There’s No Shortcut to Success

There is no elevator to success

There’s no such factor as in a single day success. It’s important to put within the effort and laborious work, and it doesn’t harm to have some luck and good timing in your aspect.

“There isn’t any elevator to success. It’s important to take the steps.” -Zig Ziglar

Jackie Hermes (Founder & CEO of Accelity, an organization serving to B2B SaaS startups and scaleups develop with buyer acquisition & lead technology) stated on her podcast (The Artwork of Entrepreneurship) that success requires 4 issues: 1) a sensible plan, 2) the dedication to work laborious, 3) consistency, and 4) endurance.

I agree. However, let’s take it a couple of steps additional.

Image a cover tent. The 4 tent poles advised by Jackie (have a plan, work laborious, be constant, and have endurance) present help for the tent high overlaying (which is the place a hit definition resides). Thus, along with having the 4 tent poles, I might add that we’d like to consider our success cover (the highest overlaying), and we have to outline what success is and what it’s not.

Steve Nguyen’s Definition of Success:

Success is just not about being well-known, influential, highly effective, or rich. It’s not about having materials possessions or spectacular job titles or noteworthy accolades. Success is just not about monetary wealth, though it does imply having monetary stability like having the ability to care for your month-to-month payments, setting apart cash for retirement, and overlaying emergencies.

Success is about discovering pleasure, satisfaction, that means, and contentment in your life. Success means you might be at a spot in your life — financially, mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually — the place you are feeling secure, safe, liked, and at peace since you don’t really feel the necessity to evaluate or compete with anybody. Success is when you possibly can lastly and actually say, “I’m proud of my life and there’s nothing anybody else has that I would like as a result of I’m content material.”

In his e book, Happiness at Work (2010), Srikumar Rao wrote:

“The overwhelming majority of individuals are not pleased. Even those that appear to have all of it — nice profession success, monetary prosperity, a picture-perfect partner and achieved kids, a sterling popularity — are usually not pleased. They aren’t brimming with pleasure. Anxiousness is a frequent and unwelcome visitor of their lives. There’s at all times an undercurrent of stress, and it overwhelms all of them too typically” (p. 70).

I’ve typically witnessed this actual unhappiness state of affairs (that Rao described) with individuals in my life and I at all times discover it so unhappy that they’ve a lot on the outdoors (materials wealth) however but missing a lot on the inside (happiness, peace, enjoyment, contentment, satisfaction).

Thus, my definition of success is predicated on this context and is derived out of this lived expertise. And it’s the motive why I don’t outline success when it comes to solely monetary wealth.

“The happiest individuals on the planet are individuals who love what they’re doing, no matter whether or not wealth, fame, energy, and elevated social standing ever come their means. Essentially the most fulfilled individuals are people who delight of their work, no matter it is perhaps, and try to do it properly. They’re individuals who derive rewards from the intrinsic enjoyment of what they’re contributing to life, come what might. And they’re individuals who relish the problem to pursue excellence of their actions, in addition to in themselves. The individuals who attain true success of their lives are individuals who take pleasure in a very good measure of each achievement and happiness as they make investments themselves in worthwhile pursuits” (Morris, 1994, p. 32-33).

For me, reaching my success (based mostly alone definition of success) meant that I wanted to first “personal it” after which to “work at it” continually and constantly. “Proudly owning” my success meant that I wanted to hearken to my intestine and my coronary heart and go after what I had at all times needed. For a few years, what I needed was journey, pleasure, and one thing totally different from my life in Dallas, Texas. In 2004, I took a job working for a faculty system over 7,000 away on a tropical island referred to as Saipan, a profession determination that finally modified not solely my profession but in addition my life (Nguyen, 2021).

Making that call and taking that plunge was one of many SCARIEST and BEST selections of my life! That job led me to disaster coaching, which finally helped me to make a profession pivot into management & expertise growth and studying & growth, the area inside which I work at the moment.

Individuals who don’t know my story would possibly assume that I by some means grew to become an “in a single day success.” Nonetheless, my in a single day success took over a decade plus one other decade previous to that (which included a number of profession pivots). All complete, I grew to become an in a single day success after greater than 20 years of confusion, complications, heartaches, laborious work, sweat, failures, disappointments, fears and tears, dedication, and luck.

