Why your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development
Half of this year is gone. Have you reached 50 percent of your goals?
If one of your goals is to be successful -- in any area of your life or career -- before 2016 comes to an end, the one thing you must to do is to become an attractive person. I'm not talking about external attractiveness, but rather the internal kind. As the late motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “Success is something you attract by the person you become.”
If you want success and all that it brings, you have to become a better, more attractive person. Period. “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development,” Rohn once said. The personal development he referred to can be knowledge, experience, mindset or beliefs.
You become attractive by developing yourself into the person you know you need to be in order to attract, create and sustain the level of success you want in your life. Well, how in the world do you do that? I'm glad you asked.
In his book, The Morning Miracle, author Hal Elrod says we all want “Level 10” success in every area of our lives -- health, happiness, finances, relationships and career. But most of the time, our level of personal development is not “Level 10.” So when Rohn said that a person's level of success will rarely exceed their level of personal development, he means that if your knowledge, experience, mindset and beliefs are not at a “Level 10”, you will never experience “Level 10” happiness in any significant area of your life.
Life will always be a struggle, Rohn said, because our outer world will always be a reflection of our inner world. Your level of success -- or lack thereof -- will always parallel your level of personal development.
Personal development starts by taking 100 percent responsibility for everything in your life. This includes the level of your achievements, the results you produce or don't produce, the quality of your relationships and the state of your health, income, debts, feelings, thoughts and emotions.
That isn’t always easy because most of us have been conditioned to blame something outside of ourselves for the parts of our life that we don’t like or aren’t working. For example, do you blame any of the following people or situations for the setbacks in your life or for not having achieved everything you could have?
Lack of money
Lack of education
The list is endless, and probably familiar. But you can change. “If you want your life to be different, you have to be willing to do something different first. -- Motivational speaker Kevin Bracy
Are you willing?
If you are going to be successful in any area of your life, you first have to believe that you are capable of making it happen. I start with this as a groundwork because self-esteem is the single most significant key to your behavior. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “It’s impossible to consistently behave in a manner inconsistent with how we see ourselves.” You have to believe you can do it. You have to believe you have the knowledge, skills and abilities to create the results you desire. If you believe you are worthless, you will not be motivated to add value to yourself.
It all comes down to your attitude. Believing in yourself is an attitude. The great part about it is that you have a choice. When you were a kid, you couldn’t choose your parents or environment. But now that you are an adult, the choice of how you see and talk to yourself is yours. You must now choose to believe that anything you set your mind to, you can achieve. “It’s not your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude,” Ziglar said.
If you will just believe it's possible, then you will do what it takes to bring about your desired result. If you think it is impossible, you will not do what is necessary, and you will continue to get zero results. Because in life, you hit what you aim for. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.
Step 1: Examine your self-talk.
“You are the most influential person you will talk to all day.” -- Ziglar
If I was to record how you talk to yourself all day, would I be pleased at how thoughtful and loving you are to yourself? Or would I hear you berate and tear yourself down all day?
Whether you know it or not, you have a running conversation with yourself all day, every day. Do you encourage or criticize yourself? Are you positive or negative with yourself? How you talk to yourself really does make a difference because if you want to change your life, you have to change not only the way you think about yourself, but more importantly, how you talk to yourself.
If you have someone in your life that constantly encourages you, that’s terrific. But you need to become your own cheerleader. You need to become your own encourager. Stop and think -- have you ever complimented someone? I’m guessing yes. Have you ever complimented yourself on how you look, feel or on a job well-done? I'm guessing no. Don’t just recognize other people -- recognize you. Start speaking positively and consolingly to yourself. When you make a mistake, don’t berate yourself. Tell yourself you will do better next time, and you are gaining valuable experience.
Step 2: Banish your limiting beliefs.
“When a man has put a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do.” -- Charles Schwab
The greatest prison is the prison we create for ourselves. When we tell ourselves that we can’t do something or we are not good enough, this distances us from our true value and worth as a human being. You are worthy simply because you exist.
In the book Success Principles, Jack Canfield outlines four steps to transforming your limiting beliefs into empowering ones.
Identify the limiting belief.
Write down how the belief limits you.
Decide how you want to be, act or feel.
Create a turnabout statement that affirms or gives you permission to be, act or feel this way.
Step 3: Add value.
One of the quickest ways to change your negativity into positivity is to add value, or simply help someone else. Making a difference in the life of someone else invariably lifts your own self-esteem. It’s difficult to feel bad about yourself when you’re doing something nice for someone else. There is also a reciprocal effect.
When you add value to others, they value you more. You get to have more love in your life. That’s the beauty in giving. When you give to others, you benefit. If you want more love in your life, then be more loving to others. If you want more support, be more supportive to others. If you want more understanding, understand others better. It’s really that simple.
Step 4: Always do the right thing.
Since your self-worth is based upon positive habits, actions and decisions, you most definitely want to stay away from the feeling of guilt. You can do this when you make a commitment to always do what’s right, even if it’s difficult. When you feel guilty about something, it harms your self-image and self-esteem.
Conversely, when you do the things that are right, you continue to build character. It's much like the game of Jenga. You are building blocks that constantly elevate your self-image. You become a stronger and more positive person.
