I clicked on the link in the email and the video from a motivational speaker began to play; it revealed a surprising truth.
This well-known ‘Success Coach’ starts by telling us that he works with billionaires with the big houses, cars and expensive watches, BUT these people are empty and insecure on the inside. In guru-like fashion he tells me that:
“The door to success doesn’t open outward, but inward”
He goes on to expand on the virtue of working on our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical self.
So far, so good. As a Self-leadership author and Motivational Speaker, myself, I’m fully aligned with the message. But then, comes the twist.
In the next part of his pitch, he tells us that if we do all this ‘inner work’, we can have the houses, cars and expensive watches. That my external wealth will be in direct proportion to my inner growth!
"WHAT THE BLEEP!"
Did he not just tell us that all the people with the big houses, cars and expensive watches were empty on the inside!
Obviously, the video is a marketing pitch, and for people who are hurting and looking for an easy answer, it might be an attractive proposition. The truth, however, is that we are all looking for success and significance, but it takes work, because success and significance are unique to each of us and the houses, cars and watches are just empty symbols.
There’s nothing wrong in wanting a nice house, a good car, beautiful watches or 6-pack abs. But chasing these things without deciding what success and significance means to you will, as predicted, leave you feeling empty.
“There’s no ‘short-cut’ to enlightenment”
There may be no short-cut to enlightenment, but there are certainly some strategies we can use to stop being miserable and start ourselves on the path.
Step one is to stop comparing yourself (and what you have) with other people. You never really know what’s going in other people’s lives. The wealthy person you are envious of, may have inherited the money from his family, and as the motivational speaker video tells us, he or she may be miserable and empty on the inside.
The surprising truth is that we don’t need to ‘have’ things to be happy. The truth is that we need to 'be' something to BE HAPPY.
And what you need to be is to BE GRATEFUL. Be grateful that you are living your life and not someone else's. Sure, there are people that seem to have more than you, but if you are reading this article, 90+% of the world are worse off than you.
You don’t get to choose your parents, the time or country of your birth. You didn’t get to choose your DNA or childhood education. You didn’t get to choose the culture into which you are born into, but you can choose how you live your life. The second step to success and significance is to decide what’s important to you rather than to live by somebody else’s script.
Hang on a minute, am I starting to sound like the other Motivational Speaker?
Well perhaps a bit, because he did make a point. However, this the distinction:
Losing weight, getting fit, building relationships, becoming an entrepreneur, getting rich, are possible - but they take work and not everybody starts from the same point - therefore focus on your progress rather than some prepackaged dream from the person selling you a product or a manifesto.
Working on yourself, is the hardest work you will do. There are a whole bunch of forces from family and friends to culture that will try and hold you in the status quo.
So, if you are going to grow and change, it’s going to have to mean something.
“Stop thinking about things and start to define your own success and significance”
What is going to be significant for you? Feeling good about yourself? Becoming more informed? Contributing to your community? Creating a legacy?
You don’t need a motivational speaker to give you these things, you can start today.
Am I disrupting my own business model in sharing this with you?
Perhaps, but I believe my success and significance occurs when I empower more people with Self-leadership.
“Self-leadership is the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and actions towards your objective.” (Bryant & Kazan 2012).
You can read more about Self-leadership here, but in the meantime, the surprising truth is that you can feel successful and significant today, regardless of the size of your house or the weight of your watch!
15 Minute Masterclass for Senior Executives & Managers
Presenter: Andrew Bryant, Global Authority on Self-Leadership & Executive Presence.