How to sustain success
So I was listening to a podcast this morning - I listened to loads of podcasts so that's not unusual - but there was something about this podcast and the messaging within the podcast that rang a moderate alarm bell. The conversation was one of those that I estimate actually holds a lot of people back.
Now the podcast itself was good, it was between two expert coaches.
They're very much experts within their field. They know their stuff, they know their marketplace and they know what they're talking about.
They know the psychology of success etc.
So I was really enjoying the podcast. But then there was this section where they started to talk about how difficult it is to "sustain success" and how people go into a situation putting in an amount of energy, or they deploy an amount of focus or commit huge amounts of time and attention to something that’s not sustainable.
The summary was that this type of activity level is not sustainable in the long-term.
It didn't annoy me initially, but it just made me think "hang on a second, I get the theory of what they are saying, but most people never actually get to the point of achievement anyway.”
Most people never achieve success
So, forget sustaining it, let's talk about gaining it shall we!
There was a bit of laughing and joking between the two guys - nothing offensive, just your standard jovial banter and, again, it was a good podcast. But my issue was that these are two experts within their space. They are perceived to be authoritative in their sector. They are suppose to know about what it takes to win in life and business but it felt - to me anyway - like there was a devaluation of hard work in order to attain.
Almost a warning of working too hard, as it is not maintainable.
This led me to thinking that a lot of people might potentially use these two experts talk about 'success' in this way as an excuse to never start.
So my message is this; forget sustaining success... forget what is going to take to keep it and lets - in the first instance - just worry about getting it in the first place!
And, by the way, success in and of itself is is entirely made up anyway, its conceptual. It is an opinion. It's a viewpoint.
What I consider to be success for me, won't be success for you.
For example, this morning I sat down stairs. It's 9:15. I had got up trained, spoken to some clients, sent some emails and was having a leisurely breakfast. My son came in and said “I want a piece of toast Daddy”, so we sat there and ate our laid-back meal.
I said to him 'this is nice, just me and my best friend sitting there having a little bit of breakfast together'. He's only three, so he couldn't care less about this bonding moment that had touched my soul, he just looked up at me and smiled.
But in that moment I thought that - to me - this is success.
To have the freedom of time that on a 'workday' (whatever workday is in the entrepreneurial world) at quarter past nine, I can sit there chilled and relaxed.
Don't get me wrong, there was a little bit of angst in me going “come on you should be working it’s gone 9 o’clock" (because, we are you know, we are we live in an industrial-age education format where you are conditioned into thinking you're supposed to be working from nine to five)but I sat there and thought to myself this is success.
Again, successes is a perception, it's relative to the person who is chasing the perceived success. But what I don't want people to hear from experts or on podcasts is that it's so difficult to sustain that level of success.
Of course, long term, you need to sleep, you need to see your family, you need to eat well, you need to train well etc. but I think that 'hustle shaming' could be almost a get-out-of-jail card. It can be used as an excuse. If success is going to be so hard to sustain, then I just won't start.
Ultimately there's a different level of action and energy and focus and attention to get something off the ground, to get something to the point of being successful, than there is to sustain it.
What got you "here" won't necessarily get you "there".
In life and in business - I've done this myself. I've done the 16 / 18 / 20 hour days. In fact I have done weeks and weeks and weeks of these 20-hour days.
It's not sustainable long-term but it gets you to the point where you can then take your foot off the gas. To then (and only then!) work out how you sustain your energy and your focus and your determination and your ‘successes’ in a different format.
A 'fear' of sustaining your successes could enable somebody to give themselves the excuse - consciously or subconsciously - to never get started in the first place.
We all know that 20-hour days are not going to be feasible over the long haul but, ultimately, sometimes you just have to damn well grind out a result to get started. Sometimes success is punching and kicking and pulling and grinding and grafting and a working.
Even the basic laws of physics state that it takes much more energy to get something moving than it takes to keep something moving.
So, in summary (he says taking a calming breath and listening to some zen Buddhist yoga meditation music!) don't fear sustaining success, just focus initially on gaining it!
Then we'll work out the problem of sustaining it when we get there, shall we?