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Take A "You-Turn" In Your Personal Planning ... Then Take A Bow!

Aug 1, 2014

Posted by

Joe Klock, Sr.

Joe Klock, Sr., CRB, CRS, engaged in real estate sales, management and training since 1949, is the retired Dean of Coldwell Banker University. He presently produces educational material, bot Read more


What true success is and what it isn't needs your studied attention.

A personal goal common to every living thing in the natural order, from beetle bugs and crabgrass to the highest form of life (that's you, in case you've forgotten), is success. Despite its universal popularity, it is one of the more often misunderstood measurements of human achievement.

Perhaps the best way to define success is to understand what it is not, to wit: It is not (necessarily) any of the following:

• Being included in a "Who's Who" register.

• Knowing what's what about a lot of stuff.

• Winning an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

• Accumulating more money than you're likely to need.

• Stringing an alphabet soup of initials after your name.

• Besting the other guy or gal in competition.

• Being recognized by snooty headwaiters.

• Winning the approval or adulation of others.

• Being more beautiful than a centerfold model.

• Wielding more power than a Medieval King.

• Measuring up to a particular standard.

With respect to that last item, I have a couple of problems with “standards.” Too often, their focus is on negative elements.

For example, while I respect the "shalt nots" of the Ten Commandments, I find it equally desirable to observe the New Testament admonition to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”  My feeling is that if you, I and everyone else truly loved (that is to say, cared about) our neighbors, including those we don't particularly like, how many commandments could we or would we break?

(Aside on standards: After a lifetime of struggling unsuccessfully to match the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's ideal height/weight standards, I discovered that I was not—and never have been— actually over-weight; I’m just three inches too short!)

Back to the thesis: There is a national preoccupation in America with coming out ahead or being “Number One.”

I worry about "motivating" Little League kids with slogans like "winning isn't everything –it's the only thing."

Coming in second is not, ipso facto, a failure on your part; failure would be not having tried to come in first—if that's what you really wanted.

Success is a chosen goal and, when achieved, a personal triumph rather than a status symbol.

Success doesn’t mean achieving perfection, because nobody alive today has ever done so or ever will on this side of the sod.  It is, literally, an impossible dream.

Well, then, if success is neither perfection, nor being atop a totem pole, nor any of the other things listed above, what the heck is it? 

Glad you asked! It comes in two inseparable segments:

1. Success is meeting goals that you set for yourself because you wanted the resulting benefits.

2. Success is closing or minimizing the gap between your potential in any field of endeavor as you see it and your performance -- again as you see it.

Cutting to the choice -- and that's exactly what it is -- you are a success only if you have done your best to minimize that performance/potential gap, as you see it!

The emphasis on “you” in the foregoing is no accident.  Only “you-oriented” success will produce full and lasting satisfaction, even though it may not bring with it the trappings of celebrity.

In the final analysis, what really matters in your life is your evaluation of yourself.

The approval of others, their admiration and even their subservience to you all have their superficial and fleeting rewards.

Nothing, though, is likely to bring you happiness, fulfillment and peace of mind, unless your-self image confirms that your success meets the criteria in the above definition— i.e., that you have minimized that gap between your potential and your performance, as you see them, in areas that are important to you.

This is true of everyone, regardless of their apparent eminence in the eyes of the world.  If you're looking for a condensed, one-size-fits-all, "fast-food" formula for success, try this one:

Find the best way of doing what you want to do; then do it the best way you know how.

When— but only when—you've done that, nobody in history has ever been more successful.