When I started my Wonder Women book project which features 50 of Asia’s most successful women, I invited my Facebook friends to share the questions they had for these female powerhouses. There were a number of responses, but the common one was “What is their Secret for Success?”
Even when I run workshops, participants assume that I actually have it all figured out. But in the end success is relative. While success for some could mean a multi-billion dollar investment, for others it is to be a stay-at-home mom.
Success Secret #1 – Understanding Your Definition of Success
Now my answer is quite similar to that of the ladies I have had the honour to interview. It is a lot simpler than what you would expect: The secret is success is to be willing to consistently push yourself to do things that others won't.
Let’s think about Red Bull for a second. This brand is associated with adventure, race and adrenaline. They are key sponsors of extreme sporting events such as a man riding a motorbike from space. Now if they just sponsored one event, the hype would fade, simply putting dust on their reputation. But they do it consistently enough for it to stick. You might not drink Red Bull, but you will know their brand.
Secret to Success: Practice Makes Perfect
This may not be the answer you were looking for, but this is exactly what winners do. Think about what Malcolm Gladwell said in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success. On page 38 he says: “In fact, by the age of twenty, the elite performers (violinists) had each totalled ten thousand hours of practice.” In other words, to be successful at something, you have to put a lot of hours into it.
10,000 hours: If I spent all that time painting, like I did when I was in high school, I’d better be a pretty goddam good painter, because after all those hours, I would have learned a lot from trying different techniques.
A couple of weeks ago, I was signed up for a triathlon and to be honest, I really didn't want to do it. I spent way too much time obsessing and freaking out about it, rather than actually being disciplined and putting in the hours of training. The morning of the triathlon, there was a huge thunderstorm and I woke up to the sound of lightning. I could have just stayed in bed, and slept in, blaming it on the weather as many participants had already done, and get obsessed about failing before I even failed.
Instead, I reminded myself of why I took up this challenges. If I can do this kind of physical challenge, then I can tackle anything that happens in my business, as well.
And that, my friend, is the Secret to Success
It’s about making the decision to push the extra mile. It’s about going out in the rain, and when you don’t feel like taking some difficult decisions. It’s about pushing forward, when all you want to do is throw in the towel.
- Are you willing to design your life + live on purpose?
- Are you willing to keep on trying?
- Are you willing to keep on learning?
- Are you willing to make mistakes and learn from them?
- Are you willing to get up earlier + pitch more?
- Are you willing to handle rejection + keep moving?
- Are you willing to keep writing?
- Are you willing to practice longer hours?
- Are you willing to dream bigger?
- Are you willing to give more value?
- Are you willing to embrace change?
- Are you willing to invest in building relationships?
- Are you willing to stay focus + say not to un-relevant things?
- Are you willing to invest in technology?
- Are you willing to continually improve yourself/product + services?
- Are you willing to invest in yourself?
- Are you willing to ask for help?
Think about all the other things that some of your competitors are not willing to do. Perhaps you will do what Ira does, where she remembers every one of her customers’ names. What kind of impact do you think that has on her business?
Or what kind impact does Ann have when she believes in growing and providing value to anyone of the people who comes on her path. What kind of impact do you think it has for her social enterprise?
All these ladies are willing to wake up every morning, ready to fight and to become better individuals.