Monday, August 10, 2009

Do First, Speak Last (Read Time: 3 min.)

What drives you to success?

What drove much of my early success in life was a deep desire to prove people wrong. Growing up, I had many people who looked at my circumstances and didn't believe in me. They didn't believe that someone who was pregnant at 18 could finish college... So I graduated with a bachelor's degree by 20. They didn't believe that someone with a child could complete an MBA... So I had my MBA by 22. They thought it a joke that someone could be 22, a young mother and be a college professor... So I did that too. They didn't think that a woman who couldn't get pregnant for 4 years could ever have a second child... So I got pregnant and had two more miracle babies. I was driven by the deep desire to prove people wrong, especially those closest to me who were supposed to be supportive but, in many ways, were anything but.

It seems like a good enough reason, doesn't it? But the fuse of ambition, when striving to prove people wrong, is being lit by the wrong lighter... and that ember never lasts.

When your motivation is driven by the desire to make someone (or a group of people) eat their words, make no mistake about it: this is a revenge issue, not an achievement cause. While it may seem like serious motivation for a while, what will eventually happen is 2 things:
1) You'll get to the goal and
2) You'll still feel the emptiness and pain of people not believing in you.

To work so hard for so long at something because of what anyone else said is madness. Why? Because by doing so, you've made their opinion of you MORE important than your opinion of yourself.

I've learned, over time, to shift out of that mentality. While it rears its' ugly head every now and again, there are three things that get me very clear on why I do ALL that I do:

1) I don't tell people what I plan to do anymore; I SHOW them.
Napolean Hill has a great quote, "Tell the world what you plan to do but first show them." That's it! It's not about what you say; it's about what you do. Don't waste time trying to convince people of where you're going. They'll figure it out as soon as you actually get there and, trust me, the sweet victory is always in the arriving at that point because, once there, you don't have to say a word; the experience speaks volumes!

2) I remind myself that my life is about me.
No one is ever going to care about my successes or failures as much as me. In fact, no one could ever want more for me in my life than I want for myself so making my goals and objectives about anyone else BUT me is absolutely craziness. I make my goals about me and no one else. That keeps me in the creative mindframe and not the competitive one.

3) Victories happen daily. No one has to "see" my success for me to celebrate it. Victories happen daily. I AM WHO I SAY I AM. It's not other people's recognitions that make me a winner. I make me a winner.

Winning feels good; being a winner feels even better. If you leave the victories of your life up to someone else's approval (and your vindication), you'll forever be a hamster on the wheel called "approval-seeking." Get off the wheel forever.

Do first, speak last...

1 comment:

  1. I'd add a #4.

    God has a plan for each of us. Eventually, we reach a point where we finally hear what He has to say... and, if we're ready, we'll start the Kingdom work He had planned for us to do all along.

    Craig Evans
    Founder - Autism Hangout (dotcom)