business success

Business Success: It's a Choice

As I was writing this article, I had been shortlisted for an award that I've coveted for many years – The NE Woman Entrepreneur Awards. Therefore, the topic of this article may seem to fly in the face of what I hope will be an amazing experience, which in my head does include winning!

Even though I have been successfully shortlisted, I've also been surprised how nervous I've been about the outcome, until I realised I was in danger of basing my success in this context: on the perception of others, which of course, is out of my control.

Success ultimately is an enigma, and one person's definition of success will be completely different from the next person's. That's because success is actually a feeling, an emotion, a feeling of pleasure. How successful we feel about anything in any given moment is linked to our rules or beliefs for our definition of success.

For example, I've met people who haven't got 2 brass buttons to rub together, but consider themselves very successful. I've worked with others who have a ton of money in the bank and appear to have everything you could possibly wish for, but because some other part of the picture that makes up their overall definition of success isn't complete, then they feel like a failure. It may seem incomprehensible that someone who earns over 6 figures a year, or who has an amazing family, or the best of health would consider themselves unsuccessful, but it essentially it comes down to that person's rules for success. So how can you uncover your rules for success?

Simple. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write as many answers as you can to the following thought:

"I feel successful when..."

Everyone's list will be personal to them, but may include such examples as:

  • When I achieve my business objectives
  • When my kids are happy and content
  • When someone gives me praise or I receive positive feedback
  • When I have 'x' amount of money in the bank or I've earned 'x'
  • When I live in this house or drive that car

Once you have your list, the next step is to review it and decide how many of the items are internally referenced how many of them are externally referenced.

The challenge with externally referenced beliefs and rule systems is that you are basing your success solely on the experience and choices of others or on events that are outside your control. Ongoing, this can be very dis-empowering, exhausting and demotivating.

How much better would it feel if you could super-charge your success by allowing yourself to feel successful every single day?

Does this mean that you don't feel successful when your kids are happy and content or your business is doing well — Of course not. But what it does mean is that if you change your beliefs to include rules that are within your control then you allow yourself to feel successful regardless.

Some of my rules for success include such examples as:

I feel successful every time I see my name in print (which is easy for me, as all I have to do is look up onto the book shelf and see one of my published books) OR I feel successful every time I turn the key in the front door of my home

I know whatever the outcome, I'll still be the same person and have the same business aspirations. As I said to the judges, "I don't need to win to increase my self-belief levels or levels of confidence. It would just be nice to have the award to look at in my office as a reminder of what I have already achieved." I would like to let you know that I did, indeed, win the award and as you can imagine I was ecstatically happy that I have a lovely award that I can now look at to remind me of what I have achieved.

Nicola Cook  |
Nicola Cook is an award winning entrepreneur and twice published international best-selling author on professional selling and personal & business growth. She is the Founder of Aurora Consulting and a Director of Lara Morgan's Company Shortcuts, two businesses that are devoted to improving business results by injecting skill, passion and strategy to help those entrepreneurs and sales enthusiasts achieve the results they desire.