There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way. – Christopher Morley.
I’ve always been a driven person.
Back in the 80’s, as a teenager I used to carry a little newspaper clipping in my wallet that said “Decide to Succeed!”.
As cheesy as that may sound, it served as a powerful daily reminder to stay on track for the bigger dreams and goals that I had in life.
As I grew older and achieved many of those goals and dreams, I realised that I needed to sit down and actually define what success really meant to me. I was still stuck in that 80’s power-dressed idea of success with its focus on external measures: fame, big salary, impressive CV.
Do you know the 3 biggest myths that get in the way of business success?
I had to take a long hard look at the ones that were deeply ingrained in my mind, and shoot them down one by one.
Perhaps you’ve been told these ones over and over too?
If so, you’ll find a world of freedom and opportunities open up when you debunk these myths.
So here are the 3 myths that get in the way of business success – and useful alternatives to them.
Business Success Myth # 1: Work Hard, Play Hard.
Many people emphasise the sacrifices that your goals will inevitably require. Of course, in order to achieve the things you want, you must not give up as soon as things get tough.
But does success inevitably require big sacrifices?
Approaching success as an all-consuming monster that will demand you to give up everything else in life, is something worth re-evaluating. Do you HAVE to work 60-hour weeks? Postpone starting a family? Give up your social life? Never have time to look after your health?
There are times when your goal will require you to commit and forget about the world for a period of time, but not every day of every week, year after year.
Instead, I’ve found that the most sustainable way to work is, in fact, to play most of the time. Be curious, try new things.
Don’t take yourself and your work too seriously.
I’ve had the most success in my life, both with my own ventures as well as with my corporate career, when I’ve let go of the idea of success and allowed my fun loving personality to shine.
Business Success Myth # 2: Go Big or Go Home.
One of my childhood dreams was to start a band, become a recording artist and tour the world.
I became one of the lucky few to actually achieve that goal.
At first it was exciting. I got to work with amazing people, record my music in fancy studios, and play internationally, whilst travelling in a big tour bus. Yeah, baby!
However, I soon realised that my dream wasn’t quite what it looked like on the surface. I was still broke, I was out of touch with my business partners and audience (these were “handled for me” by “my people”) and I started to feel like I’d lost control of my own life.
I didn’t own my time, my business or my money. I was simply doing what the big business around my band required me to do.
Eventually, we parted ways with our major label record company and set up our own small label. We swapped the fancy studios to home recording and fancy tour buses to smaller vans. Instead of having “people” taking care of things for us, we did everything ourselves.
Although that meant that our entire operations became much smaller, I was much happier.
Finally, I was in charge. I was in direct contact with our audience and our business partners. The BOSS!
Instead of “Go Big or Go Home!” I now say, “Go Small, and Go Home!”.
I would choose my own small thing done in my own terms any day over being a cog in the big league’s machine.
Business Success Myth # 3: Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win.
It’s so important to understand when tough times are there to be endured and when they are simply eating you alive.
Sticking to the plan no matter what is NOT always the best strategy. It’s equally important to understand that you’ve come to the end of a certain path, and it’s time to let go.
There is a big stigma around the idea of quitting. For many, quitting means admitting failure.
And failure is bad, right?
I don’t believe in failure, not truly.
Perhaps your initial idea didn’t turn out to be what you imagined. When you start something new, you’re not going to know whether it works or not unless you just go ahead and give it a try. It’s the grind that will show you whether your idea is worth sticking to or whether it’s best to quit and do something else.
Even if things didn’t work out as you initially imagined, you will have learned a lot.
What you do every day is what your life becomes.
When you’ve spent too long feeling miserable about what you do, it’s time to quit.
It doesn’t matter what you win in terms of external success, you will be a personal failure if you end up being a miserable person sticking with something that no longer serves you.
As for me?
True success has changed its meaning over the years. I no longer yearn for fame and fortune, because they no longer equate success to me. Instead, I’ve defined success as being in charge of my own life, calling my own shots, drafting my own schedules.
I want to spend my days doing the things that I define as important, not doing what someone else says I should be doing.
To be able to do the things that I define as fulfilling, has become the true measurement of success for me. When I shine and sparkle when I do what I do, I know that I have reached success.
Living my life my way really IS the ultimate goal.
Which business success myths have you smashed in your life? Please leave a comment below & share this post! Thanks!
About the author: Jessi is a former rock musician and a product developer at Nokia. She blogs at The Great Gutsy about how to own your work and life by rocking an online business. Download her free guide to finding the right idea for your online business. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
About this site: Hi! I’m Tia. Multi-passionate Sparklepants, Life Lover, Curator of Awesome. I run this website featuring kickass inspiration to help you sparkle through life, no matter what! Go here to ignite your Inner Sparkle — that shimmery part of your spirit that says YES to courage + connection, and NO WAY to ‘shoulds’ + restrictions. Want to write for YLYW like Jessi? Click here.
Main pic credit: Ron Maeder