There are no substitutes for perseverance, dedication, and sometimes just plain stubbornness.
Far too often we think we have to start our career with that dream company in the perfect position so we can put that title on our fancy business card and hand it to everyone, as if to say “look at me, I’ve arrived! I’m successful!” But more often than not, we don’t start where we want or with the exact company we want, and sometimes it can take us years to get the position we want. Where we start has nothing to do with where we end. We’ve all heard it said that you don’t have to be great to start but you do have to start if you ever want to be great.
The struggle is that there are far too many people who are more than happy to complain and whine about their lack of success. They get frustrated and start blaming others for ‘holding them back’ and keeping them from being successful by denying them what they deserve. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we only deserve what we are willing to work for. Putting in time is not the same as putting in effort. 5, 10, 15 years with a company does NOT mean we deserve a promotion. Getting a college degree does NOT mean we deserve the big corner office with the amazing view.
There are 2 things we must do if we are ever going to achieve success of any kind.
- Make the decision that you deserve to be as successful as you can possibly be. If you need to have someone tell you that you deserve it, call me, I will do that for you because you do.
- Determine the level of success you are willing to work for. Notice I say work for and not hope, dream or wish for.
There is a difference between the success we want and desire and the success we are willing to work for. Once we realize this, we will be in a position to truly start focusing on the HOW portion of our success. Honestly, how we achieve the success we want isn’t the most important part. It’s deciding first that we deserve it and then it’s making the decision that we are willing to work for it and that no one else gets to determine if we are going to be successful or not.
I remember getting a job once with a company even after they flat out told me that they did not have any opportunities for me. I remember thinking why should it matter if someone else tells me they don’t have an opportunity to give me? Why can’t I just make my own? Now, I am definitely stubborn. Just ask my wife. Although, I think she has a different word for it. So anyway, back to my story. When this company turned me away, I could have gone home and done nothing or went somewhere else trying to find a job, but instead I came back to that same company the very next day and I asked if there was anything at all I could do to help them. Again, they told me no and said they wished they could offer me a job but they had nothing for me. This pattern continued for a month. 30 days. For weeks I would show up each day and volunteer to do various things and help with some trivial task that I wasn’t even getting paid for. One day I walk in and the owner introduces me to the person he’s talking to by saying “this guy has been showing up here for weeks trying to get me to give him a job.” and his friend replied, “So give him one. Where would you be if no one had ever given you a chance?”
Now, this was far from my dream job and not a career choice by any means, but it taught me something I had never learned prior to that day. It taught me a level of self-worth that I never knew I could have. I didn’t know it at the time, but that day I learned that if I ever truly wanted to be successful I had to stop waiting and hoping for someone else to believe in me and start believing in myself! Now, some will read that and say “well, they gave you a job.” I say, I used my persistence and unwillingness to let someone else determine my success to create an opportunity.
Bottom line, don’t count on someone else to give you something that you will then use to determine your worth or your level of success. Success is for everyone and everyone wants to be successful, but only those who put aside the “woe is me” mentality are ever going to achieve it.
Everything we want is within our power to achieve. We only have to be willing to put in the required effort to achieve it and then simply start taking action. We need to understand that our success has nothing to do with where we were at yesterday. Our tomorrow is determined by what we do today.