Successful Setbacks - Part 2

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... continued from Successful Setbacks - Part 1...

Learn from your yesterday to make decisions for your today that benefit your tomorrow.

One of the things that keeps me going after a setback is that I don't run my business or live my life just for the sake of money, fame or success. I see a much bigger purpose for my business and my life. I am living a legacy, so that I can leave for the next generation. Therefore, when I am confronted by challenges, I need to see beyond myself in terms of how I handle them.

I love the quote from the movie Gladiator, when Maximus tells his men who are about to go into battle that "what we do today will echo into eternity". The focus of your life should not be just what happens to you today, but the legacy that you will leave tomorrow.

I operate from the perspective that the things that happen in my life aren’t just about how they impact me. I consider how my experience could benefit the people that I will meet later in life who could be facing a similar situation. I think about how life lessons that I learn through difficult tests will help me to be a resource to my children as they confront comparable challenges. Therefore, when I am faced with setbacks, I know that I can't quit because someone important to me is waiting for me - even depending on me - to succeed. And that person may not even be born yet. Whether you realize it or not, someone is waiting on you to succeed also.

Perseverance is a key component of a successful setback. And while persevering for your own goals is great, persevering to help others reach their goals is even better. I believe the human spirit comes alive when we fight to help others achieve a better life. A great sense of fulfillment awaits those who persevere for the benefit of others.

A key question to ask yourself is "What are you a part of that's bigger than you, that can't be accomplished by only you?" If your vision for your business or life is not on that grand of a scale then it needs to get bigger. When you discover and embrace the fact that your purpose in life incorporates more people than just you, you will adjust how you see life and how you respond to the things that happen to you.

One of the critical roadblocks that keeps people from extending themselves to others is fear. Fear paralyzes people, keeping them from stepping outside of their comfort zones, either to get help or to give it. It also prevents them from bouncing back quickly from their setbacks, because often it takes connecting with those outside of our comfort zones to get us back on track. We can learn a lot from others' experiences that will help us get back on our feet after a setback. Your relationships will determine your results in life. If you try to do life alone and self-focused, you will fall far below your success potential.

As you compile your goals for 2008, think about somebody (or somebodies) into whom you can invest your time, talents and resources. Let that person or group of people be part of what drives your determination when you encounter frustrations. Don't let fear or anything else prevent you from connecting with the people who you need... or the ones who need you.

Remember that a setback is a set-up for you to develop the character and internal fortitude you need for the journey that lies ahead of you. If you’re going to fail, then fail while moving forward toward your goals and dreams. Keep learning and keep growing. Be great in '08! I look forward to your success!

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.


Building Success Beyond Personal Gain
by Jim Citrin

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Successful Setbacks - Part 1

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Setbacks are the seeds of success. If you don't learn to deal effectively with setbacks, you won't ever realize true success.

My how time flies! It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming in the new year. If you are anything like me, you have been reflecting on the past 350 or so days to assess whether or not you had a good or bad year. You have probably been replaying experiences in your head that you would give labels to, such as joyful, painful, challenging, memorable, forgettable, funny, and even "oh, I forgot about that one."

As people go through the process of assessing their 2007, most of them will fall into one of two categories. They will assess their year as either a series of successes or a series of failures. For many who didn't accomplish their goals, they will say this was a wasted year and they will set off to make new plans for 2008. They will try harder, work longer, and spend more time doing what they think they need to do to accomplish their goals.

Unfortunately, one of the most important things that they will fail to do is change their perspective on what they consider failure. They don't realize that failure is not the lack of success or making a mistake. Failure is either not trying or not learning from your mistakes (i.e. continuing to do the same thing without making any changes).

I almost titled this posting, "Failing Successfully," but I prefer the term "setback" versus failure, because failure isn't final - it’s formative. How is it formative? A setback is simply a failure that becomes a success when it is transformed into an opportunity to learn and grow. Learning from your setbacks, missteps, and mistakes positions you for success.

EVERYTHING that happens in your life is either an opportunity to learn something new, grow your character, or develop your skills. It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." It's easy to claim success and be positive when everything is going well in your business or life, but how do you handle things when your plans go awry? What is your response like during those times? Do you go into learning mode or complaining mode?

The outcome of your situation is largely dependent upon your perspective. If you think your situation is a problem then you typically will approach it pessimistically. However, if your perspective is that your situation is an opportunity, you will approach it optimistically. Entrepreneurs, change agents, and social innovators need to be almost obsessively optimistic, because of the exceptional challenges that they face to succeed.

Understand that if your problems were any less challenging, it would require someone less talented and less equipped than you to handle them. You see, the skill of a sailor is not developed in calm seas. Your ultimate success requires you going through challenges and adversity to develop your character and skills.

Recently, I heard a young lady encouraging her friends, telling them, "let your frustration be your determination." Although she wasn't talking to me directly, that motivational gem has helped me to keep a positive attitude about some of the difficulties that I encounter in my business and in life.

