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5 Ultimate Drivers of True Success

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what does success mean

Everyone has their own definition of what success looks like, feels like, and will allow them to do, be, and have.  But many times, success is viewed as something “out there” – if we strive enough and work hard enough, we’ll get.  

The truth is, success is always an inside job; it’s a combination of understanding what speaks to you from your core so you can transform those messages into something real on the outside.

Here are the 5 drivers that will help you ask the right questions and set you up for ultimate success:

1. Know your values

People are endlessly attracted to shiny new business ideas only to have their enthusiasm burn out in a few weeks or months. Their interest wanes, they’re muddled in disillusion, and they can’t actually remember what made them so attracted to the idea in the first place. Many times this is because the shiny business idea didn’t actually reflect their values; it didn’t reward them on a deep enough level to keep them going through the highs and lows that come with starting or maintaining something, even if it’s profitable.  

You can sidestep this problem and get really clear on what you value by asking the following questions:

  • What routines do I have each day that are most sacred?
  • What do I most cherish in my personal and professional life?
  • What three things reward me most?
  • What types of behavior do I believe to be “right” or “good”?

Time spent jotting down ten to fifteen important values can help you understand what will motivate, reward, and drive you most – and whether what you’re chasing is really your version of success or someone else’s.

“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.” – Elvis Presley

2. Notice your need for approval

Everyone needs to feel validated and appreciated but when this need overshadows your ability to work and live in ways that leave you feeling satisfied and successful, you may find yourself questioning everything – most of all, yourself.  

When this happens, take a step back and ask the following:

  • What behaviors do I engage in that cause me the most inner conflict?
  • Who do I have the most conflict with in my personal life and why?
  • Who do I have the most conflict with in my professional life and why?
  • Am I living and working in ways that feel authentic or am I “faking it”?  If I’m “faking it” – why and for whom?
  • If I am totally honest about what I want – both personally and professionally – who would I be the most scared / anxious/ nervous to tell and why?

When thinking about success, take a moment to be honest and determine if the vision you have for success is your own or one that will be met with approval by others.  And remember, you can have a vision you’re excited about and that is wholeheartedly approved of by others.

By noticing your need for approval, you can figure out where you may be hindering yourself by avoiding a difficult conversation, making an unpopular decision, or not getting in touch with what’s really important to you.

 

3. Get rid of distractions

One of the most influential quotes I’ve ever read takes a bottom line approach to both life and work. It was famously said by Jim Rohn, “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”

If you want to be truly successful, you must embrace the concept that time is your most valuable asset.  And in order to maximize this asset, you must eliminate distractions. Start by looking at your current routines and streamline or eliminate anything non-essential. Can you delegate something at work to someone else on your team? If you’re a one person show, is there a way to batch certain tasks together to do them more efficiently?

Can you outsource a few things that aren’t in your wheelhouse and use that time to make progress on something else?  Install time tracking software on your tech tools that allows you to monitor how much time you spend surfing sites that have no direct personal or business benefit and start limiting that surfing.

Then, figure out what you can add into your new open time blocks that will generate the most value – both in terms of job productivity and through a personal sense of satisfaction.

 

4. Combine your passions in new ways

One of the most fun ways to feel successful is by solving problems or creating new products by combining one or more of your passions. Think about what you like, what you’re good at, what you value, and what people ask you to help them with. Even if these things aren’t part of your current job.

Then try and link two or more of those things together to create something new and useful. Think about how excited you’ll be if what you do allows you to express yourself in a way that benefits others on a deep level. Combining passions also gives you a larger base of ideas to work from, increases your opportunity for collaboration, and can provide you with more than one revenue stream.

“It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It’s also a very clear path to happiness.” – Sheryl Sandberg

5. Embrace change and unpredictability

Lastly, understand that the only constant in life and work is change, and with that comes unpredictability.  As you learn and grow – both personally and professionally – know that your definition of success will change. Think of the unpredictability that life brings as a new opportunity to experience who you are in both your personal life and your career.

Which one of these do you feel is most important and why? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Brooke Davis is a Life and Career Strategist, writer, and photographer.  She is the founder of Roots of Abundance where she teaches online, self-paced classes that focus on active career and life management.  By combining decades of corporate world experience along with a love of creativity, her classes help others gain clarity, manage their fear of change, and take meaningful steps toward living their most abundant lives. Connect with her on Facebook.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Prajeesh

    Nov 17, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Excellent points. Avoiding distractions and using time meaningfully is very important. Also i felt every other points are equally valid. Great job!!

  2. Michal

    May 12, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    An extremely important article. Thank you.

  3. Tim Denning

    May 8, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Brooke I feel your most important point was distractions. We are all glued to our phone and it’s sucking the life away from us. We must learn to have time away from our phone and not be on call to them all the time. Thanks for your post.

  4. Brandon

    May 8, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Noticing your need for approval. For me this is paramount. The search for approval can be emotionally and spiritually draining. Noticing the facets of life in which this applies to you can not only take a huge weight off of your shoulders but potentially help provide you with the necessary energy and time to maintain productivity.

    Great post! Thank you

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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