7 Essentials to Pack for Your Journey of Success

Packed for Success

Have you ever wondered: “If success is a journey, have I taken a detour?

  • Is your intention to be a success?
  • Are you frustrated with your progress?
  • Do you believe that you, your team, or your organization still have untapped potential?
  • Do you feel that, perhaps, something vital is missing?

If you answered, “Yes” to one or all of these, then welcome to the club. Many people, teams and organizations are intent on achieving peak performance, fulfilling their potential and achieving “success.”

Perhaps, like me, you have heard the expression, “Success is a journey not a destination?” If that is true then you need to know two things up front. First is what’s your definition of success and, second, what to pack?

Your Definition of Success

QuestionsAccording to Collins Dictionary success is the achievement of something attempted; the attainment of wealth, fame or position; a person or thing that is successful.

Note, however, that these are general definitions. A key question to now ask is,

What is your definition of success specifically?

Whether you apply this to yourself, your team, your department or your organization, success will likely be defined differently. Why? Because the context will vary by role, experience, situation, market, sector etc.

Now before you go off and compare yourself to others and how they are doing with respect to being a success (and don’t say you haven’t done this before) keep in mind that your experience, context and definition will be unique to you. You cannot truly compare apples with oranges, can you?

Apples & Oranges

I am sure you have also heard others, or even yourself, state, “When I am successful, I will…” Right? Well, take stock. Compared to most of the world you are way ahead already. If success is a journey which everyone in the world is travelling, you are further along than most.

Instead of looking ahead and comparing yourself to those ahead of you (when you do this you are running the risk of having a lose:win perspective); look back occasionally and take some encouragement from just how far you have already travelled in relation to the majority.

Everyone deserves to be a success by their own definition. A true win:win perspective. Everyone has that potential.

Just make sure you get clear on what success means to you. What does it look like, think like, feel like and behave like? With that clarity you then have a personal standard with which to compare yourself.

Okay. Now that you have defined success you need to ask

What do you need to “pack”?

Your Packing List

What's in your Bag?

Generally, it is said that we spend a lot of time, likely more time, planning a holiday than we do our own lives; our own success. Sad but, too often, true.

Keeping in mind a holiday, depending on your journey, where you are going will determine exactly what you need to pack. However, there will be some items on your packing list that are essential along the way. For a holiday that may well be passports, tickets, money, toiletries, directions, a change of underwear etc.

Regardless of your Journey of Success there are at least 7 essentials you will need to pack. They are key attributes which every successful person, team or organization have. Have all 7 and the odds are stacked in your favour you will know success. You will fulfil your definition.

Pack These!

Item #1

Where Are You Headed?

To ensure you stay on the right track for your success you need a strong and clear Vision.

Without a clear vision how do you know where you are headed?

A clear vision will keep you on the right route.

Item #2


To ensure others will help you be a success you need to be abounding in Passion. Passion is contagious. You need to spread it so that others along the way will help you along your journey.

Who are those others? Well, a solopreneur needs suppliers and clients. A team or organisation needs everyone to work synergistically – employees and other stakeholders.

Item #3

Try It!

To definitely help you maintain momentum on your success journey you need Commitment.

That commitment must be absolute.

“Try” is not an option. “Try” gives you an opt-out clause. Just do.

Item #4


To continue to grow and to progress your journey you must be prepared to Change and Learn.

Change is inevitable; growth is optional.

For you to travel along your journey you must embrace change. Then and only then will you grow to your potential and reach your destination as the success you are meant to be.

Item #5

Scratchy Heady

To prevent a traffic jam, slow down or a detour on your journey you must be Decisive.

Missed opportunities are often the result of indecision or procrastination. The more decisive you become the better decisions you will make. You will be fine-tuning your intuition and decision-making.

Item #6

Fast Track

To know the success others enjoy you must take Action. Once a decision is made act on it.

Speed is often of the essence. It keeps you ahead on the journey and, keeping your vision in view, it keeps you moving in the right direction.

