What does your ultimate vision of your most successful self look like? Really be specific. What do you do? Where do you live? What car do you drive? What's your significant other like or are you single? What's your favorite restaurant? I'm sure you've thought of at least some of these elements of your own success. You may have even thought of the journey to that success. The schools you'll need to attend. Skills you'll have to learn and hone. People you should meet. But have you thought about the drive and motivation that will be required of you to get there?
Unless you were a trust-fund baby, or you're royalty, odds are you were not born into success (well financially at least). Getting to that picture in your mind will take not only planning but sustained drive and determination. Th0se are great dictionary words and pep-talk adjectives but what do they look like?
Like a charging Rhinoceros of course!! Author Scott Alexander paints a vivid picture of just that in his book Rhinoceros Success: The secret to charging full speed toward every opportunity. The book is a quick read at only 96 pages long and stuffed full of great advice on how to be your best, charging, three-ton-rhino self. Alexander's insights all come back to three themes that are key to maintaining your drive and determination to reaching the most successful you you've imagined (and maybe even more so): Believe in yourself, Self-discipline, and You've got to do the work.
Believe in Yourself
When I meet with a potential client for the first time, one of the things I tell them in my pitch is "think of me like your personal cheerleader. I'm not out there on the field/court with you, I can't score any of the points, but I'm on the sidelines urging you on when your belief falters." Those moments of doubt will happen but, to overcome them, no one can want your goals for you more than you can. You've got to have the most belief in you out of everyone involved. "Keep believing in yourself. You have to. No one else can do it for you" (pg. 13).
That belief is what will get you there. It is the battery that powers your sustained drive and determination. It's what sets you you apart from the always-dreamers and makes you an achiever. "What is it you have that they don't?...That's right! Belief!" (pgs. 11-12). If you don't believe you can reach the picture in your mind of your most successful you, then the path to get there is foggy and at the first sign of trouble you'll be more than tempted to quit. Anchoring your belief to the reasons you're pursing the goal in the first place makes keeping the belief alive manageable. Giving it concrete values, desires, and purposes give it clarity and something for you to fall back on when the doubts creep up. For example, you want to buy an old warehouse in your town and covert it into a homeless shelter/soup kitchen because you value helping others are the clear values, and purpose, behind why you set out to make $1 Million. If you instead framed it like "I want to make $1 Million to help people," you may quit at the first sign of doubt because it's too vague. See the difference I'm getting at?
You can't achieve full time success working part time. Achieving the vision in your mind will take consistent work and that takes self-discipline. "It is easy to discipline others, but it is difficult to master self-discipline" (pg. 29). How true is that? How easy is it to point out what someone else is doing wrong, lacking, or slacking in but then how hard is it to accept the same short comings in ourselves? You've got to "plan your dreams then work your plan" (pg. 22) in a dedicated, disciplined manner. Map it all out and then check off the steps as you complete them. That sounds simple doesn't it? But man-o-man how easily we can get distracted, burnt out, or pulled in other directions.
"Success is there for anyone who will get off their butt and charge it down" (pg. 12). Staying disciplined enough to continued to strive when other, more exciting, fun, thrilling, whatever options arise is a stumbling block so many fall victim to. Say the successful you in your vision pays off all of their student loans within five years of graduating. You've done all the right, disciplined things to put you on that path - got a good job, living below your means, saving - but then you see the new model of your dream vehicle advertised. The next day you are in the office of the local dealership signing on the dotted line and using your loans savings fund to cover it. Now not only do you have student loans to pay back but you're paying off the loan on the sweet ride too because you didn't have the full amount saved up. Bummer.
You've Got to Do the Work
I hate to break it to you but your dad was right, money does not grow on trees and there aren't geese that lay golden eggs. Sure there's the lottery but that's not a Plan A for success, more like a remote Plan R. "If success were easy, if it did not involve some risk or the danger of failing, there would be no unsuccessful cows, sheep, or sloths. Success takes nerve" (pg. 43). Rhinos roll up their sleeves every single day and out work everyone else to get to their success bullseye. Get in the habit of asking yourself "what more could I have done today to get closer to my goal?" then start your next day off by doing that thing. I'm right there with you! I've had my business now for just over two years and I'm still paying off my initial investment. I do the hard work everyday to move forward even if the movement can only be seen by a microscope it's still movement.
You've got "put everything you've got into everything you do" (pg. 6) regarding achieving your goals. Like I said earlier, you can't achieve full time success working part time. You've got to constantly be thinking about your next step, next big change, next person you need to meet to help you get to your ultimate success and work to making those steps happen. Keep lists, do vision boards, set daily reminders in your phone, whatever you have to do to keep you on track doing the daily work do that passionately! This is your success we're talking about here and only you can pave the road towards it. Depending on the quality of work you put in that road will be short and straight or wondering with erratic changes in direction.
Final Thoughts: The problems
"Problems pledge allegiance to no one. They are for everyone." (pg. 89). Even if you perfectly balance these three themes, problems will arise. Both external problems that are beyond your control and personal problems will inevitably crop up to attempt tip your balance out of whack. It's how you respond to these, and grow despite them, that matters. Remember that "most problems are a good sign. Problems indicate that progress is being made, wheels are turning, and you are moving toward your goals" (pg. 90). When the problems arise, lean on those values, reasons, and purposes you anchored your belief to, dig deep into the self-discipline well, and do the work to get over the hurdle the problem has built for you.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this book, what your working towards, or what book you'd love for me to include in the blog. Drop me an email, post a comment below, or reach out on any of my socials to get in touch. The next book we'll be diving into is Lean In: Women, work and the will to lead by Sheryl Sandberg. Get your copy today and then come on back on December 2nd to join the conversation.