Posts Tagged success

Principles of Success – Failure breeds Success (11)

Failure breeds SUCCESS; keep trying, learn constantly, don’t take yourself too seriously, and improve daily; be fearless

Similar to last week, when I first heard of a growth mindset, I thought of another management fad. Of course it isn’t, but the growth mindset goes in line with self consciousness and EQ.

When you start monitoring your impact on your environment and see how people react towards you, you can adjust your behaviour. You are starting to learn from mistakes and see what works.

That is true of course with any mistake. If you make a mistake, the key thing is to learn from it. People used to be afraid of mistakes and I often joke to my staff that I never make mistakes. Then I stop and see how they react. I then clarify that I am not serious, as even managers make mistakes. And that is important to admit, because we all fail. A silly email, the wrong wording, the wrong people on the thread, or even something more serious, the wrong amount in the campaign set up….it happens to the best of us. Lack of sleep or not concentrating, distracted by noise or hayfever….the reason doesn’t matter.

Important is only one thing. You have to move on. Learn from every step you take, and learn from every interaction and from every mistake, small or big. Try to avoid the same mistake twice, to improve on a continuous basis.

In line with that the advice given by my guests were to ‘not take yourself to seriously’ which I think was Pascal Finette who mentioned it first. The other one: be fearless, or ‘see it, do it’. Yes, just go for it. Try to achieve the unachievable, and if you fail, get up again and try again. Now you are wiser, try again and again, until you are successful. Because at the end of the day, you will be succeeding.

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Principles of Success – Emotional Intelligence (10)

Emotional Intelligence, self-consciousness, and awareness of others are key traits of SUCCESSFUL leaders.

Key to success is definitely being self aware. How do you react to others? How do you lead others? How are you perceived by others? How do you perceive others?

All those questions are simply answered by being self aware. The more modern word is Emotional Intelligence. When I studied my MBA many years ago, I did a research paper on EQ and my conclusion: it is a management fad. That and the habits of 7 effective people have been frowned upon by our studies. However, nowadays I am a lot more relaxed about management fads and wouldn’t even consider them as fads any longer.

For me it is important that you take away what you need from those books. The seven habits are great and when I first read that book in the late 90ies, it helped me a lot to understand what the key principles of success are. And so does EQ. Whilst you don’t get more out of the theory by reading more books, a good book on EQ will help you to understand and being more self aware of your situation. Whether that is at work or at home. It is about how you respond to situations and how you come across.

In all honesty, when I did my master practitioner in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), I learned how to look at myself from a 3rd perspective. Imagine you are having a conversation and look at the conversation from the corner of the ceiling. Like a surveillance camera. Now look at your body language, and how the other person reacts to your comments. Also, look at how you react, what are you signalling.

These are the small and simple things that make you successful. Just being aware of your surrounding and how you interact with them. Simple. You will just never get to the top if you are not accepted by the people around you, and you will never be respected if you come across as a bully for instance. So be emotional aware, self conscious and make sure to adopt and change according to the situation you are in.

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Principles of Success – Journaling and Meditation (9)

Journaling and meditation lead to a balanced mind and reflection fostering SUCCESS.

The last principle touched on routines. Part of my routine is to meditate for 15 minutes every day. I have been doing that for over 3 years. But did you notice what my podcast guests are telling me?

From deep breathing, cold showers, reading novels to martial arts. A relaxation routine, a meditative habit. However you want to call it, meditation and regular relaxation will help you to transform your mind and the way you deal with things. You learn how to control your thoughts. Loads of research has shown how the brain changes over time to cope better, concentration goes up and you are more ready to handle unexpected things that come your way.

There is scientific research suggesting a lot of good things re meditation. I personally find that by concentrating on nothing and reflecting on things, and yes sometimes my mind still wanders, but that’s ok too. What matters with any routine, and that includes meditation, it needs to work for you. If your meditation is a long walk with your partner at the weekend, or taking the dog for a walk, so be it. That’s right for you.

People often underestimate that everyone is different. I believe it is important to set time aside on a daily business to calm your mind, to reflect and to make sure you are able to cope with a lot of input; because inputs are accelerating. More emails, more demands, more of everything. Information overload, less time, too much work. So just be sure to find a way on how to cope with it, relax your brain and train your brain to be ready for it. Mediation is a wonderful thing to achieve just that.