To get to where you are going you need to move. Just ask Usain Bolt.

Item #7

Big Dog

To keep going when things get tough or don’t go the way you planned you need to have Fun.

When you are doing what you are passionate about, fun should be synonymous – even when things get tough. It keeps things in perspective and when we are having fun, solutions and answers come easier because we are operating from a place of positive energy. Like attracts like.

So… Pack all seven. These will catalyse your success and further your journey.

Regardless if you are an individual, team or organization, if you do not have these and/or you do not have these items “packed” in strength then you now know at least what’s missing.

In conclusion consider this. Success is the journey of a lifetime – yours. So what’s your definition? Make the most of it. What are you going to pack? Pack right. Have fun. Enjoy the journey.

Dr Richard Norris MBA
is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813

For more detail on these 7 items and how to build a simple, practical and effective action plan for your success (and some added bonuses) check out Amazon 5th October for Hoof it! 7 Lessons on Your Journey of Success. http://amzn.to/9gXP8v

Copyright 2010

So, You Think You Can Motivate?

So, You Think You Can Motivate?

  • Do you, your team, or your organization need to overcome obstacles and deliver results?
  • Perhaps, are you having issues motivating your team? Or even yourself?
  • Do  you need to know how to find those elusive “hot buttons” that ignite people into action?

Until a few years ago, I would have answered “Yes” to all of these. Then one day I had an epiphany.

I cannot motivate anyone! Nor can you! It is impossible!

Yep. You heard me. You cannot motivate anyone. Well, except yourself.


Motivation vs. Inspiration

On Motivation…

Motivation is very personal and comes from within us.  Let’s look at the definition.

Motivation - mo·ti·va·tion n: the reason or reasons behind one’s actions or behaviour (Oxford Dictionary)

Whether it is the primal drivers for food and perpetuation of the species (as in migrating salmon,) or you simply want to provide for your family, the reason motivates you. There may be external factors, but the driver comes from within.

On Inspiration…

Now what you can do is inspire others. Inspiration is initiated externally. At its root, inspire relates to “breathing in”. Oxford Dictionary defines inspiration as:

Inspiration - in·spi·ra·tion n: The process or quality of being inspired; a person or thing that inspires.

That is we must breathe it into ourselves first. Breathe in the inspiration and then use it, as the body uses oxygen, to help us to live and wilfully act upon our surroundings.

Inspiration precedes motivation.  You need to be inspired and motivated to inspire others to become motivated.

“I have a dream!”

No matter the audience, when I have asked for a show of hands those who could tell me exactly what motivates the people around them at work, rest or play, there has been very few or no hands up. A sad testimony don’t you think. No wonder there is such a chronic need today for effective leadership development!

Now think of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. He inspired a movement that was motivated to bring about cultural change.  That inspiration came about because Dr King connected with his audience. He connected with them at an emotional and spiritual level.

Martin Luther King passionately told people  ‘I have a dream!’ He did say ‘I have a plan!‘” ~ Simon Sinek

He was giving them the vision that inspired them. The intention was to pass them the baton to make it happen.  As leaders know, or most of them anyway, they cannot deliver the vision on their own. They need help.

Share the Dream

So, for you to motivate another, you must first share the dream. Communicate it clearly, consistently, constantly and creatively.

Next, help your motivatees to understand their purpose as it relates to achieving the dream, goal or target. Help them to connect with it so they understand their part and how meaningful their part is in the achievement.

Help them T.E.A.M U.P.

Together Everyone Achieves More Understanding Purpose.

Key Questions

Here is a question worthy of some significant consideration. Ask yourself. Ask your team.

If we do this in sport, why do we not tend to do it in business or even at home?

Your role is to understand your purpose. It is also to help your motivatees to identify their purpose and how their role fits into the inspiring bigger picture. Do this and motivation is beginning to take form.

As the late Jim Rohn said, “When the why gets strong, the how becomes easy.”