What I’ve discovered and proceed to be taught is that we MUST at all times be adaptable, to not solely develop however to outlive. The outdated outdated mentality of getting just one lifelong job working for a secure, worthwhile firm and retiring with a full pension now not exists. The brand new VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world of labor requires us to continually pivot to make sure that (a) we have now the data and expertise to stay related, (b) we have interaction in job crafting, and for some individuals (c) begin a “aspect hustle.”

Sadly, there are some very clever and succesful professionals who proceed to languish and stagnate of their careers, or who’ve been made redundant, as a result of they had been both unable or unwilling to be versatile and adaptable to shift their considering and purchase new skillsets to permit them to regulate to the calls for of a brand new world of labor. The brand new VUCA world calls for and favors those that are daring & prepared to take dangers, who’re at all times studying & rising, and who’re adaptable.

Together with including a hit definition (the tent high) to Jackie’s 4 success components (the 4 tent poles), I need to additional prolong our tent metaphor by introducing 4 tent “stakes” to floor our tent. These stakes are: (1) being adaptable to alter, and (2) being open to studying. These two parts assist to make sure that you not solely change into profitable, however that you simply stay profitable. As well as, and maybe surprisingly, I’m additionally together with two different, typically ignored however vital, stakes to the combination. They’re (3) luck and (4) good timing.

(1) Problem Adapting to Change
Certainly, based on Compass (2017), a training and growth information from the Heart for Artistic Management (CCL), one of many essential profession derailers is “Problem Adapting to Change” (can’t modify to, be taught from, and embrace change as vital for future success).

Those that are unable (or unwilling) to just accept, embrace, and champion change (Scisco, Biech, & Hallenbeck, 2017):

• are intimidated by change or problem
• don’t see the necessity to change with a view to keep related
• don’t consider they should be taught and develop

(2) Blocked Private Learner
An individual is a “blocked private learner” if she or he (Barnfield & Lombardo, 2014):

• Is closed to studying new private, interpersonal, managerial, and management expertise, approaches, and ways.
• Prefers to remain the identical, even when confronted with new & totally different challenges.
• Is slender in pursuits and scope.
• Doesn’t search enter.
• Lacks curiosity.
• Just isn’t insightful about him/herself.

Why a Particular person Is a Blocked Private Learner (Barnfield & Lombardo, 2014):

• Hangs on, hoping to make it with out altering.
• Low danger taker.
• Slim in scope and pursuits.
• Not open to new approaches.
• Prefers the tried and true.
• Self-learning/growth curiosity is low.

“The underside line is, those that be taught, develop, and alter repeatedly throughout their careers are essentially the most profitable. The talents somebody has now are unlikely to be sufficient sooner or later. Buying new expertise is the easiest way to navigate an unsure future. . . . You look to develop from expertise. Search out suggestions and are open to what you hear. Problem your self in unfamiliar settings. Check out new expertise. Study from others. . . . Improvement is a private dedication. You make the selection” (Barnfield & Lombardo, 2014, p. 355).

I share the following tips not to counsel that I’m by some means excellent or infallible or that I do know every little thing or have issues all found out. Quite the opposite, I share these based mostly on my experiences of failing numerous occasions. My hope is that by studying from my errors and heeding my warnings that you’ll keep away from a number of the pitfalls that befell me.

There’s one final twin element of success I want to share — that many individuals (particularly in Western societies) attribute to laborious work and sheer dedication — which is luck and good timing.

(3) Luck and (4) Good Timing
In his e book, Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), Malcolm Gladwell revealed that two of the secrets and techniques to success are luck and good timing!

“Invoice Gates’s first nice alternative was a convergence of wealth, privilege, and extraordinary success and timing: he had quick access to a pc within the Sixties, a long time earlier than computer systems grew to become mainstream. This stroke of fine luck and timing gave Gates the chance to change into an knowledgeable at laptop programming properly forward of his time, which later put him within the excellent place to begin Microsoft on the daybreak of the private laptop revolution” (Winner, 2015, Evaluation para. 9).

What number of youngsters on the planet had the sort of luck, alternative, and expertise that Invoice Gates had? (Gladwell, 2008). Not many! In actual fact, Gates stated he can be shocked if there have been even 50 on the planet who had the sort of expertise he had (Gladwell, 2008). As Gates, himself, acknowledged: “I used to be very fortunate” (Gladwell, 2008, p. 55). “I had a greater publicity to software program growth at a younger age than I believe anybody did in that time frame, and all due to an extremely fortunate sequence of occasions” (Gladwell, 2008, p. 55).

