This month I would like to tell you about a topic that I am obsessed with: Success and Flow! While giving the seminar “Leadership Starts at Home” at an institution last year – of which the title and content belonged to me – I was talking about the importance of supporting the strengths of our children and being able to coach them as parents. Just then, a father asked to speak and said “Why do you always touch upon the strengths? Can’t a person be successful by confronting his weaknesses?” That was a fair question and I responded “Of course he can; however, can he be happy by confronting his weaknesses all the time?”
I work with incredibly talented people who have their own businesses, who have gained ground in society and achieved a great deal of success in their field of work. For this reason, I am one of those who feel lucky. I am required to get involved in the inner worlds of successful people during my sessions. Since I have the opportunity to observe both their characteristics supporting their success as well as their habits overshadowing their happiness, I have always believed in the importance of their co-existence. Here is my obsession – we can all be successful! However, we can be successful and happy at the same time only if we can experience success and flow.
Let’s explore the secrets of people who managed to be successful and happy. If we understand the characteristics of people who embody both, including their way of thinking and habits, then we have the chance to model them.
- Successful people dream about success, not failure. I recently had the chance to interview a boss who has stood out in an emerging market in recent years and whose company is valued at 1 billion USD. I curiously listened to his story of success from an emotional perspective, and I believed one more time in the importance of dreaming of success. Therefore, the question “What does success mean to you?” is an important one.
- Grounded optimism is another important factor. Surveys conducted show that successful people are optimistic to the extent that they know how to balance and calculate it; which means they are optimistic that they will acquire the results that they desire instead of being afraid of failure. However, this optimism is down-to-earth. What many people cannot do is be realistic and optimistic at the same time. My second question to you is “What does your inner sound tell you while dreaming of success?” If you hear it saying “No way, impossible, very hard…very risky…” then it is time to plant some seeds of hope.
- The success of successful people is not coincidental. Most of them have goals that are meaningful to them and ignite the fire within. Thinking about the future, what do you want changed in you and in your life one year from now? What targets do you need to set personally, in your career, in your relationships, and financially to move you in the direction of success?
- People who have achieved success are those who don’t throw in the towel – at least those I know are the most persistent people that I have ever known! Being successful requires an inner drive because it is not easy to work hard every day even when you don’t see immediate results. Striving for your goal each and every day requires a different kind of obstinacy, and you have to be persistent to maintain the success after you achieve it. If you feel the need to throw in the towel at some point on this journey, just take a break and go on a short vacation, take a walk, paint, meet your friends…ultimately refresh your energy. Your motivation to continue will come back.
- Creativity is another important characteristic to success. Creative people are able to approach issues, incidents, and people from a different perspective. While ordinary people feel stuck, trapped, and unable to take action when they encounter problems, creative people approach issues from alternate perspectives to find solutions. A creative mind is the brain exercise of successful people, and they do this exercise every day. Think about a problem that you experienced before or are experiencing right now. What exists that you don’t know about this problem? Force your brain to think creatively, and ask yourself what you can do with the answers you gave. Are there any actions that you have not thought of so far? If not, it means you haven’t answered the question properly. Go back to the question and keep asking yourself even if your mind wants to freeze.
- Not being afraid of conflict is another habit of success. People who are afraid of being in conflict with others generally quit. Successful people know they are supposed to address this issue even if they have this fear. If conflicts cause uneasiness in you (which is the case for me) then that means you have a target which is worth working on.
- If the results do not turn out to be as you expected, it may be time to change your perspective. Years ago, a client of mine who worked hard his entire life and achieved success as the CEO of an international company, told me “Failure is not an option for me.” I responded “Why, are you God?” Later on I reflected about his belief and my own response a lot. I decided if I want to show compassion to myself I should allow myself to fail during times of brave decisions. I am a human being and failure is as easy as success. Everything is possible in life. I have adopted this motto: “I am a human being and I give myself the right to fail.” After giving this right to myself, I felt relieved. If the results do not turn out to be as you like, even though you know you did the best, then there are two options. Re-visit your original plan and update your targets, or surrender. However, realize that you are a human being and don’t give up on the belief that one day you will achieve what you desire in order to find your flow.