First Steps

Now you might be asking how do you help your motivatees discover their purpose? Everyone is born with a purpose. It is hard-wired into their DNA. Everyone has strengths and gifts that will support that purpose. Regrettably, most people never discover their purpose, gifts, or strengths. There are some great ways to dig deep, but here are some first steps to get going.

Another couple of simple clarifying questions to ask them are:

What comes easy to you?

What’s your dream?

These answers will begin to enlighten you (and hopefully them) as to what those “hot buttons” might be.

Now there is a piece missing. Do the following and you and everyone else nearby will know what the “hot buttons” are.

  1. Once completed, request that your motivatee then obtain a picture that represents each respective Personal Goal and post it where they (and you et al) can see it easily and frequently e.g. a photo next to their phone, computer or car sun visor or an image on their iPhone or as a screensaver. This provides a constant reminder of “Why” they are truly there – for them and for you and for the rest of the team.
  2. Now, as and when required, you can hit their “hot button” and reinforce their motivators. Ask a question like, “So, how are you getting on to attaining that dream holiday?” to reconnect them with their purpose. Or comment, “Now that you have made this project so profitable, congratulations on your raise! Now you will have the down payment for that house.” You get the idea.

No Excuses

So now are you motivated? Go get some coffee, carve out some time, sit down and start working on inspiring others. Ask “Why?” “What?” “Who?” Ignite yourself. Then ignite the team. You will be glad you did. Oh…And please let me know how you get on.

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Dr Richard Norris MBA is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
Email | Linkedin | Twitter | Web | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813

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Professional or People Development?

In a tough economy, now is the time to develop your people. It is your best hedge against competitive forces. It is also the key to rebounding your bottom line. So if you decide to go forward with something like this, what is your people development strategy? Notice that I said people development and not professional development. Professional development sees a person in only one dimension – their job.

People development looks at that same person as a whole – a sum of specific roles.

Think about that important person down the hall. Along with being a great Marketing Vice President, she is also a mother, partner, tennis team captain, PTA and Brownie leader. Focusing on her job role and ignoring the other roles she actively plays jeopardizes the individual, the team and their combined organizational performance. It short changes people. It leads to animosity. It leads to poor communication pathways and it also adversely impacts staff retention, costs, profits etc.

People come to work with all their roles contained within them. As much as many leaders would prefer, they do not “check them at the door.”

For some, those roles bring with them issues, challenges and distractions. These can adversely affect performance not only for the individual but also across the organization. As messy as people are, they are still people. If you accept them as someone on the team, you simply need to respect the whole package as it comes.

Every professional you ever knew is a person first. They simply come that way.

To develop your people to their fullest potential and thereby enhance their performance and maximize your ROI, your strategy for growing them must be holistic with a role-specific approach. It must encompass the 4 Concepts of People Development:

The Big Picture

Raise the importance of having a role-specific Big Picture and how it is applied in terms of individual, team and company development.

Peak Performance

Identify what peak performance looks like, thinks like, feels like and behaves like. Establish what Competence, Commitment and the ability to Communicate is required and how that is orchestrated by what and how we think.

The Path to Peak Performance

Establish where your organization is on your path. Determine what is holding you back and what needs to be done to overcome those hindrances. Only then can the Peak Performance concept be fully applied.

The 4 Phases of Role-Specific Development

Establish an awareness of the phases you develop through. These go from Hope to Belief to Knowing to Mystery. Establish where you are as an organization right now and where you need to develop your people in order to enhance performance and attract and achieve growth and results.

Investing in and implementing these 4 Concepts through your people development strategy will always enhance performance and attract the best people – after all people like to know they are valued.

Additionally, these can also be applied across each person’s life roles so you also create sustainable synergy across all roles. A further key benefit is that you also gain market share over your competition because you value your greatest asset – your people –  who are to be protected and invested in to ensure the greatest return.

So what are you going to do about your people development? How are you going to create lasting value across your organization through your people? How will you apply the 4 Concepts of People Development? When are you going to get started? Your future depends on it!