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Principles of Success – Values and Standards (7)

High standards and values for yourself and others build a basis for SUCCESS.

Maybe not surprising for some, but I was a bit surprised when revisiting all the notes from my podcast recording to find a pattern I wasn’t aware of before. Most people I interviewed had high standards for themselves, and they defined values for themselves and others to live by.

Whether it is high work ethics, gender equality, emotional intelligence or helping others – there are traits that are presented by most successful leaders. I believe Sophie Newton was very self aware and explicit in terms of the values she had, and how she lives by them every day.

When living with high standards, you often have to accept that others cannot live up to them. Something I learned early in my career. Whilst I think something might be right and the right thing to do, others might disagree. And that is ok too. Not everyone can live to my values and standards. Over the years I learned that having high standards and measuring up to them is important, it is like not letting your guard down, no matter what comes your way. You measure yourself constantly. You will make sure you keep up the good work.

And then there are values you define for organisations. Jim Brigden talked about values they set out for his companies, coming from the people who worked from him. Those values are measurement tools too and ensure people are happy where they are if they identify themselves with those values and everyone living by them.

But it is also that balance to let go, to not act too stringent on violation of your standards the values you have, whilst always bearing them in mind and helping you to do the best work you can do.

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Principles of Success – Balance is key to Success (5)

SUCCESS isn’t created by business itself; a balance in life with family and hobbies is key; happiness is an important factor closely aligned with SUCCESS.

I touched on that in the previous principle. Happiness is closely related to success, and my humble opinion is that without a partner and maybe children, or a healthy family that balances work, success in work alone is not worth it. But that might just be my perception.

It is a bit of a bold statement of course. And how you define family is down to you, and whether you want to or would like to have kids. I wasn’t sure for a long time but couldn’t wish for anything else but my two boys, my wife and us sharing experience and life together. You can read more on this blog in my weekly Sunday Column.

However, if you aren’t lucky enough to have family, you need a hobby. This is something I realised very late in life, because my focus was always on work and family. There wasn’t much room for other interests, particularly as my wife never allowed me to get a motor cycle 😉 Yet the key is to find something you enjoy outside work. Maybe you play golf, or hike, build car models or exercise. It is important to have a focus outside work. Ideally it is family plus a hobby.

The reasons are simple. Life is there to be enjoyed and being happy. And most people are happy when they spend time with family and friends, relax, chill out and have fun or create experiences with others. So if your sole focus is work and career, and if you are success driven, there is a danger to get stuck in that rut. So instead one should ensure to have a balanced life to relax from work and get a different perspective at least.

Research has shown that people who have a happy and satisfied life outside work are actually better at their day job, circling ever so much higher into the orbit. Just switching off your phone and not checking emails after work is a win/win situation for both work and life!

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Principles of Success – Luck and Serendipity (4)

SUCCESS has to do with luck and serendipity; the right place, right time is almost as important as the right idea, right support.

The fourth principle is about luck and serendepity. Being at the right place right time. Of course, and we discussed that in the first principle, the idea and the environment for the idea, as well as resources, are key of becoming successful.

However, and most podcast guests mentioned that they never set off to be successful. Life just happened to them as it happens to you and me. What I mean by that is that you make a decision in your life to join a start up. Or to take some time off to go back to university. Or you read the paper in your local take away and find a job ad. Whatever it is, you end up somewhere due to a portion of luck that catapults your rocket in a slightly different direction, to a higher orbit.

This could be anything from meeting the right mentors, being pushed in the right direction, finding that one job, or making one choice over another. And sometimes we don’t even realise it until we reflect on it years from now.

I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and the future will always be better than the past. What that means for me is that every redundancy, every change in job, every change in personal circumstance happens for a reason. It helps me catapult myself into a different orbit and when looking back to earth, I realise that I needed that extra push or change of direction.

For myself, I believe that I only started my career, I am just over a decade into it. It is the next 5 years that determine my orbit height and my priorities and the bond I establish with my children. From my point of view success isn’t all about work but also about children and legacy. And here we are looking at the same principles of luck and serendipity. Finding a partner, having healthy children and a place to settle. All that is down to luck as much as it is to calculation, some things you just cannot influence or plan.

