Success doesn’t happen overnight, and you shouldn’t believe anyone who tells you differently. My success story spans an eight-year period, where my mom, Patty, and I drove some of the first Pure Romance products in a U-Haul across the country.
Patty challenged me at first. She refused to drive for more than eight hours. Like any good son, I stretched the truth just so we could get from point A to point B without having to make unnecessary pit stops or spend the extra money we didn’t have on a hotel room for the night.
“We’ll be in Baltimore in seven hours,” I’d say, knowing we’d be in the car for at least another nine.
The hundreds of miles I drove each day were exhausting and I did have some FOMO when I would hear from my friends having fun back home in Cincinnati. For eight years, I willingly signed up for this lifestyle because I knew Patty and I were onto something big that would benefit women everywhere! It was this determination that drove Patty and me to find success in each city we visited. Looking back, it was all the time spent in the car with my mom and the person-to-person marketing in every city that helped contribute to our success. During these car rides, we had nothing to do other than talk. We spent time ironing out what did and didn’t work so we could build on the success of our growing business.
You can work towards success, but, like some people I know, you can also lose it. I’ve learned three steps that are as easy as the ABCs. Learn and apply these steps to your own life.
1. Examine the Patterns and Look For Repetition
Success should taste the same every time you achieve something great. Just like a chef, you have to follow a recipe and/or pattern to end up with the same delicious meal. If you gamble with things in the kitchen and ignore the “fan-favorite” recipe, you risk the quality of your brand and receiving complaints from customers.
Our business was able to advance because each day on the road Patty and I asked each other what did and didn’t work. Eventually, we found a pattern that worked for us, but it didn’t come without a fair share of stumbling, learning, and regrouping along the way. After we found the pattern that worked best for us, we repeated it in each city. There is a reward in repetition in our daily routines, in our businesses and in all things we do.
In business, personal, or private life, it can be hard to assess a pattern and be honest about what is and isn’t working. The quicker you look for the patterns of repetition, the quicker you can weed out the bad and repeat the great.
2. Add Value
You’ll find progress in your day when you make the conscious effort to add value into each moment. Adding value means you actively listen, take notes, and ask questions that add to the conversation or topic up for discussion.
I’ve been in business for more than 20 years now and can easily point out someone in a room who is taking up space, doodling in the margins of a legal pad, or scrolling through their Instagram feed. It’s up to you if you want to make an effort in your day or be a conscious bystander waiting for a meeting to end. Don’t forget, you’re in the room for a reason. Like it or not, someone will always have an eye on you and your value to the company. A great founder of a billion dollar company used to say if you don’t contribute to a meeting, you shouldn’t be in that meeting and he wouldn’t invite you back. That has always stuck with me. But it goes back to having something valuable to add, versus just talking to talk.
Make yourself indispensable and soon enough, your hard work will be rewarded.
3. Think for Yourself
Great ideas don’t come because of someone who followed in the footsteps of another person. You probably know this already, but great ideas were born because someone dared to think differently.
Some say Patty and I were crazy traveling from town to town selling “taboo” women’s products, but we had a common understanding that we were serving a specific market and need. Look where it got us! Instead of just thinking for myself, I was able to double down and think strategically, solving any problems along the way.
When you follow someone instead of thinking for yourself, you no longer challenge unique thoughts or ideas. The independence of your mind is the key that unlocks the accomplishments you will build on and experience later down the road.
Success looks and is defined differently by each person. We can all sing the ABCs but have our own timing and pitch. Build on your own parameters for success and focus on how you will achieve greatness in your own life.