Ask one hundred entrepreneurs to define success and you better prepare yourself for one hundred different answers! Why? Well, let’s just take a quick look as to how dictionary.com defines success for some clues:
the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors: The play was an instant success.
a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.
The clues are in the keywords used within the definition, and although there are some great ones in here such as favorable, prosperous, endeavor, accomplishment, honor attainment, and achievement, the overall dictionary version of this word seems rather lacking doesn’t it? Especially those of us in the game of business and entrepreneurship.
Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, success is pretty straightforward. For example, I was a part of our varsity baseball team that “achieved” a “measurable” and “honorable” “goal” of becoming number one in the State of Ohio. By definition, I guess you could say we were successful! Well, that is of course if you ignore the fact that we lost in the semi-finals.
Memories and jokes aside, I’m sure you get the point here. But, what about defining success within the career, business, wealth, and legacy areas of life? Especially those who are just starting out, embarking on this crazy adventure and game that we call entrepreneurship.
A few years back, as a high performer, small business owner, and aspiring serial entrepreneur, I found myself asking my mentors, circle, and reflection in the mirror this very same question. I was looking for the perfect, wise words and secrets that would ultimately define my path, journey, and destination to success.
Motivational quotes, inspirational speeches, podcasts, seminars, books, audiobooks, etc. You name it, I’ve spent time, money, and effort on it looking for an answer. As you have probably guessed by now, I came up short, empty, and in a constant state of just going with the flow. Needless to say, not a good business model to follow!
I can’t stress enough the value of continuing your development to become the best business owner and leader that you can. Going it alone is simply not an option, and I can tell you from first-hand experience is a recipe for disaster. I don’t care how motivated you are or hard you hustle, at some point, that road to success that you are on will throw a detour at you. Go it alone and be prepared for some major setbacks… this is unfortunately where detours become dead ends and businesses become out of business statistics. But with the right business coach, mentor, tools, and group, you will be able to dodge, duck, dip, and dive right on through to the other side!
Here’s the deal. In order to win the game of careers, businesses, wealth, and legacy, you must first stop looking at your success as a destination. Instead, look at success as a long and continuous journey. The destinations along the way are simply your goals. And guess what? Those goals can be measured by defining each step on your success journey, creating a timeline, establishing the metrics necessary, and then taking the massive action required to ultimately achieve.
I am here to tell you that embarking on this journey alone is your best chance at never attaining your desired wealth, honors, achievements, goals or endeavors. You know, all of those key words that make up this so-called definition of success. Trust me, I spent the first seven years in business on my own, making my own way, while losing time, relationships, money and market share throughout. Sure, I definitely learned a lot by taking risks, failing forward and talking with clients, but the journey alone almost left me as yet another small business failure statistic without a dime to my name.
Then, I got smart. I stopped trying to find the secrets to success and began thinking of ways to measure success. In addition to the podcasts, audiobooks and blogs, I actually hired a business coach, found a mentor and joined powerhouse networking groups. People who not only provided content, motivation and inspiration but action-based items and blueprints designed to get me moving in the right direction. All of a sudden my success journey had a passenger up front and we were traveling down the road faster than ever!
Sales were growing, revenues were growing, our team was growing, our market share was growing, territories were growing, our brand was growing…but most importantly, I was growing.
You see, growth is the real keyword that needs to be focused on, and more importantly measured growth. As soon as you step outside of your comfort zone and face your fears and the things you are not good at, the things you don’t want to do, you will discover growth. The more you grow, the more success you are guaranteed to have, regardless of the definition you choose to let govern your choices and actions.
If you’ve read along this far, hopefully you’re tracking right alongside side of me, realizing that the only real shortcut to success lies in the amount of help you are willing to receive and the amount of growth you are willing to endure. Once I realized that this would become my new recipe for success, I immediately sought out ways to measure the actions I was taking towards my success journey. Why? Well, there is an old saying, something along the lines of “what can be measured can be improved”. Boom…challenge accepted!
As I thought about how I was going to create a true method form measuring my success journey along the way, I immediately thought of units, equations and formulas. You know, your typical math components! I was also thinking about a system of checks and balances, accountability and a way to not only measure but audit as well.
Then, it hit me… Volume.
Volume can be defined as the amount of space that an object occupies. If your success definition is anything like mine, or the countless other entrepreneurs that are out there, than legacy and impact will be key components to your success.
If you take a moment and reflect back to grade school, you may remember your math teacher writing out the formula for measuring the the volume of an object on the old blackboard in write chalk.
Volume = Height x Width x Depth.
Let’s break this formula down in terms of you, success and real, action based variables to ultimately allow you to constantly audit and measure your success.
