One of them involves Wonder Woman. If that isn't reason enough to keep reading, I don't know what is. Before I get there, first I want to say something about the word success. We use it a lot, myself included, and over time it has become nearly meaningless.
We know our careers should be headed in a direction, but without a concrete answer (I would like a $10,000 raise by July, I plan to be CEO of a multimillion dollar company that sells solar panels when I'm 45), we use 'I want to be successful' as a catchall until we figure it out. The trouble is that you may convince yourself that aiming for success is an answer, or keep moving your own success goal post into the future without ever knowing if you're getting close.
You can spend your entire career wanting to be successful, and never be sure if you've made it.
So as you check out these tips and talks, keep a concrete goal in mind. If you need help setting one, we can do that too. Let me know.
1) Get gritty.
Take a listen to the recent episode of the TED Radio Hour about Success.
Big thinkers and do-ers like Tony Robbins, Mike Rowe, and Alain de Botton take their turns refining and redefining the concept. Out of everyone featured, the speaker who made the most impact on me was Angela Lee Duckworth.
She dispelled the myths about the main indicators of success. It's not the college you attended, or your IQ. It's not even if you ate your Wheaties as a kid with locally-sourced organic whole milk.
The reason you will reach any goal you set for yourself is the little word: Grit.
[box type="none"]"Life is a marathon, not a sprint," Duckworth says.[/box]
Abraham Lincoln, the Wright Brothers, Ellen DeGeneris may have each been smart, lucky, but there is no doubt that they consistently (and sometimes crazily) put in the effort. They all ran marathons.
If children learn that our minds are malleable, and that failure is impermanent, they will stick with projects longer and try harder...for the rest of their lives. And what about adults, how can we remember that we are in this for the long haul?
How can we learn to stick with something even when we aren't sure how it will turn out?
Time to dig deep, and get gritty. Notice if you're sprinting your way from meeting to meeting, and switch to career-long marathon training. Set your sights further in the distance and see how every step now will help you later.
2) Wonder Woman!
Amy Cuddy is my new idol.
I have my friend Sarah Womer to thank for introducing her to me last week. Let me just gush about Sarah first, because she totally deserves it. She is the grittiest powerhouse you will ever meet (Duckworth would be proud). Her company, Zero to Go, provides zero-waste event services throughout the Hudson Valley, two hours north of NYC, and she is a one-woman billboard for all things composting and recycling. Five minutes with her and I dare you not to be inspired, and think twice about using plastic utensils ever again.
Amy Cuddy, big hugs are coming your way next.
In her TED Talk, Cuddy shares the heart-wrenching story of a car accident that shattered her identity and derailed her future. Speaking of gritty powerhouses, suffice it to say that her redemption story is a good one.
Even better, because we are the beneficiaries of what she learned -- with science to prove it.
Our minds believe what our bodies tell us. We may try to convince ourselves on a daily basis that our brains are at the helm, but it's just not true.
If you change your body language, you will believe in your own ability. You will feel more confident. You will speak with conviction.
I don't want to give more than that away, because you really need to check out her full talk. I will say that I've tried her technique several times in the last couple days, and it totally worked.
I'm striking my best Wonder Woman stance right now...