3 Myths We're Taught About Success

When someone says “success”, what comes to mind?

Maybe you thought about working for a certain company, being in a specific role, getting a promotion or making more money. Maybe you thought about being able to work less and spend more time with your family.

No matter what you thought of, it was the right answer.

Because success means different things to everyone. It’s not a “one size fits all” concept. And your definition of success can change over time. It may look very different at different stages of your career.

Unfortunately, the definition of success we enter the working world with is quickly jaded by the myths about success we’re taught to believe. We’re taught that in order to be successful you have to pay your dues, play the office politics game, and compromise happiness for financial security.

But that’s not the case at all.

You can be successful without doing any of those things. So today I want to dive into why you need to stop believing these three myths about success.

Myth #1: You have to pay your dues

People assume years of experience is what’s most important when it comes to getting a great job. Oftentimes candidates won’t apply for positions or go for a promotion because they assume they’re under qualified. The truth is that most of us put limits on ourselves with what we think is possible before anyone else ever will. We get in our own way of achieving success.

We think we have to know and be capable of something in order to be successful. But knowing something and being capable of something are two separate things.

You can have all the knowledge in the world about a subject, but never do anything with your knowledge. Alternatively, you can be capable of something and take the needed steps to learn whatever it is that’s required to be successful.

Truth: Instead of focusing on what you don’t have to do a job, focus on what you can learn in order to get the job. Because most employers actually prefer to have someone on their team with confidence, tenacity, and a drive to reach goals versus someone with just knowledge and experience.

Myth #2: You have to play office politics to get ahead

Everyone knows a good “brown-noser”, right? You know the person in the office that’s first to volunteer for projects, outspoken during meetings, and always complimenting the boss. Those actions get you noticed, but focusing on always “saying” and “doing” the right things isn’t what gets you ahead.

Before starting my coaching practice, I was in a leadership role for a large corporation. I always appreciated the hard worker that focused on getting the job done right versus the person who tried too hard to get noticed. It’s important to get along with others, especially your boss, but that’s only part of what matters. If you love what you do and work hard, success will find you. Being good at what you do and working hard is what gets you noticed.

Truth:  Don’t focus on always trying to be better than someone else or paying attention to what someone else is doing. Just be the best version of you, work hard, and let the rest fall into place. If you feel you have to play the corporate game to get ahead, you don’t. Focus on what you do and let your work speak for itself.

Myth #3: You can’t make money doing what you love

It’s normal to have parts of your job that you love and other parts that you don’t love. The problem is when the parts you don’t love outweigh the ones you do love. If you wake up every day with a sense of dread because you hate your job, you’re selling yourself short on what’s possible for your life. You don’t have to stay at a job you hate just to collect a paycheck.

You shouldn’t have to compromise what you’re best at in order to make a career work for you. If you’re currently in a job you find unfulfilling, make the choice today to not waste any more time than necessary in something that drains your energy. You can get paid for doing what you love and create a career that makes you happy. Decide what it is you love doing, get clarity on what you’re good at, and then look for jobs that match your passion.

Truth: You don’t have to conform or compromise who you are to get a job. Make it your mission to find a company that values your best skills and natural talents. Know what it is you want and what it is that makes you happy. If you want to get paid for doing what you love, you only need three things: clarity, choice, and action.

The truth is that you determine what success looks like. You don’t have to go along with what others define as success.

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Here's to your success,