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What are your Keys to Success? How do you Measure Success?

February 10, 2013

Last year as part of my New Year’s Resolution – My goal was to meet “successful” people.   My approach to attaining and sustaining this goal was to ask other folks I met in the course of business, travel and meetings to think about the most successful person they know.  Would you introduce me to this person please?  I made a point of making sure they define ‘Success’ on their own terms. I was not going to set the parameters out there for them.

Some folks blurted out names right away, others had to think about it and dropped me an e-mail or on-line introduction up to 1 week later.  They had to think what Success meant to them. Some people were skeptical and did not want to share with me.  Their appreciation and understanding of networking obviously is skewed. This told me all I needed to know about them on many levels.

I believe most people are good, but regrettably I have met my share of businessmen with little to no scruples. The ‘Me’ generation on steroids, that literally does not know a Gen X’er from a Baby Boomer.  Being selfish & greedy crosses all disciplines, industries, and professions; from corporate executives and branch managers to independent business owners.  Maybe it’s the economic climate, maybe Daddy wasn’t there when they were kids…  I am not interested in helping make excuses for them.

Over the first 3 months of last year, I enjoyed meeting a wide variety of people in a multitude of industries & professions.   I soon realized that I was being selfish!  Let me explain…  I believe it is important for Successful people to know each other.   When I give a referral to someone –  my name & reputation is on the line!  Just as viruses are contagious, so too is the Good in People!  I believe Success can also be contagious!  Why did I want to meet Successful people?  Very simply, I was honestly hoping something would rub off!

There has been a common thread in the quality of the network I have been building this past year. Everyone judges Success differently, but the folks I have gravitated to have what I call “Proper Perspective”.  There is a balance of fiscal stability and importance, but they also understand the value of ‘giving back’.  I will not start evangelizing the merits of Servant Leadership.  Not many of these folks are millionaires, (I don’t think so).  Some have experienced more ups & downs than they ever dreamed, but they keep getting up!  There is a Positive Peer Pressure that exists when these folks get together!  This past year I have met CEO’s, Investment Bankers, Pastors, and Coaches. I got to know Wealth Managers, Authors, and Entrepreneurs, several folks in Transition, Teachers, a Chiropractor, Realtors and a mother who created a Not for Profit Volunteer organization. I even met one Lawyer, (lol)!

Please excuse that rather long introduction. So I beg the question… What are Your Keys to Success, be it personal or business? There are endless numbers of articles that provide the 4 to 5 buzz words or secrets to Success. There are some common themes.  Here are a select few…

Norman Vincent Peale is quoted for  4 simple words related to attaining Success: “Work, Pray, Think, Believe.”

‘Mr. Self Development’  of the internet says:

  1.  “Preparation,
  2.  Work,
  3.  Remember the Golden Rule,
  4.  Confidence,
  5.  Lead”,  (This fellow actually has several articles with 4, 5, & 7 simple keys to success, but they are all different.  Huh?)

Dr. Cathy Chapman PhD is a smart person. She states:

  • “Knowledge,
  • One or more goals,
  • Know where you stand,
  • The plan,
  • Action.”

Jason Osborn suggests there is only 1 key – “Communication.”

KimAlyse Popkave knows the “4 KEYS TO SUCCESS — How To Discover Your Personal Success” …  but you need to buy her book to find out what the secrets are!  It might very well involve selling ‘self help’ books?  There are many authors who attempt /claim to answer this question.

Dan Oswald has a pretty neat blog called ‘The Oswald Letter’.  He espouses:

  • “Listening.
  • Determine your desired outcome in the beginning.
  • Always remain flexible.
  • Try to make it a win-win.”

‘Keys to Success in Life.com’ has 5 easy steps:

  1. Have a balance of goals
  2. Listen to your inner voice
  3. Take action
  4. Reflect
  5. Be willing to change course

You have probably heard the phrase:  “Success is not an event, it’s a process,”  and processes do not end, like a ‘program’ does. Success is a process that continually evolves.  I’m sure you have heard many other recommendations on the keys to success be it at home or work, for you personally or for your family, team or business.  I respectfully offer my list for your consideration.

  1. Have a Goal – write it down, put in on the bathroom mirror,  (& make a plan too.)
  2. Failure is a great teacher, (even better if you’re smart enough to learn from other’s mistakes!)
  3. Don’t wait, do it now! – STAR works! It’s wise to Stop, Think, ACT & Review.  Don’t over-think it, Accept Risks.
  4. Strong Work Ethic Required!
  5. Passion is important, but be careful.
  6. Intelligence – know your trade, business, customer, family’s needs… Passion is useless w/ no smarts.
  7. Visibility – you need to get noticed, by your customer, your investor, your donors, your future wife!
  8. Humility & Open Mind. Don’t try to be the smartest person in the room. Seek help from others & listen!
  9. Grow your Strengths, Not your Weaknesses. – Ask for help. Give up some control for better focus. (TYVM Ralph!)
  10. Determination – different from passion that can wane,   Don’t give up,  but adapt!
  11. Communicate in an honest, sincere & up-front manner, – be willing to Trust others. But don’t be a damn fool.
  12. Think Long Term. Act & make decisions with your  LT future in mind.
  13. Focus on others –  The Golden Rule always wins in the end!
  14. Make it Fun – For All Involved!  Marriage, Work, Volunteering. ” Work that’s Fun, gets done!” (Thanks JP!)
  15. Balance is Required – “Proper Perspective” –  God, Family, Work & helping others, don’t wait.

There are many ‘ways’ to judge Success, but only 2 ‘perspectives or directions’ to view Success:

  • Your personal viewpoint with honest introspection.
  • Other’s judgment / opinion & respect for you.

Personally, I am still working on several of the items above. Remember- Success is a process! Sometimes it is easier to help others with their issues and achieving their success than it is to help oneself!

John Wooden had so many great quotes we can learn from…  I close this entry with two favorites for your ponderance.

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

Did you notice that “Luck” didn’t make any of the lists above?  The Fact is there is No Secret formula to Success. It’s a compilation of effort & traits that when mixed together just right, create a wonderful recipe that fills your heart and soul… & others recognize it  too!

Continued Blessings … on your journey to both achieve & find what Success means to you!

Chris O’Connor

SFS Men’s Fellowship Coordinator
Executive Director – Fellowship In Business

President & ‘Your CRO’

“Your Trusted Alternative to a full time CFO/COO”

Pro CFO4U
www.ProCFO4U.com

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2014 8:26 AM

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  3. February 10, 2013 1:26 PM

    Great points Chris. I agree. I would add that success is alway evolving. It is not a place in time but yet something that one visits for a time in their life if they manage to do things that get them to that point. Just because a person is deemed successful one day, it all can be pulled out from underneath them in another. The true trick is finding that place in your life where you learn true balance and you are happy. To me that happiness is key. If I am happy in my life then only there will I not seek more and then and their I am successful. Wanting more sometimes can lead to greed if not careful and there greed can lead to failure.

    By the way, how come I can only share this article via print or email? You Need to find a social share module or widget you can add to the end of your posts so people can share it on social platforms such as twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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