It’s nice to be successful. We want to be successful. We want to be married to successful spouses. We want our children to be successful.
I’ve never met a teenager who said, “Yeah, 15 years from now I see myself huddled under a freeway overpass in worn-out clothes, freezing in the winter rain, using drugs, and waiting for the soup kitchen to open.”
Read the newspaper or watch TV news and you’ll hear about people who seem to be successful. They have money, power, and prestige yet they’re in the throes of depression being admitted to drug rehab centers or worse, being carried to their final resting place, dead at their own hands.
If people with money, power, and prestige aren’t successful then who is? So why is it that so many people who have achieved worldly success seem to be the least satisfied? Solomon was the richest man on earth. He built not just buildings but whole cities. He possessed great wisdom. World leaders came and fell at his feet marveling at his great wealth and wisdom. To the world, he surely seemed successful, yet he said, “when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Eccl. 2:11).
What’s missing in the equation if wealth, favor, and eminence don’t guarantee happiness, joy, or even contentment? Jesus himself taught the disciples, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). He went on to say, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21).
The reason we work is more important than the work itself. If we work for earthly treasure we receive an earthly reward. This doesn’t mean we aren’t to work hard, but that we should not work simply for the sake of amassing things.
Real success comes from a combination of planning, hard work, and a close relationship to God. Here are twelve steps to help you become successful in a way that will also provide lasting satisfaction.
Steps to Success
- Begin and end every workday with God in your heart. Remember that whatever great things you accomplish on earth it is because He has gifted you.
- Focus on a vision. Success begins in the mind. Develop a vision for your life. Spend some time figuring out what special skills you possess. Those special skills can be used by God to accomplish great things for Him.
- Define your purpose or mission. Once your vision is established you need to develop a framework which will guide you as you achieve your vision. Your purpose statement should include a set of operating principles and values that help define you as an individual.
- Set and measure your own goals. Once you have established a personal vision and constructed a framework of guiding values in a mission statement you need to set goals. Establish long-term goals that will lead to the accomplishment of your vision. Set short-term goals that will accomplish your long-term goals.
- Think constructively. No great accomplishment in life comes easily. There will be times that you think the light at the other end of the tunnel is just another train approaching.
- Keep the vision in mind. Every day you make choices about what you will do. Those choices determine whether you will move closer to achieving your vision.
- Reward and discipline yourself. Some people reward themselves whenever they do something well (cheerleader types). Others punish themselves whenever they do the least little thing wrong (perfectionist types). Strive to create balance in your life; reward yourself when you accomplish something meaningful and hold yourself accountable for missing important goals.
- Create energy for success by staying physically fit. Fitness creates energy reserves to combat the effects of long work days and stress. Also, God created us to rest one day in seven and to take vacations from work to rest our minds and our bodies.
- Develop, protect, and maintain your integrity. Personal integrity is the foundation upon which others base their trust in you. Maintain your integrity and people will trust you first with small things and then with big things. It takes years to build a reputation of integrity but only seconds to lose it.
- Learn from adversity and failure. As busy as we all are we just don’t have time to make all the mistakes ourselves, and we certainly don’t have time to make the same mistakes over and over again.
- Motivate yourself. The world is full of people who have failed and are ready to provide you with plenty of reasons why what you want to do can’t be done. Learn not to listen to such naysayers and to motivate yourself.
- Develop your skill set. For every second that passes man’s knowledge increases. You need to set out on a formal program to develop your skills as well as prepare yourself for future skill needs. If you don’t in a few years you’ll be as useful as a mimeograph machine in a world of high-speed internet.
One Final Thought about Success
There are lots of ways to lose in business and in life. There are lots of ways to win and not feel satisfied. True success comes from fulfilling God’s plan for your life. What are you waiting for? Get started today!
This month’s bonus whitepaper entitled “12 Ways to Create and Enjoy Success in the Workplace” contains a broader discussion of each of the twelve ways to create success mentioned in this blog, plus 10 Rules for Losing by the president of Coca-Cola. You may download this month’s bonus whitepaper as a pdf here:
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you ever been this kind of leader? In what way? Have you worked for this kind of leader? How did you respond? What was the result?
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Category: Personal Development | Character