According to The Office for National Statistics (Feb 2017) self-employment has seen an increase to 4.8 million (15.1%) and employees to 26.82 million (84.3%) of the total population of people in work. This statistic aroused my curiosity in asking the question of how we determine success and who decides if we are successful or not.
Many of us may have heard the saying ‘Mind Over Matter’ and may even have had cause to apply it to our lives, without true comprehension of its meaning. According to the Cambridge Dictionary it means the power of the mind to control and influence the body and the physical world generally. That is quite a strong statement when we consider just how powerful our minds are, or could be, if we understood the inner workings of it and how it could make us more successful human beings. To discover how your mind works I encourage you to take a look at www.bodymindworkers.com
Richard Bandler, an American author and self-help trainer, once said, “When you want results, it requires new thinking.” Success is measured in many different ways and on many different platforms. In order to set a goal in life, or business, it is important to identify and understand what success means to us personally. That way we will know when we have succeeded.
So how is success in business measured? A majority of people would instantaneously measure a businesses success in terms of profit or monetary income. However, this may not actually be an accurate assessment. If the work you do creates a substantial financial reward but you do not enjoy what you do, can this be considered success? Conversely, to the individual who measures success based on income, then this would be an accurate indicator.
Businesses large and small make predictions or forecasts in advance, knowing what to expect in the way of performance to measure their success. Understanding what success in business means to you is key to gauge whether or not you are indeed achieving what you set out to do.
When I set up my small self-employed Body Mind Bowen business, apart from loving the work I do and wanting to generate a reasonable income from it, success for me was based on, and measured by, creating value for others. This was an incredibly important feature for my business ethos. It would be all too easy to enter the business domain of competitive price wars and social platform dominance and prevalence. But for me this was not how I wanted to measure my success in business. I determined that if I could help change the lives of people in mental and physical pain, then I would have achieved my goal and ultimately achieved success, because that is what success meant to me. For other businesses, it could just be that engaging in those activities was actually important to them. So in real terms, just because mine and other businesses meanings of success were many and varied, did not make them any less meaningful. This is a handy consideration when setting up a business for yourself and looking at your competition.
Of course success is also measured within the many contexts of our lives too and not just in business. In our personal lives, determining beforehand what our intended results are, through goal setting, will enable us to recognize what success is to each of us when we get there. Establishing what success means to us in advance, enables us to attune our nervous system with the feelings that success will bring. Thus, being able to both measure and monitor our progress helps us to stay motivated and focused, applying the proverbial ‘one eye on the prize.’
Regardless of context ie business or personal, knowing where you are heading and the progress you have made, creates an air of anticipation, excitement and positivity. This energy will transport you in the direction of each of your goals, through consistent action and will lend itself to multiple results.
Everyone has his or her own definition of success personally and professionally. It would be a disservice to believe that we should live up to another’s idea or interpretation of success. In other words your accomplishments and successes are yours and no one else’s. You get to measure success by your own standards and you are the one who decides exactly what it means to be successful in any area of your life. Making those decisions during your goal setting process will allow you to identify and celebrate each personal success along the way.
Consistency between what you say and how you feel are necessary for achieving your goals. Milton Erickson a famous American Psychiatrist and Psychologist once said, “The effectiveness of communication is not defined by the communication, but by the response.” Your internal beliefs drive you to either take action or be inactive. However, being incongruent, where your values and your goals oppose each other will lead to sabotage and impact any successful outcome. Awareness of our beliefs is imperative to achieving successful outcomes, because they are silent and very powerful. Identifying your motivator or driving force and then determining whether your values and goals are aligned to these, will alleviate self-sabotage, resistance to change and help you to become a more flexible and successful human being.
Historically, whilst carving out what I thought was a successful career in the Ambulance Service at the time, I too often, for my liking, experienced clashes from my internal values and beliefs jarring with the external rules and regulations of my employer. This inevitably led to disparity and negativity and created a divide between us. However, when I appraise this information, I solemnly believe it was not the difference between my employer and I that was my motivator to create new success in my life. My internal values and beliefs were driving me away from the incongruence toward a place of happiness in the unknown. This was when I realized that success for me was to become self-employed and create a business that created value to others. “Until you are willing to be more confused about what you already know you will never grow bigger, better or be more useful” Milton Erickson.
More often than not the springboard to success lies in the very chaos that arises from change. Being aware of how your values and beliefs can impact how you achieve your goals and also how others achieve theirs, is key to success. What success means to us either as an individual or as a team collectively, is important and really does matter if you are determined to succeed in life. A successful teacher of the mind taught me some time ago that ‘the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that cannot read and write, but those that cannot learn, unlearn and relearn’ and I strongly believe herein lies success.