I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and thoroughly enjoyed yourself, your friends, family, and loved ones.
I also hope you were able to indulge in some of your favorite treats! Personally, I went a little bit crazy with the apple pie and cookies and cream ice cream 🙂
It was delicious.
Anyway, I know this time of year can be particularly stressful as our focus begins to shift towards New Year’s resolutions and the anxiety which tends to accompany them.
While this article won’t discuss how to create, set, and achieve your goals, it will be covering the topic of success in general.
I’d note if you’re interested in reading my approach to goal setting, I covered it in significant detail HERE.
In terms of today’s piece, however, I recently received a question in the comments section here, pertaining to the advice I may have for someone looking to succeed within the fitness industry.
Oddly enough, I had been working on a piece closely related to the realm of success, and subsequently decided to combine my response and article into one commentary.
Below is a portion of the individual’s original question, followed by my answer in article form. If you want to read the comment in its entirety, follow the link provided above.
Q: “Perhaps you could point me in the right direction in regards to achieving in this industry? My passion is there, and my mind is open to direction.”
My Take on Success:
Success is a challenging word to define as differing circumstances, life situations, values, and perspectives inevitably result in varying definitions among individuals.
While some individuals may equate success to a large annual income, others might view it as an overall state of happiness, the ability to remain in good health, having a secure and loving family, or the freedom to travel the world.
In spite of the diverse range of opinions regarding what constitutes success, it’s safe to assume the vast majority of definitions encompass many of the same principles, such as happiness, financial security, and health. The degree to which an individual values each of these aspects undoubtedly varies from person to person, but to some extent, people tend to value many of the same things.
There have been numerous books and products designed to teach individuals the keys to success and how to achieve their ultimate goals. While some of these products are undeniably helpful and offer a great deal of advice, I think the “key” to living a successful life is far simpler than many believe it to be.
Before I go on, it’s important to note that “simple” and “easy” are not synonymous terms. While the basic idea of achieving success is in my opinion simple, achieving success in and of itself is rarely an easy task.
I also want to make it abundantly clear that I do not yet consider myself a success per se. While I have had numerous successes which have led me to where I am today, I certainly have a lot more to accomplish.
That being said, please take my views on what I regard as necessary and important for achieving success for what they are – personal opinions:
Passion Above All Else
Though clearly a drastic oversimplification, I strongly believe the key to living a successful life boils down to passion. True passion, which may best be articulated as boundless enthusiasm, is an unmistakably distinct characteristic. It cannot be faked, nor can it be imitated. Those who are unequivocally passionate will find a way to succeed no matter what.
When an individual is truly passionate about a specific activity, they don’t do it to keep their job, please their parents, or for the sake of adhering to the current set of societal norms. They don’t do it in the hopes of receiving praise, nor do they do it in an attempt to live up to someone else’s standards.
Quite simply, they do it because of the incredible sense of pride and joy experienced as a result of participating in it.
Their passion motivates them far beyond what the average individual could ever understand. It inspires them to consistently improve and become the best at what they do. It drives them to persist on a daily basis, “to do what others won’t…to achieve what others can’t.”
Procrastination and laziness are virtually non-existent as they have no use for it. Why procrastinate when you could be taking part in what you truly love to do? How could one possibly be indolent when they have the opportunity to learn, improve, and partake in what they truly care about?
Quite simply, passion is the primary source of energy which fuels us as individuals to go above and beyond to achieve that which we desire. Don’t let anyone fool you; it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, your race, gender, religion…it’s all irrelevant! If you have the passion and you truly want to succeed, you will find a way to do it.
Perhaps my favorite quote regarding passion and success was said by man named Jack Canfield:
“One of the things that may get in the way of people being lifelong learners is that they’re not in touch with their passion. If you’re passionate about what it is you do, then you’re going to be looking for everything you can to get better at it.”
Which leads me to my next point….
Always Consider Yourself a Life-Long Student
A crucial piece of advice I give anyone looking to succeed in this industry (or any industry for that matter) is to never stop learning.
Consider yourself a life-long student and never fool yourself into believing you know everything about anything.
All too often it seems individuals become complacent and subsequently lose their motivation and desire to improve. They neglect their duty to fulfill a life-long education and in due course cease to develop as an individual and professional within their respective field.
Despite what others might say, where and how you decide to learn is beside the point. Whether you attend University, involve yourself in internships, or scour the internet for any information you can find, each of these options is equally valid as the next.
However, regardless of where or who you learn from, you must be a critical thinker. Be sure to question teachers, professionals, and anybody/everybody attempting to offer advice. Ask, research, and experiment. Do whatever it takes in order to find the truth.