When you think of the word height, what word immediately comes to mind? For me, that word was pretty powerful and is growth. Personal growth and personal development can come in a variety of ways and through various mediums. The fact you are even reading this tells me you are someone aspiring for greatness and success. With that said, I’ve got a question for you. How many books did you read in 2019? Chances are pretty good that just like me, you are well aware that successful people such as Bill Gates correlate their success to their personal development. It’s well documented that the average American reads just four books a year, but Bill Gates? He reads over fifty each year, which just about an average of one book each and every week.
Substitute “personal development” for “height” within this equation to spark curiosity, gain new insights, discover new trends, find perspective and formulate new ideas. Your personal development can come in many formats, so if reading a three hundred page book seems like an impossible task, try subscribing to Audible. Instead of listening to music on your road and plane business trips, download something of interest through the Audible App and prepare to be enlightened. Sorry, looks like the “I just don’t have time to read” excuse is no longer valid!
Personally, I listen to both podcasts and audiobooks regularly while also physically reading books. There isn’t a single day that goes by that at least one hour of my day is devoted to personal development. And yes, that includes weekends!
If you’ve been around this entrepreneurship game long enough, chances are you’ve heard the saying “Show me your network and I’ll show you your net worth.” Pretty interesting statement isn’t it? Think about, this goes right in line with my previous narrative of going it alone vs. getting help! To truly grow as a person you must subject yourself to the thoughts and actions of like-minded individuals just like yourself, all on the same mission as you. To do this, you need to get wide and the best way to to do this is through networking, and joining a business network that aligns with your mission.
“But James, I don’t really like being around people, I get nervous, and I’m really not down with drinking and hanging out with a bunch of strangers”. Look, I get it. But know this, real growth is right on the other side of uncomfortable. Besides, that’s what the alcohol is for, to take the edge of, shake off the nerves so you can shake some hands!
Now don’t get crazy on me. There’s definitely some well-documented networking etiquette out there online you need to brush up on if you’re ready to embark on this aspect of the success formula. I’ll let you research that on your own.
The takeaway here is that your network will open your personal development up to a whole new level, introducing you to more opportunities, relationships and of course cash flow that you realize. And don’t worry, if you are struggling to find a local meetup or group that resonates with you and your mission, sorry, no more excuses. There’s this new social platform called Facebook which has Groups. I guarantee you can find an online group that you can leverage and put to work for your continued growth!
Personally, I am involved and active in three Facebook groups that resonate right alongside of what I’m chasing and I also regularly attend local networking events. Truth be told, If I could I’d live on the couch and be alone with my thoughts all day, I’d do it! But, get me out and about and I’m a social butterfly fully equipped with the gift of gab. Bottom line, no excuses, if I can get out there and do it so can you!
Are you ready to become the best version of yourself and to begin working towards that impact and legacy component of your success journey? Buckle up, this is what is going to quickly propel you forward and to put you in a position to leave a legacy just as you have imagined it.
When I think of depth, the word deep comes to mind. Now, I’m not talking about the deep end of the swimming pool here, I’m talking about deep thinking, and impact. At this stage of the success formula, our volume is increasing through personal development and shared group networking. It’s time to take all of this to the next level and to work towards empowering and impacting others with your new-found growth and skillets.
Create your own networking group, Facebook group, coaching program, write a book, start that blog, volunteer, join a board, help a competing business, etc. The list goes on and on in terms of how deep of an impact you can create to begin making your mark on just your niche, your circle and your business, but your legacy.
Personally, I am now providing action and value-based content as we speak. I have a weekly podcast, I have A Facebook Group, I write articles just like this for the business community as well as my specific industry and niche, and am even in the final stages of writing my first published book. Bringing it all full circle and filling my volume tank each and every day!
There you have it, a complete formula for measuring your volume of success. If it seems empty right now, that’s okay! We all have to start somewhere. The real value lies in knowing that any time you can reflect on each of these areas and measure your progress (or lack thereof).
Haven’t read a book in a while? Log on to Amazon and pick something out. Need some book suggestions? Ask your network and group! Haven’t been active in your group(s)? Share a post about a recent win you’ve had or ask a question regarding something you are struggling with. Need a podcast to get you moving? Check out The JG3 Project podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Want to write but don’t know where to start? Do what I’m doing right now. Head on over to Medium.com and just get started.
The underlying message of this entire article is understanding that success is not possible without consistent, massive action against the success formula. Stop sitting on the sidelines, listening to motivational and inspirational speeches, waiting for the secret to success to magically appear right before your very eyes and ears. It doesn’t work that way. Follow the success formula I have laid out for you. Monitor your actions, your activity, your impact and your growth regularly. Measure your results and performance in three of these areas regularly.
Remember, what can be measured can be improved. With the road to success consisting of potholes, forks, dead ends, detours and roadblocks, it’s those steady improvements that will continue to propel your forward and to your ultimate destination…a long fulfilled life of growth, impact and legacy.
This post originally appeared at Medium.