Success Is an Inside Job

Is the concept of being successful frightening? It’s at the top of most people’s wish list so why do so few achieve their goal?


What does the word ’success’ feel like?

No, not what does it make you think about but what emotions does it incite within your very being.

You don’t have to share your answer so be honest with yourself.

Are you perhaps:

  • Excited

  • Elated

  • Worried

  • Depressed

  • Satisfied

  • Feeling it’s unattainable

  • Wishful

Is the concept of being successful frightening? It’s at the top of most people’s wish list so why do so few achieve their goal?

Maybe holding the dream at arm’s length is comforting and, yes, excuses us from responsibility and action.

Everyone has a different perception of ‘success’ depending upon their individual experience and view of the world.

Some choose to see their glass as ‘half empty, some ‘half full’ and for the lucky few, their cup permanently runneth over!

They bounce back, no matter what they encounter; always positive, encouraging to self and others and open to opportunities as they present.

The Dictionary defines success in two ways:

A favourable outcome to an undertaking; and The attainment of wealth or fame.

Two varied and subjective definitions. What may be a ‘favourable outcome’ to one may not be viewed that way by another.

‘Wealth’ covers financial wealth but also spiritual and emotional wealth, both of which are beyond price.

Without them life has no real value; the barren soul with a huge bank balance certainly wouldn’t be resting in the glow of success.

What Holds You Back

So, if we want success in every area of life, what holds us back?

Imagine the scene. It’s match day and the rugby team is on the field.

They’ve had the ‘talk’, changing room bonding session and done the training.

The manager’s quietly optimistic – the lads are fit and capable of winning.

He knows because he’s taught them the basics, the tricks and to expect and plan for the unexpected.

So, it’s all to play for. It’s a glorious afternoon, sunny but not too hot, the pitch is newly mown the white lines signalling their importance in their freshly painted whiteness.

The good humoured chanting of the crowd adds to the anticipation and the ref signals it’s ‘Game On’. Both teams have a touch of the ball and the atmosphere is electric.

The crowd has quietened in anticipation of first blood.

Of course, each side thinks their boys the best and there’s safety in the crowd, surrounded by other like-minded supporters.

Not quite so comforting to be the odd-one-out in the opposing crowd, standing out as an individual of a different mental persuasion.

The Ridiculous Scenario

The ref blows – he wants a scrum. He’s a little chap and the forwards tower over him, yet he holds the game within his control.

To ensure fairness, as each pack lock together ready to take on the opposing men, the ref says “Touch” to ensure the two sides are within reach of each other, then “engage” signalling they can start pushing and going about the business of the scrum.

They know what to do.

Suddenly the crowd sinks into a confused silence.

They’ve never seen this before.

The tight head prop, the strongest man on the team, has stood up and failed to engage.

The ref asks what’s wrong.

“Oh, I don’t think I want to today. It might hurt. It might be uncomfortable.

Perhaps we won’t win. Better not to engage at all.

Can we stop and perhaps try again next month.”

The frustration of the team manager is almost palpable.

“What’s his problem, the big girl’s blouse?

He knows what to do, he’s had the team talk, he’s capable of success this afternoon and he’s afraid to engage”, he says to his No. 2.

How ridiculous that scenario would be say, at Twickenham!

But that’s essentially what many people do every day and wonder why the success they think they really desire proves so elusive.

Histor reports Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity as:

“Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome!”

We do, don’t we?

And then bemoan our lot.

Stephen Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” talks of the ‘circle of influence’.

According to Covey, the first habit of highly successful people is being proactive.

He differentiates proactive people from reactive people.

One factor which separates the two is where they focus their time and energy.

You Are Right

Whatever we face in life, we fall into two categories which Covey calls: the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence.

According to him, proactive people focus their time and energy and efforts on their Circle of Influence – things which they can do something about.

However, reactive people focus their time and energy in the Circle of Concern – on things which they have little or no control over.

They are easily recognisable.

They’re the ones who blame and accuse and use ‘victim’ language.

Did you recognise yourself?

If so, well done! You’ve just progressed!

The delivery suite is not a level playing field and we’re not born equal but, as Paul McKenna says in his book “Change Your Life in 7 Days,

“You are not responsible for the hand you have been dealt, but it is always up to you how you play it.”, believing that “Failure is an attitude, not an outcome”. Interesting thoughts, don’t you think?

There’s another word to introduce at this point – choice.

How do those five characters make you feel?

Oh, now, that’s a scary one! With choice comes responsibility for self; that’s right, nobody to blame.

Whether you are conscious of it or not you are always choosing.

How you arrived at where you are today is the product of all your past choices, conscious or otherwise.

They may have been deliberate, about events under your control, or born of fear, despair or anger – but they were all choices.

If you want to be successful, take 100% responsibility for everything you experience in your life.

Doing this means giving up complaining, blaming and justifying.

At the end of each day, stop and think about what you did well, what you accomplished and what successes you had and write them down so you build a personal ‘Journal of Successes’ – a barometer of your success!

One final thought from a very influential gentleman, Henry Ford:

“Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you are right”.