So trusting in the greater universe and making sure you believe that you will end up where you meant to be, being able to make a difference and meet the right person. That’s part of success.

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Sunday Column (508)

I want to start with giving thanks this week and share some personal notes. My grandmother turned 98 today and it gives me great satisfaction to see that life is still good for her. On the other spectrum someone I know lost his mother, and in a Facebook post he said ‘you taught me everything I know but how to live without you’. Isn’t that true? Whilst all of that happened, I wrote a card to someone close who was diagnosed with cancer. That’s life for you.

Hence this week might be a good post to read and have some take away from it. A post from me wearing a coaching hat, hoping to help you to develop yourself. I want to talk about focus. A topic I have been looking at for a few months now. Focus is something I am applying to more and more areas of my life. My old manager used to say, “focus, fight and change the conversation”. If you are anything like me, a productivity buff, family person, ambitious, career oriented, and interested in a variety of topics, you can easily lose yourself in it.

As most of you know, I recently started my new job, a new beginning. Sometimes I forget about this blog being public, as for me blogging is my creative outlet, something I enjoy doing. Sharing my thoughts, getting them on ‘paper’. So it was nice to hear that some new colleagues read my blog too!

Without clear focus and priority, I cannot do everything I would like to do. If I’d try to do everything, I’d probably end up doing nothing right plus I’d run out of time. And that’s not the standard I live by. It wouldn’t align with my values. I want to be the best I can be in anything I do.

One of my podcast guests ask the other day, ‘who are you’? Can you answer the question, on how you define who you are? My answer would be that I am someone who loves his career, and achieving. Security is important for me. Something I get a whole lot from is helping others and making a difference. There is more to it but that’s a summary.

The best personal development book I have read for a long time, and I highly recommend it, is ‘The code of the extraordinary mind’. Along other things, a key take away is that happiness MUST be the basis for anything you do. Don’t live in the future, live in the now, be happy now, then build a career on top of it. Because, so he argues, happiness cannot be tied to your goals. You must be happy before you attain them. Have a think about it. For me, it seems that this book concludes a personal development path, what is next?

This is where I think life becomes clear. The next is the now for me. Do things that make you happy. Enjoy the people you hang out with, the job you spend most of your time with, and the family situation you are in. Set yourself goals, one at a time, and attain them out of a happy state. Don’t chase your tail!

If I look at my life, I noticed that I had too many things going on in order to focus properly on the things that are important. This includes my job, my family life, my podcast, my marathon in November and its time commit as well as reading personal development books. Not to mention the book(s) I want to write and other things I want to do like building another Revel model. All that whilst being in the flow at work and life? Surely….FOCUS!

What do you think? What are your areas of focus, and what might have to give to be in the happy state? Get into the flow, the happy state, and start attaining your goals from there. You will soon see how you will become more successful.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post. Lots to think about isn’t it? Don’t we just love life? I certainly do!

See you next week,
Volker

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Principles of Success – Success is a Journey (3)

SUCCESS is a journey that never finishes; giving, creating and improving situations creates SUCCESS

The third principle of success is all about success being a journey. I believe it was clear from the beginning with the interviews of Brian Fitzpatrick and Caspar Schlickum, that we realised that success isn’t an achievement where you stop. Often Success is perceived by the people surrounding you, and defined by society to a large extend. However, if people look at you and think you are successful, you are often just on your way to where you want to be.

I personally believe you can compare a career to a rocket flight. You need a few years and a lot of energy to get off the ground. Once you are off the ground, trajectory sets in and catapults you where you meant to be. On that trajectory path people will think you are successful, however you are just on your journey to the moon or mars or you might not even know where you are going yet.

And as a successful entrepreneur or individual you might look out of those little windows on your rocket and think that you haven’t come far yet, and nothing has changed for the past few years; however, you haven’t realised how you got higher into the orbit and closer to your goal. Yet the success is all about the journey you are on, and actually you might feel quite deflated when you reach the moon. What’s next?

