For this weeks instalment I want to focus on something that has been on my mind throughout the week. Success.
Specifically, what we can do to set ourselves up for success?
Under the assumption that success isn’t something that is simply given to you but rather something that you create for yourself, I am asking the question how can we create an environment for ourselves that sows the seeds for success.
Firstly, what do I mean when I say setting yourself up for success?
As I am sure you were thinking if it was as easy as installing a new piece of computer software we would already all be exactly where we wanted to be!
Having giving this some thought the best analogy I can think of to explain my idea of this is sleep…
Let me explain. Picture this (I am sure we have all done it) you have a night where sleep completely evades you for whatever reason; a big night out, study, work. You get significantly less sleep than you would usually and laying there in bed you take note of the time. Finding yourself counting down the hours until your alarm rings marking the start of your day. Laying there you already know that the upcoming day is going to be a struggle, it’s going to feel long with you lethargic and already you are preempting the challenge ahead.
Wether deliberate or not you have not set yourself up for success.
In fact you have done the complete opposite, positioning yourself at the start line with a significant handicap.
What I am attempting to highlight with this analogy is that if it is possible to make adjustments to our daily processes that optimise our strengths, it becomes possible to take a stronger position at that start line – setting up your success.
So, how do we get there? How do we even begin to know what we need to tweak to push towards our own successes?
Is there a secret formula? A one size fits all approach, an easy answer?
In short, no.
Researching online, I discovered many an article offering a prescriptive approach. With generalised solutions for success- ranging from getting more sleep to reading more books.
I intend to offer you some of my thoughts and experiences on the subject with the aim of prompting you to explore and implement your own bespoke changes.
Subjective in nature, so how we achieve it will differ person to person.
Perhaps this is the key thing to remember when we are adjusting our routines/ processes to set us up for success.
I will give you an example from my own personal experience to illustrate my point.
I am a morning person. Full of life from the moment my eyes open, jumping out of bed full speed ahead and ready to take on the day. Recognising and acknowledging this as a daily pattern has allowed me to draw the logical conclusion that I should dedicate time early in the day for work and important tasks. In doing so I am able to harness my energy level and allow myself the best chance for productivity.
Establishing this strategy doesn’t guarantee that I will always use my time efficiently but it does set me up with a much more reliable foundation for success, simply by determining when I work best.
Short term & long term/lifetime goals. They highlight our aims and desires, giving us a focus to work towards. At their inception it is often useful to write goals down or verbalise them to commit yourself to working towards making them a reality.
However, have you ever had a goal that has felt so far away from your start point you have perceived it as unachievable?
Well, firstly, write it down anyway and give this some thought…
It isn’t the goal that needs to be adjusted, but an adaption to how you approach it.
Think big, create and commit to these big goals then to make them more achievable by establishing waypoints to get you there.
Smaller more immediately achievable goals you can initially work towards pushing you one step closer to the larger desired outcome.
For example, if you were a complete beginner to running you wouldn’t head out and run a marathon first time (unless you are some kind of super human) that would likely result in failure and demotivation.
Instead, you would start with much shorter distances such a 5km and build yourself up over time.
Increasing your distance and gradually improving your fitness to work towards your end goal.
This principle can be applied to most goals, you don’t get from A-Z without going through all the letters in between.
Allow yourself to keep the end goal in sight and conquer smaller tasks along the way.
You may make mistakes but ultimately our successes are the sum of our mistakes.
If you imagine that you have two aspects of your wellbeing that you are committed to caring for:
Your mental wellbeing & your physical wellbeing.
Now working under the assumption that these elements of health have a direct correlation, failure to consistently care for one over the other may eventually set you back.
You wouldn’t expect a plant to thrive if you gave it light but denied it water.
This is when it’s important to be mindful of yourself, put your ego to one side, stop being your own biggest critic and instead commit to caring for your mind and body to the best of your ability.
Life is about balance, if the scales tip too far in one direction ultimately we are preventing ourselves from being the best we can be.
So, as always, it is important to be kind to ourselves as ultimately when we are healthy, mind and body, we are better positioned to tackle life’s great challenges!
Position yourself at the start line with others.
Create a network consisting of friends and family who are not there to compete but to encourage and support you onwards.
Ask for support when you need it.
Take help when it is offered.
Surround yourself with people that inspire, challenge and motivate you.
It is one of life’s great beauties to embrace other people and flourish from the value you bring to each other’s lives.
You are not alone!
I believe that mindset plays an integral role when it comes to success.
This is something that I touched upon in my first blog post when it comes to undertaking a new task and minimising self limiting thoughts to give yourself a positive start.
Replacing the internal monologue of ‘I can’t’ with ‘I can’ & ‘I will’.
Simple adjustments to how you talk about your goals with phrasing such as ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ reframe your mindset towards success by telling yourself it absolutely is achievable!
Adapting this approach cultivates a growth mindset; pushing your forwards not holding you back.
When you think of success what do you see? In what form does your success manifest?
Are you judging your success based purely on what’s important to you?
Or, are you falling into the trap of perceiving your successes based on the opinion and expectation of others.
From my experience success can take many forms.
I am not here to tell you what success should look like but simply to encourage you to find what drives you. Establish what makes you happy and then push towards it with unstoppable force.
After, potentially, overwhelming you with questions and ideas I want to take a step back and leave you with an observation that I have made:
When you judge your success by your own standards you remove the need for outside approval.
You work towards your goals based on what’s important to you and in turn create a significantly more fulfilling life.