Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Jeff Carter on What’s It Take To Be Successful?

What’s It Take To Be Successful?

A lot of people are searching for the path to success.  They want it to be textbook.  Finding success isn’t solving the quadratic equation.  There isn’t a button to push.  Success also doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it means.
Howard Tullman is running 1871 in Chicago.  He is transferring what he knows about success to the startups working there, and in and around Chicago.  In the video above, he makes it clear one of the elements to success is hard work and sticktoitiveness.  Woody Allen used to say, “90% of life is just showing up.”  That may have been true when he said it, but the game is different now.
At first when 1871 opened, it was Chicago’s shiny new toy to show everyone.  Heads of state came here to see.  Politicians still come through the doors everyday to see.  When people came, they didn’t know what they were witnessing because it had never been on display here before.
What were all the visitors searching for?  The keys to success.  They wanted to export it.
Success though isn’t what you think it is.  I think the best definition I ever read about success was John Wooden’s.  For youngsters, he was a basketball coach at UCLA and won national championship after national championship.  At one point, his teams went on an 88 game win streak.  Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.  There is a lot behind that simple quote.
Success doesn’t mean conquest.  It doesn’t necessarily mean victory.  This is why understanding failure is important.  A person can give their all, strive to become the best they can become, and still fail.  But, the lessons they learn from that failure help them the next time they attempt something.
As I noted at the top, there is no equation, no sure algorithm to guarantee victory.  In our data driven environment, you can sift through all the data.  You can correlate it and look for patterns.  You can talk to people and solicit other opinions.  Data can be a guide.
But, at some point no matter how much data you have, there is a point of uncertainty.  There is that uncomfortable feeling in your gut.  That flutter.  That’s where success begins.  Either you embrace the challenge and are all in.  Or you are not.  If you go half way, you are setting yourself up for failure and excuses.
There is an old story Lon Chow told me.  “At breakfast, chickens participate, but pigs are all in.”   One of them is successful.

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