Subscribe to my Mailchimp list

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

What's the difference between success, happiness and achievement....

 ... and falling short of your dreams?
Before reading this item, please take a moment to visualise those people you have seen who are fulfilling their dreams, and those who aren't there yet.

What is the difference between them?
I’d hazard an educated guess that a lot of what you’re seeing in the successful person is in their physical posture.

What do I mean when I say ‘physical posture’?
Let’s face it successful people tend to give-off an aura. It is deeper than just looking confident; they carry themselves differently, they act differently, they think differently and this positive energy is often regarded as ‘attractive’ in much the same way as magnetic energy attracts.

You can always recognise the people who have ‘it’ because they tend to look above the horizon. They aren't looking curled-up in a ball or looking at their feet as if they worry that they’re going to fall down a crack in the pavement. They've no use of superstition because their 'glass is half full' and they’re consistently optimistic. They have faith in what the future holds and stride out towards it proactive, confident and eager.

The Hedgehog Effect: Just like the hedgehog’s instinct to roll-up into a ball, there are times when I have met clients for the first time when they are physiologically and psychologically rolled-up tightly in a ball of self-preservation; as if rolling with punches. Somehow they have lost their faith in the benevolence of the universe and seek to protect themselves from being harmed. I often see clients in this state following long periods of unemployment or experiencing the grief of redundancy. 

There are osteopaths, Bowen therapists, Hellerworkers, and body alignment experts that help release this pent-up anxiety from our bodies. I regularly encounter this physical manifestation of anxiety and stress as it prevails in people who have not experienced fulfilment and meaning in their work because they have yet to piece-together their career attributes to form a sustainable career plan; the people who are still wrestling with themselves to discover their own identities and define their mission in life.

Determination – probability, nature or nurture:
Looking back now, with the luxury of 20/20 hindsight, I survived that difficult transition between childhood, adolescence and adulthood because the activities I was good at fed me an inner strength. In the main, if it wasn't for sport and my love for The Arts, I would have struggled much more.

Deep down inside I knew I possessed positive potential and that it was surely a case of just keeping going and one day I would end-up discovering success, achievement and happiness. It was just a matter of time.

I have no clue where this deep instinct stems from, nurture or nature, but I suppose I am lucky that I sensed it was innate within. A long time ago I came to realise that everyone has an innate talent within; it is just a case of circumstance, perseverance and positivity whether they ever experience the warmth of its glow.

I made a breakthrough in my life when I realised how other people had struggled with the same hurdles I had experienced and when a very kind tutor explained to me how insanely unkind the perfectionist character trait can be because we constantly use it to ensure happiness is always just that inch or two out of reach. He helped me understand that my “good enough, might be equivalent to somebody else’s best”. It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and I never looked back.

It wasn't the past that was going to determine my future…
...it was my decisions in the ‘here and now’
Even though our future course is borne-out of extrapolating the trajectory and themes of our past accomplishments (and failures), potential will always outweigh previous experience; this is how we fuel forward momentum.

How we act upon this potential right now, today governs our future course, our potential for success, happiness and achievement. No great oak ever grew from an acorn that was not 'anchored’. It is a challenging life-lesson to absorb, but our environment is a mirror to our actions. We can influence ‘Darwinian probability’ in the way we represent ourselves to our surroundings as image determines our horizons in life. ‘The expressions we meet on other people’s faces tend to reflect the look we transmit to them’. Hence a sincere smile - reinforced by a self-assured character - is such a disarming weapon in life.

