Success is less about what you’ve achieved and more about what you have freely given to others.
In our rush to become the successes we know we can be, it is easy to forget that true success is measured not in dollars and material goods but rather in our ability to inspire others to their own greatness.
Each of us has opportunities to leave a legacy of contribution in a number of roles that facilitate the success of others. For example, we can choose to serve as mentors, accountability partners, confidants, or champions.
I recommend you try all four roles at least once (and hopefully more often than that) as doing so yields experiences of tremendous and lasting value for all.
I could never have achieved all that I have without the benefit of my many mentors. Their willingness to contribute to my education by sharing their knowledge and experiences (and kicking me in the ass when I was being an idiot) has been invaluable to my learning and professional growth. So much so I originally created Smartstart to honour their contributions to my life. Without their assistance, I might have still succeeded but not as quickly and, most definitely, not to the same extent that I have experienced to date.
Throughout my career, I have also mentored many people thus upholding the time-honoured tradition of serving others as you have been served. Fair warning though… when you do this, a few people will be ill-intentioned in seeking your guidance and some will never take action on your advice. That is to be expected and you should not let such experiences deter you from continuing to serve in this capacity.
We can’t always trust ourselves to do the things we know we should be doing, when we need to be doing them. That’s simply a fact of life.
Imagine the difference you could make to another person’s success if you were willing to step up and be the person they could trust enough to be honest in terms of sharing actions and motives.
Being accountable for our decisions, choices, and actions is hard. But when we make promises to another person, knowing they will call us out if we don’t keep our word, it can be just the incentive needed to break through the bad habits holding us back.
That said, I encourage you to not only serve as an accountability partner when an opportunity presents itself but to also seek them out for your own benefit.
I’m not a big fan of discussing our business challenges, fears and foibles with close friends and family. Too often there is a complete lack of understanding, followed by criticism where we need support. There is also a real risk of losing key relationships when we feel we can’t be honest about what’s really going on or must take empowering actions that our loved ones see as threatening or contrary to what they want to see happen.
Just being able to talk things through with another, free of the usual concerns that arise from open dialogue and exploration, is an enormous gift. Particularly if our chosen confidant(e) can relate to our experiences and challenges and has practical advice to share having weathered similar storms.
It isn’t even necessary that you have answers; only that you are willing to listen without judgement. Is that something you can do for someone you know? If so, have you offered this support?
Is there anything harder on self-esteem or with the potential to be more isolating than building your own business? I’ve come to think not.
What a difference you can make to someone else’s experience by championing their effort and believing in them with no agenda of your own. We all need to feel that someone gets what we are doing and is cheering us on. Yes, it would be great if it could be those closest to us but often that is not the case. So don’t be afraid to step in and fill this void for a fellow entrepreneur.
Be someone’s biggest fan! You might just be contributing the difference that not only saves a business but also saves a life. What greater legacy can there be than that?