The Secret to Success

The Secret to Success

“I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work,” said Thomas Edison after inventing the light bulb. Some people tend to think that success is easy. That if they do their best, or think about winning, fame and fortune will fall into their laps as easy as rain. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. Finding that sweet spot of success comes only after tripping over yourself a few times. Like Edison, we must first find the ways that don’t work before we get the one that does. 

The only real difference between success and failure is giving up. Some people give up before they even start. Whether it’s lack of drive or fear that motivates stagnation, there are plenty of hard workers that prefer to stay in the safe zone. If you never start college, then you can never fail. If you never attempt becoming a business owner, then your ego won’t be butt hurt when the first run doesn’t work out like you expected. It’s not that successful people don’t feel this sting. Our ambition just doesn’t crawl into a hole and die. 

If one way doesn’t work out, it’s not a hopeless cause. Reevaluate what went wrong and try again.  Keep in mind, it takes a long time to truly understand a process. That’s why a bachelor’s degree takes four years, most companies promote at minimum one year of employment, and more often than not, a new company takes a few years to make a real profit. 

People tend to think that simply showing up is good enough. It’s not. If you really want a job or business to work, you have to research how to make that happen, implement advice from those who have done it, practice, and not throw your hands up if things don’t go your way. It won’t more times than it will. Reevaluate and try again. 

The saying “team work makes the dream work” ain’t playin. Any big success story never happened with a single person doing everything solo. Sorry to burst your bubble, but success takes time. More time than many allow for. It takes a team and excellent leadership to keep the ship sailing forward. If a leader is unorganized, unwilling to train, or feels their superiority over employees means the team will take whatever abuse is thrown at them, it’s not going to work. Your team will leave and laugh when your ship sinks. It’s that simple. But it’s not hopeless: learn from the error and do better next time. Don’t just say it, do it. Denying the problem only makes it worse, and prolongs financial stability.

The same goes for trying too hard to please employees. They work for you, you don’t work for them. Set clear boundaries. It’s ok to be liked, but when boundaries are crossed into the friend zone, problems rear their ugly heads. Just like a bitch boss can suck the positivity out of a job, a soft boss can sabotage the business by allowing employees to take advantage of your kindness.  

Successful people understand that employees are a resource. Great leaders respect their team and their efforts while quietly demanding the same respect in return. They encourage, motivate, provide support, and reward accurately. And why not? These are the people making it happen. Without a team, you are nothing. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all alone. 

So what do we do if our great idea crashes and burns? Most people will slink away in a cloud of defeat, promising to never expose themselves like that again. Better safe than sorry. Some will pick themselves up out of the mud, evaluate what went wrong by blaming others, and hit it again by stubbornly using the same method that didn’t work the last time. I doubt I need to tell you how that ends up.

Successful people pick themselves out of the muck, brush themselves off, evaluate what went wrong, and hit it again with a different strategy. And maybe this will be the time it works. 

Having problems getting started? Check out Overcoming the Fear of Failure.

Flakey-Ass Friends

Flakey-Ass Friends

If you’re living on earth and are a fairly social person, chances are you have dealt with a flakey- ass friend. I call it the “California Flake,” but these people are everywhere. They are the people who make plans with you, probably instigated the whole event, then drop off the face of the earth when the day comes to meet up. It’s annoying, it’s rude, it’s disrespectful. In California, this behavior is not only tolerated, it’s considered normal. Imagine my culture shock moving out here from New Jersey at a young, spritely 20 years of age… 

So how do we handle these people? Well, first and foremost, do not count on them to be there for you when you need them. These people are all about you when they need something, but when the tables are turned they are nowhere to be found. Real talk. Do yourself a favor and do not go out of your way for these people. Put yourself first, don’t break plans with others if this person comes crying, and have clear boundaries about what you will not tolerate. They don’t like it? Too bad. I don’t like having my time wasted. 

Some flakey-ass friends will be straight up with you about their utter disregard for your time, like: “[enter name here] decided not to come so I’m going to stay home.” Ok? Thanks for at least telling me, but damn.

Then we have the flakey ass friends who are too chicken shit to even inform you that they are flaking! Think about it: Why would people make plans and then not answer your texts, calls, DMs? They found something better to do, plain and simple. These are by far the worst kind. Seriously ladies, gents, and all in between, if this is you, grow up. This kind of flaking is such disrespectful behavior that I’m surprised you even have friends to flake on. What this says to those who follow through is “I do not value your time or you as a person.” Is that the message you want to send? If not, pick up the damn phone and send a courtesy text. Sure, the person you made plans with might be annoyed, but hey, at least you made your intentions clear. 

The silver lining is that there is hope for those of us with good intentions. Successful adulting means managing our relationships, not abandoning them. A flakey-ass friend can be trained; a follow-through friend can learn how to deal with flakes. A flakey person needs to know their behavior isn’t ok with you. It’s as simple as telling them, “I could’ve made other plans. Think you can call next time?” Or you can be more passive aggressive and start doing the same to them, but I don’t advise it if you want to remain friends. If these people are true friends, they’ll respect your feelings and text or call next time. They won’t miraculously stop breaking plans, but they will keep you in the loop.

The follow- through friend has to be on guard of the flakey-ass friend. You know your friends. If this person breaks plans more often than not, then don’t expect this to change— prepare for it. Send a follow- up text to confirm plans. If you don’t hear back, make other plans. If your friend wants to come through last minute— oh well. How many times has this person left you on read? Don’t feel bad, you put in the effort and it was this person’s choice to not reciprocate. Your time is valuable as well. If your friends care, they’ll adapt. Just like you’ve been putting up with being dressed with nowhere to go. 

So if you’re annoyed at your friend right now, ask yourself: “How many other times has _______ flaked on me?” If it’s more than a couple, it’s not an unhappy accident. A happy balance is 50/50 in all relationships. Match the person’s efforts; don’t give too much or even expect too much. And if your friend calls to make plans but flaked on you last time, accept the invite. Then don’t show. 

What’s your biggest flakey-ass friend pet peeve?