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How Defining Success is the Key to Being Successful

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Could you imagine getting into a car, planning to go somewhere, and yet have no idea as to when you’ve arrived? This seems absolutely ridiculous. How could you get anywhere without being aware of the destination? Yet, the truth is, this is how many of us work towards success. We have the idea in our mind that we’d like to be successful, but there is no clear picture of what this success would be. In other words, we have no destination.

I played college baseball, so this failure to define success was quite evident within myself. Before a game, I would say that I wanted to play well, as most athletes do. But what I failed to realize was what playing well truly meant. Without pinpointing what a successful day would be, I’d be lost in all the ways it went wrong. As a result of having no clear definition of success, I succumbed to all sorts of negative forms of thinking. 

Like clockwork, I could always find areas where I fell short. However, that all changed once I learned a valuable skill. As a result of learning how to define success, I freed myself from much of my perfectionism and anxiety, along with developing a clear picture of what it meant to be successful. 

What Does it Mean to Define Success?

Success is truly subjective. We should never allow anyone else to determine what it means for us to be successful. What is important is how we view success. What does it mean to you to be successful? Operating off the definition of success described by someone else is where much of our stress and anxiety can come from. 

The way we define success is of our own choosing. Up until I realized what it meant to define success, I was operating off the definitions of others. I saw success largely as a comparison to those around me. While this can be seen as a productive way to operate, especially in a competition fueled environment like sports, it actually hinders performance. 

Constant comparison of ourselves to others pulls our focus away from the processes we must follow to actually achieve peak performance. In order to attain our goals and reach what we deem to be successful, first we must define success.

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” – Anne Sweeney

Goal Setting Procedure

When thinking about how to set goals in order to define success, there are two types to take into consideration: large goals and small goals. 

Large Goals – Large goals are the ones that take a significant amount of time to accomplish. These typically operate under the time frame of years but can sometimes be months. This large amount of time allows for all the necessary actions to unfold that lead to the successful achievement of the goal. 

Small Goals – The next type of goals we must focus on are the small, process goals that seek to achieve the larger one. These are the activities we do on a daily basis. 

The reason they are referred to as process goals is because they are not outcome oriented. When we set a large goal, it is mainly based on an external outcome. It may take the form of a number on a scale, landing a certain job, finishing the season with a specific number of wins, or earning a targeted income. However, focusing on the end result is a key distractor that causes us to never actually achieve our goal. So, enter process goals as the solution. Here you have the habits that you trust will lead you on the path towards your desired outcome.

How to Define Success

We can use the concept of large and small goals to help us define success in any area of our lives. What I would like to do is provide you with an outline you can use to easily define success for yourself. 

Step 1: Define Your Large Goal

The first step in defining success will be to outline your goal. Think about the goal setting procedure discussed above. You want to split your goals into two categories: large and small goals. In this step, you want to be thinking in terms of a large goal. We should always be working towards an outcome we desire, and this step gives us the opportunity to define what that will be. A good rule of thumb when defining your large goal is to make it as specific as possible. This way, you will know exactly when it has been achieved. 

Step 2: Focus on Process Goals

Here is where we really get into the best way defining success helps us become successful. Once a large goal is set, it is now time to focus on the smaller process goals that will get you there. By setting process goals, you will be able to state whether each day was a success. That is where the process of defining success truly becomes powerful.

When defining success using process goals, you want to focus on two areas: mindset and physical goals. These are going to be goals you set which are completely in your control. That way, you can be sure to accomplish them. 

Mindset Goals

Setting mindset goals involves declaring how you want your mental state to be. This can be done for a game, a practice, a meeting, or simply a whole day. Here are some examples of great mindset goals:

  •     Stay confident and positive no matter the result.
  •     Repeat affirmations three times today.
  •     Feel gratitude.
  •     Remain focused on my responsibilities.
  •     Desire success instead of fearing failure.

Each one of these is something we are all capable of achieving, making them fantastic mindset process goals.

“Without dreams and goals there is no living, only merely existing, and that is not why we are here.” – Mark Twain

Physical Goals

Setting physical goals involves outlining and defining how you want to behave from a physical standpoint. It may seem like physical goals are more designed for athletes, but we all can focus on physical process goals to help us define success. Here are some examples of physical process goals:

  •     Walk with my chest up to feel confident. 
  •     Go to the gym for one hour. 
  •     Look everyone in the eye when I talk to them. 
  •     Read for 30 minutes. 
  •     Write 1,000 words.

So, as you can see, these physical goals involve any activity that is necessary on the path towards your goal. By defining mindset and physical process goals, you will have a clear picture of whether your day was a success. Focusing and trusting your process goals will provide you with the opportunity to feel confident and successful each day. This will put you in a great position to achieve the ultimate success you desire. 

Eli Straw is the founder of Success Starts Within and has an M.S. in psychology. Eli's goal is to provide valuable performance psychology information to the public, and help individuals optimize their lives. If you would like to read more articles written by Eli, you can view them here. You can follow Eli on Twitter at @straw_eli. If you would like to learn more about how you can benefit from mental performance coaching, feel free to email Eli at elistraw@successstartswithin.com.