If you fail to learn, you will fail to progress.
There are No Absolutes
If there is one thing to take from this article it’s the following bit of information, so pay attention.
There are NO absolutes!
As I’ve said before and I’ll say again, each and every person has their own individual goals, needs, and preferences. No two people have the same genetics, biomechanics, asymmetries, food intolerances, or daily schedule. Not to mention, we’re always changing!
Therefore, assuming there is only one absolute approach to accomplish any given goal is merely a display of unreserved ignorance.
Often times professionals will attempt to base their entire business and programming off of one absolutist stance. While, initially, it may seem like a fantastic idea and a great bandwagon to jump onto, these people often overlook the fact that science is always changing and consistently coming out with new research and subsequently improved methods.
If there’s one shred of information to take from this article, recognize that developing an absolutist opinion will not only keep you from reaching your ultimate potential, but will also stunt your capacity to help as many people as possible.
A Little Elbow Grease Goes a Long Way
Many individuals assume to become successful one must be lucky, rich, popular, etc. Fortunately, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While being one or all of these things may provide an advantage, they are by no means a pre-requisite to achieving success.
From my point of view, it seems a great deal of people undervalue the significance of a little hard work.
Despite our perceived level of high productivity, more often than not we’re finding ways distract ourselves through wasting time on facebook, chatting with random people, or simply procrastinating in general.
Keep track of your work and consistently dedicate yourself to applying the necessary time and effort to achieve your ultimate goals.
Chances are it doesn’t need to be drastic or over the top. You may be shocked at how much you can accomplish in 1-2 hours of truly dedicated hard work.
Put some elbow grease into it, perform to the best of your ability, and odds are your success will eventually surpass your wildest dreams.
“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson
Excuses are for Failures
People tend to excel at making excuses and rarely devote their utmost effort to any given task. In spite of what they say (or even what they believe), most people simply do not work as hard as they truly can.
Specifically, I am referring to those individuals who consistently provide well-rehearsed justifications detailing why they can’t do what’s needed to achieve their ultimate goals. Whether it has to do with laziness, lack of motivation, or fear of success (yes, it’s real) is irrelevant.
For all intents and purposes, if you want to do something…just do it.
Plain and simple. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.
Quit making excuses, get focused, do work, and reap the benefits of success.
Little Things Make a Big Difference
I feel as though many individuals mistakenly believe in order to become successful they must perform a great deal of time-consuming and extravagant tasks.
Indeed, to become successful one must do extraordinary things, but what most fail to realize is that extraordinary does not necessarily imply difficult or complex. Rather, “extraordinary” can be more suitably defined as: very unusual or remarkable.
The one who dedicates the time and energy to completing small and seemingly insignificant tasks on a regular basis is extraordinary as they are beyond the norm; their efforts are unusual and remarkable.
As a basic frame of reference, below I’ve provided a list of “little things” I do or have done which have substantially contributed to my success thus far:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. By far one of the best books I’ve ever read and has helped me in numerous aspects of my life.
I created accounts on numerous social networking sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc) and made a point to ensure people consistently saw my name. Those who are friends with or follow me know all about my consistent posting 😉
I contacted most (if not all) of the professionals whose work has inspired me and thanked them for it. I have subsequently established relationships with numerous professionals and am fortunate enough consider a large portion of them my best friends.
I have searched for, applied, and been accepted to numerous internships with some of the best coaches from around the world. This has not only given me an inexplicable amount of knowledge, but has provided me with notoriety within the industry and a fantastic platform off of which I can advertise myself.
I’d note that along the way I’ve been rejected numerous times by several internship opportunities. While it was certainly disappointing, I never let it derail my progress or motivation.
I smile… a lot. Plain and simple, smiling is awesome. It radiates happiness, confidence, and allows everyone within my vicinity to feel comfortable and accepted. Whether I’m meeting someone in person or talking on the phone, I’m always sporting a big and goofy smile. Not only can people hear it in my voice, but there’s no way in hell I (or anyone else for that matter) can be upset when I’m just so damn happy.
I write thank you notes to everyone. Regardless of the person or task, if someone has taken the time to help me in any way I always write a thank you note. There’s no need to make it lengthy or detailed. A simple, straightforward, and genuine “thank you” can go a long way.
Remember, extraordinary simply means unusual. Do the little things to make yourself stand out above and beyond everyone else.
Well, this article is significantly longer than I originally intended it to be.
I truly hope each and every one of you found something of value from this piece.