Step 5: Take 100 percent responsibility for your life.
If you want to be successful, you will have to lose the “blame-game” mentality. You know what I mean, right? If your relationships aren’t going the way you want, you can’t blame the other person. You have to take full responsibility. If your health isn’t good, you can’t blame anyone. You decided what to eat, so you must take full responsibility. If you are in debt, you can’t blame the economy. You have to take 100 percent responsibility for the financial state you’re in.
I know this isn’t easy, but it’s a must if you want to be successful.This also goes for complaining. When you complain, you are blaming other people. You are the common denominator in your life, so that means you are the cause of all your life experiences. Stop complaining.
If you add two plus two and get five, is it the fault of mathematics? No, it’s you. If you are not getting the results you want in life, it’s not because of something outside yourself -- it’s you. You are the problem, but fortunately, you are the solution as well. So no more lame excuses, ok? If something doesn’t go as planned, ask yourself what you did to create or contribute to the problem. Make it a learning experience and think about how you can avoid it in the future?
The truth is, you either create or allow everything that happens to you. You create it by your actions. You allow it by your inactions, or in other words, your unwillingness to change. When you fully understand this, you will feel empowered to make the changes that need to be made.
Step 6: Decide exactly what you want.
“The world has a habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going." -- Napoleon Hill
In order to attain professional achievement, you must decide what you really want from your life and career. Take a minute to identify what you love doing. What is your passion? Look deep inside yourself to determine what you really enjoy.
It’s simple. All of us have a gift. Determine whatever it is you enjoy doing that takes the least amount of effort. Now write it down. Think back over your past jobs. What have been your most satisfying experiences and your most enjoyable moments? Aim to replicate those feelings as you either embark on a new career or entrepreneurial endeavor.
Remember, you must first accept the responsibility of deciding what you want, then dedicating yourself to becoming the person you need to be in order to get where you want to go.
One technique that many use with great success is visualization. Visualization is the act of seeing yourself where you want to be in X number of years. For instance, in three years, where do you want to be career-wise? What is your ideal job, your ideal salary and your ideal working conditions? Imagine that every job in the world was open to you. What would you enjoy doing day after day? It has often been said that if you find a job that you love to do, you won’t really have to work a day in your life. Find your passion, and this could be true for you too.
Step 7: Get clear on your why.
We often see celebrities who have reached the pinnacle of their industry receiving awards and accolades, but then we see that same celebrity the next day getting arrested. Why the discrepancy? Their focus on succeeding in one area of life created a great imbalance with the other areas. You do not want to be like this. You want balance in every area of your life. Strive for congruency.
Becoming successful is great, but make sure you do not focus all your attention on this. It could be detrimental to your health and relationships with others. Get clear on exactly why you want what you want. Without a purpose, you can easily become lost. Start by figuring out what your core values are.
All companies have clear, written values or mission statements that keep them on course. What is your personal mission statement? Just as companies thrive when they know where they are going, individuals do too. You can improve your personal -- and by extension -- your professional life by deciding what your core values are and not deviating from them.
When you are clear on your "why," the "how" becomes easier to see.
Step 8: Invite pain over for dinner.
“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” -- Michelangelo
Take out a piece a paper and pencil. Draw two dots, one on the far right and the other on the far left. Then draw a line to connect the two dots. The dot on the left represents where you are and the dot on the right represents where you want to be. That long line in the middle represents a gap. How can you bridge this gap?
New knowledge and updated skills is a great place to start. You will have to do something new and different to get to where you want to be. But it won’t be easy -- anything worthwhile never is.
Just look around you. Everything you see began as a thought in someone’s mind. The chair you’re sitting in. The book you’re reading. The car you drive. The clothes you’re wearing. Everything begins with a thought. Then, that thought turned into action. Action is oftentimes accompanied with pain. Why? Because you have to do something different. You have to get out of your comfort zone. You have to have self-discipline.
Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps trained for years to get to the pinnacle of his sport. Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas did too. It wasn’t easy, but they were dedicated and stuck to a rigorous training schedule every day.
If you want similar results in your professional life, you have to be willing to put in the time. If you really want to be successful in life, you have to be willing to suffer a little pain in the process. But the great thing about pain is that it’s only temporary, but the benefits can last a lifetime.
Step 9: Think your way to success.
“All that a man achieves or fails to achieve is the direct result of his thoughts.” -- James Allen
In his book, Make Today Count, author John Maxwell list 11 ways of thinking. The one I want to discuss with you is number seven on his list -- reflective thinking.
Reflective thinking is the ability to revisit the past in order to gain a true perspective and think with understanding. This is important because reflection can help you achieve better results. I love to write, so I have written down the obstacles I faced and correspondingly, the lessons I’ve learned from those challenges. It was only by reflecting that I was able to grow as a person. I saw where I needed to improve my character, and I made the needed changes. As a result, I was able to land my dream job for the federal government in 2009. Had I not reflected, I might still be in that other job today.
Reflection allows difficult experiences to be our teachers. If we reflect on lessons learned, we not only live a better life, but are able to implement changes to ensure we don't repeat that same experience again. And once you have learned the lesson, you are in a better position to be able to spare someone else those hard life lessons by mentoring others with the wisdom you’ve gained.