Success may be a lasting accomplishment, but the thrill of success is transitory; much of the joy is the journey. Once it’s over, we begin to wonder, “What’s next?” This feeling of emptiness cues us to step up and get ready for the next level because success goes on as long as we keep building new steps. We graduate from one level and, equipped with what we’ve learned, go on to new accomplishments in the next. Each accomplishment becomes something we can stand on to reach higher. We can leverage our success.
Small successes can add up to major leverage. Each experience, each skill learned or honed, each new technology adopted multiplies the results of our efforts. The achievements leveraged can be our own, or those of other contributors in a team effort. Those who work alone against tall odds to accomplish what others might consider mundane achievements often end up amassing powerful capabilities. However they are combined, the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts if used to full effect.
The resources we find most useful as levers depend on both our immediate and our long-term goals. Many are specialized, closely identified with a particular field or profession or industry. Trial lawyers, politicians, and motivational speakers cultivate forensic skills, the ability to sway audiences. This is a vital resource that can be transferred from one project to another, even in different fields. The same goes for marketing skills, management expertise, and most leadership skills. The more success we have achieved, the more easily we can apply these resources toward achieving new ends.
As a lever, success is also portable to others. We can use it not only to help ourselves reach our own goals but to also help our associates, friends, colleagues, family members, even worthy strangers reach their goals. Success contains many valuable and transferable components: experience, skills, wisdom, insight, confidence, enthusiasm, energy, money, reputation, sometimes just the outsize influence of fame. These assets can be mobilized in pursuit of different ends, including the needs of others. All that is necessary is to choose a worthy goal and turn the momentum of success in a new direction.
Networking is a structured system for leveraging success and thereby sharing its benefits. Helping others achieve their goals not only leverages a person’s success for the benefit of others, but also brings the leverage full circle: what goes around comes around. Although it springs from an initial good given without expectation of recompense, an altruistic act for a network contact accrues social capital. The benefits provided eventually come back to the giver.
The ultimate leveraging of success is the philanthropy of those whose accomplishments have made them rich and who look for ways to give back to individuals who have helped them and to the community that nurtured their success. Their rewards come not in the form of superfluous money or fame but in the prosperity of those they help and in the goodwill and approval of the community. This is success of a whole new order–social immortality.
No matter where you are in your success journey, it’s important to remember that the joy really is in the journey. There will be plenty of times when we not only don’t immediately achieve the success we’re aiming for, we actually end up completely failing at what we were trying to do; and that’s when it’s crucial to keep in mind what Henry Ford once said–“Failure is the opportunity to begin again intelligently.” In other words, the experience we get in our journey to success is truly invaluable and that experience is what will end up fueling our greatest successes.
Success is a topic that has so many different aspects and perspectives to it and I’d really, really like to hear the thoughts you have as a result of reading this blog post. Whether you have a story about your journey to success, what success means to you, the experience you’ve gotten/success you ultimately achieved from a past “failure,” or how you’ve leveraged your success to help others, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks in advance for your input and I’m looking forward to hearing from you!