How to Succeed


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How to succeed is the next step, following understanding how to define success. Success is a destination, while succeeding is a journey. A journey that is totally different for each person.

I Have a Dream

Success begins with a dream, a desire, and a passion to succeed. “I have a dream” was a speech by an American civil rights activist, Martin Luther King. He dreamed of a time when there would be an end to racism. Five years later he was assassinated, and still there are problems today, concerning racism.

Does that mean Martin Luther King was a failure. Far from it, for he is remembered for his dream, which many have striven to fulfil ever since. It is important to dream beyond your reach. That means stretching out beyond your comfort zone. Only then will you find strengths and weaknesses you never knew you had. Daring to dream and having aspirations is the start of defining your destination.

The Journey Should be Enjoyable

The journey to success is made up of the action of succeeding, and that journey should be enjoyable. Katharine Hepburn said, “If you are going to succeed you had better find some way that is going to be interesting.”

Every journey has its ups and downs, but don’t let your tears be wasted, as the downs teach you more than the highs. If you don’t quit, you will survive the downs and ride the highs and come out stronger for the experience. Mistakes, or failures along the journey are merely learning experiences.

Even the best-planned journey will have its twists and turns, and there may even be some necessary detours. Keep your eye on the destination and don’t grow so weary you quit.

Get Started

Some people never succeed because they lack the courage to start. Don’t be a ‘Gonna’, meaning “I’ll start tomorrow”. Rough out your plan, even if it is only in your head, make any necessary preparations and go. I started this journey because I took a writing course, to sharpen my skills. Towards the end of the course, a ‘light bulb went on’ and here I am, thoroughly enjoying what I do, with the goal of encouraging women.

Success is like hearing about a beautiful swimming hole deep in the forest. First you need to take a hike to get there. Having arrived you can simply stand on the edge of the pool and just admire the view. Some will put their toe in and not go any further, not prepared to experience the initial shock of entering the water. I plead guilty to being one of the nervous ones when it comes to plunging into cold water.

Others will just sit down and never have the courage to ever get into the water. That’s okay, so long as they don’t bemoan the fact they chose to sit on the shore. Those who succeed take the plunge and dive right in. They enjoy the refreshing delights of the pool and are glad they made the effort. Just like the decision to dive into the cool water, starting out on the journey to success can be the hardest part.

Success Takes Passion

You need to do what you are passionate about before you can love what you do. The road to success may have a few disappointments, but it will also be pitted with minor successes. Enjoy those successes and learn from disappointments.

Ingrid Bergman became a brilliant actress in five different languages, but when she started out, she couldn’t even speak English. She was extremely passionate about her craft and threw her body and soul into each and every project. To portray a character authentically, she needed embrace it wholeheartedly. There were times when she didn’t even leave the studio. She was a woman who remained true to herself throughout her career.

When I start researching a topic, I forget about everything else. I don’t remember the previous project and can’t turn my mind to the next project. I am focused and centred on what I am researching and dig deep. As I publish an article, it is as if I am replete from having consumed a gourmet meal. I return later and may tweak the article, but initially I am satisfied with what I have achieved.

Success does not come on a ‘lukewarm’ road. If you don’t have passion for your dream, don’t waste your time starting out. You won’t make the destination. Probably at this point you will give up reading this article.

Success Requires Hard Work and Dedication

If you are not prepared for genuine hard work, with a good dose of dedication, don’t start your journey to success. Success is a matter of conscious choice and discipline.

The more I research and write regularly, the easier it becomes. I look back at my early writing and know it has matured and altered through experience. Any craft improves with dedication and hard work.

A concert pianist doesn’t suddenly find herself sitting on a stage playing on a Steinway. It takes long hours of tedious scales and endless practice. Pavarotti practiced until he learnt how to achieve the impossible: the high C. He achieved what no one else has ever done. Not only could he hit the high C but he could do it three times in the same performance. He became one of the world’s greatest tenors, through determination, dedication and lots of personal grit.

Don’t let minor successes sidetrack you from your journey. If you fall into the trap of being a ‘tall poppy’ you will miss the mark. Neither Barbra Streisand nor Ingrid Bergman set their sights on being a ‘star’.

Don’t Settle for Mediocrity

Successful people work hard and impose high bars on themself. They refuse to settle for mediocrity, pushing beyond what would be normal for others. They are determined to reach their ultimate potential and won’t settle for anything less.

I feel sorry when someone does just enough to get by, when a little bit more effort could bring such amazing results. That doesn’t mean being a perfectionist, but giving your all, and enjoying the fruits of your success along the way.

How to Succeed will Entail Setting Priorities

Life is full of challenges and demands, so you need to prioritize what you do. There are others who deserve a slice of your time and attention, particularly family and close friends.