Positivity building-blocks:
As we know from The Secret’, ‘What the Bleep’, and the infinite pool of knowledge on ‘self-help’ and ‘positive thinking’ espoused by visionary thinkers like Dr Norman Vincent Peale, William Clement Stone, and founder of sports psychology Coleman Griffith, there are some essential ingredients to performing well:
  • Do what it takes to germinate the magic in desire – get hungry, want to be successful, fill the void with it and use it to launch yourself.
  • Strive for Inspiration – find a field you are passionate about otherwise you will never find the motivation necessary to persevere over the long haul.
  • Identify where your skills lie. Develop your technique – practice, practice, practice. Hone the attributes you have been ‘given’ until your mastery infects you with conviction and purpose.
  •  Disarm your past mistakes out of the same kindness you would bestow on any other young person who was beating themselves up with negativity born from past errors. Move forward and grow from experience. Look forward and outwards not inwards.
  • Nurture calm and rejuvenation in your bedroom and turn it in an oasis of calm as it is proven that disrupted sleep exacerbates troubled spirits. Master your thoughts through calmed breathing with inspiring books and tranquil meditation in order to cleanse your mind of the days’ strains.
  • Above all enter each day pointing all your faculties at your ‘beacon of purpose’. What is it that you wish to marshal your career attributes towards? Progress is continuous personal development, self-encouragement and confidence-growing; whereas, the stuck, entrenched and stagnant en route to inevitable decline.
Encourage-meant:
Sometimes by providing for others what we actually seek ourselves we are recognising human need. Heartfelt encouragement given to others is an empowering lever in building cohesion, connectedness and cultivating the essential benefits of team-spiritedness and community; especially when we share our successes and goals.

This helpful realisation often comes as a great surprise to my clients, who may have experienced long periods of feeling lonely, isolated and withdrawn, that through their altruism they inject within themselves far more optimism at a time when the natural instinct is to be alone and withdraw. Remember: Respect is very much a 2-way street.

Connecting-with and communing-with others:
The reality is that few champions taste success from the confines of solitude. Achievement, in the main, is built upon united effort, linked with unconditional equality, connected via our ability to depend on others, as it bonds communities invested toward a common good. This is why ‘employee-owned’ organisations like The John Lewis Partnership in the UK do so well – because they share the incentive and the trust.

Very few inward-looking, isolated egocentrics sustain success over the long haul without cultivating more open partnerships with others buying into similar value systems and shared motivations for succeeding. Hence good communications, clear boundaries and respect form the glue that binds every worthwhile success.

Forgiving Mavericks: It’s worth remembering that it can be difficult to find one’s way back into the team dynamic if time has been spent on the periphery. At the same time we should be mindful that the most innovative of minds belong to the most unconventional characters and for them to conform risks amputating their innate brilliance.

Remember real value is borne from invention and invention is disruptive by definition. Sharing achievement is likely to involve adaptability, lateral-thinking, and the occasional ability to forgive a once-adversary who may well be more like you than you’d care to admit! Any such magnanimity requires great maturity. 

Learn to recognise the tiny margins between success and failure:
As is so often the case in this life love/hate, friends/enemies, success/failure are the same coin seen from differing perspectives with the tiniest of fractions differentiating the various viewpoints. Similarly, beware of perfectionism; as it can be a very unrealistic, self-defeating and an overly-rigid trait. [Beware ultimatums as they execute When is our striving for the highest of standards good for us and when is it eroding us away? When is a task finished and when is a task being unnecessarily finessed?

The keystone to happiness is knowing when to stop digging and start constructing; alongside the acceptance that building a life's mission starts with recognising, liking and understanding what talents you possess and appreciating what you’re going to do with them - everyday. Acceptance of what can and can't be changed is elemental.

It might take decades to put the roof on the house of your dreams, but you’re better-off knowing that it is built on firm foundations and that every day you step back to see that the incremental steps, not matter how small, see the walls growing upwards and taking you nearer to your ultimate goal.

A ‘patient summary’:
Perhaps this is why many of our most famous celebrities point-out that it took them a lifetime of error-laden perseverance to become an overnight success! I believe we can only truly measure our success when we can clearly state our values. Only then can we credibly interpret whether our achievements equate to actual success because it is only then that our work is meaningful. 
Concentrated endurance seeds worthy achievement; passion-led talent fuels it.
Duncan Bolam © 2012

The Career Dovetail Formula & Talent Triangles: 
Strengthening wellbeing by dovetailing more people into sustainable careers.