Success: Doing Whatever It Takes!
Success? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines success as “the degree or measure of succeeding, a favorable or desired outcome, to attain a desired object or end”. But I think real success goes far beyond this definition. I would suggest that success is a continuum… it is the reality of momentum. Those that are successful in the business world are on an on-going everlasting path to attain something that may be unattainable. There is no top to the ladder that is climbed. It is all about raising the bar every time the bar is attained.
There are millions of success stories and each seems to be characterized by this reality. Basketball coach, John Wooden, Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, England’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill, billionaire Richard Branson, inventor Thomas Edison, entrepreneur, investor, and engineer Elon Musk, and Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos are examples of successes. The one thing that appears to be common to all successful people is that they will do whatever it takes to attain the next rung on the ladder. They are not satisfied with the results. They are looking for the next result, the next opportunity, the next reality that others say they’re not.
John Wooden said, “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming”. He built a career of 620 victories and 10 national titles and along with all of his leadership skills, he never settled for mediocrity and always learned from his failures. Richard Branson has shared “The more you’re actively and practically engaged, the more successful you will feel.” And, Thomas Edison said, “Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”
I think that behind most successes there is the belief to “Do whatever it takes!” Many have challenged me on this belief and have to tweak it in only one small way and regularly ask this question of those that want to be successful…
“Are you willing to do whatever it takes, to as long as it is legal, ethical and moral?”
What I have found is that those that are truly successful, answered with a profound “yes.” Most everyone else will question what this statement means and will come up with reasons to not answer the yes which are outside the parameters of legal, ethical and moral. They simply do not want to do the work, experience the uncomfortableness and pain, risk failure, or find out what it means to “do whatever it takes.”
There is a myth that we only use 10% of our brain. It turns out, that we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all of the time. Let’s put it this way, the brain represents three percent of the body’s weight and uses 20 percent of the body’s energy. What science has shown us is that when we put “our minds to it,” we can attain almost anything. But do we put our minds to it by embracing the concept of “doing whatever it takes?”
It has been estimated that an average 198-pound male can lift 155 pounds without training. Guinness Book of Records lists Paul Anderson feat of lifting 6,270 pounds (2,850 kg) in a back lift as “the greatest weight ever raised by a human being.” And, we regularly read in the news that average people will lift cars off of others at the moment the rush of adrenalin hits us to save another person. So, where does this come from? I think it is our commitment to a mindset that embraces the concept of doing whatever it takes.
So, the bigger question is why is it we have this capability to do so much more and we simply do not do it. I think the answer has five parts…
- The fears that we hold onto
- The stories we tell ourselves
- The lack of committing to the deep desire to attain greatness
- The reluctance to be uncomfortable or feel the pain of the work that must be done
- And, the will to do what it takes… the mindset!
It is certainly not the excuse of a lack of resources (i.e. money, time, etc.). It is a lack of commitment to a mindset.
In my coaching of executives and leaders, I ask them what they do when they are on the edge of the cliff. Do they jump and face their fears, stories, pain, and discomfort? Or do they turn around and walk away only to be faced another day with another cliff? The fully successful entrepreneurs jump knowing that only by jumping can there be the opportunity for success to be attained.
The famous Ray Bradbury, American author and screenwriter said, “Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down”.
There are a lot of actions that we need to take to get where we are going. Those who are committed to doing anything and everything to make their dreams a reality need to create “momentum”.
Kim Orlesky in her writing of October 24, 2019, provided the following thoughts:
1. How determined are you?
Asking “are you willing to do whatever it takes?” creates a movement inside you and has you consider the actions you need to take. If the answer is anything but yes, then the goal isn’t right. You need to go back and choose something you are willing to do anything to achieve. For many people, the answer is an immediate and resounding yes—the goal is so big, so lofty and so inspiring, they would do whatever it takes to get there.
