As I wrote about in my book The Corporate Dojo, the most important things I learned training in the martial arts about success have proven to matter every bit as much in the world of business. Both my own experiences and those of others I have observed have revealed seven drivers of success in any area of our lives:
1) Believe in yourself: have unwavering belief in your ability to find the way to succeed
Having all the answers or resources at hand isn’t what matters; it’s our ability to find the answers and gather what we need that underpins success. History has proven time and again that the people who succeed are those who believe they can. History has also shown these same people are not constrained by the level of their education or the money they have in the bank. Successful people believe they are every bit as much likely to succeed as the next person and get on with making it happen. They live by the mantra ‘why not me’.
2) Know yourself: be aware and honest about what makes you tick
So many of the choices we make about what we believe, how we feel and ultimately how we behave are either unconscious or driven by avoidance. We all have the power to live a more conscious life in which we act deliberately and take ownership of our own destiny. Being aware of ourselves, that is how we think, feel and act is the first step in being able to make the decisions needed to create the reality we truly want.
3) Have a healthy ego: balance confidence with humility
Contrary to popular belief, ego isn’t a dirty word. Our egos makes us want to strive, want to be better than we already are and ultimately want to succeed. Ego in hyper drive however will close our minds and limit our ability to consider alternative perspectives, learn from others and even challenge the things we believe or do. Success demands that we maintain accurate self-perception and open-mindedness; believing in ourselves is every bit as important as knowing and accepting the truth about who we are.
4) Set clear goals: to arrive you need to know where you are trying to get to
So many people I work with are tired and desperate for a break from the ‘hamster wheel of life’. Yet for many knowing what they want is a struggle. To deliberately take steps to manifest our preferred reality, we must first understand what that reality looks like. It’s not enough to say ‘I want more’ you need to know exactly what ‘more’ means to you. If it’s a big plan we are working toward then we also need to know what the flag posts of success look like along the way.
5) Have passion and be optimistic: invest energy and look for the good
Few goals in life are easy to achieve; most take focused and concerted effort over extended periods of time. How often have you set out to achieve something but ran out of steam? The passion we feel for the goals we set is what enables us to keep finding the energy to strive even when things get really tough. Being able to see the bright side and maintain hope feeds our spirit and provides the positive energy or fuel we need to keep going. Successful people always have passionate desire and are able to see the way through even the darkest of forest.
6) Be strong: have courage and be resilient
Strength is what enables us to step up to the plate, take on a challenge, and keep going when things get tough. If we truly want to achieve our full potential we cant afford to give up. Not giving up demands that we confront our fears, reject our limiting beliefs, see the possible through the seemingly impossible. As the very wise guru of courage Margie Warrell says, “Living the life you want, and making the difference you can, takes courage. Courage to challenge the status quo. To risk vulnerability. To trust yourself more deeply. Most of all, courage to refuse to buy into doubts that limit what you do and who you are”.
7) Be committed: stay the course
Work with discipline and maintain focus; not only on your end game but also on executing the plan to get you there. There is little point setting goals unless we are willing to strive to achieve them. Halfhearted effort and occasional focus are unlikely to create anything that looks like success – unless of course achieving ‘beige’ outcomes is your goal.