I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no life coach. More than anything, I’ve simply followed my passions and lived my life accordingly. What’s the recipe for success? Geez…I really have no idea? From what I have observed, however, in those that are successful (“success” being defined as living up to one’s full potential) is that they have a few underlying principles in common.
Find Your Beat
No matter what your definition of success, if you are not happy doing what you do all else seems immaterial. Follow your passions. Do what you love. There is no higher calling. As Thoreau famously put it: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears the beat of a different drummer." Find your beat and dance to it.
My grandmother once told me, “You can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want.” To me, this speaks to focus and perseverance. Set goals and stay the course. Will it be easy? Hell no! Undoubtedly there will be hurdles to overcome and obstructions to conquer. Highly accomplished people remain focused on getting the job done despite the blockades. “Obstacles are those frightful things we see when we take our eyes off our goal,” Henry Ford once said. Keep your eyes on your goals and never, ever give up.
The grander the challenge the higher the potential for catastrophe. The history books are filled with stories of successful people risking everything. Sometimes the outcome is a celebrated success, other times it’s not so pretty. The main lesson here is to have the courage to try. Failure can lead to incredible discovery. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Shake it off, pick up the pieces, and move on. As my pops often reminds me, “It’s not how many times you fall down that matters, it’s how many times you get back up.”
Lace ‘em Up
Never be beyond dropping everything, slapping on your running shoes and bolting out the door for a quick spin. Life’s too short to get too worked up about something. Okay, this isn’t a learning from some fabulously successful person, it’s just my own personal creed. But, hey, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone for a run and my problems have magically disappeared. Often it’s just a matter of perspective. Running freshens your outlook, if nothing else, and when you feel better the world looks brighter. It’s been said that your attitude determines your altitude. Running is the greatest attitude adjuster I know. At the very least, as the writer Herm Albright once quipped, “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worthwhile." Yeah, never be beyond a good laugh, either.
Never Stop Exploring
Show me a man who is content and I will show you an underachiever. Be restless. Search, endeavor, wander. Push your limits and step beyond your comfort zone. The familiar breeds contentment and complacency. True growth only occurs when you journey into unchartered territory and tackle the unknown. As Tennessee Williams once said, "Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.”
May 2010 be YOUR year for attempting great voyages!