Be passionate about your vision and be just as passionate about relaxing. Learn to focus on whatever you are doing, so you get the most out of it. Give the person you are talking to, your whole attention. In a sense, you learn to compartmentalise. Only when you learn to enjoy and focus on what you are doing, be it relaxing, or working your craft, will you successfully drive your vision to the completion it deserves.

Think Outside the Box

The deadliest opponent to success is the fear of failure. It is better to have tried and fail, than to never have tried at all. However, failures are often the foundation of future success. You sit in a jet aeroplane without giving a thought to the people who first tried to fly with wings strapped to their back.

Failures teach you about yourself and widen your horizon. They teach you to think outside the box. It takes courage to be extraordinary, but it is the extraordinary who gets noticed. It takes courage to dig deep inside yourself and be vulnerable.

Don’t Fear Innovation

Impossible is just a word, not a barrier, for innovation is merely an enhanced form of the improbable. Thomas Edison had many dreams with hundreds of patents, but he eventually developed and succeeded with the light bulb.

On your journey to success there will be times when you need to be innovative. Be aware of the world around you and be prepared to adapt, adopt, and be forward thinking and appreciative of lessons from the past.

We look back at the greats of the past, for they provide the foundation and inspiration for today. The Flappers of the 1920s, or the Suffragettes gave us much of what we have in our modern world. The sacrifices of Florence Nightingale gave us the nursing system we enjoy in the 21st century.

Any success we have, is built on the shoulders of those who have trod the road before us. Don’t be too proud to look at what they have achieved. They can inspire you to new ideas and thoughts. In my ‘spare time’ I read and learn from great writers.

The Inestimable Value of Criticism

Criticism plays an important role on your journey to success. If you fear criticism, you will never succeed. There is of course, some criticism that should be totally ignored, but there is positive criticism that is important to your growth.

When I write a book, it is my ‘baby’, which I nurture, develop, and bring to fruition as I pour myself into my creation. Then comes the moment it is made available to the public. It will come under criticism. I need to learn from that criticism and don’t take it as a personal assault.

Honest criticism should push you to greater heights. My personal mentor sometimes needs to hit me below the belt to get me to climb higher. Of course, my first reaction is ‘Ouch’. Then I calm down and realize that she is right and only makes the comment for my benefit.

It is the same on the journey to success. When you are criticized, take it as a compliment that will aid you in becoming stronger and more vibrant and better at your craft. We live in a diverse world, thank goodness for that. We are not ‘cookie-cutters’, therefore not everyone will see things the way we do. Others may have a valid point of view which needs to be highly valued.

The Road to Success Needs Value

Always have the heart of a servant and whatever you choose to do you are there to offer a service. That service needs to be built on authenticity. We live in the era of the Knowledge Tsunami and fake news. People enjoy genuine service, which in many areas has become a rarity.

Success is not sitting on an island on your own, it is a partnership. Serena Williams gave much to the world of tennis, like few others. In her retirement she thanked the world of tennis for what it had given her. She had succeeded and fulfilled her wildest dreams and created her own voice of memories that would last the rest of her life. Her success was not something she had achieved on her own. Right to her last game she gave great value to those who loved her work.

Success Needs Persistence

A mother raising children never has a ‘day off’, it is a task that takes persistence and endless amounts of love. Some women have more patience than others, but for all, it is persistence, persistence and more persistence. Even when the children leave the nest, we persist with a mother’s heart, though less hands on.

The prize for success does not go to the quitter. Remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare; there will be times when persistence will push your boundaries. Maya Angelou, popular poet and civil rights activist said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Be Prepared For Achieving Your Goal

Any success that comes too easily will never be appreciated. How did Edmund Hillary feel as he stood briefly on the top of Mt Everest as the first man to achieve that goal? He had faced the challenge and succeeded, but his next challenge was to get off the unforgiving mountain safely. Arriving at the top was just the beginning.

You need to plan for your success. When you put a seedling into the ground, you imagine in your head what the mature plant will look like. If you don’t plan for growth, you will end up in all sorts of difficulties. It is the same with success in any field. The maturity of a dream brings its own set of problems.

We can all succeed in our day-to-day living, but how to succeed is not all ‘lights and headlines’. Most successes go unnoticed, for true success is giving your best in whatever field you find yourself. Your voice is important, as you have a sphere of influence. Use it to the good and push on to success in what you love doing.

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Wendy is an inspirational writer, for which she has a strong passion. She is also very passionate about her garden and family. She says life is too short to waste, so live it to the fullest.

    Wendy is an Inspirational Freelance Writer specializing in offering encouragement to women in all walks of life.

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