The first step in Deciding to Succeed is creating your passion to succeed. We all understand that to succeed your passion must always be high. Intensity needs to soar over a long period, through the ups and downs of life and through the victories and defeats of your mission. You will need to work very hard for a long time to succeed. It will be tough hard work and you will need to dig deep inside yourself for strength. This essay will examine a few ways of creating and maintaining your passion for success.
Success requires you to be passionate about your dreams and your purpose. You will need to connect your purpose with your deepest phycological needs. Having a dream that resonates with your inner needs is absolutely critical to your success. The most important choice you make on your journey to success is choosing a purpose or mission that will bond with your internal emotional and phycological needs. When this happens your entire being becomes passionate because you are doing all this work for your own dream of success.
Never Let Your Goals Be Your Limitations
I would suggest that if you dream, you should dream big, about the goals and mission you want to achieve. The nature of your mission should also be quite separate from specific goals and objectives. For example if you have a choice between choosing a purpose of “ starting a company and making $ 2.0 Million dollars” or choosing a mission that states “ Building a Company that will last forever” it is wise to take the mission that is unencumbered by financial objectives.
When your goals are limited by finance and specifics they become limited and that will prevent you from attaining the success that is possible. Besides not letting your goals be your limitations it feels better in your soul if the mission you set for yourself is raised above an objective or goal to something more noble of intent. We can all identify truly noble work. What you choose to do — with intent or by accident, nobly or ignobly, good or bad, right or wrong — will set powerful forces in motion. These forces can help you succeed or doom you to failure.
I believe the an equally important tool for success is choosing a purpose with noble intent. When others see your noble goals they will support your purpose and encourage you with kindness and effort. It is not surprising that many books on high performance leadership focus on noble goals. You know that your purpose is noble when you are not the only beneficiary of it’s success. This can be said in many different ways but the intent is the same: success that is not shared is a success that will not grow. This is not to say that you should not win and enjoy success but rather that success you enjoy should be a success that comes from achieving the purpose you set out for yourself.
I had to call upon this inner strength while I was building my second company Calian. I learned how to connect my inner most needs to my goals while I was recovering from the brutal phycological and emotional beating that the failure of Insta-Call brought me. Without self awareness I would not know what motivated me. Without self awareness I would not have been able to summon the inner strength needed to succeed. It was fortunate that a good friend made the friendly suggestion that I go to a Time Management Course.
There are two childhood stories that summarizes my inner needs.
I was brought up in a lower middle class environment. We didn’t have much money in our household. We were evicted from a house and bill collectors called at all hours of the night and day. I did not feel secure as a boy. At the same time I remember much fighting over money and finances and I guess I came from a home that was not happy. So at a young age I came to believe that the secret to security was the accumulation of wealth.
At age thirteen I became a paper delivery boy for the Ottawa Journal. The newspaper was delivered after School in those days and I delivered them every night before dinner. My route had a total of sixty homes that could or might by a daily newspaper. I wanted each of these houses to take the Ottawa Journal because I wanted the $6.00 every two weeks that this business could generate. Six dollars every two weeks meant that you could walk to the restaurant after school and buy a chocolate milk shake with real ice cream for $.45 or a full club sandwich with French fries and a coke for $1.25. That was security in the eyes of a thirteen year old in 1962. I needed that security.
One of the clearest memories I have of that period still makes me smile. I can still picture myself sitting on my bed with the money I collected but had not handed in yet, running my fingers through the nickels, dimes and quarters and counting and recounting the dollars. I took up numismatics or coin collecting at the time just so I would have a reason to keep the money safe and not spend it. There was a sense of security and control with positive cash flow which made me feel safe. It still does today.
I also had the deep and powerful need to be recognized as a success. Again my childhood experiences played the critical role. For me it was a lack of success in elementary school. I failed grade one and grade six during those formative years when you are creating a sense of self esteem. Failing two grades, despite jumping a couple of grades later negatively affected my self image as a young child. It was humiliating and embarrassing to be treated like I was stupid. Particularly when I thought I was quite bright!
The root of this problem was that I had a learning disability(dyslexia) that was not diagnosed. In the fifties the science behind learning disabilities such as dyslexia were not well known and as a result I was channeled into the “slow” stream. IT was a humiliating experience not to be able to spell. Later in high school a Provincial wide aptitude tests identified me in the top few percentile in Math and English students in the entire Province of Ontario. Better late than never and a few teachers pulled some strings and I was accepted into a college that only took candidates from the higher level academic stream. The need to continually prove myself was deeply ingrained in my personality by then. My story was was sad but it had a very happy ending and yours can too.
