Success isn’t something that happens to you; it’s something you create.
In the years during which I went from a part-time employee to a sales executive for a company doing more than $3 billion in sales, I learned that personal success is not some unattainable, mysterious thing. It is ours to gain, to lose, and to share. Let me show you exactly how to take the reigns and make success work for you:
Step 1: Own It
No one will ever own your victories but you. Of course, the flip side is that no one else owns your blunders, either.
Two-time NFL MVP quarterback Steve Young threw 202 interceptions in his career. Those were 202 opportunities to blame his teammates — however, Young never did. He took responsibility for each game’s outcome regardless of how the mistakes happened.
As a leader, you need to take the hit when your team faces challenges, even when those challenges are beyond your control. It’s easy to get lost in a blame game, but dwelling on what is going wrong or whose fault it is won’t fix the issue. That is pure victim mentality.
On the other hand, hero mentality prioritizes finding a solution first and then addressing what went sideways. Once you understand that you are in control no matter the result, you can find the audacity to try new things to cement your and your crew’s success.
“Owning it” means taking the hits — but it also means reaping the rewards.
Step 2: Visualize It
Before you can go after success, you have to know what you’re looking for.
For example, I love working on my golf play, but for years water hazards were my downfall. I’d approach them the same way every time: I’d line up, see the pond blocking my path, look down, and think, “I hate water hazards.” Then I’d swing, and my ball would dive directly into the pond. It took a lot of missed shots, but I finally figured out what I was doing wrong: I was fixating on the obstacle blocking me and not the path around it.
The best adjustment I made was simply visualizing my ball soaring over the water and landing cleanly on the green. Pairing a winning visualization with proper technique absolutely helped me get over my hurdle. I just had to see it before I could do it. Focusing on a positive outcome is a concrete step toward changing for the better.
Implementing visualization can be hard if you don’t know what success looks like. Just remember, successful people will always surround themselves with individuals who are more successful than they are. Consider eliminating any energy vampires who may be holding you back, and focus on your relationships with those invested in your best interests.
Go ahead and look at someone in your life who is thriving. Now, take three minutes to write down what they actively do to meet their goals. Circle the most important thing on that list and do it.
Step 3: Change It
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep getting the same results. It’s just like looking in the mirror: What you see is what you get. You’re going to have to implement some change, and then the improvements will follow.
I achieved great on-paper accomplishments in my first high-level management position, but despite that, my staff was extremely unhappy under my supervision. When I took the time to look at my own contributions to the mess, I gave myself the power to fix it. My employees’ attitudes weren’t the problem; the way I managed was the problem. Unless I changed my behavior, there was no way I could ask my team to change theirs.
Change is something all leaders are asked to do in their careers. As people, environments, and businesses adjust, so must we. Holding on to the way you do things in an attempt to fix your problem is like digging deeper to try to get out of a ditch. The way to grow is to embrace the change. Only then will you see new opportunities for success.
It’s easy to blame other people or outside circumstances for our shortcomings, but doing that strips you of your power. By owning your circumstances, visualizing your goals, and changing when needed, you’ll find that success is yours for the taking.
Hernani Alves is the founder of Balanced IQ and the author of Balanced Accountability: Three Leadership Secrets to Win Hearts and Maximize Performance. Connect with Hernani on LinkedIn, Facebook, or his Amazon author’s page.