“That doesn’t imply Invoice Gates isn’t good or a unprecedented entre­preneur. It simply signifies that he understands what unimaginable success (luck)” he had (Gladwell, 2008, p. 55). “For Invoice Gates, the fortunate break was being born on the proper time and getting the reward of a pc terminal in junior excessive” (Gladwell, 2008, p. 267). Gladwell discovered that “most of the most profitable entrepreneurs of the pc age had been born in or round 1955, putting them on the proper time (and on the proper age) to journey the wave of the private laptop revolution” (Winner, 2015, para. 1).

Let’s return to my very own story and the way luck and good timing each performed key roles in serving to me to pivot in my profession. If I had not been sad and stressed with my life and profession path, my third “crystallization of discontent” second in 2003 (Nguyen, 2021), and if that job place within the college system within the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) had not *nonetheless* been accessible on the finish of 2003 (as a result of I initially turned down the position) and had the timing not been proper to launch a disaster intervention coaching workshop (Nguyen, 2011) whereas I used to be there in Saipan, Rota, and Tinian from 2004 to 2007, then issues might need turned out very in another way for me.

There’s little doubt in my thoughts that luck, alternative, and expertise throughout my years within the Northern Mariana Islands converged to offer me with the life views and work experiences vital to start my profession transition from psychological well being counseling to industrial and organizational psychology (I-O psychology) and management & expertise growth (Nguyen, 2021).

However lengthy earlier than that, as a son to a Vietnamese doctor father (who was first an otolaryngologist, an ear, nostril, and throat [ENT] physician, in Vietnam and later a psychiatrist in america), I vastly and thankfully benefited from receiving a bachelor diploma from Baylor College and a grasp diploma from Texas Girl’s College (because of my household’s monetary help). I might later obtain a doctorate diploma from Capella College in 2013 (motivated, partially, by my father’s lifelong emphasis of upper schooling).

Was I fortunate to be born right into a household with the monetary means to ship me off to school right here in america? Undoubtedly. Was I fortunate to have a household, and particularly a dad, that emphasised the significance & relevance of a faculty diploma (past a bachelor’s)? Unquestionably. Was it success (luck) and good timing that I ended up within the position within the college system within the Northern Mariana Islands the place I used to be in a position to launch a disaster intervention workshop? You betcha!

In abstract, my standards for fulfillment embrace: (1) a sensible plan, (2) the dedication to work laborious, (3) consistency, (4) endurance, (5) being adaptable to alter, (6) being open to studying, (7) luck, (8) good timing, and (9) definition of what success means.

Takeaway: There isn’t any shortcut to success. There by no means was a shortcut. It’s important to take it one step at a time. Reaching “success” takes time. Generally, it takes a couple of years. Different occasions, it takes a couple of a long time. No matter aim you got down to obtain, make certain that you (1) have a stable plan; (2) put within the laborious work, (3) are constant, (4) are affected person, (5) are adaptable, (6) are open to studying & enhancing, (7 & 8) perceive & acknowledge the position that luck and good timing play, and (9) outline what success means to you & what success seems to be like.

“If you happen to can’t discover peace inside your self, you’ll by no means discover it anyplace else.” -Marvin Gaye

Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.
Management & Expertise Improvement Marketing consultant


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Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The Story of Success. Little, Brown and Firm.

Hermes, J. (2021). The Artwork Of Entrepreneurship (Episode 17: What are the important thing components to success?).

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Nguyen, S. (2014, July 26). I Will Train My Daughter To not Be Afraid. https://workplacepsychology.internet/2014/07/26/i-will-teach-my-daughter-not-to-be-afraid/

Nguyen, S. (2021, January 26). I Felt the Worry and Did It Anyway – The Danger I Took to Blossom. https://workplacepsychology.internet/2021/01/26/i-felt-the-fear-and-did-it-anyway-the-risk-i-took-to-blossom/

Nguyen, S. (2021, April 26). Self-Perception Is Sparked by “Crystallization of Discontent” Moments. https://workplacepsychology.internet/2021/04/26/self-insight-is-sparked-by-crystallization-of-discontent-moments/

Rao, S. S. (2010). Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated, and Profitable – No Matter What. McGraw-Hill.

Scisco, P., Biech, E., & Hallenbeck, G. (2017). Compass: Your Information for Management Improvement and Teaching. Heart for Artistic Management Press.

Winner, Ok. (2015, July 21). Outliers. LitCharts, LLC.

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