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Dr Richard Norris MBA is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
Email | Linkedin | Twitter | Web | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813

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Time Flies:Time Soars

Could you do with managing your time better? Would you like to be more productive and set and lead a great example based on how you are managing your time? Would you like the people around you to respect your time and make better use of theirs?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then, the solution is:

7 minutes.

The true value of those 7 minutes manifests when you use them effectively and efficiently in all the relationships you have in your life – at work, rest or play.

Time Flies

Time is a funny thing. It can seem to fly by and as such you do not truly catch the value of it. It is something that must be seen as a true investment. Therefore, you must expect a return. If you are not getting a return then you are likely either viewing it as an expendable resource or something that you cannot control.

Many people talk about how they “spend” their time – working, sleeping, watching TV etc. Their perception is therefore that it is a commodity used in a transaction. Psychologically, they do not perceive it as the asset and investment it is. Effectively, they are not expecting a return. You end up spending your time like you spend your money.

Is this you?

Do you ever say to yourself, “I wish I had more time?”


Do you ever say to your “boss, “I need more time?”


Do you ever say to your family, “I wish I could spend more time with you?” And then tell them about all your commitments.

If you are like me, then you answered, “Yes” to all those. If so, your perspective of time is likely skewed in the wrong direction.

Here’s why. You cannot control or manage time!

There is a plethora of time management courses out there. Most of them are helpful. I would suggest they change their name to self-management courses. You cannot manage time (in case you missed it the first time!).

Let me illustrate. If I were to give you my watch and said please manage my time, could you do it? No. Time passes whether we like it or not. It is what we do with it and how that is important. This derives from our self-management and the decisions we make and the actions we take with respect to our time.

So how do you manage yourself and therefore get a return on the time you are investing (not spending)?

Time Soars

This is where the 7 minutes comes in. In truth it is actually not just 7 minutes. It is the first 7 minutes in every engagement that will predominantly determine your outcome.

Regardless if it is a task, a meeting or when you first return home to your family, the first 7 minutes are crucial.


Before you begin your day, before you begin a task, give the first 7 minutes as if they are the most important. Use them to prioritize and identify the outcomes you desire for tasks and for the day. This aligns very nicely to ending your day with 7 minutes to plan what you will do the next day giving your mind space to clear out some noise and process subconsciously so it is prepared for the work ahead the next day. You will be surprised at the clarity this provides.

Same thing at the beginning of the day – commit those first 7 minutes to refining your plan for the day and the outcomes you desire. Do this and things wonderfully begin to flow better and you approach things in a more centred way.


As with Tasks, invest the first 7 minutes of your day or work day, depending on what works best, find a quiet place or create a quiet space and just invest that time meditating on your life, your goals, your dreams, your vision.

To give yourself that extra boost, do it at the end of your day too – just 7 minutes.


At team or 1-2-1 meetings give them your best, at least, for the first 7 minutes. That is, be focused and interested in them first. Listen. Ask questions relative to what they are saying. As a cardinal rule for networking states, ‘Be interested before being interesting’. People will value you for it. You will be adding significant deposits into their Emotional Bank Accounts. That way, when you need to ask something of them, you are working from a healthy balance rather than one that is overdrawn.

Friends & Family

This is where the “First 7 minute Rule” really rocks.

Like me, you may bring your work home with you. Like me, you may often be so consumed with your issues that you neglect to consider that your family may have their own.

Well I should say, I used to. Now when my kids wake up and when my wife wakes up (I am an early riser – a legacy of 23 years as a competitive swimmer), when I first greet them I do so with a warm smile, open arms and a focus on making their day right from the first moment. The smiles, hugs and kisses are worth it!

Perhaps, most importantly, at day’s end, on the way back home, I ask myself about 7 minutes from home, “How would the best husband and father, act when he comes through the door at home and greets his family?” (Please adapt this to whatever role(s) you are fulfilling).