That’s why most entrepreneurs don’t hang around the moon or the company that acquired their start up, but actually jump on the next rocket. The success is the journey not the destination. Enjoy it!

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Principles of Success – Make a difference (2)

SUCCESS is about improving the world around you, making a difference.

This is the second principle of success which I learned from my guests who I interviewed on Stories of Success, my podcast that examines habits of successful people. We already discussed the first principle which stated that success isn’t all about money, but about creating something.

Now leading on from there, we need to look at what we can create. If I can throw in a curveball here, if you have been watching Dragon’s Den in the UK, or similar shows across the globe, then you would have seen lots of entrepreneurs having ideas on how to improve the world and trying to raise money. A few of them are quirky ideas but you soon realise that the idea will never take off. Some entrepreneurs are looking to solve a problem that either doesn’t exist for the majority of people or that isn’t a problem in the first place.

However, and my revelation came when speaking to Gareth Davies about his motivation. I remember him saying ‘I wanted to make a difference in my industry and improve things from the way they were done before’. Essentially that meant that he knew there were problems to be solved, and that he thought he could improve it with his way of thinking and developing a new or improved solution. Needless to say he succeeded.

And those are the prime examples of success. Identifying an existing real problem and improving the existing solution and or finding a new solution to that problem. Cleaning the Oceans, helping agencies and brands to communicate, helping others post retirement and redundancy, helping homeless to think about the future, and so on. You have listened to my podcast of successful entrepreneurs and leaders that have shown you how it is done.

Making the world or the little bit of the world you are looking after a better place. Helping others and making the difference to society and entrepreneurship. That’s another part of the puzzle on how you create success.

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Principles of Success – Money and Success (1)

Money doesn’t equal SUCCESS; the focus isn’t on earning money but on building something that matters.

When I set out with my podcast back at the end of 2017, I compiled a few questions for my guests. One of them, and the question I always ask first, is ‘how do you define success’. To my positive surprise, not one guest so far has mentioned success would mean money.

I am going back a few years, mainly when I worked in start ups and full on sales roles, that money was the main motivator for me. It was about ‘retiring at 40’, something I didn’t manage, and which was to a certain extend illusional. How could I imagine making that much money by just working for a start up rather than founding one? Money was all I cared about at some point and it was important to own things. Anyway, that changed for a variety of reasons.

With me being past 40, not retired, and I slowly but surely realise that money isn’t everything, I wanted to find out what success is made of. Success for me is about my family, having a secure income and progressing with my career. Personally, it is about making a difference and creating something that lasts. And this is reflected in the answers I got from most of my podcast guests. It is the long term game, staying in a job, making a positive difference, and passing on my experience. It’s about helping others to achieve their aspirations.

If I start comparing this wisdom to the one of my podcast guests, I am surely not alone. What I find even more amazing is that the younger start up entrepreneurs also didn’t set out to become rich but their sole motivation is to create something that matters and makes a positive difference to their industry or the world even. Of course they make money on the way, and the idea of selling a business is not about not having to work anymore, it is about launching the next thing. Money becomes a by-product of success.

This explains why successful people carry on to have more success and do not stop until they become even more successful. But it is this drive to succeed that spurs them on. Just look at Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, it is all about creating more meaningful things, making this world a better place. To quote Steve Jobs along the lines of “you cannot buy anything if you are the richest person in the graveyard”, sums it up. You could become rich and being able to afford nice things, but on the other hand, you never get rich if you don’t create something meaningful. And that’s probably where many people went wrong, focusing too much on earning the money, rather than creating something meaningful.

I have this dream that one day, maybe in a different life, I am setting out with an idea, like a proper entrepreneur. And I would create something meaningful, that ultimately lead to something bigger and something that creates value people want. Maybe my podcast is the beginning of a media company, a content creation company, for which one big media house might pay me one day. But I didn’t set out to start a podcast to make money but to create value and help people to learn from entrepreneurs, successful people, and make a difference.

So for you out there, who want to be successful, find a passion and go for it. Create something meaningful and make a difference in your industry, your line of work, in something you are interested in. Focus on having fun and enjoying the process of creating. Money will follow if success is there. And, as many podcast guests and I philosophised about, you might be a lot happier too.

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