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50 Shades of Success

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

If you're a little unclear on planning goals for the new year, take a moment to recognize what's you've accomplished. In this blog, I explore why this is important to sustain your success. I found fifty successes from last year and mapped them to the prior failure made that success possible, and WOW did it open my eyes!

There are hundreds of articles about what makes someone successful. You'll find lists of attributes of people at the top of their game. What's harder to find are the actual steps they took to become a success. I'm betting that it's because the road to get there is composed of tiny incremental steps and small successes that aren't particularly notable or sexy. Things like planning every day whether you want to or not or growing your audience one person at a time. It's the gritty, daily tasks that eventually lead to something bigger. Many articles cite persistence as a key trait of successful people, but they almost never mention the mundane details that make someone persistent.

And just look at all of the people on Instagram or LinkedIn promising to get you more leads or followers to get you to your goals quickly and seemingly effortlessly. The truth is, I don't know a single business owner who built a successful business using these services that make it sound so easy. Instead, the business owners who make it put in the effort to build their audience authentically.

They do the work to attract the clients who really need their services. And, the unsexy truth is, that in 99% of the cases, this is what it takes. By now, you're probably asking why anyone would bother? Why should I do all of this work to build my business slowly? It's partly biological. Our brains really can't keep up with a lot of rapid changes. It freaks our brains out and all it wants to do is default back to how things were before.

Have you ever heard of a lottery winner who's lost everything they won and ends up worse off financially than before they won? It's fairly common. Gay Hendricks calls it 'the upper limit problem' in his book The Big Leap.

The same thing happens with weight loss. If you lose the weight quickly, you're more likely to gain it all back and then some. It's because our brains don't like change. (I explain this in more depth in my blog "Meet Bruce... The Impostor")

Our brains want to boomerang back to what they believe is "normal", even if it isn't necessarily the best thing for us. That brings me to creating a successful business. If you become an overnight success, you're much more likely to backslide than maintain the exceptional growth, in much the same way lottery winners sabotage their new fortune.

But don't despair! There's hope. You just need to know how to help your brain see the steps along the path to your success. There's a trick to get your brain focusing on all of the good things that you're doing, no matter how small they may seem. Your brain doesn't really see the size of each successful moment and rate it accordingly. Instead, your brain sees a big list of wins and starts to get more comfortable with the idea that you're becoming more and more successful.

Here's what I did. I listed 50 events from 2022 that moved my business forward. This way, I could see first-hand the progress I was making. Some successes were more impactful than others, but I built upon each one to get me set up for a year I'm looking forward to. The big ones were easy to recall, but for the smaller ones, I went through my daily planners, calendar and journal to find these successes.

One other thing I did was cross-reference the successes to a prior failure. This further convinced my brain that what felt like a setback at the time, was actually something that was setting me up for a new success. I found this very interesting because the events that I thought were the biggest impact on the business I'm building now, really weren't. It's like certain things are a bit distorted in my perception. I would have thought the sale of the restaurant would have played a much bigger role in where I am today, but it was due much more to my art business closing in the pandemic where I really learned a lot. The layoff I was impacted by in 2014 was a catalyst for launching me into entrepreneurship initially. And while I did learn quite a bit from some of the other events, these two rise to the top as the losses that taught me the most.

My challenge to you is to try to find 50 successes (or more) from 2022, no matter how small, and list them out. I included mine at the bottom of this blog so you can get an idea of some of the things that I'm celebrating. You'll also see the cross-references to a prior failure. It really puts things into a new light when you look at it like this.

Give it a try and let me know what you discover. Feel free to pop me a note at I would love to hear what you uncover!


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