Not only does this exercise prepare you, it ensures you are in the right relaxed state of mind to maximise that first 7 minutes where you are totally focused on them. Your children can fill you with their excited stories that they are bursting to tell you. Your spouse or partner can off-load their cares and concerns. Remember they don’t necessarily want solutions (a note particularly to those other guys reading this); they just want you to listen.

Do that and you are filling your Emotional Bank Account.

Do that and you will generate massive returns!

Do that and you can far more simply, effectively and consistently then ask them if you can make a phone call or do some work.

Just do it!

Do all of the above and your time will no longer fly; it will soar! Do this and you will create time! Do this and you will have a new lease on life because time is life. So use your 7 minutes wisely and to effect!

Time heals all wounds

Which has been your experience? Time flies or time soars? So which do you owe yourself, your team and your family? What changes are you prepared to make so that time works for you rather irks you?

Dr Richard Norris MBA is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
Email | Linkedin | Twitter | Web | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813

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How should you lead yourself and your organization in this global down economy? Better yet, how should you lead in ANY ecomomy? Even more importantly in economic terms, how should you lead your revenue generating activities to help your organization grow and remain a sustainable and prosperous entity?

Answer: Use corn not bullets!

If we listen to the media, things are apparently tough out there.

If we listen to most other business people, things are apparently tough out there.

If you listen to your friends and family, things are apparently tough out there.

Really?! Then why is it that you can read the Financial Times and watch CNN and read and see reports on businesses that are booming? Sure they may be an counter-cyclical market like infrastructure and be funded by government programs. Then again there are businesses who are even bucking that trend.

Most people would agree that a New Order is is required for the way business goes about things. For the past 10 or so years there has been unprecedented growth in many markets. What has happened is a resetting of the baseline (and it is not finished yet).  A new foundation level must be created to prepare for the next period of growth which, by the way, will happen. It always does. But are you taking the right approach to prepare for it?

A Brave New World

The smart organizations see what is happening as a time of evolution where patience, prudence and wisdom are required with a healthy mix of boldness. They see the market as a boon and are prepared to take advantage of the market situation and the adversity that is hitting their competitors. Now is their time to gain marketshare and exploit the misfortunes of their not-so-bright competition.They have entered the vista of Corn Leadership

The not-so-bright organizations see only problems such as scarcity, tough times, greater competition. Why? They are afraid. They are unprepared, they are panicking and they are stuck in the old paradigm of Bullet Leadership.

What the difference? It is all a matter of perceptions and perspective. Both forms of leadership can best be explained by the behavior of a herd of deer in relation to bullets versus corn.

Stop Firing

Traditional approaches to sales leadership involve “hunting strategies” like cold-calling, mass-mailing, bold-calling and even some networking to name a few.  You will often hear such leaders use the terms, “we are seeking new business” or “we are busy chasing leads” or “we are hunting down new prospects”.

All fairly aggressive terms. All typical of mankind’s wiring from our early days of having to hunt for our food.

So. Think of a herd of deer. Quietly grazing in a sunlit forest glade. Then all of al sudden, “BLAM!”. A rifle shot is herd. Alas! One poor deer is felled. The rest of the herd scatters. Nowhere to be seen. No second shot. Gone.

The hunter, who had spent all night in the cold tracking, waiting and shivering, may have cause to celebrate his or her short-term victory, but the “kill” may only provide food for a week or a month. Then the hunter has to do it all again. The cycle continues with ongoing risk of their being no deer or the season runs out. Time, energy and resources are constantly being stretched all for short-term gains. Highly inefficient in the medium and long-term.

Bullet leaders are selfish. They think predominantly of themselves first and, perhaps, only. They are takers. They operate from a place of scarcity.

Where is the big picture thinking?

Start Sowing

Corn leadership uses “corn strategies” such as referral marketing, networking with a pay it forward approach, contradeals and cocktail or themed soirees to name a few. Corn leaders understand, especially in today’s economy, the importance of thinking as a deer first.

Unlike a hunter who thinks of his or her needs, a corn leader or sower thinks of the deer’s needs.

