Yesterday I met up with an old friend who is now a regional manager for the company he works for and based in Abuja. We are having our quarterly training class in Abuja this weekend and I am already in Abuja to ready all for the training. We discussed a lot of things and one of them was on preparing oneself for success.
We both studied Electrical Electronics Engineering at the same university, FUTA, but we took completely different career paths. Not just that we ended in very different industries and job roles but that even our journeys to our current career were very different. This formed an interesting part of our discussion and led us to conclude that nothing we are taught in the academic environment prepares you for success in the real world. That one has to deliberately chart his own course and sow seeds that give rise to success.
So what are those seeds that give rise to success? God and the following below.
1. Value Driven
The number one seed of success is to be focused more on what value can I add/provide than what can I get. If you focus on what economical good you can do wherever you are using whatever you have, then you will automatically acquire valuable skills and cashable attention. People will notice you for good and someday pass opportunities your way.
I owe my career to this seed. In the beginning, when I was just fresh out of school, I did a lot of things for free for people. I would go out of my way to help someone else with their problems. And when I joined any community or professional club, I tried to always add value even by doing menial tasks voluntarily. And I can tell you that every good I did in those days collectively catapulted me to where I am today. The jobs I got while in paid employment, the mentoring I got while trying to set up my own business and the clients I get now that I run my own business are mostly the result the referrals and opportunities I got from people who appreciated my for-free efforts. People who noticed me when I was insignificant and were willing to take a bet on me because I came across as a dependable and hardworking person.
I am not a hugely successful person but the little significant success I have experienced were results of having to first give before expecting to receive.
2. Bold Actions
What separates the influencers from talkers are results. The reason two people can be interviewed on TV and people would set reminders to not miss one while they will barely notice the other is that one person has proved his worth very well before the interview. This is the reason why we buy self-development books written by hugely successful people rather than the one written by our neighbour/friend/colleague even after going for his book launch.
And you know what generates results? Actions. Bold actions.
Dangote is where he is today because he took some bold actions. And you will also have to be comfortable with taking bold actions if you want to stand out and be hugely successful.
Bold actions don’t necessarily mean borrowing millions to pursue a business idea. It could be letting go of your comfort zone. It could be cutting out unhelpful friendships/relationships. It could be doing that thing you have always been talking about. It could be starting a new career altogether. And it could be resigning your job to go after your passion.
Success is not achieved by what you plan to do but by what you actually did.
3. Diligence and Honesty
Together they build you a solid integrity. For any lasting and sustainable success, you need to be a person of integrity. Someone people can count on and trust. At least, they need to see you as capable of being counted on and trusted.
Due to my overwhelming workload, I am becoming less dependable. But there was a time I was a shining example of diligence and honesty. I would do what I said I would do even if it would cause me harming myself; it was that bad/good. And I don’t know how to deceive people. Unfortunately now, even though I put in more aggregate efforts to be dependable and not give people wrong impressions, I hit natural limits. I find myself not able to do all I have committed to doing and hard to stop giving in to people’s requests. So the inevitable has been happening — unrealized promises and feelings of being deceived.
Luckily, I still thoroughly enjoy the fruits of those shiny days when I was almost flawless. And some people cut me acres of slack because they understand my new situation. I get many offers of opportunities, partnerships and friendships than I can handle.
And those are what I consider seeds of success.