Who does not want to be successful? Every one of us! And how many of us eventually are successful? Depends.
We all have our individual definition of success and by our own definition and admission, a large number of us end up being unsuccessful. I am not getting into a philosophical discussion of what success is and what it isn’t. For the benefit of this article, let me position success as the realization of what we set out to achieve. In my own professional life – and personal life, I have been successful and unsuccessful on numerous occasions. As I think of my experiences, and those of people around me, I have found that there are three important aspects that govern success, as illustrated in the adjoining graphic – VISION, ACTION and PEOPLE.
VISION: Everything happens twice in life. First in the mind and then in reality. For things to manifest in their desired form, one needs to have a clear vision of the end state. Most entrepreneurs fail due to the lack of a vision. Three aspects determine how well we are able to succeed:
Big Picture – Be it starting your own business, achieving the coveted award or completing the most visible project in your company, it starts with the creation of a vivid big picture. It is important for one to paint the big picture of success with all its properties in place before setting out to seek results
Focus – Well, creating a big picture and not focussing on it on a continuous basis will only serve as a wish list. Thinking about the end result, visualizing it every day and not losing track of where you see yourself when you are successful is the mantra. And one needs to do this on a continuous basis, every moment
Passion – Not much is achieved without passion. Focus is not going to happen without being fed by an undying passion to achieve end results. I heard someone say “If you have an exit plan for your business, then you are not passionate about it!” and I find it so true. The emotional connect to success is so important
ACTION: They say that the journey of a hundred miles begins with the first step and I don’t disagree. Having a vision and not acting on it is like a mental orgasm at best. Have you ever seen a great artist who had this great idea and ended up with a canvas with no colour on it? There are three areas that need attention to drive results through action namely:
Discipline – I have seen working professionals and businessmen fail miserably due to the lack of discipline. Lack of discipline has many times left me disappointed in my quests. Not succumbing to temptations and the courage to say NO go a long way in beating yourself hard to be disciplined. The biggest enemy of discipline is complacence
Timing – During my growing years, my mom’s favourite quote in pushing me to study hard was “Never try to dig a well when your beard is on fire”. Well that was a literal translation from my mother tongue to English. What is obvious in this quote is that planning and timely action is critical in life. I have come around to learn that acting on time is of paramount importance. The impact of some actions is lost with time e.g. giving timely feedback to your team members or writing that little thank you note to your clients. Falling prey to procrastination is the one crime that kills it all!
Perseverance – I consider every action in a business environment as an investment. Not every action will bring immediate result. Having a tremendous amount of patience for your actions to bear fruit is a key quality that one should possess. Giving up very early is a sign that one is weak on perseverance. Trying again and again like the legendary spider in King Bruce’s story is
PEOPLE: The third and the most critical part of the trinity that decides your fate is PEOPLE. Show me one person who has been able to succeed without other people playing a role in their success, and I will prove why you are wrong. Three aspects to success in profession when it comes to people are:
Network – Look around you and everything is a connection; everyone is a connection. I remember a dialogue in a famous Bollywood movie that sounded something like “Whenever two people meet, there develops a story about them”. In this age of knowledge and interdependence, we cannot do away without people. Deliberate efforts to create, nurture and sustain networks of people within the organization and outside go a long way in being successful. The solution to your most complex problem may be sitting in the next cubicle. Creating time to meet new people, joining clubs or groups are ways of building effective networks
Team – It goes without saying that professional success is not possible without team work. Having a high performing team is most crucial for success. Hiring, coaching and developing high impact teams is very important for leadership success. I have sometimes struggled hard to bring my team to perform to their best abilities and wondered why. I found the answer in the form of wrong hiring decisions I have made. At the same time, spending time with team members to provide them development opportunities by providing timely feedback and coaching goes a long way in one’s own success as a professional and as a leader
Family – While this comes the last in the list, it is definitely not the least. Support of family members and their understanding and empathy towards your realities are necessary for one to succeed. Had it not been for my family supporting me during crucial times, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the little successes I have. It is discomforting when families insist that you spend time with them, take them out for holidays and outings at the bigger cost of you losing out on your professional success. And I am not making it seem that families are not important. A large part of our existence is due to our families. It is the support during the most difficult times that count a lot
In a nutshell, having a great vision, taking great actions and leveraging on great people goes a long way in the journey from Good to Great!
Author: Shrivallabh Kulkarni
Shrivallabh is an experienced Talent Management Professional and heads DimenZion3 Talent Consulting. He writes on topics related to leadership, diversity & inclusion, intercultural competency and related areas.