Deer need to eat. So they go into the forest and start sowing corn in the areas where there is evidence that deer live.  Initially they sow leaving corn strategically for the deer. Then they distance themselves and observe the behaviour of the herd. First one or two deer appear and tentatively sniff and then eat the corn. Then others begin to follow. Soon the whole herd emerges.

By repeating this pattern eventually a time comes to begin to lay a trail of corn. By this time the deer are calm, less wary and more trusting. The herd follows the trail. With patience and the right supply of corn eventually the deer will come and feed from the sower’s hand and the sower can lead the herd into a coral where they can be properly cared for and farmed.

No bullets required – the way of the warrior. Just corn – the way of the farmer.

Corn leaders are selfless. They think predominantly of others first – their clients, their team and beyond. They are givers. They understand “give and you shall receive”. They operate from a place of abundance and understand the law of attraction.

Truth Be Told

Which has been your preference? Bullet leadership or Corn leadership? Which type of leader does your market, your business and your people require today and in the future? What changes are you prepared to make to move beyond survival to thriving?

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Dr Richard Norris MBA is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
Email | Linkedin | Twitter | Web | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813

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Expense Invest

With the world of organizational mangement in a great state of flux, uncertaintly, and upheavel because of global economic conditions, many new questions are surfacing to help people get their bearings. One key question doing the rounds is this one:

“Do you think that companies will invest in their people development training in 2009?”

Hmm? Great question! And some interesting answers come up. Some  individuals tend to think that “people” in organizations are simply necessary expenses on the spreadsheet that somehow take from the bottom line in an unfortunate manner. And investing in them is like throwing money down the drain. While others take the opposite view that people are the most valuable resource within an organization and feel that investing money in training them is wise.

Smart organizations see now as a time of evolution and, whilst they might have to have “right-sizing” take place to reduce head count, they realize, as an announcer on BBC Radio said the other week,

“For those companies who have people left, they had better be prepared to invest in their people because those are the indivduals that will be leading the revival of their organizations!”

Less smart organizations (in other circles they may be referred to as stupid), people development comes under the tab of “training.”  Most organizations have seemingly reacted to the current market conditions and have reduced or completely abolished all training.  In their eyes “training” is an “expense.” Their reaction indicates that they weren’t actually expecting a return from the training.


Training and development of your people is an investment. Pure and simple.

If your organization does not see that training is an investment, then the likelihood of this reasoning is that your organization is probably making people redundant. And now they find themselves in the uncomfortable position of scratching their heads as to how to “survive.”


I was a statistic from the post-9/11 economic slide where I lost my new job as a behavioural and motivational change consultant before I even started. Why? Companies shut down their training & consultancy budgets out of fear and no real forward planning.

The current market is similar and from that experience, some research and what I know, the companies who will invest in their people in the downturn will be better prepared ahead of their competition who do not invest in their people. The result will be the preparedness and ability to take away market share from the competition and position themselves more effectively as market leaders.

What organization does not want more market share and trounce the competition?


Historically, most recessions last 11 months on average. Whilst this one may be slightly longer, think on this. If your organisation sheds jobs and shuts down training because things are “tough” and you are reacting to market forces (or perhaps over-reacting) it highlights a few things:

1. Likely your original business model and plan were incomplete or not fully comprehensive or at least inefficient. When things “appear” abundant people, teams and organizations can get complacent because they do not question the status quo.

2. You paid out on redundancies rather than put people on reduced pay and kept them upskilled in preparation for the turn. I believe some people would value still having a job on reduced pay than no job at all.

3. When the market turns you will be so far behind and be even more cash-strapped because you will not be able to find the money to invest in training because you will be investing it in recruiting – even recruiting some of the people you shed previously

The economy needs proactive, leading businesses to turn the corner. Not businesses who are reactive and collude that the market is tough. Sure it is a little bit more challenging but that is what creates opportunity. Seek out those organisations who are passionate about their people because they realise they are their most important asset. Assets are to be protected and invested in to ensure the greatest return.

For your future and that of your people, stop the “expense” and start to “invest”. Your future depends on it!

