4 Keys to Create Success through Personal Leadership
“Success is being able to consistently achieve your desired objectives in all areas of life that you value”
– Jack Canfield, Leading Success Coach (USA)
It all starts with you
Here’s a story I came across while at school. A farmer lived in his country farmhouse and was a proud owner of a horse. He loved his horse and took good care of it. Everyday, he used to take the horse to a pool near its stable so it could drink and nourish itself. However, in spite of taking the horse to the pool, the horse often had other ideas. It would play around the pool, sit there and rest, but not drink. The farmer often coerced the horse to drink, but it wouldn’t budge. And then, there were times in the day when the horse used to walk to the pool by itself and drink water. The farmer quickly came to the realisation that no matter what he did, it is the horse who decides whether to have water, and left it at that. I guess this is the story where the famous quote came from- “You can take the horse to the water, but cannot make it drink”!
In life, with our ventures, we are often defined by what we accomplish, the results we achieve. We often observe some people to be considered more successful than others. Some people tend to do ok, and some people barely make it. Here’s a thought: If we are defined by our success, what defines success? Here’s my take: just as whether the horse drunk water or not depended on the horse, your success depends on one person, and one person only: You.
A very simple version of success is achieving what we want in life. Yet, in our quest to achieve our objectives, we often come across challenges that prevent us from doing so. We then start counting external factors as vital to our success. Other people, certain situations, luck become part of the recipe for success. Interestingly, people who have been successful go through their fair share of challenges and obstacles. Yet, how is it that they attract more success? Simply put, they follow a different recipe- they consider themselves pivotal to their success. Regardless of what else happens around them, they keep going and back themselves to achieve their goals.
A classic scenario of varying levels of success is where 100 students appear for an examination. Most of them pass the examination, some do not. However, only a handful of students form the Top 10 percentile, and distinguish themselves from the rest. Consider this- same situation (examination), same set of challenges (the question paper), yet 10 students succeed better than the remaining 90. It’s what they bring to the table that distinguishes successful students from others. Similarly, in a larger context, it’s what successful people demonstrate consistently that puts them in a different league- their personal power.
Invoking your Personal Power- The 4 Keys
So we saw that your success relies on yourself, and successful people keep going at it regardless of their circumstances, and demonstrate personal power consistently. What really is personal power? In my words, personal power is your ability to demonstrate self-leadership to achieve your desired objectives. Through self-leadership, you allow yourself to rise above your circumstances and achieve success. This gives YOU the power over your circumstances. So rather than feel powerless against any obstacles, challenges and setbacks, you are empowered to make your way forward.
Curiously enough, personal power is something that we all have. It isn’t a special gift that a select few have. What distinguishes successful people from others is their choice to consistently invoke their personal power. How do they do that? This chapter looks at 4 keys that successful people use, and so can you, to invoke their personal power and make success their reality. The 4 keys are given below:
– Take 100% Responsibility of your Life
– The Power of Rituals
– Honour your commitments
– The game of perseverance and consistency
Take 100% Responsibility of your life
A pair of twin boys was raised by an alcoholic, abusive father. Life was tough, as they barely made their ends meet due to the man’s constant drinking habits. Very little attention was given to the twins’ development as their father himself was unable to fend for himself. Over the years, one of the twins grew up to be a very successful businessman, well regarded in society. The other twin grew up to be just like his father- miserable, alcoholic and struggling to make ends meet.
The media followed the successful twin brother, and came to know about his brother. Curious as to how two brothers can have such contrasting ways of living, they conducted an interview of both brothers separately. One of the questions asked in the interview, and a very key question was “What do you believe to be the biggest reason for your current situation?” Pat came the reply from both brothers, “With a father like that, what else would I have done?
Same environment, same upbringing, same set of challenges. How is it that instead of ending up similarly, one brother found his way and created success? While the other just fell victim to his circumstances? The successful brother choose to exert his personal power, rather than let his environment control his fate. He did so by taking 100% responsibility of his life.
When you take 100% responsibility of your life, you own everything that goes on- the decisions you make, the actions you take. When you take ownership of your thoughts and actions, you also take ownership of the results that follow. People who take 100% responsibility do not blame others or their situations when things don’t go as planned. Instead, they choose to focus on what they can do differently next time, so that they get better results. People who tend not to take 100% responsibility often indulge in blame game, denial, finding excuses. For them, their success is based on external factors. If those factors don’t align, they tend to go nowhere.
Being a huge sports fan, I often like to follow the post-game conversations of my favourite sports. Basically, the ones where the players are interviewed for their thoughts on the results of the game. Those conversations reveal the true character of champion sportspersons. I often find that the most successful players, the champions take 100% responsibility for their results. If they lose, especially due to a bad decision, or someone else’s fault (in a team game), they choose not to blame those factors. Instead, they accept the result, and focus on what they could do better next. Sure enough, they come back stronger, and claim the victory they deserve. It’s interesting to notice the difference in their attitude, and results with those players who play the victim card. Believe me, there can be lots of sore losers in sports!
How do you know if you are taking 100% responsibility of your life? Think of scenarios in your life, either in personal or professional ventures where things do not go as planned, or you do not get a positive outcome. What do you focus on? Do you focus on how your environment or your situation played a part in those results by forcing your hand? Or do you focus on how you can prepare yourself and do things better for next time? And this gets even cooler, whichever choice you make, do you feel powerless or powerful?
This is a sample of a chapter in the book Success Uncovered. The chapter is written by Arpan Roy.