I often evaluate success. And not in the “fame and fortune” sense. Rather, I wonder what makes some people charge through life with unmistakable energy and purpose. With a visceral ambition. An envious passion for whatever it is they’re doing.
You’ve met these people. You’ve read or heard about these people. Perhaps you are this person. Inspired and unstoppable. But how do we get there?
Many would say that to ensure success we must work hard, play fair, and have an iron-strong plan. All admirable actions. But I would argue these tips simply provide the prelude to success. They’re necessary steps, but not the pathway to personal or professional success.
First, we have to stop thinking about the outcome. Many of us are so consumed by aspirations of fortune, power, or prestige that we never acquire the necessary framework for success. Some people will do everything “right” to acquire these things (work hard, be persistent), but by luck or circumstance, never get there. Some people will achieve these things, but still not feel successful; they may even feel unsatisfied, void, or lonely.
Once we let go of the outcome, we can do the meaningful work of self-reflection. We can begin to hone in on our passions and skills and pay attention to the behaviors that ignite or dull the potential within all of us.
So, the answer? Find out what sparks your fire, what you’re truly passionate about. And that takes curiosity and courage. Because it requires us to try on different parts of ourselves, to explore our interests without self-judgment or fear. Fear that it will lead to nothing, or worse, failure and disappointment.
It’s truly incredible how unique each of us is and our individual desires are. Some of us want to dedicate our lives to medicine, law, education, religion, business, etc. But to find out where our heart leads us, where the passion lies, we must participate in different activities and resist our comfort zones.
Get gritty. Working on your passion doesn’t protect you from feelings of doubt, insecurity, or defeat. In fact, you may feel those things more strongly because you care so deeply about your work! That’s when the real work starts. Dream big, step up to the plate and swing hard. You might strike out. Success is a journey and only those who protect their vision with bullish hope and belief in its importance, through all the highs and lows, will come out the other side. Simply staying on the path, moving the needle forward, however incrementally, is a success that begets larger success.
And lastly, go first. If you see an opportunity to do things better or make a positive difference, then take action. Spark the vision in others, rally the troops, ignite the change. Many times we want others to go first out of fear or insecurity. But, sometimes, A) no one else will go or B) many others will go and you may retreat. Either way, you miss an opportunity to live your passion and leave your mark.
This week, I encourage us all to tap into our passions. No matter how many expectations, distractions, or excuses we’ve layered on top. Work towards the visions or goals that you believe strongly in. There is potential in us all to contribute something great to this world. Every action towards the vision or goal will build a sense of meaning, a feeling of purpose. And that is true success.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love.
-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community