Without investment how can one expect growth? So what are you doing about it? What investment are you prepared to make for the life and growth of your organization? How are you balancing resources to insure that your people are maintaining their professional health?

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Dr Richard Norris MBA is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
Email | Linkedin | Twitter | Web | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813

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How many of us started out in life hearing the words from peers, parents and professionals that failure is bad? Schools around the world predominantly are run on pass/fail systems. “Failure as a bad thing” seems perfectly prevalent no matter where you seem to go. Why is this so?

Why is the default setting for failure automatically deemed a negative condition? Could it also be a positive one? Or does the connotations around the word simply pertain to one’s perspective? Hmmm…

Objectively speaking, if we fail and it is thought to be a negative thing, isn’t this simply a judgment placed on us by others? Isn’t that simply an opinion based on outlook? When you think about it objectively, what it all really comes down to is how we interpret the results of any particular outcome. Either as a loss or as a progression.

My Oxford Dictionary defines failure as a “lack of success in the attainment of.” They say so, but I say NO!?

If a lack of success in attainment is the measuring stick, then how do we account for all the learning and progress that occurs along the way? So long as progress is being made, is it a failure in its negative sense? Or can it simply be a marking post along the journey toward success?

Just ask Thomas Edison. After conducting thousands of experiments to invent the light bulb with “no success,” someone asked him why he did not give up; as he had failed so many times in his attempts. Edison was reported to reply, “I haven’t failed. I have learned a thousand ways of how not to invent the light bulb.” It all comes down to how you look at it. He didn’t focus on a lack of successful attainment, he focused on attainment.

There is only one failure; that is when you quit. It is when you fail to “show up.”

To keep from being that kind of failure, always aim to give 100%. Doing so ensures that you will maximize the learning along the way to your goal, your target, or your dream. Showing up requires that you to apply yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and, yes, spiritually. By practicing this with discipline, you begin to hard-wire your nervous system and deepen the learning faster and more effectively. You will begin to create a person who is successful in failure.

When asked, Dr. John C. Maxwell will say that one of his most impactful books that he has written is his book Failing Forward. In fact, he jokes it should be required in university curriculum to teach people how to progress through life’s real challenges. He says about failures: “They’re coming. Why not be prepared?”

I recall a conversation I had with a client when the topic of failure came up.

Immediately he became argumentative. He did not “believe in failure.” To him failure implied being a loser. When I asked him if he had ever failed at anything he admitted he had. The next question I asked was if he had learned from the failure. He grudgingly admitted that he had.

Then I asked if his failures had helped him progress or move toward success. As I asked this question he had a revelation. He decided that so long as one can apply the learning to move forward, then it is a success. And just like Edison, the light bulb eventually went on.

No matter what the situation, if you give it your all and learn something, then you have succeeded. That means you can always win if you apply the correct perspective. In some degree, if you are learning, you are a winner!

So, I will ask again, ‘What is failure?’  Now it is time for my definition. Failure is:


F ocussed

A nd

I nsightful

L earning

U sing

R eal

E xperience

Ask yourself what must happen for you to feel success? Your team? Your family? Your organization? Focus on that! Repeatedly. When you do not get the result you intended, how can you focus ——————–
Dr Richard Norris MBA is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
EmailLinkedinTwitterWeb | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813
on the experience objectively?

Be persistent in discovering every bit of insight you can. Apply that insight in the future. When you do that, think of how much more of a success will you be! You will have then learned to fail to succeed.

Where have you stumbled through failure and kept your legs underneath you until you past the finish line? When have you persevered and came up a winner. How is your view toward those “failures” along the way? Do you let failing arrest your spirit? Or do you look optimistically at these events as milestones on a journey of success? I would love to hear your story!

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Dr Richard Norris MBA is Head of Global Development Lifestyle Architecture
He speaks, helps clients with executive & business coaching and leadership
Email | Linkedin | Twitter | Web | Skype: richardthemanofaction | +44 1738 827813

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