Surviving in between success
March 9, 2011
By Danita Johnson Hughes PhD
March 9, 2011 – We live in a microwave society where most expect to get
what they want instantly or at least in under a minute. We're tricked into
believing that fame and success can be achieved overnight, if we'll only work
harder, longer and faster. We've adopted an "all or nothing" attitude
that says we must either succeed or fail, there is no in-between. But there is
an in-between. The period between success and failure can last for years. Find
out what it takes to survive and see success.
Long ago, there was a six-year old boy who, having lost
his father, was left to take on the brunt of the household responsibilities
while his mother returned to full-time work. He helped raise his younger
siblings – cooking and cleaning.
This boy would hold several jobs over the course of his
adulthood, from insurance salesman to service station operator. He would
experience devastating setbacks, financially and personally, throughout his
life. But there was one constant – he loved to cook.
Even more, he loved sharing his good cooking with others
and eventually that giving attitude turned into a thriving business. That boy
was Harland Sanders, the man behind a company that today, sells over a billion
"finger lickin' good" chicken dinners around the world each year.
The most striking part of Sanders' story is how long his
"in between" lasted. It wasn't until he was well into his 60s that the
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) brand began to truly be recognized as a success. Prior
to this, Sanders was an ordinary man trying to make a good living.
Sanders' successful restaurant business is based on the
secret recipe for his "11 herbs and spices" fried chicken, but the
ingredients to his success are not a secret:
Success Ingredient #1: Passion
Despite holding down a variety of jobs, Sanders was
passionate about one thing: cooking. He spent a lifetime perfecting his fried
chicken recipe and that passion eventually turned into a thriving business. Do you have a passion? What is it and how can you express
it more fully in your life? If you consider yourself to be passion-less, then I
suggest spending time looking back on your life to see what excited you in the
Your passion may be lying in wait, hoping you'll see it. Take time to clarify your passion. Only then can you begin to produce the
behavior that will turn your vision into reality.
Success Ingredient #2: Positive Perspective
At one point
in his career, Sanders worked as a service station operator, a profession that
couldn't be any further from his passion for cooking! But he didn't let that
stop him from sharing his passion. He began serving his homemade meals to
travelers who stopped for gas, which sparked a business idea that eventually
led to Kentucky Fried Chicken.
What is your perspective? If circumstances are not
exactly as you had hoped, are you tapping into your passion to turn it around,
or wallowing in negativity? Although external factors may not be ideal, your
internal perspective can be just what you need to make it better. You just have
to choose to think differently.
The journey to success is not always easy. There may be roadblocks along the way. But
remember, in life everyone has choices. You can choose to use your mind as a
powerful tool that can work for or against you. No one else is responsible for
how you choose to react to your circumstances. Regardless of the challenges you
face, you can live a happy, fulfilled and successful life if you learn to use
wisely the resources within you.
You are the person with the most power to affect your
life. You are the one who decides how to feel about what you are experiencing.
You are the one who gets to choose differently.
Do you choose success?
Success Ingredient #3: Perseverance
There are no shortcuts.
Sanders' success was years in the making. It didn't happen overnight. He
experienced devastating setbacks including the one that became the catalyst for
the KFC franchise. His first restaurant business was forced to close and
Sanders was left nearly broke. That's when he decided to sell packets of his
secret chicken recipe to other restaurant owners. Even then, he didn't
experience immediate success. It took several attempts before he succeeded at
this new business venture. But his perseverance won and led to the KFC brand we
Don't give up. Success could be just around the corner.
Keep in mind that "slow and steady wins the race." If you've ever
heard how runners train for a marathon, you know that their preparation didn't
occur easily. It takes time and baby steps to build the endurance and fitness
needed to run 26.2 miles, but perseverance will make it happen. Crossing the
finish line and receiving the medal is the reward for all the hours of hard
work and advance preparation.
Success Ingredient #4: Philanthropy
Successful people know that you help yourself when you
invest in others. There is nothing more emotionally satisfying than when
you give much and expect little in return.
Having the willingness to support others and to help them along in their
journey is reflected in the attitudes and actions of most successful
people. A successful person practices
and teaches understanding, tolerance, and service to others.
Sanders gave generously of his time and money. He cared deeply about education. Through organizations that he established, he
funded scholarships and gave aid to other deserving organizations.
Reach out to others who may be in need. Such acts of human kindness become
self-reinforcing because they answer an innate need of all of us to connect
with others in a meaningful way. Such
actions give value to and help to clarify your life's purpose. Success comes from clarity of passion, recognizing that
there are no shortcuts, being willing to do the work, and helping others along
These lessons are as much for you as they are for those
you coach and/or mentor. Share these success ingredients with the others in
your life. But more important, teach them that popping these ingredients into a
microwave doesn't mean instant, ready-in-a-minute success. Show them that the
"in-between" is just as important as the achievement. You have the ingredients. Now you need only to follow the recipe to
Danita Johnson Hughes, Ph.D. is a healthcare industry
executive, public speaker and author of the forthcoming
"Turnaround." Through her work
she inspires people to dream big and understand the role of personal
responsibility in personal and professional success. In her first book,
"Power from Within," Danita shares her "Power Principles for
Success" that helped her overcome meager beginnings and achieve
professional, community and personal success. For more information visit www.danitajohnsonhughes.com, or
write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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