Creative Leadership

There Is No Formula For Success, But….

Whenever a book, seminar, or speaker pitches you on a “success formula,” walk away. There is no proven formula for success, because if there was, everyone would be following it. Success happens in different ways to different people and it’s nearly impossible to forecast. But you can have the elements in place to make success worth betting on. Remember – life isn’t fair, and there’s no guarantee about anything. But if you can get these 5 elements in place, then you begin to open the door to the possibility of the miraculous:

1) Knowledge – Know what you’re talking about.  When it comes to your career or calling, be the smartest person in the room. Do your homework, stay up late, study – do what others are unwilling willing to do, and you’ll achieve what they’re unable to achieve.

2) Position – Are you in position for that promotion?  No investor wants to fund someone who hasn’t done anything. To get into position, you need to have a track record, and be the obvious choice as the person who can make your idea happen. Don’t have a budget? No problem. At least start the prototype, create a promotional video, do a rough draft, assemble the team – do something. Show your investor, donor, or boss, you’re in position to win.

3) Networks – It takes relationships to make big ideas happen.  We can’t be experts at everything, so we need to develop relationships in areas we’re weak. One of the biggest reasons clients hire Cooke Media Group is because we know so many people and can bring a wide range of expertise to the table. Get out there, meet people, and start building your network.

4) Stamina – Success isn’t a short game, it’s a long game.  How long are you in for? Are you committed enough to weather the critics, the storms, the mistakes, and the failures? Are you willing to take the time to learn your craft? The ones who emerge on the other end after the dust settles are usually the ones who get the shot.

5) Humility – The best leaders share the credit with the team.  Egomaniacs may survive for awhile, but eventually most get undermined, and when they fall, it’s not pretty. I’ve worked for plenty of jerks over the years, and looking back, I can’t remember one that made it. Humility restores relationships, inspires people, and keeps your career in perspective. Lead, be tough, but stay humble.

It sounds simple, but living out these 5 principles every day is a challenge. But like working out, you have to make it a routine. Start today. Over and over throughout the Bible, God told leaders just to “take your position.” They didn’t need to actually fight, they just had to be ready. There’s something to that idea, even today. Work on these five areas, and see how they can shift your potential for success.

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3 Comments

  1. Great post Phil. Here are the action items I take away from this:
    1. Do what others are unwilling willing to do, and you’ll achieve what they’re unable to achieve.
    2. Start the prototype, create a promotional video, do a rough draft, assemble the team – do something.
    3. Get out there, meet people, and start building your network.
    4. Be committed enough to weather the critics, the storms, the mistakes, and the failures
    5. Lead, be tough, but stay humble.

  2. Love this list! Honestly, I don’t think people would do the work required even if the formula were available. I’ve noticed people like to be handed things AND they like to talk about ideas more than execute them 😉 Just sayin.

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