Determine What Success Means to You

Success means something different to every person. For some, success means advancement to even higher positions within the organization. Others count the contributions they are able to make to the lives of other people. Still others measure success by the size of their bank accounts. The success you seek likely consists of bits and pieces of these elements.

Definition of Success

But here is a definition of success that works for everyone: Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile, predetermined personal goals.  This definition implies that success is the result of your own choice – the choice of the specific goals you pursue. The most important factor in making satisfying choices is a positive self-image.

The Role of Self-Image In Success

A positive self-image enables you to set goals that reflect your values and provide meaning and fulfillment through their achievement. Although no two leaders are identical in personality or approach to management, all effective leaders share one characteristic: a positive self-image.

Effective leaders see themselves as capable individuals, worthy of self-respect and deserving of the respect of others. Your self-image, or the mental picture you have of yourself, determines to a large extent the level of success you achieve as a leader. The level of success you achieve as a leader, of course, helps determine the level of success your organization will achieve.

The more positive your self-image, the more opportunities you have to pursue success for yourself and your team. Your self-image determines the measure of confidence you bring to the challenge of using your potential and working toward the goals you have set.

Psychologists estimate that, on average, people use less than a third of their actual potential. This means that by using only a small additional portion of your potential, you can make a sizable increase in your effectiveness. If, for example, you are now using 30 percent of your potential, you could choose to increase that amount by another 10 percent – a total of 40 percent of your potential. With relatively little effort you can be 10 percent more effective than you are now.

The factor controlling how much of your real potential you can use is your self-image. You begin to acquire your self-image almost immediately after birth. As people in your environment reacted to you with approval or disapproval, you began to form a mental picture of who you were based on that feedback.

If many of the messages you received implied that you lacked ability, that you were too young, too inexperienced, or limited in some other way, you may have internalized that message and believed it. Even now, you may be limiting your success based on these old messages, and ignoring the fact that you are now more experienced and more capable than you were in the past.

In contrast, if the people in your early environment were strongly supportive, praised you for your achievements, and expressed belief in your ability to succeed, you may be following that estimate of yourself and using a larger percentage of your potential. But regardless of your background, what you are now is what counts.

Steps to Improve Your Self-Image

What you are now depends to a great extent upon what you are willing to believe and become, and what you are willing to do about your self-image. You can change your self-image if you wish. You can enhance the relationship between your self-image and success. The more positive your self-image, the more successful you become as an effective motivational leader!

Choosing to develop your self-image sets the stage for significant contributions to your team and organization. A positive self-image enables you to view organizational opportunities and challenges in new and exciting ways. Then you are ready to develop clear plans for the achievement of organizational goals. Armed with a strong belief in your potential for success, you and your team members are positioned to achieve the objectives which may now seem remote and out of reach.

Dream Big to Succeed

Your self-image is the key to your future. Develop it and use it to help you capture your dreams and to achieve your goals. An ancient Scripture says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Crystallize your vision of what you want to be. Work hard to fulfill the positive self-image that you were created to enjoy. Make use of your unique strengths instead of merely conforming to circumstances. You may have some unique strengths that for some obscure purpose you have kept hidden, even from your own view. Encourage yourself to bring them out and act upon them.


Leadership Management® International
Reprinted with permission
Strategic Essentials is a Managing Partner for Leadership Management® International, Inc.

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