Many people want to be successful in their lives in one way or another. Aiming for greater, higher, better performance, results, achievements is what success means too many of us in a broad way. There are many different interpretations, views and opinions on what success actually is or means.But, let’s keep a short and simple definition of success, which is:
Talking about success is funny in many ways as it is something which is regarded by many as something which only ‘a few’ people will actually achieve in their lives. The general view of the public or individual is that success can ‘only’ be achieved under a particular situation or a set of fortunate circumstances.
To give a few examples:
Success can only be achieved
– If you are with the right people, at the right place and time
– If you have wealthy parents or a wealthy family who can back you up
– If you are very lucky of winning the lottery
– If you are very intelligent, have the right qualifications and work very hard
– If you are born with unique talents or skills
Obviously, the examples given above can help on the way to achieve success. However, it does not necessarily have to be that way. You can achieve success in many different ways. The first step on the path to achieving success is to define the meaning of the word for yourself.
What means success to you?
– Ending at the 1st position with your football team?
– Obtaining a Bachelor Degree with ‘Cum Laude’ as a grade?
– Becoming a professional footballer for a topflight football club?
– Being a director of well-known company?
Once you know what success for yourself means, you must be able to define it in such a way that it’s clear, realistic and achievable. If you are not able to clearly and realistically define what success to you means, then you will end up being frustrated. Therefore, success can be better viewed as a step-by-step process in which you achieve small, but crucial results on the road to ‘real’ success.
‘Real Success’ is the moment at which you can honestly say to yourself: “Yes I have actually achieved what I want to achieve in my life so far”
But it does not end there, if you feel that you are at the ‘highest point’ of your success, then obviously, you must continue in that way to make sure that you stay successful.
It is often too easy to think of success as a result of hard work of dedicating your life to a particular purpose. (For example, study very hard to obtain a Master Degree in Law)
What makes success more realistic and achievable is when you create a personal SWOT analysis and a Personal Goals Setting plan.
Personal SWOT Analysis
Assessing your own Strengths & Weaknesses and Opportunities & Threats is what a Personal SWOT Analysis is in a nutshell.
(The information provided below has been derived from the following website: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_05_1.htm)
How to Use the Tool
First of all, you asses your strengths by asking yourself the following questions:
•What advantages do you have that others don’t have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)?
•What do you do better than anyone else?
•Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
•What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit?
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don’t be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on Your Reflected Best Self. (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCDV_61.htm)
•What tasks do you usually avoid because you don’t feel confident doing them?
•What will the people around you see as your weaknesses?
•What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress)?
•Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don’t see? Do co-workers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it’s best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
•What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet?
•Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market?
•Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice?
•What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them?
You might find useful opportunities in the following:
•Networking events, educational classes, or conferences.
•A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person’s projects to gain experience?
•A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations.
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.
•What obstacles do you currently face at work?
•Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles?
•Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing?
•Does changing technology threaten your position?
•Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective. (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_05_1.htm)
Setting Personal Goals
Set powerful goals with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson. (http://www.mindtools.com/page6.html)
Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.
The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts.
Why Set Goals?
Goal setting is used by top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life.
By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you’ll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. You will also raise your self-confidence, as you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you’ve set.
Starting to Set Personal Goals
You set your goals on a number of levels:
- First you create your “big picture” of what you want to do with your life (or over, say, the next 10 years), and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve.
- Then, you break these down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your lifetime goals.
- Finally, once you have your plan, you start working on it to achieve these goals.
Step 1: Setting Lifetime Goals
strong>The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve in your lifetime (or at least, by a significant and distant age in the future). Setting lifetime goals gives you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making.
To give a broad, balanced coverage of all important areas in your life, try to set goals in some of the following categories (or in other categories of your own, where these are important to you):
•Career – What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve?
•Financial – How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your career goals?
•Education – Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve other goals?
•Family – Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family?
•Attitude – Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? (If so, set a goal to improve your behaviour or find a solution to the problem.)
•Physical – Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve, or do you want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
Tip: As you do this, make sure that the goals that you have set are ones that you genuinely want to achieve, not ones that your parents, family, or employers might want. (If you have a partner, you probably want to consider what he or she wants – however, make sure that you also remain true to yourself!)
Step 2: Setting Smaller Goals
Once you have set your lifetime goals, set a five-year plan of smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan.
Then create a one-year plan, six-month plan, and a one-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan. Then create a daily To-Do List of things that you should do today to work towards your lifetime goals.
At an early stage, your smaller goals might be to read books and gather information on the achievement of your higher level goals. This will help you to improve the quality and realism of your goal setting.
Finally review your plans, and make sure that they fit the way in which you want to live your life.
Staying on Course
Once you’ve decided on your first set of goals, keep the process going by reviewing and updating your To-Do List on a daily basis. Periodically review the longer term plans, and modify them to reflect your changing priorities and experience. (A good way of doing this is to schedule regular, repeating reviews using a computer-based diary.)
A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic.
SMART stands for:
•S – Specific (or Significant).
•M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
•A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
•R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
•T – Time-bound (or Trackable).
When you’ve achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress that you’ve made towards other goals.If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you build the self-confidence you deserve.
It’s important to remember that failing to meet goals does not matter much, just as long as you learn from the experience.
Feed lessons learned back into your goal setting. Remember too that your goals will change as time goes on. Adjust them regularly to reflect growth in your knowledge and experience, and if goals do not hold any attraction any longer, consider letting them go.
Success is not something that is achieved by luck or chance, but it is a result of hard work, effort, dedication and commitment that is a result of clear, realistic and small achievable goals. In order to be successful it is absolutely essential to make a fair reflection of your own Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and using that knowledge to create your own Personal Goal Setting plan.
Remember: If you fail to meet your goals, just keep on trying by learning from your mistakes!