The key to success is…relationships.
A couple of days ago I delivered my Introductory Level, Ekahi Method, three hour course. It was lively presentation and it really got me thinking during one of the breaks about this thing I say a lot, “The key to success is relationships.” If you were to search, “The key to success is…” you see that everybody seems to have an opinion on what made them successful. Most people who are quoted on the subject talk about success as being the result of their own actions. Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay said this about success, “I suppose your security is your success and your key to success is your fine palate.” Author Dan Millman said this about it, “Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.”
Perhaps with the exception of Gordon Ramsay’s quote, I agree with the others. There is no question that to be successful, however you define it, will take preparation and willpower. Success most definitely will require some form of action or you will get swallowed up by entropic forces. Assuming one wants to be successful, the first step is defining the end game. It is not enough to say you want to be successful without knowing what it means. How will you know when you crossed the finish line?
Defining success requires applying the same formula to goal setting. Success is essentially achieving some kind of goal. Your goal might be to complete a marathon in under five hours. If you do accomplish that goal, you will have been successful. Goals, like defining success can be viewed from a macro scale or a micro scale. A macro goal might be to retire before the age of seventy. If you managed to achieve it, you successfully accomplished the goal. A dictionary definition of success regularly contains a reference to completing a goal.
Completing goals and regularly experiencing success requires, as previously stated, effort. But it is more than just effort required to attain a goal. Effort must be applied with a good plan behind it. Recently, the acronym SMART has been developed to help people understand that effective goal setting requires that the goal is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It is critical that goal setting be objective. It is not good enough to say, “I want to run a marathon in under five hours”. Rather it should be stated, “I will run the Planet Mars Marathon in under five hours, eight months from now.” This goal is much more specific but would still require require a plan to achieve it: how many days a week will you run?, mileage?, cross training?, tapering?, nutrition?.
If you do not set a SMART goal and lay out a detailed plan, the chance of success, is extremely low. One of the main reasons people do not attain their goals, besides not being SMART goals with a plan, is that they did not consider the power of relationships!
Many of us living in North America have been brought up to believe that asking for help is a weakness. Many of us have been instilled with the work ethic that says, “Going at it alone is the best way to get the job done.” When you look at many financially successful people, they rose to the top one percent by having the support of many people. Most of us are not likely to invest in a person that we do not know. Many people started their journey towards financial success with the support of friends, family, co-workers, church, social groups, volunteer groups, or belonging to other organizations. While there are rare examples of people who became financially successfully while living a reclusive life, these are rare.
Let’s look again at the example of defining success by completing the sub five hour marathon. The chance of success would increase greatly if this goal were shared with friends, family, co-workers, or colleagues at an organization where you donate your time. Joining a running club where you share your progress weekly with fellow runners is another great way to benefit from the power of relationships. Social media is an excellent way to share with people your goal. By allowing people to share in the experience of our goals, everyone benefits. We can be inspired by other peoples’ goals and provide support to friends trying to accomplish their own goals. The next time you are setting a goal, make it a SMART goal with a detailed plan and do not ignore the power of your relationships. Your friends and family and your colleagues will likely want to help you succeed – accept the help so everyone can benefit.
Human beings are social animals. We need other people around us. We need each other to experience love, safety, friendship, support and as witnesses to our life story. As we each are working on our definitions for success and setting our goals, we should tune in to the power of our relationships.