2. Think outside the box.
If you are willing to do whatever it takes to get to your goal, the follow-up question is: “What do you need to get there?” This is where people start to struggle. In many cases, the actions people take are the correct ones—consistent actions that propel you toward your goal. But if that was enough, why aren’t you closer to your goal by now? Consider what else you could do to get there. Who could you contact that has succeeded in the past? What groups, classes or events could you join?
3. Step outside of your comfort zone.
If you are willing to do anything to achieve your goal, that also means taking actions you’ve never taken before. This might mean contacting people above you, making financial investments you might not feel entirely ready for, or seeking out opportunities for increased brand exposure. Whatever it is, you need to move past the fear and be willing to take the first step forward. If you stay where you are, you will never get closer to your goal.
4. Take massive action.
Beyond doing the actions that will bring you closer to your goals, you must also be willing to dream and act bigger. You cannot win big contracts if you’re not willing to reach out to decision-makers at large organizations. You cannot be given opportunities to speak on large stages if you don’t contact the organizers. Those who are willing to do whatever it takes will look toward their ultimate dream and take the necessary massive action to bring immediate results, instead of hoping they will eventually work their way up to that point. There’s a saying that if you never ask, the answer will always be no, but if you just ask, you might get a yes.
5. Follow up and follow through.
It is not enough to take massive action once, you must do it over and over. You might put in your requests and never hear back. This could happen several times. People get busy; they forget about emails; they never check their voicemail—no different than you or me. You might have to follow up several times before receiving a response. You might have to make several presentations before you finally nail it. Once that moment hits, express it with gratitude and ensure the person and opportunity are not forgotten. Use that moment as momentum for your next big step, because you were willing to do whatever it takes to get to your goal—and you will be able to do it all over again.”
In a post by Systems Personnel in September 2018, the following was shared:
“…The bottom line is that leaders should measure a person by their drive to do whatever it takes, and we should develop that drive and help our team members increase the desire to do whatever it takes to succeed. This desire comes from the inside out. Sometimes that drive is active and simply needs direction from the leader. Other times, it is like a sleeping dragon inside the person, and it is the leader’s job to awaken it.
Try this technique. Have each person choose their most important goal and brainstorm until they can write down twenty things, they can do to achieve that goal. It may take some time to get twenty, but the person must persevere or ask for some ideas from others until the list is complete. Once they have gotten twenty ideas on how to achieve their goal, they prioritize the list. After ranking and prioritizing the top ideas, ask this most important question: Are you willing to do everything on that list, or are there things on the list you are not willing to do?
If they are willing to do everything on that list and begin immediately with the most important, they will soon find not everything on the list will need to be done to achieve the goal. Instead, it is the willingness to do anything and everything on that list that allows them to become a success. If the person is only willing to do certain things but not other things on the list, they will never succeed. In the end, only those willing to sacrifice doing what is difficult, coming out of their comfort zone, and showing the discipline necessary to succeed are those who will succeed. If there is any sort of excuse or reasons why they don’t want to sacrifice, success is not in that person’s grasp.
To succeed in life as an individual, or to run a successful team, ask are you willing to do whatever it takes to succeed? If not, change your mindset, change your goals, or change the people on your team.”
Ask yourself… “Am I willing to do whatever it takes, as long as it is legal, ethical and moral? If you are willing to make the sacrifice then you too can be a John Wooden, a Tony Hsieh, a Winston Churchill, a Richard Branson, a Thomas Edison, an Elon Musk, or a Jeff Bezos. All it takes is the mindset to jump off the cliff, the willingness to set aside the stories and beliefs, and the endurance to face the pain and be uncomfortable. So, the next follow-up question is “are you unstoppable?” If you are, then you will do whatever it takes.
The door to success is opened with the key of owning that “You are willing to do whatever it takes as long as it is legal, ethical and moral.” And, once that door is opened, nothing can stop anyone from attaining what they want.
So, jump off the cliff and enjoy the fall!