might as well say yes, commit, and then figure out how to go about undertaking the new challenge that presents itself. No one likes new things; we're habitual animals, designed to stay safe and to not exert energy when we don't need to, which trying something new requires. We need to train our brains to realise that we can handle uncertainty, take small risks, and that we will not come to any harm by doing so. So, as the saying goes, if you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat, just jump on and enjoy the ride.
5. Hire a coach/mentor
I've had two coaches, three counsellors, and a business mentor in the last seven years and each one has helped me work through obstacles I've come up against that threatened to derail me from a happy life. Such interventions clear blockages that can take years to resolve on our own, and some people never do, spending their lives wrestling the same issues over and over again, never really moving forward. Coaching is great for identifying where you want to be in life, defining your own vision of success, and helping you figure how to get there. I attribute my success to all these professionals who have helped me become the successful person I am today.
Fed up of going round in circles? Time to step up and be the success you know you can be? Free introductory sessions are available. Contact Alice for more details.
Marketing Manager, Magazine Publishing
I liked that Alice asked quite probing questions which really made me think about what it is I want and that even in an ideal world this could still be an option. I’ve come away with good advice and practical steps to follow.