This article is not for quitters. It is for those of us who
have a need to be successful in life and business. If you
look closely at all great organizations, you will find a
common trait among them and the top one being a
second-to-none work ethic.
But, why do some of us have it and some do not?
I believe it's a matter of understanding one simple fact of
life and that is "Success Is A Choice." We either choose to
be successful or we do not.
When I taught Executive Leadership courses I did not use
prepackaged material. Instead, I followed a leadership
style I firmly believe in; Pitino's belief in the idea of
Rick Pitino and I share similar beliefs, and although I am
not a basketball fan, he is my favorite Coach. You may
remember he led the Kentucky Wildcats to a spectacular 1996
national championship, and here's a quotation I still use
when building strong teams.
"What's true on the basketball court is true in business
and in life. You want to succeed? Okay, then succeed.
Deserve it. How? Outwork everybody in sight. Sweat the
small stuff. Go the extra mile. But whatever it takes put
your heart and soul into everything you do. Leave it
all-out on the court."
"But that won't happen unless you choose to make it happen.
Success is not a lucky break. It is not a divine right. It
is not an accident of birth. SUCCESS IS A CHOICE."
Now, please imagine 30 CEOs and VPs sitting around a large
conference table in Washington, DC. And, most of them were
there because they felt they had to be and not because they
wanted to be.
Imagine still that I'm standing in front of them, poised
and ready to launch great missiles of wisdom, to an
unaccommodating group of griping Executives.
Imagine again hearing me begin the session with this
statement: "You do not deserve success! I do, but you do
As you can predict, there was an insistent silence and I
could almost hear the angry comments exploding in their
collective minds. "Who does she think she is!" I grinned
engagingly and continued.
"I deserve success because I believe success is a conscious
choice we make. Let me see a show of hands if you're with
me on that statement." No show of hands in this crowd.
"So, who would like to tell me why I'm wrong?" I asked.
"I'll tell you flat-out you're wrong. I've been leading
people for over 30 years and I'm here to tell you not
everyone can be successful!" Smug 'n Loving It retorts.
"Can you tell me why you believe that is true?" I respond
making notes on the whiteboard sideways. (Never turn your
back on a hostile crowd).
"Sure. There are lots of reasons. 1.) Maybe they did not
have enough education, 2.) or, frontline management
experience, or 3.) support at home or in the workplace.
I've known all of those to cause failure in folks."
"I see. Well, let's examine the first one: success =
education. Our premise now becomes if I do not have enough
formal education I cannot be successful. Right?" Everyone
nods their agreement.
"Similarly, I cannot do well if I do not have frontline
management experience. Is that right?" A few heads nod.
"Lastly, it becomes I cannot thrive if I do not have
satisfactory support at home or in the workplace. So,
there's our belief. Does anyone see anything out of place
in our argument?"
It soon becomes obvious to them these are illogical
foundations when viewed in black and white.
Quickly, Mr. Smug 'n Loving It begins to tap dance. "I
meant those are reasons that contribute to
underachievement", he snapped. All heads move up and down
at his astute Fred Astaire recovery.
"I agree they are often thought to be contributing causes;
however, the question on the table is whether we believe
success is a conscious choice we make. Do we?" The majority
of heads bob and weave grudgingly when Smug 'n Loving' It
pipes in again.
"Sure. I'm just saying those 3 factors help decide our
success. That's all." I smile graciously and we move on.
"Great. Let's now turn to some of the common denominators
we find in successful people," and I list them on the
1) Builds Self-Esteem * Everyone likes to feel valued and
good leaders promote self-worth within their teams.
* Overachievers have high confidence. Conversely,
Underachievers are often unfocused and easily frustrated.
They tend to blame environmental reasons on their failures,
and they are difficult to work with.
2) Sets Demanding Goals
3) Is Always Positive
4) Establishes Good Habits
5) Masters The Art Of Communication
6) Learns From Role Models
7) Thrives On Pressure
8) Be Ferociously Persistent
9) Learn From Adversity
10) Survive Success
** When you achieve success, don't sit back and think the
work is over. The work is never over. True success is
replicated; copied and constant.
"This list represents the basic principle that we must
first deserve our success. And, when we consistently
practice these 10 steps we become deserving of our reward".
"Clearly, everyone in this room will agree they do these 10
steps unconsciously." All 30 Execs smile their approval and
we break off into groups to further define our action
And, on that note, I will stop since this is an article and
not a book about how to lead teams to victory.
However, it doesn't matter what you are trying to achieve:
lose weight, stop smoking, become rich, become famous,
become happy, become[DOTS]you fill in the blank.
"But, that won't happen unless you choose to make it
happen. Success is not a lucky break. It is not a divine
right. It is not an accident of birth. SUCCESS IS A
If you first earn the right to be successful, you will
I will share with you on leaving, Mr. Smug 'n Loving It
generously came up and shook my hand and said, "Dev, I'd
follow you anywhere."
Follow me. I will show you how to succeed online, in life,
and in traditional business practices as well.
Dev Hobbins' Executive Management experience includes
holding positions such as VP of Operations in the
software/hard support industries, Ops-Call Centers,
Academic Dean at the college level and Senior Quality &
Training Director in the Telecommunications field.
Dev is a published author with over 25 years' experience in
business management and development with numerous AWARDS
FOR EXCELLENCE in Leadership, TQM and Professional
She holds undergraduate degrees in Education, Training and
Development/Human Resource Development from the Southern
Illinois State University and a dual Master of Science in
Education from Connecticut State University.