As we have been moving through the months of the fall; the excitement of September and the need to find motivation in October, I began to wonder if there was actually any science or clinical research that could breakdown the process of achieving success. A deep dive into the frigid waters of November ensued. And, lo and behold, there is actually science behind success!

Success as you might imagine, is quite a multifaceted concept that has fascinated people throughout history. What can we do to achieve success in our own lives? There are the standard explanations. Successful people tend to exhibit the same key character traits. These include perseverance, optimism in the face of failure, adaptability and the ability to focus on one thing at a time.

Then, there is emotional resilience in the face of setbacks, a view of failure as simply a learning opportunity. Or perhaps you would prefer, having a growth mindset that embraces personal development, as well as engaging in the daily practice of gratitude. These characteristics are often cited as the building blocks of success.

The thing that hits me, as much as I agree with the characteristics that are stated, is this list is a really steep standard to maintain. Who among us has been able to consistently live up to all of those characteristics, all of the time. This is where the research gets very interesting.

Success, it appears, is not a linear path, but a journey characterized by disparities and challenges. To attain success, we must first confront our vulnerabilities and limitations head-on. This might seem counterintuitive, but research emphasizes that recognizing our weaknesses, acknowledging the possibility of failure, and proactively preparing for it are vital steps in our quest for advancement. Success is not just about reaching the mountaintop; it’s about the journey that prepares us for the climb.

Success is a process that entails coming face-to-face with our own fears. It’s where we begin to understand that our fears are merely feelings and don’t actually define who we are. Successful individuals develop the ability to separate emotions from self-identity. This enables us to confront challenges from a more balanced perspective. In essence, success is about understanding, acknowledging and accepting our perceptions and emotions. In doing this, we welcome those processes that work so hard to keep us safe as we liberate ourselves from the shackles of fear that often hinder our progress.

All of this may seem like a lot to take in but breaking it down into these fundamental components can help demystify the journey to success. It’s not about meeting an unattainable standard of perfection but about embracing our vulnerabilities, learning from our failures, and developing the inner strength to navigate the complex landscape of success.

While we are on the subject, it’s essential to acknowledge that success doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavour. In the modern age, the notion that we have to face this journey alone is being challenged. A 2019 Harvard study highlighted that women aiming to ascend to leadership roles still encounter cultural and systemic obstacles that hinder their progress.

The study suggests that forming close connections with other women can help overcome these hurdles. Women who share their experiences tend to achieve more significant success and create more profound impact in both their personal and professional lives.

In summary, success is definitely not a one-size-fits-all formula. It doesn’t require flawless execution of a set of characteristics. Instead, it’s a journey of self-discovery, adaptation, and growth. By understanding the underlying principles of success and breaking them down into manageable steps, we can approach our goals and support each other with greater clarity and confidence.

If you would like to learn more about how to achieve the success you know you deserve in your personal and professional life, join me for my next 12-week Achieve Your Vision for 2024 Goal Accelerator Package starting in January. Please call or use the link below to book a 30-minute consultation. There are still a few spots left.

Simone Usselman-Tod,

Stress Management and Mindset Breakthrough Coach,

Certified NeuroChange and NLP Master Practitioner and Coach.

Isn’t it time you invested in yourself?