On this 83rd day of our 100 Day Personal Performance and Business Growth Challenge, we are asking, “When will you be successful?” How do you know when you will ultimately be successful? How do you know? What has to happen?
Put differently, what are the different activities you will engage in once you deem yourself successful? Assume that you are successful right now; write down 3-5 things you are doing to prove you are successful. Personally, this has changed a lot for me. There have been little things I’ve adjusted over my lifespan and I would like to share these with you. But first, how do you know that you are successful? What are the activities, what are the actions, what are the results you are producing each day that can verify or confirm to you that you are successful?
For me, a long time ago when I started and I hadn’t really done as much as I wanted, I had huge goals, huge dreams, and huge desires. When I was starting, I was told dream big, think way beyond what you’ve ever considered. Therefore, the conversation I’d have back then was about how big of a difference I was going to make, how amazing it was going to be and how big and incredible and awesome it was going to be. It was always big, big, and big!
What was funny is that my mouth was running these huge things but my actions weren’t. I just did a little exercise a short while ago; I asked myself if I was to go back and talk to 18-year old me, what would be going on? How would I know? How would I determine what success is in my world?
And I can tell you what I used to tell everyone back then, that I was going to create something that would impact millions of lives and I am going to make a million dollars in the process. Nowadays, that’s not even big enough because there’s this whole theme of “a billion dollars.”
Today, you walk around and see all these people fired up about touching a billion lives, making billions of dollars. What I observed is that such a measure is an odd thing to use as proof of being successful. It is cool, it is part of success, it is a result of being successful. But, for me, success has changed over time and I will tell you a few things that helped it to change.
Number one, I remember hearing a story. The story was based at Harvard University. It was a seminary course where people were learning to be pastors or preachers or people who work in the church as clergy. What is interesting is that the people on that course did this study in which they were asked to go across campus and tell the story of the Good Samaritan.
The story of the Good Samaritan is about someone who is moving on a road and finds someone in need. The Good Samaritan stops and helps that person in need. Other people had simply passed the individual in need without offering any help. In the experiment, the researchers staged a very specific situation which was going to happen. They took an actor dressed as a homeless person and placed him on the stairs of the chapel that the people in the study were going to give a speech at about the Good Samaritan story of stopping and helping someone in need.
The research was intended to find out how many of the people who were going to work in the church would stop and help the person in need. What they discovered is that one group of people stopped consistently to help the person in need. About 9 out of 10 in this group stopped to help while in the other group only about 1 in 10 stopped and helped the man in need. The rest literally stepped over the “homeless man” in order to get into the chapel and tell the story of the Good Samaritan.
What would cause one person to stop and help the helpless man while another person stepped over that helpless man? The very reason for that is the same reason which helped me to change the evidence necessary in my life to show when I am successful. It is the one thing that altered my mind from seeking to help a billion people to helping just one person every day if that one person badly needed the message I was delivering.
What I found in talking to lots of brilliant people around the world in different industries, such as tech, is that they all wanted to transform the lives of billions of people in terms of their finances, health and so on. I watched them every day as they went to work inside a building where they were struggling to get that one idea which would help a billion people. Right outside those buildings were literally homeless people that they walked around every day and ignored or got frustrated with, just to go to work on ideas to help a billion people! Sounds way too familiar, it sounds familiar in my life because I was focused on trying to help all those billions of people but I was failing to help those who were right in front of me.
In those big tech companies that I was working with, they were literally walking around people who needed their help while talking about projects which were “going to help billions of people.” That’s strange! It seems like the antithesis of what it is that they were doing vs. what they were talking about doing. It was like the opposite!
Back to the Harvard research. The reason why the members of a particular group in that study walked over the person in need is that those individuals were told that they were late. Once they knew that they were running late, behind schedule; even if they knew that they were going to talk about helping a person in need, they felt that going to talk to a big congregation about stopping and helping people in need was more important than stopping to help that one person in need.
So, the question is, when will you be successful? A follow-up question to that now becomes, are you on schedule, ahead of schedule or behind schedule on your way to becoming successful?
If you feel that you are currently behind schedule, there’s a chance that you are stepping over the opportunity right in front of you each day because you are in a rush to get to the result. Does that make sense? For me, it was true.
If I look back, I wonder about the number of times I blew past the opportunity to stop and just help the person in front of me because I was so busy trying to “help” a million people or a billion people, “trying to make a difference.”
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I stopped and said to myself, maybe instead of trying to make my vision so much bigger to help a million people, a billion people, a trillion people or whatever it is…maybe I needed to simplify and focus on what it was really all about. And so when I ask myself how do I know when I am being successful, it is about reaching the person that needs it the most, at the moment they need it, with the message that they need. I don’t know who you are or what you need, but every day we push out good thoughts with the hope that we will find you.
