Growing up when I thought of the word success, I associated it with people who had nice cars, houses, and wore nice clothes. I was fascinated with European cars and often mesmerized to see them on the street zooming by every so often. In the same way, I enjoy looking at magazine pictures of various vacation destinations. I still remember my father telling me that to achieve success you must work hard. That phrase still rings like a bell and sticks with me forever.
As I grew up and worked for my father, I learned more things that became my DNA on my approach to work. For example, he would say that there is no work that is beneath you. If your manager asks you to do the job, it is important to do it, because someone must do it to help the company. In addition, he often reminded me to not ask my people to do something that I would not do. Don’t ask your people to come early and then walk in late to the job site. As I look back, that is, in essence, leading by example. In many ways, hard work is equity for success. It is one of the key ingredients and perhaps the foundation.
As I ventured on my own and worked for private companies, my perspective changed over time. Success means how many people you’ve served or helped, lives you touched and most importantly people you developed who subsequently move on like an eagle that spreads its wings and flies. I see success through different lenses. I learned to appreciate the little things in life, like dialogue and getting to know people and challenging people to work outside their comfort zones and evolve. To see their transformation over time is truly a gift.
Over my 27-year experience, here is what I learned about how to be successful:
- Collaborate – be a value-add to anyone you work with. By this I mean, work with everyone based on common goal not individual agenda. It means greater good versus individual glory.
- Serve – serve others and be a partner. Don’t care who gets the credit as long as the work gets done. This requires you to be selfless, not thinking less of yourself, but willing to put the team goal first, putting your personal goal aside. Lead by example and also be an able lieutenant to support others at all times
- Work hard – working hard is the key ingredient. Just like the market being flooded with a quick-fix scheme, there is no replacement for hard work. When you work hard and be accountable, everyone will respect you, thereby wanting to work with you.
- Network – connect and stay in touch. Offer your help and follow through with your promise. Many opportunities come through people adding value to others, therefore make sure to connect and stay in touch, not only in times when you need someone’s help.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – this is very true. Invest your time in multiple ventures and be disciplined to make it happen. Discipline and consistency are important to reach the next step.
- Develop love for learning – always spend a couple of hours each week reading. It is the nourishment of the mind that creates new ideas. Innovate and collaborate with others to make it happen.
- Be humble – humility is very important. When you’re humble and stay hungry, you will continue to persevere and work hard to achieve greater heights.
Success means different to everyone, but what it takes to be successful is similar if not the same. Invest in yourself and make it happen.