The secret ingredients of success.
Recently the BBC published 10 top tips from a range of prominent people on how to be successful. Here are some reflections about how these can be applied to our own aspirations:
Tip 1: “Develop a thick skin and just keep going” Tony Gilroy, Screenwriter.
There is probably no such thing as a successful person who hasn’t suffered a series of knocks and rejections. For most of us rejection can be incredibly hard to take; it challenges your sense of self-worth and justification for doing what you’re doing, and makes it easy to succumb to the temptation to give up. The main thing is to establish and keep focused on your goal and take all the steps necessary to achieve it (and that includes the potholes!) And if things really don’t seem to be working out, have the flexibility to try a different path.
Tip 2: “Use your own life as material” PD James, Crime Writer.
Whatever you have a desire to succeed in, life experience is a precious thing. Forget the negative implications attached to age: whatever stage in life you’re at, wisdom is the key! Drawing on past experiences resourcefully informs our evolving experience of the world. Apply yours well to the area you want to succeed in, and you have a very strong chance of being successful!
Tip 3: “You’ve got to be able to get on with people and you’ve got to be interested in them” Jason Bell, Photographer.
Unless your route to success is going to entail living in a remote Siberian retreat, this has to be a vital piece of advice! The ability to create rapport with anyone you come into contact with is the key to every successful interaction. Hardly anyone becomes successful in life without the relationships, encouragement, support and validation they get from others. And where rapport doesn’t necessarily mean being ‘best mates’ with someone, it certainly means endeavouring to create a climate of mutual respect with whoever you come into contact with.
Tip 4: “Don’t set out to do something you’re not absolutely passionate about!” Emma Bridgwater, Ceramics Designer.
It's surprising how many of us spend significant amounts of our lives trying to be successful in areas we simply don’t care that much about! Similarly, others endure huge challenges and sweeping changes in their choice of career, with passion being the main thing driving them forward. If you want to be successful, consider first how passionate you are for what you do! This really does help to ensure that when the inevitable challenges loom, you’re able to sustain the grit, staying power and motivation needed to hang in there.
Tip 5: “Make little excursions outside your comfort zone.” Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor.
As hard as it can be to do, breaking down your comfort zone boundaries is vital to making progress towards your desired outcome. So many people have ideas of things they would love to do, which they procrastinate over largely because of the fear of the unknown. But this resistance to change can lead to regret and even stagnation, and what used to be comfortable feels anything but. So start getting accustomed to pushing your comfort zone outwards; you'll be amazed at the greater possibilities that will start to lie before you. Mundane suddenly transforms into EXCITING!
Tip 6: “You have to be a friendly person…someone who is willing to suck up a little bit to people”. Sophie Bevan, Opera Singer.
In a climate where in many workplaces, people are living in fear of speaking up and raising their head above the parapet, ‘sucking up’ is something we seem to be spending far too much time doing. The main thing is to set boundaries: being prepared to say ‘yes’, but not at the expense of being taken advantage of; being able to negotiate and decide how much you can compromise, without losing sight of your main goal.
Tip 7: “Books aren’t burgers…they shouldn’t be rushed.” Nick Spalding, Self-published Author.
We live in a society of fast food, fast tracking and technology at our fingertips guaranteeing immediate results; a culture of instant gratification. True success however, is about being in it for the long game; something that happens over time and requires trial and error, perseverance …and a hell of a lot of patience!
Tip 8: “When you go through disastrous times, you really draw on your inner strength.” Lauren Cuthbertson, Principal Ballerina.
Challenging times happen to all of us at some point: huge shifts in our personal and professional lives can be destabilising and frightening. However, people can acquire incredible strength and wake-up calls at such times, which can actually unearth an inner tenacity we never knew we had.
Tip 9: “Marry someone understanding.” Willemijn Vertaik, Star of ‘Wicked’.
Married, single…it doesn’t necessarily matter. The main thing is to surround yourself with people who love, support and champion you! It is really important to have people around who you can connect with, who will help you feel motivated and support you through the rocky periods; and who will share and celebrate your success when it comes. Of course there will always be plenty of non-believers too; and if you can’t ditch them altogether, limiting the time spent in their company will ensure you stay on the track that YOU want to be on.
Tip 10: “Learn to switch off.” Trish Halpin, Magazine Editor.
However hard you are working, however much it means to you…don’t become chained to your laptop. Balance the single-minded focus by also taking time out for yourself. This not only gives you greater resources to handle the inevitable stress points of your working life, but crucially enables a much needed regular distanced perspective on the progress you are making towards that all important pursuit of SUCCESS!