In today’s competitive landscape, we’re constantly told there are things we need to cultivate in order to gain success.
While scrolling through social media, we see videos promoting skills we need to learn to get our next raise, get hired, or grow in our careers. We’re trained to compete with one another, stand out, set ourselves apart from our peers, and be successful.
Learning skills and educating ourselves is, quite literally, at the core of professional success. But at what point does this kind of competition get in the way of finding success?
What is the “true” meaning of success?
Let’s first break down the definition of success.
Merriam-Webster defines success as:
- a favorable or desired outcome.
- the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.
In many ways, our society leans towards the second definition. But success is multifaceted. Are you successful if you gain wealth and favor in a role by doing something you hate? Not really. In many ways, what’s behind the “favorable or desired outcome” defines our success.
So, if the goal is to be successful in the fullness of the word (happy, valued, purposeful, wealthy, or whatever combination of things unique to your personal goals), then we need to approach success from an internal rather than an external point of view. And this is where we get to the heart of the issue.
If we constantly compete with our peers, we are compelled to do what they do, only better. The system we’re in inaccurately treats success as a limited resource only available to a select few. And because of that, when a single person has success, it seems to translate to less for the rest of us.
Head, heart, hands
Think of your body.
The hands don’t spend time wishing they circulated blood like the heart. The heart doesn’t waste away wishing it could dream like the head. Why? Because each part of the body is designed to execute its role flawlessly.
Now consider how, at times in your life, you have striven to be like someone else. Not by trying to learn from them and add to your own experience, but by trying to be them. You probably felt as though you always fell short, and that’s because you did. No one can be someone else. You cannot take someone else’s success—only make your own. And therein lies the fracture in our current competition-based system. The truth is that success isn’t limited—it’s abundant.
When we lean into our unique ideas, skills, perspectives, and gifts, just as hard as we lean into our external development, we find the secret to success.
Lean into You
A healthy company doesn’t need ten versions of the same person to drive growth. What they need is a diverse set of people with an equally diverse set of skills that each contribute to a greater, more agile, dynamic whole. By aligning ourselves with our unique skills and applying them to our role, we can create sustainable, predictable growth for ourselves and our team.
A thriving ecosystem
As a leader, think of your team as an ecosystem, and embrace the individuals within it as individuals. If we lean into their strengths, support their needs, and help them discover their purpose, the entire organization will benefit.
As individuals, if we look into ourselves and uncover our strengths, weaknesses, perspectives, and ideas, and lean into them, we’ll naturally build momentum in our lives as we see the fruits of our labor manifest in a career we love, doing things we’re great at, and serving our purpose.
Whether you’re the head, the heart, or the hands, find what you’re good at. Lean into it. Expand on it. That’s where you’ll find success for yourself and your team.
Content provided by Q4intelligence
Photo by Nicolas Micolani