Rethinking Success — Whatever It Takes
Beyonce (or, insert your favorite icon here) is living her best life, so why can’t you? It’s not talent — the one thing you’re missing. Very very few of us have undeniable talent. So, in the absence of talent or without extraordinary genius, how can we achieve stunning success?
While I was driving this morning, I couldn’t help thinking about what it takes to be elite, to be a star.
What are we missing? I mean, for those of us still climbing or even plateauing, what is the critical missing piece when it comes to getting to the top?
Did you know that when an important question pops up out of nowhere, it’s almost always because your mind has the answer too? Your brain is trying to match the problem to the solution, sort something out, and connect the dots to shift a belief, develop an idea, or deepen an insight.
Anyway, I rarely leave the house, and it’s even rarer that I’m alone, and most rare of all, I was driving unhurried on an open road with virtually no traffic. All that to say — I was doing some heavy-duty car thinking, which is underrated, isn’t it? Like brainstorming in the shower, there’s just something about working it out in the car, and I think you’re going to like this one.
How can we improve our odds of success? Not in an investment way by taking the right course or hiring the right coach. Not in an obligation way by developing work ethic or being more consistent. And not in a “secrets of success” kind of way by following a guru or obtaining more knowledge.
I mean in a literal “I’m preparing to be super successful” way.
I’m going to challenge you to think about this a little bit differently.
When we look ahead in our careers or our lives, we likely have milestones to look forward to, ideas about what it might take, what it might look like, or what we’re working toward, right?
And what’s interesting is we probably aren’t operating with our ideal set of circumstances yet. We haven’t arrived, so to speak, so there’s a little bit of “oh you know I’ll do that when I have a team” or “when I have 10,000 followers, I’ll do that” or “after I’m after I’m making $500,000 a year I’m definitely going to invest in that then” or “I’ll figure that out when I have more resources” kind of thing.
It’s almost as if we’re building a subconscious wish list while envisioning the future as something separate from ourselves or our current life, but it’s not separate.
While we create this wishlist or bucket list or goals or however you prefer to think of it, we are waiting for some external validation or indication that the time is right. But in thinking of it as belonging to our future self, we create distance, and it reaffirms that it’s not already ours; we don’t already have it.
We don’t ask, “what can I do right now to have it now?” or “what can I do today that’s going to make that level of success inevitable?”
I’m not talking tactics. Of course, you must show up live on Instagram or make sales or build a community, or eat better and work out daily, or improve conversion or maximize profits, or whatever the markers you’ve identified as evidence of progress are. Yes, those are important, but they are tactics. That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the foundational, iterative, and real-life improvements that we can make right now that will benefit us immediately, optimizing our lives, and dramatically improving our chances of achieving our wildest dreams — those things.
I’m not really even talking about mindset right now, even though, let’s be honest, mindset is always part of the equation.
OK, let me give you an example. Ask yourself, what do I have to do as a parent, spouse, or CEO to make this work? To make this amazing? To make this ideal?
Or, if that overwhelms you, take the opposite approach: What’s not working? What isn’t optimized? What is half-assed or duct-taped together? What’s still getting in my way, and why haven’t I cleaned it up or sorted it out?
Maybe it’s a messy house, or paying bills manually, or no morning routine, or too much screen time. Perhaps it’s the lack of systems in your business, reluctant advertising, a penchant for procrastination, or the fear of being visible in your industry.
I don’t know what it is for you, but we all have something seductive or comfortable, some “leave me alone, I don’t wanna take responsibility for everything” s-h-i-t that you’ve been doing for years that doesn’t allow you to get to a higher place. It’s what weighs us down and maintains mediocrity.
Ask yourself, what would happen if I resolved it? What would happen if I made time to address this? What if I just did the freaking thing?
Whatever it takes.
Do I have the right systems in place? Do I have the right people in my life? Can I even handle success?
Pretend 100, 1,000, or 10,000 clients or customers reached out to you this week and said, “Hey, yeah, I’m in love with your thing; here’s my money.”
Would you be able to capitalize? Do you have an onboarding (or shipping or client management) system to bring them in? Would you be able to automate enough parts of your business to field a lot of clients? Are you really ready?
What if it were the chance of a lifetime? What if Oprah called and offered you a Super Soul Sunday spot or a place on her list of 2021 Favorite Things? Could you pull it off? Could you deliver?
What if Melinda Gates asked you to be her right hand, Jeff Bezos asked you to be his second in command, or your favorite billionaire asked you to be their person that does what you do at the highest level?
Imagine your most inspiring person reached out with an opportunity that would launch you into another stratosphere of living. Would you know how to capitalize, and if so, why haven’t you already done it? And if not, what’s stopping you?
You’ve just identified what you can do right now to poise yourself for an incredible future.
Would your kids be able to log on to Zoom and download their work and print it, complete it, and upload it on their own? If so, why do you sit next to them every day for hours during virtual school when you have an empire to build? And if not, why haven’t you taught them?
What are the things you can do today to rearrange your plate, to prioritize your time, and to prepare your family for success too?
If you and your husband are nit-picking about laundry or cold cereal or feeding the dog or Google calendar, is that what you envisioned for your marriage? Or do you need to reconnect, redefine your partnership, and get on the same team again?
It’s the little things.
We don’t think about those tasks as the real work. We don’t believe that they will make a difference because we don’t see them as particularly innovative or notably advantageous. We don’t think about what we need to fix or let go of to be a better mom/wife/CEO/person because we are waiting for, well, what are we waiting for? Something sexier? Bigger? More compelling? A sign?
We have it backward. We think we’ll take care of the details when we have more money or time or a staff or a team or support or whatever, but it’s the very thing holding us back.
Stop being busy thinking about what you don’t have or how good it will be when you do have it; take it on now. Maximizing our time, creating processes that work, taking care of the little things is how we live our best lives now.
Think about it. If we had next-level thoughts and took next-level actions now, our pace would accelerate exponentially because our friction would go away — the stuff that is literally holding us back wouldn’t be dragging us down anymore.
We would soar.
Exhilarating and terrifying, isn’t it?
Imagine the possibilities. What does previously unthinkable success look like for you? And if you can’t dream that big yet or aren’t quite ready to claim it, imagine it for someone else. Ask yourself, what would my days look like if I was Elon Musk? Or Alexis Ohanian? Or Gary Vee or Martha Stewart or Marie Forleo or Ev Williams?
Think of who you admire, who lives like you want to live, or has blazed a trail that you dream of — imagine what it took for them to get there. What does a day in their life look like, and does it resonate? If so, embody it for an immediate shift.
Ask, what are the rock-solid foundational things I can take care of now that will get me there faster or make “there” so much better? What are the beliefs or behaviors I need to upgrade to step into that life? What’s the baggage I can leave behind that no longer serves me?
What do your commitments and priorities really look like? How are you investing or wasting your precious minutes, and what are you deferring that is pushing your dreams farther away?
Ask yourself, what do I have to say yes or no to to live that life? How does Beyonce do it? What does she balance, manage, and choose? What are her yeses and no’s? What level is she playing on, and can I start saying yes or no to those things right now to claim my best life too?