As we look around, we often wonder what other’s have put down as their foundation to success. Or, what it takes for success to occur. How they made it so far, so quickly or what was their motivation to keep going even when times were difficult. There are many qualities that make a great leader or support you in becoming one. There are unlimited opportunities for you to experience and gain the skills you need to become successful in life. But one of the elements people often overlook is their foundation. That is the foundation in which you build your life. This is not going back and pointing the finger at our childhood. It is about looking forward to your ultimate goal. And asking yourself what it takes to get there, to achieve and manifest your goal.
Sand or Stone
We all know the building parable “Is your house built on sand or stone?” When it comes to achieving success, understanding your experience and academic portfolios are the building materials you use to build your life house. It is important to ask which pieces of your experience are stone and which pieces are sand. While we are moving through life, our foundation needs to actually be compromised of both elements. Science reminds us that sand is actually small, very small stones.
In life, flexibility is critical to us learning and adopting new information. This allows us to mold and bend when necessary and stand firm in our beliefs and values. Using myself as an example. People often wondered why I would choose to make certain decisions in life. And for the most part, my decisions were based on following my heart, my desire while staying true to my dreams and values. When first embarking on the new role of coach I did the exercise most of us have done when deciding to take a turn in our careers. I wrote down how my life experiences both professional and academic will support me with this change. When looking back to even my teenage years, working at a boat marina, my work experience always provide support either directly or indirectly my current life decisions.
Reflect to Learn
Take a few moments now and reflect about where you are and how your journey brought you here. Are you where you want to be either personally or professionally? If not, how can where you are today be considered a piece of stone in your foundation? Support you in achieving the success you are seeking? Remember, thinking outside the box is necessary to learn how your experience is a supportive element.
Getting back to the concept of having both sand and stone in the foundation of our success. We need to remain flexible as life is not consistent nor is it predictable beyond a certain point. Yes, we can predict if we break the law the chances are we are going to get caught. And possibly go to jail but outside of the obvious. Life is unpredictable and having sand within our foundation allows us to adjust when necessary and take corrective action.
Direct and Indirect
When we can identify which elements are directly supportive. The pieces of stone and which pieces are indirectly supportive – the sand. We can easily begin to mold our foundations in a way that our goals becomes more easily accessible. Resulting in us achieving our goals and for success to be within reach. Experience such as our degrees, diploma and certifications can be supportive directly (your in business and you have business degree). Or be in-directly supportive (using your certification in CPR at your place of work to help a co-worker). Your work experience of flipping burgers at a fast-food restaurant may be directly supportive.
While your experience of being a summer life guard as a teenager may be indirectly supportive since your goal is to own your restaurant. Hence, flipping burger obvious connection right? Life guard not so much or so you think. The communications skills you learned during this period. It helps you build a foundation in which you can talk to people under stress with a cool head which is a great leadership skill to have.
Taking the Curves
We also need to remember the road we take to achieving our goals isn’t necessarily driven straight – such as … point A to point B to point C etc. We may in fact have to reroute ourselves to gain the experience and skills necessary. Your journey may then look like you’ve driven from point A to point B to point D. With finally arriving at your destination of point C.
When deciding to make life changing decisions for your career. Your success will always be built on the foundation of your past. How you apply and use this foundation is what empowers you to continue reaching for your goals. And ultimately achieving the success you desire.