Dec 11

Success – ditch the top 10 lists

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Success – ditch the top 10 lists

Have you noticed how many posts there are about the attributes of successful leaders and business people there are on social media? You’ll not be surprised to hear that there are huge numbers. They are often well written and accurate observations of how people have launched businesses, overcome setbacks, inspired others etc. in just about every field of human endeavour that you can think about.

Whilst I don’t read many of them, the ones I do read are often insightful and align with my own thoughts and world view. Where I part company with the authors is in their intent. They often operate on the simple premise that all you have to do to be successful is to emulate one of these greats. These are frequently supported by abstraction of character traits across numerous individuals and offered up as a ‘Top 5/7/10’ of “How to be successful”. Nice concept.

So why do I part company with the authors? It is because you are unlikely to succeed at anything by trying to mimick other people. You will need to have all of the attributes that do make other people successful, such as persistence, humility, vision, leadership, determination, courage… the list is too long to reproduce here. It is also fine to model one or two traits of successful people in areas where you might need some good role models to follow. However the most important thing that leads to success is you. You have to bring the unique thing that is going to help you to succeed, no matter what. It doesn’t matter what the challenge is, but without what you bring to the mix, there is a risk that you become a cookie cutter pastiche of what someone else thinks success looks like? Living someone else’s idea of what success should look like is not likely to work and is unlikely to be a way of living that will make you happy.

You have to find your own level… to use a water analogy.

Whilst you are thinking about this, also remember that you need to do take responsibility for creating your own future. Do something. I’m reminded of a quote that I will paraphrase:

“someday is not a day of the week”.

If you are going to do it someday, give up. If you are going to do it now, make a plan and take the first step.

If you want to make the first step, but don’t know how, or need some support, think about coaching.

Whatever you do, be your own version of success. In this respect, a good coach friend of mine posted another water analogy on LinkedIn today that I really liked – if you take dirty water and put it in a clean glass, you get dirty water and a dirty glass. If you really want clean water, you have to do a little more than move the problem around (thank you David Taylor!).

#Startsomething or #Changesomething

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