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The Other Side of Success We Don't Talk About

02 June 2016

True success is when you are rewarded for doing work you love and excel at. It’s when you’re leveraging your leadership influence and your natural talents to thrive doing work that just feels right. It’s success that matters to you. When you can say “Yes, this is truly me! This is who I am” and achieve success that has personal congruence.

The secret to unlocking this is to look at both sides of the equation -  work that matters to you, and your inherent strengths. When you get this mix right, magic happens. That’s when you unlock the powerful 1+1 synergy that brings you success doing work that is personally satisfying, and puts money in the bank.

Meaningful work is not something we think about often. I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t even in your realm of consideration when you started your journey as a working adult many moons ago. At that point, success was probably defined by our ability to make a good living. So our career choices were sensible, practical decisions based on jobs that were most in demand, and likely sprinkled with a heavy dose of parental influence. 

That’s not to say that you didn’t take your interests or strengths into consideration. Of course you did. But ‘meaningful work’ ?  You probably didn’t even know what that meant when you were younger. And even now, with more maturity, it requires deep soul searching stuff that can be scary and confronting.

At some point though, it catches up with you. And Gallup’s data shows it. Their survey tells us that a whopping 87% of global employees are disengaged. That means that 8 out of 10 of us have mentally checked out and are just going through the motions at work. We’re there just for the pay cheque and that’s it.

And when your work becomes all consuming, the cracks begin to show. You begin wondering if the trade offs are worth it. When that sensible logical choice, albeit with a good pay cheque; is not quite enough to keep you energised and excited about going to work everyday. You start questioning if you’re in the right job or career, or even worse; you begin to doubt yourself and lose confidence.

It’s difficult, in fact, downright impossible to be successful when you’re constantly distracted by self doubt and don’t feel energised or excited about your work. So how do you tip the balance back in your favour ?

Leveraging your strengths only gets you halfway there. Yes, we’re more energised when we’re building off our strengths. And we all know that it’s easier to succeed when we focus on what we’re naturally good at. The key is the other half of the equation - the half that’s often overlooked - the answer to the question “How can I use my leadership influence in ways that are deeply satisfying to me ?”. It’s more than just about work you enjoy. It’s deeper than that. It’s about work where you can make a positive impact in areas that matter to you.

To unlock the true meaning of success for you, look for that sweet spot that lies between work that matters to you and your strengths. It’s that balance between head and heart. That optimal mix that’s uniquely yours where you can play to your strengths while doing work that is satisfying to you.

Most folks stay stuck in a loop. Dissatisfied and disengaged at work, and constantly questioning if the trade offs are worth it. Yet, it doesn’t have to be so. Aspire for more. Believe that it is possible to achieve success doing work that matters to you. 

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live” - Anne Sweeney