What does success mean to you? Is it reaching the pinnacle of the organisational structure? Is it being known as the leader in your field?  Is it obtaining the dream bach, boat and fancy car?  Is it happiness?  Is it giving back?  Is it time with friends and family? Is it being mortgage free and being set up for retirement? Or is it something else? 

Knowing what your version of success is, is crucial as a business owner or manager – for the simple reason that if you don’t know what success looks like to you, how do you know you have achieved it?

Undoubtedly, success differs for everyone and when we work with our clients at AdviceFirst and POD, the versions of success which we hear, range immensely. However, what we do find consistently as advisers and coaches is, those clients who know what success is to them and who plan for it, have a greater chance of achieving it.

Think holistically

Success, in my opinion, shouldn’t be confined to one measure, and having a number of factors relating to success means that you don’t have all eggs in one basket.  This would be similar to not having reliance on one client in your business – you want to remove the risk of dependency.  Removing that one client could see your business fail; and, equally, if you have just one measure of success – you are limiting your life view on what matters.

‘Wheel of life’ type exercises encourage you to think about your life holistically with a focus on where you see yourself now and where you would like to be.  Factors considered may be career, friends, family, finances, health, exercise, spirituality etc.  Understanding what is working well in your life and where improvements could be made, help provide clarity about where time could be better spent to achieve your life goals.  Importantly, emphasis is about ‘balance.’

The key thing whilst defining ‘success’ is to be realistic, if we aim to achieve 10s (excellent) for everything in our lives, this is another way of setting ourselves up for failure and putting ourselves under (unnecessary) pressure.  Reach for the stars yet know what ‘good enough’ is to you… and let’s be honest, it is often about what we internalise as good enough.  Perfect isn’t a requisite for a good life – sometimes we need to let go of this expectation on ourselves.

Enabling your business to thrive

Success in business rarely happens overnight.  Though, there are a few things that will help speed up the process of creating a successful business – namely, vision, planning and grit.

Vision – a business vision is about a legacy – doing what you do in a way that resonates with clients and your team alike.  Your business vision requires purpose, intent and needs to be bigger than you.  Though, that said, ideally business visions have a greater chance of being realised if they are aligned to personal visions – be this yours as the business owner and/or those of your team.  Getting alignment supports a commitment to the common goal and brings unity and engagement to your team.  Ask yourself – how aligned are your business and personal vision? 

Planning – creating a strategic roadmap outlining how to bring the vision to life is imperative. The plan should be worked on with regularity, checking in to ensure that milestones and measures are being achieved – be that financial targets, sales pipeline conversion, customer satisfaction, operational excellence or team engagement. Every member of the team should know how they contribute to the success of the vision and the organisational goals… so they in turn can feel that sense of achievement and success.

Grit – renowned professor and researcher Angela Duckworth hypothesised that what drives success is not about innate ability, it is down to a mix of passion and perseverance.  In short this is a belief in our vision and commitment to it even when things get tough; it is about having resilience and continuing to move forward when you have been knocked down.  Having ‘grit’ helps you cope with the challenges that owning a business sends your way and the great news is, it can be developed.  How gritty are you?

“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire, the size of your dream, and how you handle disappointment along the way.” —Robert Kiyosaki

In summary, take time to reflect on your version of success – as it is now, and how it will probably change over time.  Think holistically in the sense of having a rounded version of success in life and ask yourself if you really are committed to realising your version of success?  If you are, what are the steps that you will take to make it become your reality?  There may be highs and lows on the journey, so bring others with you to provide support, guidance or to be a sounding board – be that family, friends, advisers and/or a coach.

Establishing resources, support and being accountable will heighten your chances of success.

Try the Wheel of Life exercise for yourself: DOWNLOAD THE WHEEL OF LIFE TEMPLATE


Author | Sharn Rayner

Author | Sharn Rayner

Head of Business Consulting

Sharn thrives on businesses and owners excelling. She has expertise in strategic planning, transformational coaching, leadership development and organisational development. Having won accolades in strategic planning, business growth and organisational success, her knowledge, insight and experience has been valuable in her roles as CEO, managing director and business owner – as well as a partner to clients in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

AdviceFirst is a Financial Advice Provider (FSP23242).