Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
I came across an article recently titled “My lesson from successful scientists: success can be learnt” and it piqued my interest. I believe in science, and I believe in trying to achieve success. While I’m not sure the article completely delivers on its title, it did a great job of defining high performance, at least that was my takeaway.
Define what success means to you. This is the one moment in the article where I thought the article places a focus on “success” versus “performance”. I agree with the author that everyone’s version of success can be different. And for that reason, the path we choose to create our success might be different. It’s also possible that our definition of success might change over time. And if you live with others, there could be times when the group will have to reach consensus on a definition for success.
Given what we’ve been experiencing over the past couple of years (and are still experiencing today), if you haven’t thought about what success means to you, it might be time to revisit it. Make sure the definition aligns with your values. It’s okay to change it and still focus on high performance.
Work smarter not longer. To achieve success, we must perform. And we must perform at a high level. That doesn’t mean we have to work lots of hours. It doesn’t mean we have to give up our personal lives. But we do need to know how to work effectively and efficiently. We need to understand what our most productive self looks like, and we need to be able to communicate to the people around us what we need to become that productive.
Ask yourself, “What helps me become my most productive self?” and “Do I have all those things around me?” Take it one step further and ask, “What keeps me from being my most productive self” and “How do I minimize or eliminate those things?”
Celebrate your successes then get back to work. We all want recognition for our efforts. Sometimes, we get that recognition from others. Sometimes, we acknowledge that recognition by ourselves. Either way, don’t forget to celebrate in some way – big or small or quiet or loud. Just celebrate. Then keep going. Whether that’s on the next goal or the everyday stuff, continuing to move forward somehow makes the celebration even sweeter.
Think about how you would like to celebrate your achievements. If you’re hoping to receive recognition from others, do they know the best way to express their thanks? If not, maybe it’s time to tell them. And as an individual, is your self-talk supporting your accomplishments?
Learn, learn, and learn some more. The world is changing, and we must change with it for high performance. This doesn’t mean that we have to be early adopters of everything. But we can read about new trends. We can listen to people who challenge the status quo – and then decide if they make sense or are full of gibberish. The good news is that learning can happen so many ways and we can take advantage of all of them.
Figure out how you like to learn. Find low cost and no cost ways to learn. I think books, blogs, podcasts, and massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a great start.
Honestly, I don’t know that it’s a guarantee that success can be learned. I do know that we can develop the qualities of high performance. Then it becomes how we apply those qualities. We need to regularly check-in with ourselves to ensure that we’re on the right path and performing optimally.
Image capture by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the Wynwood District of Miami, FL20