What’s It Going to Take for You to Be Successful?

POST DATE Jan 27, 2017

AUTHOR Udo Jahn

My week has been brutal so far and I bet you’ve had some weeks like that, too. Every day things go right, and things go wrong. We spend most of our time fixing the things that went wrong which doesn’t leave much time for celebrating the things that went right. Not exactly a fun time, in my opinion. If you spend all your time putting out fires, how do you know when you’re really, truly successful?

Everyone will have a different vision of what success is, and a lot of that can be traced back to age. For some, it’s all about becoming the richest person on the block, and for others, it’s just the fact that they’ve survived. With this in mind, ask yourself, “What is success? And what’s it going to take for me to get there?”

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you know that I’ve been around for a few years. I’ve mentioned the term “older than dirt” a few times. Do you know how long it actually takes to make dirt? You’d be surprised.

But, back to the success part.

Like many people, my vision of success has changed over the years. What I considered success decades ago is not the same today. When I was young, I thought success was wild sums of money, good looks (I thought the money part would also help with this), fame and maybe even power. Was I wrong to think this way? I didn’t think so. At the time, I was the most important thing in my life, and my idea of success seemed right. How times have changed! Now, close to three decades later, everything is different. 

I don’t know what success means anymore. I now live in a world where friends have passed away and there are events happening on this planet that make me shake my head. Can mere survival really be defined as success anymore?

If not, then what is success? Yes, I know you want a mansion and a fancy car, but seriously, what is it? It’s subjective, so I can only give my opinion, but my answer is that success is the result of overcoming your fears.

I thought up a phrase one day that is now permanently penned on my whiteboard: “Fear is Stuff You Make Up in Your Mind.” We all have fears. I had many fears, constantly present, until I realized that it was controlling my path to success and limiting my potential. I remember seeing a video online of John Cleese and he said something to the effect of, “To be a better comedian, you need to kill the fear in your soul.” It stuck with me as being applicable to most professions.

You may be thinking, “But fear is healthy!” Sometimes, sure. It might prevent you from leaping from a 1000 meter jump without proper safety gear, but that’s an extreme example, and hopefully you’d have enough rational thought to realize that was dangerous before your fear kicked in anyway. There’s such a thing as conquering fear, and then there’s just stupidity. It’s the reason the Darwin Awards were invented.

In my experience, I’ve learned (a little later than I would like to admit) that success only happens when we do not let fear cloud our judgment. Fear prevents us from making the right moves, and paralyzes our decision making. It stops us from investing in ourselves and our businesses. Fear makes us always look at the downside instead of the potential upside. How many people out there are trained to tell you what’s wrong with your business as opposed to what’s right with it? 

How many of you have said, “If only I had _____, then I would be more successful by now.” What stopped you from taking action? I bet it’s directly related to fear. Someone you know, or your own mind, talked you out of becoming successful because of fear. Depending on your age, you’ll have just a few, or many, of these fear examples to tell.

 So what’s it going to take for you to be successful? Conquer your fears!

It’s easy to say, yet it can seem impossible to do. I know there are going to be ten or more people out there who will give me a reason why it’s not going to work. You know who you are. Instead of fighting it, you should think back to something more positive.

Remember when you learned to ride a bicycle? It was scary, because you probably fell down a few times and got hurt. But, when you finally conquered that fear and road the bicycle without falling, you experienced the greatest feeling of success there is.

The steps don’t change when you get older. The problems just get a little tougher than riding a bicycle, but the same logic applies: kill the fear in your soul.

Author: Udo Jahn

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