How do you define success? Is your success measured by:
- Achieving a milestone?
- Relationships with others?
- Reaching a certain financial threshold?
- Purchasing certain things you never thought you’d be able to have?
- Who is on your speed dial?
Success can be defined in a variety of ways. Ask just about anyone for their definition of success and they will likely tell you something that reflects their values and the importance they place on that value.
One of the early personal development experts I studied was a man named Earl Nightingale. He defined success as “the progression toward a worthy goal.” That is pretty straightforward, don’t you think?
If we take Nightingale’s definition, we can then apply it to any goal or goals we choose. To me, there are two key words in his definition: progression and worthy.
Progression, or making progress, assumes one is moving forward rather than moving backward (otherwise, it would be regression). Progress can be made by small steps. There really isn’t anyone who can be considered an “overnight success.” I’ve heard people who have been given that accolade humbly reply, “It took me twenty years to become an overnight success.”
Slow, steady, intentional progress toward some point down the road is the key to becoming successful in any endeavor. Small differences over time create a big difference; this approach is known as the compound effect. It’s not very exciting. Watching money in a bank earn compound interest is about as exciting as watching concrete dry. Yet, when the concrete does dry, it provides us a stable surface, so in the end, the process it goes through has a positive outcome.
“Worthy” is the next key word in Nightingale’s definition of success. What is worthy? It means something (or someone) has importance, value or merit. Of course, what is worthy to one person may not be as important or valuable to another person. So, the idea of “what is worthy” is very much a personal decision.
Given that it is a personal decision, I hope you would define worthy as something of value to not only yourself, but to others as well. At its core, leadership is about influence. You’ve heard me say everything rises and falls on leadership. You also know that if you call yourself a leader, yet turn around and have no one following you, you are just taking a solitary walk.
Pursuing a goal that is of worth to us gives us the passion, persistence and diligence we need to overcome obstacles. It provides us the fuel to continue at a task or in a job that may be challenging. If you are missing some of the passion or find yourself procrastinating, ask whether you have lost sight of the goal. Perhaps you have forgotten the purpose you had for establishing the goal in the first place or are questioning its fundamental value.
This is where intentionality comes in – if you do not intentionally remind yourself of the goal or how the goal ties into your overall purpose or a greater vision, you are likely just plodding along. Sadly, there is little excitement in plodding.
Strong leaders are drivers; they are decisive and action-oriented. Plodding isn’t a part of their active vocabulary.
It is estimated that only 5% of the global population ever achieves unusual success. The rest of the general population, unfortunately, sees average performance and plodding progress as good enough. If, however, you could influence a small percentage of these people, to come along side as you progress towards goal they find value in pursuing, what could the outcome be? Think about that for a moment.
Progression implies intentionality. Progression implies growth. So my question for you today is: “What are you doing to intentionally grow or progress in your leadership?” If you don’t have an immediate answer to this, it means there is no current intentionality to your growth. That can change if you want it to.
The bottom line is if you are not moving forward, (making progress with intentionality), the world is passing you by. If you want to improve your life, your family, your leadership, your financial condition, your influence, or anything else, you need to first work on improving yourself.
What is the best way to do that? Glad you asked! Give me a call, and let’s talk about how you can begin on a path to make progress toward a worthy set of goals to improve your leadership.
I promise, I won’t waste your time.