Success has 2 personalities: Why you need both

Posted on Apr 13, 2017

connecting-two-pieces-of-successIn last week’s post, I asked you to define your success formula and score yourself at the end of the week according to how your activities added up. (If you didn’t see that post, have a quick look and create your own personal formula for success now.)


This week I have four questions for you.

  1. What’s your formula?
  2. How did you score?
  3. Is it working?
  4. If not, what’s missing?

Success is something you must define for yourself.

  • For the relief worker, it’s saving lives.
  • For the salesperson, it’s winning the next deal.
  • For the business tycoon, it’s making profit.
  • For the mother, it’s seeing her child succeed in school.

Once you have your definition, success is mostly about sticking it out.

A lot of young people today – aka Generations X, Y and Z – are fed up with the 60-hour workweeks they lost their parents to. Heck, a lot of parents are fed up too! Our world is growing a crop of people who want personal fulfillment and global justice. Cool but conflicting priorities when some things worth more than any of us just don’t come easy.

Success has a split personality.

I see in this conflict an opportunity. There are two types – two levels – of success that require very different approaches. So how do you balance the two? Can you have both? Try this on.

Personal success is highly individual and it usually centers around:

  • Happiness
  • Fulfillment
  • Love
  • Passion
  • Presence
  • Gratitude
  • Acceptance

It is short-term, because in reality with a flip of a mental switch, most of us can have all these things instantly. Personal success depends on mindset.

Professional success on the other hand looks very different. It’s defined by:

  • Work
  • Growth
  • Profits
  • Impact
  • Influence
  • Legacy

Professional success is long-term. And it’s challenging. It requires effort. It takes time. It’s costly. It’s risky. It’s hands-on. It’s earned. And guess what! It depends on mindset too.

Split the difference.

The wisest among us make a good case for both…

Ralph Waldo Emerson voted for the one:

“The reward for a thing well done is having done it.”

Henry David Thoreau voted for the other:

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

And Elon Musk would have missed the vote entirely:

“Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. [This] improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour workweeks and you’re putting in 100 hour workweeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing, you know that you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve.”

I’m not going to argue with Elon. But for most of us, it’s not either/or; it’s both/and. And there’s more crossover between the two than there’s ever been.

Mend the split.

So how can you make room for success in your personal life and still succeed in business?

That’s what we’ll look at next week when I describe what’s missing in the famous equation of the 90s:

“Do What you Love”  =  “The Money Will Follow”

Ain’t necessarily so.

Come back next week to see what’s inside that little black box in between.

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