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Success Is A Choice

by Dev Hobbins Author

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 free will.

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 not."

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 board.

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 plans.

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 CHOICE."

If you first earn the right to be successful, you will become successful.

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.

Until Next Time,

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© Dev Hobbins, All rights reserved.

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 Development.

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.

Submitted on June 27, 2011