I will tell you this, wild and simple as it sounds, every day from around the world, we get messages from beautiful humans, messages as simple as, “I needed that. Thanks!” Other messages are more impactful…like we got a letter from an airman in the air force saying “I was deployed, I had horrible PTSD. I came back, I was sitting in my sitting room for this past week and every other evening I had my firearm in my mouth wanting to pull the trigger. It was just horrible. Someone gave me a copy of your book and I read it, thank you. I just want to say it reminded me of why I want to keep on living.” Such letters are amazing.
Our little messages that we wrote in a book were floating around the world and the book found someone who in the moment handed it to someone who needed at that very moment that reminder, that tap on the shoulder saying keep going, try this! And it clicked, and it caused that human to decide to keep on going.
There’s a now good friend of ours, we haven’t talked in a while. She came and joined us on this trip that we were doing. She had gone through a disastrous situation and she had decided that she was going to go on this trip, and half-way during the trip she would end it all. She revealed all this to us at the end of the trip that she had planned to end her life midway during the trip. She revealed that for some reason, she was called to join one of our little classes and was listening to all the stuff I was talking about and that one exercise on that day reminded her of why she wants to keep on living!
There’s a young man who watches these live sessions on YouTube. He went through a horrific situation where his spouse took her own life suddenly and he was devastated. He could not even imagine what he was going to do with his life. He felt responsible for what happened, he felt guilty and there was this interview right there on YouTube as he was driving in a deep depressive and shocked state across state. He listened to a little segment of the interview like 18 times while driving and that section of the interview reminded him of his reason to keep going.
The only reason I am sharing those situations with you is that if I was so concerned with staying in my workshop to compile the perfect thing that was going to reach a billion people and make me millions of dollars and all this hype about huge stuff, I would have missed the opportunity to reach the beautiful humans in that exact moment by not sharing a good thought that day, by not posting a silly little meme, by not sharing something that might be helpful.
And so my thought to you is, number one, take time and write down how you know when you are being successful. I know a lot of you have huge hearts and care about people, but take the time to refine and simplify what it means to you to be successful. Read through those things and find out whether your ego hasn’t gotten into it by trying to be the biggest, grandest, largest, fastest, whatever and you are caught up trying to be something and you end up missing the opportunity to actually deliver a life-changing or even lifesaving piece of value right there in the moment.
You can save a life literally if you take the things that you know how to share. People ask, “I don’t know what to share.” Answer a simple question, what does the world need more of? Many say the world needs more laughter, love, joy, and so on.
Then people ask, how do you make a business out of love? If you want to be in the non-profit world, look at Mother Theresa and what she did with that. She created a non-profit organization based on love, being there for people when they needed you most. And when she was there, she inspired many to also give and support to the extent that millions of dollars were coming through her account each month supporting more goodness in the world!
If you want to create a for-profit business based around love, you may have heard about Southwest Airlines. They are the only longstanding profitable airline, and if you know what their call sign is, it is LUV (love)! Both these examples are based on a realization that the world needs more love.
If you think that the world needs more laughter, consider Kevin Hart. He brings lots of laughter and joy. If you connect laughter and joy, you can say Kevin Hart does it in the for-profit world as a comedian and as an actor. But it all starts with bringing laughter and joy to that one person.
Or think of the Dalai Lama who brings joy in a different way from Kevin Hart whether by writing a book and raising a lot of money which they use to bring joy to the world.
I am also passionate about “the world needs more tools” and that’s why one of our non-profit partners is Pencils of Promise. They educate people in parts of the world where people don’t have access to education. We build schools, and we are a couple of thousand dollars off of building our second school. We’ve built one in rural China and a couple of thousand dollars more this month and we will build our second school. We are bringing education, we are bringing tools to people.
At Performance Coach University, we also deliver on that by providing tools to teach people how to communicate better, to get to people more effectively and so on. These simple thoughts of the world needs more love, more laughter, more joy, better tools to be better equipped to handle tough situations. All of these things can be done in the non-profit world and in the for-profit world because they are based on what the world needs more of.
My hope for you is that when you ask yourself what it is that indicates that you are successful, you will rewind and try to connect it to what the world needs more of. Hopefully, what you consider to be an indicator of success will also be the same as what you strongly feel the world needs more of. Bring more laughter, more love, more kindness or whatever it is you think the world needs more of, deliver a bit of it each day. Stop and take the time to get to the person who is right in front of you. That person in front of you is your opportunity to bring to life what you believe the world needs more of.
Grab the worksheet below to begin working on your list!
Have fun with it and until next time.
To Your Success,