Success can mean different things to different people. Maybe you want to have a lot of money, travel the world, live in a big house, reach thousands of people so you can change their lives, maybe you want to raise money to build schools in countries that need schools, give out sleeping bags to the homeless in your city or just enjoy yourself. Success doesn’t have to be something large and flashy – and something that can really help you to focus on what you want from life so you know what success is to you – is creating a vision board. I have a Pinterest board for this and a few pictures stuck inside a kitchen cupboard that I see regularly. I don’t think that anything on my vision board is actually unachievable. I just want to be happy with the people that matter to me around me. Some of the things are happening now 🙂 So I’d suggest you get yourself on Pinterest, or tear up some magazines to stick pictures on a board or in a book – and just keep looking at it so you know what you’re aiming for! That’s what YOUR definition of success is. You don’t have to go with what other people might say success is, you can have your very own ideas on that. This isn’t about anybody else, this is about YOU.
While I was thinking about success, I stumbled upon this really quick video from a TED talk by Richard St. John about the 8 secrets to success, which I thought was not only very entertaining, but also really relevant here because we can use his 8 secrets and implement them in our own businesses. Here’s a run down from a business and branding point of view:
1. Passion – he said we should all have passion about what we do. We should LOVE what we do, we should get up in the morning raring to go and desperate to get to our offices or wherever we work so we can get on with it. I know for me, sometimes I can work quite late into the night – not always because I need to, but because I really want to do what I’m doing! I find my clients tend to be very passionate too and it’s important to try and translate that passion into the work that people see so others can get a glimpse of it and get excited about what they’re doing.
2. Work. He said we should work HARD and have FUN. I guess if you have passion for what you’re doing, then working hard shouldn’t be a big deal right? But be verrrrry careful not to work so hard that you don’t have time for the things that you want out of life – the things on your vision board.
3. Good. You need to be really really good at what you do. So spend time making yourself better. Go on courses or to events, listen to speakers, read books, practice, take feedback, watch webinar, test things out, do whatever it takes to be mind bogglingly brilliant.
4. Focus. I like this one. I think it’s really important to focus on the outcome of what you’re doing, the purpose of what you’re doing – what the point of it all really is. For me this means that for every project I work on I ask why it’s happening and what’s going to happen with it at the end. When I’ve finished my bit. There is no point whatsoever in designing a brochure for someone if the boxes of brochures are just going to live under the stairs. It’s always worth focusing on the end result as well as on your progress throughout the project – and of course, focussing on that vision board!
5. Push. He said you should push yourself. I think this is crucial. You might have seen a picture floating around the internet of a circle, labelled comfort zone, and a dot outside of the circle labelled “where the magic happens” I think this is so so true. Stay in your comfort zone and you’ll be comfortable enough, but if you want things to get really exciting then you need to try stuff that doesn’t come naturally to you. A year ago I would not have been making videos. No way. Very uncomfortable. But I pushed myself and as a result I’ve gained some really interesting, fantastic clients who I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I also set myself a goal this year of speaking in public and so far I’ve spoken about branding at four events, which has been quite nerve wracking. I still have a lot to learn and I don’t feel that I’m brilliant at it – but I know that people have found it useful, I’ve had some great feedback on the content I’ve shared and I’m going to keep pushing myself so I will get better at it. Magic really does happen when you give yourself a push.
6. Serve. He says you should serve people – provide value and help people out. How are you doing that? I bet your business serves people in some way. You can serve people through doing the work you love and being paid for it, and you can serve people through other means like blogging for example, providing people with something that they can really benefit from.
7. Idea. It helps to have an idea. I guess everything starts with an idea. You need an idea to have a business in the first place right? And then you need more ideas after that to keep your business working. It’s about having good ideas a lot of the time and making them happen – which is where the hard work, focus and push really come in!
8. The final point was to persist. Through failure, criticism, rejection, horrible people and pressure. There are a lot of things that get flung at us regularly that might make you feel like you want to give up. Things can go wrong all the time. Sometimes you might have a really bad week where stuff keeps going wrong and you feel like you should just jack it all in. Next week might be better. You need to clutch on to the really good stuff that’s happened so you can persist through the difficulties. Even when the difficulties are your fault. Maybe you could collect testimonials to look at when you need a boost. Have a selection of people who you can moan to who will make you feel better. When things are rubbish you don’t have to deal with them on your own. If you can persist through the bad times – how good are you going to feel about it later?
So there you have it – the 8 secrets of success courtesy of Richard St. John with a bit of thought from me.
Here’s the TED talk which I would definitely recommend you watch. It’s only 3 minutes long and worth it.