Resolutions for 2016
Sustaining success is the great challenge of our time.
Every generation has taken on some great cause and left its mark on history. In the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s our ancestors took on the challenge of the Great Depression and World War II and guided us through an extraordinary advance in education. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s wise and courageous people took on the issues of civil rights and have generated extraordinary progress in creating greater opportunities for more people just in our lifetime alone. Over the past thirty years a technological revolution has allowed people around the globe to communicate with each other in real time and advanced our lives in countless ways. Why can’t we set a goal to continually improve our results and maintain positive momentum through the end of this decade?
You have resources for sustaining success that you can turn to over and over again. In doing so, you can successfully build on your earlier achievements and continually improve your performance and results.
Resource #1: Your Terms
Take out a sheet of paper and write down your definition of success. What does achieving success mean to you? For example, one definition of success is bringing a vision into reality. Since you get to choose the vision you want to bring into reality this allows you to not get caught up in what other people consider to be success. Or if you’re working with another person to clarify the desired vision then you’ve chosen to co-create that vision with this individual or group of people. However, we are creating the desired vision and not allowing other people to impose their standards on us.
In general what does success mean to you? What is your definition? Then think about the different areas of your life both on an individual basis and in terms of the organizations you are a part of. Write down specifically what you consider success to be for each of the different aspects of your life.
Resource #2: Your Time
You get 24 hours to do what you want with. If you let other people dictate how your time is used up, that’s up to you. Just know that time is one of your resources for continually improving your results. The way you manage it will determine to a large degree whether or not you sustain your earlier performances and go beyond them.
Resource #3: Your Choices
Sustaining success is just as much about avoiding the stupid, debilitating decisions as it is about proactively selecting the moves that generate better results. If you look at the wild economic swings the world has experienced in recent years, you can see where poor decisions led many people to a financial breakdown whether it be in the housing market or the dot-com bubble mania or some other area.
Before moving into action or making a purchase or investing in an idea, ask yourself, “Will this decision bring only a short-term gain or will it increase my chances for sustaining my current success and building on it?” Pausing to reflect on this question may help you avoid stumbling backward.
Resource #4: Your Integrity
Looking back on the first decade of this century it seems that most collapses for enormously successful people can be traced to financial fraud or cheating on a spouse. Go back several decades and find the same pattern. In other words, successful people interrupted their ability to sustain their results by choosing to cheat. Perhaps they lost sight of what they wanted in the first place or decided they wanted shortcuts to increase their “success.” Whatever the reason, letting go of your integrity greatly diminishes the chances for sustained success.
In maintaining your integrity, you can start each day with a clear conscience. That alone can help you to sustain success over the long term. When you lose your integrity, you’re done, and eventually your results will prove it.
Before moving into action, ask yourself, “Do I believe this is the right thing for me to do?”
Resource #5: Your Capacity to Earn Your Results
If you blame others or something outside of yourself for your results, it may feel good in the short term, but it might keep you from taking hold of your results for the long term. On the other hand, if you ride some short-term advantage such as being in a hot industry to great results today, you may find that the advantage is not sustainable.
Take responsibility for your results regardless if they are good or bad. In doing so you can see what adjustments you need to make in order to steadily improve results.
No matter how tough times get don’t relinquish your capacity to earn your results.
Resource #6: Your Purpose
In studying very successful individuals and organizations for twenty-five years, one common denominator is that they all had a clear purpose that they held on to for an extended period of time. These individuals and organizations knew why they were doing what they were doing.
Without a clear and compelling purpose for doing what you are doing in any aspect of your life it is unlikely that you will maintain the energy necessary to continually improve your results.
The fundamental question you need to answer is, “Why am I doing what I am doing? What is the purpose behind my activity?” If you can’t find a compelling reason for doing what you are doing, you need to move on to an area that fits much better with your purpose.
Resource #7: Your Strengths and Passions
You can take away all of the trappings of success from a great performer, and he or she will generate as great or greater success in the future as long as you leave the person his or her strengths and passions. However, if you take away the person’s strengths and passions while leaving the trappings of success in place, the person will soon lose all of the indicators of success.