What are some other things that can help you to have the right perspective so that you can achieve successful setbacks in your business and life? You'll have to come back for Part 2. See you soon!

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.


Failure is Part of Success, Edited by Rod Kurtz

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Mission Driven Intrapreneurs

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The path to workplace fulfillment is to align your career path with your life mission.

Americans are growing increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs. According to The Conference Board, the percentage of employees satisfied with their jobs has been declining over the past 20 years and it doesn't seem like that trend will be reversing any time soon.

I don't believe this is simply because of employees' lack of money or poor work environments. I believe one of the key reasons that less than half of professionals in the workplace today are happy with their jobs is that they are doing the wrong job. One of the main reasons they are doing the wrong job is that 1) they don't know what their life purpose or mission is and/or 2) they haven't found the type of work that best aligns with their purpose or mission.

In my previous posting, “Powered by Intrapreneurs”, I defined an intrapreneur as a person who focuses on innovation and creativity and who transforms a dream or an idea into a profitable venture, by operating within the organizational environment. They possess entrepreneurial skill sets, but they choose to use them in a corporate setting rather than start a business on their own. A mission driven intrapreneur takes this definition even further. This person is an intrapreneur who closely aligns their job/career with what they believe to be their personal life mission.

Once a person discovers his/her life mission, a monumental shift in perspective occurs for them. One thing that they realize almost immediately is that they may be doing the wrong job or are in a career field that may not be best suited to their talents, aspirations or new life focus. They may decide its time to transition to a different career path where they can apply their entrepreneurial aspirations or talents in ways that bring them more personal and professional fulfillment. In many cases this may require a total change in career paths. This change in career paths could be referred to as "re-careering".

"Re-careering" is increaing in popularity as the term used to describe professionals who change career paths, often resulting in jobs that are drastically different from the ones they had previously been doing. This concept is exciting for many people who believe they are trapped in their current jobs. However, those who have a desire to do this should proceed with caution. Re-careering is not just a job transition, but a life transition that requires serious consideration and planning.

Going through this type of transitioning process, however, can be an extremely frightening and difficult time. Before going down this pathway, a person has to wrestle with all the ramifications that come along with something that could cause drastic changes in work, family, and social life. What must also be considered is the large initial financial hit one may experience as they get their feet planted in their new job or company. Typically when a change like this is made, the person doesn't start off at the top of the pay scale in their new field.

Here's some tips for those who are looking for some direction as it relates to charting a new course for your career:
  1. The most important tip that I can share with you is to take some time to discover what truly is your life mission. Along with this, identify your passions, personality profile, and learning style. An incredible resource that I highly recommend is "Living the Life You Were Meant to Live" by Thomas G. Paterson. You could also hire a qualified life coach that is capable of walking you through an intense mission discovery process.

  2. Identify the requirements to succeed in the desired new job or career path, including education, certifications, licenses, experience, etc. Assess your current transferable skills that would make you successful in that new career field. For the skills or knowledge gaps that you have, make sure that you figure out how long it might take you to get the necessary tools to determine whether or not the time and cost trade-off is worth it to you.

  3. Diligently seek opportunities to learn about the alternative career path that you're desiring. Talk to as many people in that career field as possible. Read as many resources as you can get your hands on. Go to as many seminars and workshops as you can afford. Listen to podcasts until your ears hurt. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into, because the grass on the other side of the career fence may not be as green as you perceive it to be.

  4. Get some hands-on experience before your transition by working part-time, freelancing or volunteering in that area. This could be internal or external to your current company. This will help you build your knowledge base and skill set in that area and also allow you to get an accurate picture of what your new work will be like.

  5. Write your plan and share it with your personal advisors. If you don't currently have any, find some. Get candid input and feedback from your family and loved ones, because more than likely this transition will not just impact you.

  6. Go for it! Don't wait for anyone to give you permission to thrive in your dream. Don't let fear or naysayers stop your from fulfilling your life mission.

One place to start looking for mission driven intrapreneurial opportunities is your company's social responsibility initiatives. Based on what you have discovered your life mission to be, you could choose one of these initiatives to contribute your time, talent, ideas, and entrepreneurial energy to help your company succeed. These initiatives could include:

  • Workforce diversity
  • Supplier diversity
  • Local schools, education and literacy
  • Community affairs
  • Health care
  • Environment
  • Economic development
  • Youth mentoring

If you have given up hope that you could ever be satisfied working for a company, don't stop believing. You can still find excitement and satisfaction in the work that you do. You just have to know where to look for it. Use re-careering as the process to get on your mission driven career path to fulfillment!

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

1) "Successful Recareering" by Emily Keller

2) "Your Brilliant Second Career" by Liz Ryan

3) "Risks and Rewards of the Intrapreneur" by Sean Silverthorne

4) "Mission Driven Entrepreneurship" by Paul Wilson, Jr.

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