Success Requires 3 Things
By: Costa Provis, LCPC, CPC
I have never met anyone who didn’t want to be successful. Maybe that means success in your career, or success in relationships, or in pursuit of your goals, or possibly just a general (self-defined) feeling of success. Success, after all, is really about a certain feeling you get. It’s a state of mind, a state of being, that can be reached by various different paths.
There is no one way to be successful and certainly successful people come in all shapes and sizes, with a wide variety of characteristics. As a therapist and life coach, I am always working with folks on achieving success.
Whether it’s by quitting smoking, getting a promotion, running a marathon, or coping with a difficult time in life, the way you define success is based on your specific goal(s). I believe everyone is capable of success. You don’t have to be super organized (although it doesn’t hurt) or wake up before dawn, or have a pile of money. Regardless of your starting point, in all situations, you can be successful.
Through the course of time and countless conversations helping people achieve success, I have found that there are three extremely important aspects to being successful. These are not personality characteristics or traits that you have to be born with, instead think of it as a general outline or a pathway to that aforementioned state of being.
I believe having a plan for these three ideas will help you be proactive in the pursuit of your success. Do you want to be successful? If so, here is what you’ll need:
- The Goal. This is the critical first piece to achieving success. The goal creates the target or finish line; how do you know what to work towards if there isn’t a goal? Goals can be big or small, immediate or long-term. Often times it’s a good idea to spend some time reflecting on your mission and desired outcome. You can’t rush this process. There is no good or bad goal, and in general I encourage you to think about both long and short terms goals that you would like to work towards. Then once the goal is established we work together to break it down into smaller, tangible steps. After all, they say a goal without a plan is just a dream. When you’re ready, you can turn your dream into a goal, and your goal into a step by step plan.
- The Commitment. The goal is an important first step but it is kind of useless without having the commitment necessary to be successful. Commitment is the motivation to keep working on the small steps, even when you are too tired or don’t want to keep going. Commitment is about not giving up on your goal or giving up on yourself, because you believe you deserve success. It involves self-discipline and the kind of focus and drive that maybe you have never before experienced. There is no 50/50 when it comes to commitment, it takes devotion and dedication, an almost stubborn loyalty to achieving the goal. There’s an old saying that “if you want to take the island, burn the ships.” That is true commitment, and it takes real commitment to be successful.
- The Reaction. As great as success is, it comes with some risk of course – the potential to fail. We are all afraid to fail, and it can be very discouraging when it happens. That said, a huge factor that contributes to success is how you handle this fear. How do you choose to react to your fear of failure? Sometimes we sabotage our success because that fear is so intense. It’s somehow easier to just get it over with instead of refocusing on our commitment and motivation to stay connected to our goal. Fear of failure doesn’t have to stop you any more, instead it can be used as a motivator, a source of strength really. All it takes is choosing a new reaction to this fear. Choose to not be a harsh critic and replace that judgement with an understanding that great people, tremendous success stories, fail all time. They fall down but then get back up and choose a new reaction. If we accept failure as a part of the journey towards success it loses it power and therefore ceases to be such a strong source of fear. As Homer Simpson once said “the first step towards failing is trying.” Please don’t be like Homer Simpson and avoid trying as a way to avoid failing.
In conclusion, any person, facing any challenge or goal can be successful. You don’t have to be born with a specific set of characteristics, and you don’t have to sabotage yourself. Instead really spend some time identifying your true goals, realize your commitment, and choose to react positively to the fear of failure along the way.
By having The Goal, The Commitment, and The Reaction you will be successful at anything you set out to achieve. I encourage you to think about a specific goal you would like to achieve and try applying these three ideas, and maybe you will find a new path towards reaching your own success. If you are feeling stuck along the journey don’t hesitate to reach out for some guidance as needed. After all, you and your goals are absolutely worth pursuing.