Understanding Success

Speaker and author Peggy Klaus’ book BRAG! – The Art of Tooting Your Horn Without Blowing It, really appeals to me. She teaches how to achieve self-promotion and networking with grace and impact.

Living down under in New Zealand, we have an unusual phenomenon here called the Tall Poppy Syndrome. It comes from a belief that equality and fairness are principle values and if someone seems to be more successful than the group, there is a need to discredit them and bring them ‘back to our level.’

It is a particular cultural trait that makes people not want to shine too bright and make their family, friends and neighbours feel less. This is evident in most areas of our society, except in Rugby. We expect nothing but the top performance from our beloved All Blacks rugby team.

The difference is this… in many countries, when the poppy farmer goes out to his field one morning and sees a poppy one metre taller than the others, she will stand there in awe and wonder how to make all her other poppies grow that tall. Conversely, a New Zealand (or Australian for that matter) poppy farmer will see a poppy one metre taller than the others and cut it down.

Celebrating your successes can seem like you are boasting, being big-headed or showing off. It is key, however, to acknowledge your successes to continue being successful. It is not about being ego-driven. Sharing your success can be actioned in a humble way and is likely to create a positive ripple effect on others.

Achieving goals and your desires is better when you can share your successes and celebrate them. Each time you celebrate your accomplishments, you raise the bar for your next steps. It is also known to boost your confidence, help to stave off burnout and fuel your continued success. Seeing how far you have come, rather than how far you have to go, can also be a prime motivating factor to keep going.

Success is not just about reaching a destination though. It’s about understanding the process and learning how to replicate it in various aspects of life. Many people achieve success and are not sure how they did it, only to crash and burn in their next project or attempt to be successful. To unpack personal success so it can be repeated, it is critical to break down the elements that contribute to your success and ask key reflection questions along the way. Success is a dynamic process that involves understanding your goals, reflecting on your journey, and making adjustments along the way.

Here are some reflection questions to consider…

• What were some of the key factors that contributed to my past successes?

• What were some of the obstacles I encountered in past failures and what can I learn from them?

• How can I use these lessons to improve my future efforts?

• Who are the individuals who have supported my journey to success?

• How can I nurture and expand my support network?

• What role can I play in supporting others’ success?

• How am I investing in my personal and professional development?

• What might be key new skills or knowledge I could acquire to enhance my success?

• How can I stay open to learning from different sources and experiences?

• How can I maintain my motivation during difficult times?

• What strategies do I have for bouncing back from setbacks?

• Am I open to trying different approaches when faced with challenges?

Using your answers to these questions, create a blueprint for replicating success in various aspects of your life. Focus on the repeatable behaviours and actions to have used and consider how these can apply to your next achievement goals.

Remember, success is not a one-time event but a continuous journey of growth and self-discovery. Stopping and truly experiencing the wonders and goals you have achieved creates more success. As Oprah Winfrey says, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

Take a moment to list some of your past goals and achievements that you are proud of. Unpack some of the reasons which have contributed to your success and apply these to your next endeavours.

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Karen Tui Boyes

Karen Tui Boyes is a champion for LifeLong Learning. A multi-award-winning speaker, educator and businesswoman, she is an expert in effective teaching, learning, study skills, motivation and positive thinking. Karen is the CEO of Spectrum Education, Principal of Spectrum Online Academy and the author of 10 books. She loves empowering teachers, parents and students and is the wife to one and the mother of two young adults.
Karen was named the GIFEW Evolutionary Woman of the Year 2022.