Your story will be quite different since we all have different backgrounds. But having said that your first step in Deciding To Succeed is to be self aware enough to ensure that your personal phycological needs and your purpose are working together to enable your success. This essay will give you a method for increasing your self awareness and determining the deep core values and needs that will require attention on your road to success.
We all have our baggage to carry, but it is so important to understand exactly what type of baggage and how much you are carrying. Believe me when I say that it is critical to your success to know yourself and what motivates you deep inside. There is a way of discerning your core values and needs and I will show you how to go through that process in this chapter. Let me tell you about my experience and how during the twenty-eight months of awakening I came to understand my inner needs that would fuel my success.
Insta-Call was dead. I was bankrupt and having my wages garnished weekly. I was living with an old football buddy and licking my wounds from the devastating failure of Insta-Call. My career before starting Insta-Call was in the semiconductor industry where I had plenty of financial and emotional success. I went back to my technological roots. I got a job as the General manager of a semiconductor testing facility called Reltek Inc. It was familiar and safe territory for me after spending five years working in that industry and two years on an R.C.M.P secure communications integration project. I was also going to work for a man that I trusted and a person for whom I had worked before.
Merv Sullivan was a kind and humble man; he had been my last boss at MIL before leaving to work on a Government project. He had a soft, pleasant way about him and every conversation started with the sincere question, “How are you doing?” He was truly interested in the condition of those around him. In the years I knew him I never heard him say a cross word about anybody. Merv was a good man, the kind of boss you did not want to disappoint and I worked very hard for him during those 28 months. He also had a good business.
Reltek Inc was a semiconductor test laboratory that he and a partner, Brian Crook, started in 1974. The two partners purchased equipment from the defunct MIL and built a respectable IC testing business serving customers like Northern Electric, CAE Electronics and Mitel. But by 1980, their partnership had dissolved. Merv needed help and I needed a job. It was an ideal arrangement for both of us and Merv offered me 10% of the accounting profits, as a bonus for helping him build Reltek. I was back in the semiconductor business and my goal was to help Merv grow Reltek.
And grow it we did! Not pausing for a minute, as we doubled Reltek’s sales volume and quadrupled the profits. Merv’s business flourished and his success was soothing to my business soul. I was like a child in a candy store, quite content to stay long hours savouring the sights, the sounds and the feel of real customers, who would gladly pay money for a badly needed service. In fact, the demand for testing was so strong that I started a night shift to keep up with the growing number of customers. As a student of business, I asked the question, “Why was his business so successful?” The answer was the motivation of the people writing the cheques– his customers.
The service Reltek offered, testing semiconductor circuits, was mind-numbingly dull, yet an extremely complicated task. The testing process was considered the most boring part of electronics manufacturing. Reltek customers, for the most part, were happy and almost delighted to pay someone else to do this chore. The customers had the technological ability to test the circuits themselves but they chose to direct their capital and intellectual resources into their core business.
During this time while I was recovering from Insta-Call I would study Merv, the gentle and soft spoken small business operator who was always interested in other people. As I studied him, it became evident that Merv and his wife Jessica ran a very frugal operation and every penny was counted, sometime twice; they were his and he would keep his fist clenched around those pennies as if his very life depended upon it. When he did have to invest or spend, it would be a wrestling match to get him to agree; even then he would throw those pennies around like they were manhole covers to make sure that Reltek always got maximum value in any transaction. He wasn’t greedy, he charged his customers fairly, but he invested, never squandered his money. He lived a Christian life.
Besides letting me see inside a successful business Merv gave me a gift that fundamentally changed the way I motivated myself to succeed. By asking me to take a two day time management course at a local college my life was changed forever. He wanted me to understand how to set priorities better and I agreed to take the course on weekends. I was expecting to become a little more efficient at getting the details of the day prioritized properly. What I received was a lesson on how to connect the dots between core values that are important to you as a person to the goals, objectives and activities that are important in your life. I had never considered what my core values were. What did I really want and why did I want it?
Finding your Inner needs and values
The essence of what I learned on that course is what I will share with you in this essay. The purpose of the course was to give you the skills to set your day to activity priorities. There were four stages that they went through on this two day course. First off we were asked to think about the values we thought were important. I never thought of this at any time in my life so at first I came up blank. But the instructor prodded us with questions to help clarify our thoughts. The course material was separated by a full work week and during that week I started to understand the nature of values. For me the values that were important were not things I had, but rather what I was missing in my life. It was a somewhat painful process to relive my childhood and think back to what drove me for so many years but for the first time in my life I was not on auto pilot emotionally. I started to understand that nothing was an accident when it came to my actions and nothing was ever quite what it seemed
My list of values was Security, Recognition, Health, and Family.
