Now before I even start talking about ‘success’ let’s define it.
Everyone has a different definition of success. In fact I think success is like the notion of beauty – it is in the eye of the beholder. To some it is wealth to others it is a state of contentment. When I was in my twenties I thought success was being able to buy a pair of shoes without looking at the price tag…. In my thirties success was about having healthy, thriving children. And in my forties it is about the number of people I get to make a difference to.
To achieve success – the first element is to know what it is for you – and ultimately to allow yourself to dream.
A colleague tells her children daily, “Do one thing today that scares you.”
She does it not because she’s an irresponsible mother, but because she wants them either to try something, fail, and realise it isn’t the end of the world; or try something, succeed, and experience the feelings of pride and success in overcoming a fear.
“To open yourself to the unknown means cutting the ground from under your familiar actions and habits” writes Deepak Chopra .
Fear is often the emotion that holds us all back. Fear, and its ugly sisters anxiety and guilt, are useless emotions in an entrepreneurial context. How often to you stop to consider the only thing getting in your way is yourself.
I went scuba diving at the Barrier Reef some time back. For a girl who thinks sharks could even be living in back yard swimming pools, it was an amazing discovery for me to do something way outside my comfort zone.
It made me realise that the only thing getting in my way is… me! My fears, concerns and worries can slow me down in many aspects of my life.
Similarly, when one of my long-held dreams was physically available to me (heliskiing on a New Zealand mountain) – I was not sure if it was actually emotionally available to me. ie: did I have the guts to actually do it?
The snow was thick and inviting. Making tracks through the powder is every skiers dream. Equipped with special wide powder skis the only thing that stood between me and realising this dream was fear. I’m not sure what I was scared of… I know I can ski, I know that the snow was soft, I know that if it gets too steep I can simply traverse the mountain, I know that I am fit. So where did this fear come from?
It took me several runs to ‘stop thinking’ – to allow my skis to run and stop trying to control or hold on. To trust that all the preparation had been done – and now I had to believe in my own ability and let myself go.
The analogy to business was not lost on me. All the preparation, planning, discussion, and debate – finally comes down to backing yourself and trusting your ability and those around you.
Get enough sleep
It may sound mundane but when I’m tired the wheels fall off. My usual happy disposition takes a back seat. I start to sweat the small stuff. Fear comes from my fatigue. So if you look after your wellness, get enough sleep, you find it a lot easier to deal with fears, anxieties and guilt. You need to be fit in every sense of the word to be a successful entrepreneur.
What is your definition of success?
Below you can see the fear in my face as I consider the most challenging thing I had ever done…. [Originally appeared on LinkedIn]