I was doing a 10 session seminar about ‘Success’.  During the course we were looking at the ‘paradigm’ of success as we knew it, so that we could create something in the future, much more powerful.

So what is a paradigm?

‘a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model:society’s paradigm of the ‘ideal woman’

a world view underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject:the discovery of universal gravitation became the paradigm of successful science ‘. Oxford Dictionary

and what is ‘success’?

‘The accomplishment of an aim or purpose:

the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status

a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth etc’. Oxford dictionary

The problem with ‘success’ is that it isn’t something that you can ever really have, because it isn’t something tangible.  The moment someone achieves their goal, there is usually a sense that they need to set another one to stay ‘successful’.  ‘Success’ means different things in different cultures too; from selling number 1 singles, to having more goats than someone else.

If you are playing the ‘success’ game you have to keep ‘winning’, you can’t sit back otherwise you might be a ‘loser’.  If you decide to not play the game at all, it is highly likely it’s because you don’t want to ‘fail’, or that part of you already feels some sense of ‘failure’.  A bit like a hamster on a wheel, most people are trying to ‘prove themselves’ but it’s a thankless task because it’s never ending.  There is little time spent celebrating (if any) and more time planning ‘what’s next’!  It’s like being a machine.

So what’s the answer?  Notice ‘your machinery’.  Acknowledge when you are comparing yourself to others or you feel that you, or your life ‘isn’t enough’. In every moment most of us are doing our very best with the resources we have aren’t we? That’s all we can do.  Focus on being in the moment and giving your attention to what you are doing, rather than what you are not doing.  There are many possible ways of doing things, but why not be a ‘success’ at being you?

Being ‘effective’ is really useful.  Managing your time effectively can really make a difference to your experience of life.

Below are some useful pointers from Stephen Covey on developing effective habits. Habits become 2nd nature only by practicing them over and over again.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R Covey

Independence or Self-Mastery

The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e. self mastery):

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Synopsis: Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the subsequent consequences that follow.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Synopsis: Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Synopsis: Plan, prioritize, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships that were elaborated in Habit 2.


The next three have to do with Interdependence (i.e. working with others):

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Synopsis: Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Synopsis: Use empathetic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.

Habit 6: Synergize

Synopsis: Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. Get the best performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.

Self Renewal

The Last habit relates to self-rejuvenation:

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Synopsis: Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle.

What’s your definition of Success?  I ‘d love to know, so please leave a comment.

Speak soon …..