Interesting question. Why? Because your definition of success should define your business behaviour.
Let me explain.
If you measure your success by the size of your income, then you’d better find something to do that meets a real demand. Something that people want, and what’s more something that people will keep coming back for. You need to stop wishing that one day you’ll be discovered, or there will be a sudden surge in interest in your work, or that a wealthy patron will drop large and regular cheques through your letterbox. Yep, it happens now and again, but not to most common mortals. It’s what Alan Sugar calls ‘smell and sell’ – find the thing that you can do that people really want. Green & Blacks use a similar process – literally get people to taste the product, and then only put time and money into developing the products that people like the taste of.
If you measure your success by celebrity, public profile, or notoriety, then you’d better not be a shrinking violet. I meet people who don’t seem to be terribly interested in getting rich, but who crave recognition. The thing that surprises me about this is how many folk who would really love to be recognised completely fail to push themselves forward. They do brilliant work, and show it to far too few people. I often end up thinking that if I did something that good, I’d be all over the social networks like a rash – I’d want the world to know. If you have a real contribution to make, the world will be pleased to hear about it…so don’t hide your light under a bushel.
If success to you is having a peaceful life, simplify things. Live with a light touch, conserve energy, respect others.
If success to you comes from the knowledge that you are making a contribution, helping change the world, creating pleasure, alleviating pain, creating a sense of wonder – any or all of these things - you’ll probably find your rewards, whatever they are, flow back to you in proportion to the effort you put in to the contribution you make.
What then would happen, if success for you were really a blend of all of the above? How would you move your business forward?
Best wishes – Pete
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