Mar 01 2014

What Exactly Is Success?

 

“Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals.”

~Paul J. Meyer

That is the best definition of success I have ever seen. Paul Meyer knew the score!

I hear success defined in many ways. Some people say it’s having money. To others success is having a big house, healthy family, and a comfortable retirement account. You might consider yourself successful if you are able to get out of bed in the morning! Whatever the definition, success is whatever it means to you.

If you run a business you MUST define what success means for you and your business. You have to know when you have “made it”. When you determine up front exactly what criteria determines your successful business, everything else falls into place. Every action you take in your business should be based on getting closer to that criteria.

Let’s take a closer look at the quote and how it relates to running a business.

Goals

What is the ultimate goal of your business? What has to happen before you consider you business successful? If you own a brick-and-mortar business, your goal might be to have 100 locations in 10 years.  A consultant may want to have branch offices in 25 states. An online marketer may want to do 100 informational seminars a year during the next 5 years. A good way to look at the ultimate goal is determine what has to be done to build the business with the intent of selling it when you are finished.

Progressive Realization

Have you heard the expression “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”? You don’t necessarily have to reach your destination to consider yourself successful. A lot could happen on your journey. As you build toward your goal you may find an end result you never considered.

For example, the internet marketer has a  goal to do 100 information seminars a year in major cities around the country.  As he builds the business towards that end he discovers a way to get his information in front of more people, a much larger audience by doing online webinars instead. Did he change his mind, is he now considered a failure? Of course not. He still presents his information to the masses. There will always be detours. What is true today may not be valid tomorrow.

Worthwhile

A business can only be profitable if you provide solutions that are worthwhile to your customers. Your products must have benefits your customers want.

Predetermined

The ultimate goal of your business should be determined up front. You’ll need a clear vision of what the business should look like from day 1. Then you can prioritize every task you do by asking ‘ does it get me closer to my goal?’

Personal

Finally, the overall goal must be meaningful to you. It has to be what you want. It’s not personal if you build a business based on what other people think you should do. Think about it. How can you possibly be successful doing something you don’t want to do?

Conclusion

I think Paul Meyer’s definition of success can be applied to any business or personal  undertaking. If you know from the beginning what your business will look like, and you enjoy providing a service that people want,  consider yourself successful as you grow your business to it’s ultimate goal.

How does this model of success fit your business? Please share your comments below.

Apr 08 2010

One Big Happy Family – The Big Lie

The Assumption

Many business associations promote the idea that, because entrepreneurs are involved in building a business, they are all brothers and sisters… one big happy family. There’s a common bond with interests that bring everyone together.  No matter what their background, two entrepreneurs can get together at a convention to share ideas.  A lot of barriers in the real world vanish during these meetings, allowing people to meet each other and talk, because of their common interest. Nationality, location, race, profession, culture, and other differences do not exist and everyone is treated equally.

If you are a part of the fellowship you are expected to behave in a certain way. At a convention you’re expected to behave like a member of a large family. This usually means sharing and accepting your peers regardless of background. If you break the family “code” you’ll be perceived as insincere and a detriment to the spirit of the organization.

The idea of belonging to a family is a good one. It promotes creativity and can be inspiring to share ideas. BUT, the notion of being brothers and sisters is usually carried too far.

The Danger

Too often the bonding is not based on having a friendship in a real sense, but instead is based on nothing more than the members having a common interest.

Many times the notion of family becomes more important than anything else and overshadows building genuine relationships. I think it becomes a problem when people automatically accept anyone into the family just because they have some degree of like interest. Is it realistic to believe that because we’re interested in the same thing, that this alone makes us equal? No, I don’t think so.

The Magic Convention Example

I read a great story that illustrates the potential problems. A very well know professional magician Fred Kaps was sitting in the lobby at a magic convention. One of the convention attendees approached Fred and asked him to explain one of his tricks. Mr. Kaps politely refused.  Puzzled, the magician asked “Why not, we’re all colleagues here!” Fred laughed and said “Colleagues? Look man, I’m a magician. You are a gardener. We are not colleagues!”

Ouch! The sad part of the story is now the magician feels insulted. He thought Kaps was his equal and that he wasn’t living up to the expectation that it was his duty to give him whatever he asked.  Kaps could have said anything and would have been considered rude… anything other than explaining the trick that he probably labored over for years.

The feeling of entitlement runs wild in the family.  Sorry, but Mr. Kaps or anyone for that matter, owes you nothing! This ignorance is the result of not understanding the value of goals achieved by someone else. Unfortunately, this illusion of equality is promoted by many conference organizers.

“Friendship is a thing of great beauty – but friendship must grow between people. It can’t be instantly installed between two strangers.” ~Tommy Wonder

The Solution

In business, I think we can all agree there are different levels of achievement. Most people know where they stand among their peers. To others it will be difficult to face this truth because of the illusion of fraternity.

Know where you stand and eliminate the notion of entitlement, and you will build relationships with people that will want to help you. Be sure you bring something to the table and help others before expecting them to do the same.

That’s what I think, what about you? I would love to hear your thoughts.