You’ve probably heard a lot of different definitions for success, and it can be tough to know what really matters. It’s easy to get bogged down by all the conflicting advice out there. What does it mean to be successful? How do you achieve success?
The 5 Pillars of Success will help you define success on your own terms, and show you how to achieve it. These five essential principles will guide you every step of the way.
Depending on which business guru you read, there are four, five, six or seven pillars of success necessary to run the optimal business. According to Elizabeth Wilson of Entrepreneur Magazine, while some 40 million businesses are started each year, a paltry 350,000 break out of the pack and begin growing and making money. Seeing odds like that could stop you in your tracks. Success is a vast topic that can be hard to define.
We often hear about the importance of work ethic, determination, and perseverance in achieving success. But what does it really mean? Here are the core pillars that you need to follow in order to achieve your definition of success.
Pillar 1: Create a Clear Vision of What Success is for You
Many of us have never stopped to ask ourselves this very important question. Instead, we may follow the path of everyone else or worse yet the path that pleases those around us. All too often people chase career titles, money, or social status — and yet we don’t feel successful when we get those things. That’s because you can only measure success in your life when you define what drives your happiness and helps you find purpose.
A clear vision means Defining success on YOUR own terms If you still have not defined your idea of success, try this exercise: Take 15 minutes with a blank piece of paper and start writing words, symbols or pictures of what success looks like to you. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What makes me happy?
- Where have I already been successful in my life?
- What lessons have I learned from those experiences?
- What was not successful and what did I learn?
- Who do I admire and why?
- What truly matters to me?
- What do I want to be remembered for?
Pillar 2: Develop a Clear Understanding of Your Time, Money and Resources
In order to achieve success, it’s important to understand how your time, money, and resources are best allocated. You need to be realistic about what you can achieve and put in the effort to accomplish your goals. All too often I see a disconnect between the dream someone wants to build and the time they want to devote to it. This is a setup for failure. Trying to accomplish too much in too little time is a recipe for burnout.
- The first step is to get clear on how much time you really have to devote to your business. If you want to build a business but are currently working a full-time job, you need to be honest about the amount of time you can realistically devote to your side hustle. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to achieve success, but you will need to be extra mindful about how you spend your time.
- The second step is understanding where your money is best spent. When starting out, there are a lot of things you can DIY but at some point, you will need to invest in help whether that’s hiring a Virtual Assistant, taking a course or hiring a coach.
- The third step is to get clear about what resources you have at your disposal. What skills and knowledge do you currently have? What do you need to learn? Who can help you?
Part of this is understanding that you can’t do everything on your own and you need to delegate or outsource certain tasks. This can be a difficult pill to swallow for many people who feel like they need to control every aspect of their business. In order to be successful, you need to focus on your strengths and delegate or outsource the rest.
Pillar 3: Use Planning to Your Advantage
It’s not enough to just have a vision for your life. If you’re reacting all, or even some, of the time, you’ll struggle. The key is to be proactive and plan out the ideal future for you and your business. I know–it’s easier said than done for those of us who are constantly going and going. But the fact is, stepping back and looking at what you want to come next is important.
On our second date, my significant other asked what my 5 year plan was. This was the first time I’ve ever been asked this question and appreciate that Mark wanted to know what I wanted in my life. I hadn’t spent hours plotting each year and every goal but I was very clear on the vision for my business and my personal life so able to share the time I was devoted to my business, revenue goals and how I would balance this with my personal life.
The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to become a better proactive planner. If the thought of creating a five-year plan is overwhelming then start by reverse engineering goals for the next 90 days with action steps to move you toward your vision. I highly recommend The 12-week year by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington. The book provides a framework that breaks down the year into 12 weeks, so you’re always thinking about what’s next and keeping the end in mind. It’s an excellent way to stay focused on your goals and make real progress.
Setting goals that inspire you may seem like common sense but so many people either don’t set goals or they set goals that are not inspiring. Your goals should excite you and make you want to jump out of bed in the morning! They should be something you are passionate about achieving which ties back into your vision.
Pillar 4: Your Mindset Can Be Your Greatest Advantage
Did you know…
At age 23, Oprah had just been fired from her first broadcasting job.
At age 30, Jonah Peretti was teaching middle schoolers before founding his billion-dollar media companies, Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post.
At age 40, Stan Lee finally achieved success with Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and X-Men comics.
At age 50, Julia Child wrote her first cookbook. At age 62, Kernel Sanders’ fried chicken business KFC finally succeeded.
These are a good reminder that success has no deadline. Stay flexible & be prepared to course correct. No matter how well you plan, there will always be things that come up that you didn’t anticipate. That’s why it’s important to stay flexible and be prepared to course-correct as needed. Successful people are able to adapt and pivot when things don’t go according to plan. They don’t get bogged down or feel like they’ve failed–instead, they see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Shift your mindset and Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
My TEDx talk was on this very topic. In order to achieve success, you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying new things. It can be scary, but it’s worth it. When you challenge yourself, you open up the possibility for growth.
Pillar 5: If You Want to Get There Faster – Build relationships
You can’t do it all alone–you need a supportive network of people to help you along the way. Achieving success is a team effort. You need people who believe in you and your vision to help you achieve your goals. These people will act as your sounding board, providing feedback and offering suggestions when you need them.
- More relationships are not always better. Focus on quality not quantity!
- Go outside your immediate circle of influence – this will help you build new relationships by diversifying your network. This can be tough if you are introverted so do a little research first and then see if you have a mutual connection who can make an introduction for you.
- Give as much as you expect to give. You also need to be willing to return the favor. Be generous with your time and knowledge, and offer help to others. When you do this, you create a reciprocal relationship of support that will help you achieve even more.
- Your best connections can happen in the least likely places. All too often we segment business relationships and personal relationships. I met my four closest friends through business and made the most important personal introduction in my life thanks to a business connection.
Successful people know that they can’t do it all alone, and they are willing to help others in order to achieve their goals. They know that it’s a team effort, and they are willing to give back. Finally – If you’re struggling to define what success means, I have two pieces of good news for you:
It’s never too late to start over.
You get to write your own definition of success. Success is unique for all of us because we all have a different mix of talents.
Every single day, more and more people are waking up realizing they want to be of service through their unique set of gifts, skills and life talents. It’s up to you to take the next step!