The Secret Formula to Success in Anything. (Really, There's a Formula!)
Success comes in many different forms. However you define it, though, the formula remains the same.
It starts with potential. Think of potential like the energy stored in something. A wound up spring and a gallon of gas both hold potential energy. A person is the same. Everyone has potential that they can tap to get what they want out of life. Fortunately, people are not constrained by the laws of physics the way materials are. They can do things to improve the potential within them.
And that is the point of this article: Doing something about the things we can change. Knowing these formulas is only part of the challenge. You also have to do something with that information. Throughout this article, and at the end, I will point out some of the ways you can invest in your success. Some methods simply take a commitment of time, while others involve purchasing some of our training products. The simple fact is that if you want to get better, you have to invest in yourself.
You’ll notice that skills training has a multiplicative effect while experience has only an additive effect on potential. You’ll get bigger bang for the personal investment buck by improving a skill than by simply adding time to a job. Note, though, that skill building does require hands-on experience. There is some overlap in the factors of this equation. But given the choice, I would take a skilled person over an experienced person every time.
Potential only matters, though, when it is combined with the right opportunities. Many people just wait for opportunities to come along though. That puts a lot of value in luck. Fortunately, though, opportunity comes from far more than just the roll of a dice.
Potential and opportunity are two of the key ingredients in the formula for success. But, for the equation to have meaning, we have to define what success is. More accurately, you have to define what success is to you. Whatever you want out of life comes from you tapping into your potential and acting on the opportunities you create.
The simple truth is that success means different things to everyone. Some of the meaning comes from social convention. For example, most people tend to look at senior executives or Ph.D’s as successful. But a big part of accomplishment comes from within. You may feel that success comes from landing a big account or navigating a particularly challenging HR issue with an employee well. Or, you may think that success is raising happy, healthy children, or from landing a new trick in the half-pipe.
Further confusing the definition of success is the fact that it is a moving target. Success tomorrow is different than success today. Every time the definition changes, you have to look at the factors of the equation to ensure you are still on the right track.
But the path to success, whatever that means to you, comes from the same formula.
You already know what potential and opportunities are in this equation.
For a company, though, success may be defined differently than it is for an employee of that company. There is some overlap, though. An individual may define success as being able to send the kids to private school, or being able to move to a bigger house, which may require a promotion. In turn, that requires many things that the company would define as success.
These equations are meant to be conceptual in nature, rather than something that you would actually plug numbers into. What I want you to take away from this is that you can find the levers you need to pull to get to where you want to go, or where you want to take your team.
When you understand the inner workings of success, you will be much more likely to be able to find a factor that is one of your strengths. Very few people are strong in all of the factors. Most people can achieve success by finding a few of the key drivers that are compatible with their own personality and style, and invest in those.
I’ve asked myself over the years why I am so devoted to continuous improvement principle and philosophies. As I look at these equations, it is easy to see where my commitment comes from. Continuous improvement, Lean included, has a major impact in nearly all of the controllable factors of these equations.
Let’s walk through the list and think about what Lean impacts.
You have two ways to invest in yourself. You can invest time, or you can invest money.
Consider this site. If you want to go the free route, it is certainly an option. You could spend months reading all of the information we have posted, subscribing to our lessons of the day, or putting our free forms to use. It is quality information, and it will pull several of the levers I mentioned above.
But you can speed up the pace of learning with our DVDs. Hour for hour, they are a much faster way to learn than reading our free content. Our DVDs are an investment in yourself.
Similar to investing in yourself, you can devote either time or money to pulling the levers of the corporate success equations.
Our free content can bring your team along at a steady pace, but if you want to see faster results, we offer some premium products to improve your chance of success.
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By Jeff Hajek
April 29th, 2012
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