The next stage of the process was to identify some big goals that would bond with the values I thought were important. That came a little easier since I was desperate to have some goals that would fill the empty spots in my soul.
The goals were: Become financially secure, Develop another skill that is transportable, be recognized as a success, become healthy again and to marry and raise a family.
They were almost obvious to me after I had truly started to understand my needs.
The third stage was to identify clear objectives that would help you achieve the goals you had set for yourself. These objectives were a little clearer.
My Objectives were: learn about why a business is a success, learn to write, run 10K’s and lose weight, and to find the right partner to raise a family with.
The objective of this course was to prioritize you day to day activities so that you would be able to achieve your objectives and fulfill your goals and ultimately satisfy your inner most needs. I am sure that for most people who took this weekend course that is what they got. But for me it was a brand new way to look at my future and my life. For me, this was the secret behind the secret of success and I revelled in the new knowledge I had gained during this weekend of time management.
At the end of this course in 1979 I had the following chart that simplified my ability to say no to distractions. It was a very selfish thing to do but I learned how to say no to other peoples priorities and yes to mine. I could do that because I could tie an activity back to my own needs and values so I was doing this for myself and my dreams. When he asked me to take this course, neither of us expected it to have such a profound effect on our futures. For me it was the unlocking of a box within my mind and that released the energy and passion of my inner self. For him it meant he would soon lose an employee who had worked hard to build his business. It made it a lot easier for me to miss the nightly outings with my friends drinking beer and partying when I felt deep inside I was doing what I wanted to do — achieve my goals . From time to time I would still catch up with my friends at a local watering hole but I had no problem limiting myself to a beer and going home early — it actually felt quite selfish to walk away from that life style.
The most interesting part of this introspective view of myself is that I have reviewed my value stem every year for the last thirty years. There have been a few changes in goals and objectives but the values have stood the tests of time. The order in which they appear have changed by the basic values have stayed constant. The root of your character will not alter much, other than by priority. One vale that was added after my divorce was love and it actually got to the top of the priority list until it was satisfied in every way with my marriage to Colleen in 2008.
Choosing your Noble Mission or Purpose
Once you have identified your inner values and needs, you are ready to take the next step. This next step is critical because your purpose must be noble. A noble purpose leads you, and others, to make life better. A noble mission will do much good and little harm or damage to others. But most importantly you know you have a noble goal when you are not the only beneficiary of the success of the mission.
My chosen mission in 1982 was to build a company that would last forever. This chosen mission was truly noble and in achieving success in the mission I would be doing no harm to others and would benefit the life of many investors, customers and suppliers. I felt at ease with this noble goal and it easily fit into my inner desires to have security and recognition. As a result I could prioritize the many tasks that challenged me on a daily basis to ensure that kept on my mission.
Along the way to succeeding in that mission I had to make countless choices that would steer me to success. My choices I chose could have also doomed me to failure. In the next few Chapters I will give you some ways of testing choices and decisions to ensure they lead you to success. But first you need to clearly understand your inner needs and choose a purpose resonates with your inner needs and at the same time encompasses a noble component that makes you feel good about your challenge.
There are many other motivational self motivation methods but none have come close to the effectiveness of making sure that you choose a mission or noble purpose that connects directly to a deep need to satisfy a value within yourself. Only when you bind the external mission and your internal needs will you release the energy within your soul and attract the help you will surely need.
In fact if your purpose is important and noble and you will be faced with a blizzard of choices every week. Each of these choices can help you or doom you to failure. Each choice will contain much RISK! One of the key lessons I learned during the twenty -eight months at Reltek was about risk. I learned that it took two different personalities to achieve success and I called them the dreamer the street fighter. Do you need both to succeed?
The answer, it turns out, is that it takes a select combination of both characters to achieve success. It has to be both, because if it was only about reducing risk –who would ever dream big and set a noble important purpose for themselves. For me that purpose was starting a business that would last forever, for you it may very well be something else. A truly risk averse person or a street fighter, would weigh the odds and concluder quite correctly that they could do much better as a professional manager and have a more secure and stable future. A pure dreamer would jump in and just do it ignoring the realities and get massacred, just like I did at Insta-Call.
My dream in 1982 was starting a company that would last forever. For Merv it was starting a company and making a living. He limited his potential upside and a s a result he became satisfied with his business and it provided him a good lifestyle. My company did not work with that limitation and it soared to the heights of success in Canada. I dreamed a big noble purpose and than applied the four values to ensure that I did not doom myself to failure.
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