The older I get, the more I realize success usually gets a bad rap.
Allow me to explain...if we go after success alone, bridges sometimes get burned and relationships with those closest to us tend to suffer. And if we work a little too hard towards success, we sometimes appear self-seeking or greedy to others. Yet if we don’t work hard enough or aim as high as we probably should, we appear lazy or incapable or we simply wind up hating our present circumstances no matter where we are at the moment.
I believe there is a better way. There is nothing wrong with success. The issue exists with how we attempt to achieve it.
If the journey you are on leaves you oblivious to the journey of those around you, you are missing the point.
Success will not be defined by the tasks you complete and the goals you achieve and the titles you attach to your name. Success will be defined by the legacy you leave on the lives of those who walk through life with you.
So how do you achieve personal success for your dream or idea or mission in life yet continue to stay involved in the stories of those on a different journey? Well, I believe you start by continuously asking these three questions as often as you can to the people around you:
1) What are you working on?
The answers here could be endless. From finding purpose in a 9 to 5 on weekdays, to building furniture in your garage on weekends, or staying up late writing a book no one may ever read, the stories about stuff people work on is usually filled with lessons in joy and life and truth and triumph and redemption. There aren't many better ways to learn from someone than to sit down and ask them what they are learning in their work. Why not start your conversations with others hearing about what's going on in the world of their work?
2) Where are you headed next?
Sometimes I need people around me to ask me where my work is going to take me next. I am guilty of sometimes navigating toward 'coasting' in my work. I can easily get comfortable in a routine where things just seem to fall into place. That's why I love this question. I need to be asked and reminded of where my work and my dreams and my vision can take me next. This question could also do that for someone else. You have the power in these 5 words to push someone towards making a comeback or influencing their community or changing the world.
3) How can I help you?
I recently had a call with a job recruiter. He just wanted to know my story and see what I was looking to get out of this season of life. At the end of the discussion he asked me this question and he meant it. He genuinely wanted to know how he could help me pursue my dream. And guess what - he followed through! This is where the magic happens. People just want to know someone is in their corner. Maybe you can't hire the kid you're having coffee with or give them a small loan or grant them complete access to your network; BUT, maybe you can do something else. And if you can't, maybe you know someone who can. Ask them how you can help and follow through.
The path to success, whatever that looks like for you, can be long and tedious and exhausting, but it can also be rewarding, life-giving, and purposeful. Regardless of what you're working for, the people around you are after something too. And when you remember you aren't the only one writing a story, you are freed up to share in the journey of someone else who may be able to help you write yours as well.
The quickest path to success is the path that helps lead others to it.
What do you think about this list? What questions would you add to this conversation?