What Does Success Look Like to You?


What Does Success Look Like to You?

Fear of failure is probably the most overrated excuse I hear from prospects of not going that extra step.

Not taking a risk, be that embarking on their own small business journey or employing someone to help them take their business to the next level.

Whenever they feel that the next step could lead to a little less control, the hesitation of a ‘fear of failure’ kicks in. “But what if it doesn’t work out? Everyone will think I’m a failure?”, is often the mantra thrown out there.

But what if we took ‘pride’ out of it? What if we decided to look at this differently? Seth Godin put forward a hypothesis in Tribes that maybe it was more a fear of criticism, than of failure itself.


Confidence comes before success, almost always. The correlation is high. The ‘fake it till you make it’ tribe frustrate me. This pretence can be soul destroying. The fact that you know you’re a fraud, well, that’s a recipe for disaster.

We fail all the time, don’t we? In small things, we make mistakes, and from those mistakes, we learn. We learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. When we fail, we find out stuff we didn’t know; as long as we’re prepared to look.

Confidence comes from practise and repetition. Think about driving as one example:

Try and remember your first driving lesson. If like me, you found it a mixture of a terrifying fear of running into something and excitement of starting the journey to travel ‘freedom’, you’re in the majority. We survived.

We didn’t then start ‘faking it’, pretending we knew everything. We practised, potentially made a few mistakes, and our cars bore the scars of our egos being out of line with our skill level (well mine did anyway). Today, I do drive competently, if not expertly, I’m no racing car driver.

I bet though if I asked you to recall the details of your most recent trip, you’d find it difficult to remember more than you got in the car, turned on the ignition and drove until you reached your destination. What happened in between most likely seemed like autopilot.

That’s practise in motion. We follow the same process with almost everything. We start out with a new skill being crap, clunky at best. We practise, we improve, we become competent, we make a few mistakes along the way, but we keep getting better. One day we realise that it’s not the big deal we thought it was when we started.

That’s not to say we don’t have to focus, of course, we do. We need to pay attention, to appreciate how we’re responding to our surroundings and to ensure that we’re progressing.

‘We’ve got this’, that’s confidence, not a false bravado of ‘faking it’, practise, continued practise, till we’re unconsciously competent.


In the 70’s, Skyhooks (yes, I’m a bit of a tragic) sang, Ego is not a Dirty Word, it starts:

“If I did not have an ego, I would not be here tonight.

If I did not have an ego, I might not think that I was right.

If you did not have an ego, you might not care the way you dressed.

If you did not have an ego, you’d just be like the rest.”

Until recently, I’ve pretty much thought of ego as pride, and of course, we all know that ‘pride comes before a fall’ right? But ego’s more than pride. Our ego is there to protect us from danger. Our ego is more about awareness. Self-awareness!

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence (EQ). And EQ is the greatest predictor of success we have. Awareness that allows us to recognise if we’re on the right or wrong path. That allows us to change tack or direction if we’re not getting the results we desire. I believe the term for it these days is ‘pivot.’ As if ‘pivoting’ is something new, haven’t businesses been strategically navigating forever?

If we allow our ego to enable awareness of both danger and opportunity we’re prepared for any situation.


Allowing our ego, rather than our pride is harder, much harder. Success is different things to different people, right? To one person, it equates to victory over an opponent, to another a journey. Jim Rohn is often quoted with:

“Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal.”

Some people will always equate it with material wealth, to others it’s something different, and there’s no absolutely correct answer. To be successful, you don’t need the approval of others; it’s about the world you want to create.

There is no wrong definition, but just one right question remains … “What’s success look like to you?”

Go get that!

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