Achieving success is a mystery.
When we don’t have it, we often want something or someone to blame:
- Parents who weren’t supportive
- Life in a bad neighborhood
- Boring teachers who didn’t motivate us
- A bad job market or a go-nowhere job
- Schmoozer coworkers who get the promotions
If only…if only…so sad, right?
Your and my success aren’t about anyone else but you and me. It starts with us, no matter what the circumstances.
The key to success is putting yourself in its way
by taking action and showing appreciation for
everyone who takes an interest in you
no matter how large or small.
You just have to start with small steps and a willingness take a turn when the road splits.
It’s the little things.
We’re not entitled to the kind of success we want. We may achieve all of it, some of it, or very little of it.
The problem is: We often don’t really know what we’re after. We may know we love sports or music or business and that we want to pursue it, but we usually have no idea how any of that interest will turn into success.
Most successful people stumble into it. Forget about those who get the family business handed over to them. This is about those of us who start at the bottom and try to work our way to that place of success where we want to be.
Your definition of success needs to be yours alone. It’s not about what your parents, your friends, or the media sell you about success.
For some it’s about money and material things. For others it’s peer recognition by an accomplished craftsman, artist, educator, or care-giver. It’s painfully easy to define your own success by the measures of others, something that can derail a career that will truly make you happy.
It’s the path to success that befuddles most of us. There is no achieving success alone. It takes connecting with good people, successful in their own fields, who have a genuine interest in lifting you up.
The key to your success is focusing on and developing your talents, finding those good people, and appreciating, every day, the significance of their part in the trajectory of your success.
Pharrell Williams, American singer-songwriter, record producer, and musician, has been successful behind the scenes for years until his song, “Happy,” hit the airways with him as the singer. It catapulted him into major celebrity.
Although Pharrell is a musical talent in his genre, his life and rise to fame are representative of how small steps, humility and appreciation matter.
Pharrell was interviewed on the CBS Sunday Morning program (April 13, 2014) where he explains how his success “story is the average story” of a kid whose mother was a teacher and his father a handyman. It included a few special people who took an interest in him, even though he was a C and D student in high school and deeply into music, especially rap.
He never forgets his appreciation for those who noticed him and wanted to give him an outlet:
Take all my band teachers out of [my life], where would I be?
About the reason for his current success, he adds:
For me…if the people don’t upload my music there is no success….I’ve been hoisted up by others….I just did the song and other people bought it.
And about what it all means, he adds: “What else do I have but to be appreciative.” The stars aligned for me. “A kite doesn’t fly without the air.”
You have your own career path before you, ready to be mapped.
Pharrell explains there are lots of great song writers, musicians, and producers around, just like him, who aren’t being heard. That doesn’t mean they aren’t successful.
Success is about the mark you make, big or small. The people you touch, the good you do, the difference you make, and the way you fill your own heart. Appreciation and humility underpin the kind of success that can deliver something worthwhile.