Success Advice

7 Ways to Share Your Story on Social Media

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Content marketing is “A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services”. In other words, explicit marketing is simply saying “buy my stuff!” whereas content marketing is the art of persuading people to do so through storytelling. (more…)

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10 Tips to Deal With Negativity While Starting a Business

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There are ups and downs in business but fearing failures can stop you from taking your first step towards excellence. With pandemic on tow, aspiring entrepreneurs feel a little stuck when ideating a business prospect. Here, we give you some actionable tips to deal with negativity while starting a business, even during situations like a pandemic. We also took the liberty to throw in some amazing book recommendations that’ll help you enjoy the process of being positive and achieving your business goals.

10 Tips to deal with negativity while starting a business in a pandemic

1. Get a mentor

The first thing to do as a new business owner is to find the right kind of mentor. That person could be someone in your industry or in general who you look up to. The guidance must be apt for your business, and it should be a mutual responsibility of sharing knowledge. 

2. Two big R’s – Routine and Refresh

Made a mess of something? Try to reboot the situation and make it work. Take a break once in a while and refresh yourself if you feel stuck or your ideas feel mundane. Plan a routine and stick to them – both personal and professional. Having a routine can increase productivity and engage in more activities apart from your pre-planned schedule. 

3. Inculcate problem-solving mentality

Do not panic once you are thrown a problem. Arrange a meeting with the respective party, listen to both sides of the stories, and make a decision that is more realistic and feasible. 

4. Hire half and half

Whenever you hire someone for your business. Make sure that half of the people contradict your ideas, and the other half have the same mindset as yours. The people who contradict can bring in more valuable points and their perspective might take the discussion to a whole new level.  Don’t take too much time finding the perfect one. Hire an apt person who can have the right attitude. 

5. Network, Network, and Network

Find like-minded people and mingle with them. Be more sportive in the learning process. Listen more and talk less – if you are a beginner. You can only be a constructive person who gives input to someone if you have listened to everyone’s point of view. If you feel down, your network might have something to uplift your mood and change your perspective on something. 

“Negativity, in general, is one of the things that holds people back, and you have to see what’s holding you back to get away from it.” – Lucy Dacus

6. Tech-savvy personnel

Learn a thing or two about the latest technology that you implement in your organization. Since the world revolves around technology, make sure your administrative authority knows as well.  

7. Don’t schedule a meeting, that could have been an email

Yes! I said it. Having unnecessary meetings will weaken the purpose of having a constructive discussion. Having back-to-back meetings drains the team members and yourself too. Always have a 10 to 15 minutes break between each meeting to feel refreshed and give your 100%. 

8. Have a pros and cons list

Always, I mean always have a pros and cons list. Let’s say one of your team members pitch an idea to improve the marketing strategies starting next month. Jot down the pros and cons before approving or rejecting it point-blank. It’s a systematic way of making a decision. 

9. Track your finances

Even if you have a team of accountants and auditors, make sure that you are present (both mentally and physically) – learn if you are not aware of it. Trusting your employees is a must, but not overseeing the records is a mistake that should be avoided. 

10. Remember your “why?”

At some point in your hectic schedule or not having ME time can get to you. During those tough times – ask yourself – “Why am I doing this?”. If you can answer this question with a valid explanation, you’ll feel energized. Because “A purpose drives you”. 

5 Best books to read to be more positive as an entrepreneur

Reading always puts me into perspective. Therefore, I took some liberty to give a sample of positivity and determination through words. 

These are the 5 books that’ll guide you to be a more positive and successful entrepreneur. 

  1. Attitude is everything by Jeff Keller – The decisions you make, the routine you set for yourself, and the affirmations you say to yourself every day are going to make a huge difference. If you feel tired, hopeless, and quitting – then this book is for you to boost you up!
  2. Mindset: The new psychology of success by Carol Dweck – You do what you think. In this book, the author talks about two mindsets: The growth mindset and the fixed mindset and what they’ll do to you respectively. She helps you recognize your mindset and change it for the better. 
  3. Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen – This book is about technology uprisings all over the world and businesses that adopted and implemented technology in their firm. The author teaches you that just because your competitors and others are adopting something into their businesses doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Make an informed decision. 
  4. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen – This book specifically is about the power of thought and how it shapes your life into a more meaningful and fulfilling one.
  5. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – The author talks about how people always keep thinking about what the future holds but then forget to live and enjoy the present. And also helps us understand how to make decisions more efficiently based on the present. 

Working towards inner balance requires consistency and perseverance. So does hard and smart work. Being negative is a part of our lives. It’s important to channel it appropriately and make things happen despite the roller coaster ride that is our lives. Hope you overcome your fears and negativity to shine bigger and brighter. Cheers! 

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Defining Your Own Success: A Step by Step Guide

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Everyone wants success in their lives, but success can be defined in so many different ways that it can sometimes seem daunting. In this blog post, you will learn how to make success easier for yourself by defining what success means to you. (more…)

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5 Characteristics of Athletes You Need for Business Success

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Michigan State basketball coach, Tom Izzo, wrote “Players play. Tough players win.” I would add to that, “It’s tough to win.”I think if you, as a leader, are looking to build an organization that is successful – that wins – you first have to accept that it will be tough. There are no shortcuts to success. In my 44 years of coaching, I was fortunate to coach a lot of tough players. I believe the toughness I have seen in athletes corresponds well to any organization or business. (more…)

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