Personal success is a hot topic in ‘executive coaching’ and also forms a central theme in leadership development, both being areas in which I work extensively. Firstly we need to define what ‘success’ means to that specific person right now. What would life look like if you were successful? What are the steps needed to achieve that state? And once achieved, what does it take for you to ‘feel’ successful?
L-R (front): Genevieve Chubb (partner, Colenbrander Inc, accountants), Kerry Koen (first South African woman home in this year’s Comrades Marathon), and (back) Shubnum Ismail (PR and marketing, St Annes Hospital, Pietermaritzburg).
I invited seven local women whom I consider to be exceptionally ‘successful’ to lunch. When they arrived I jokingly told them (but I meant it!): ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch! The purpose of enjoying this meal together includes exploring the phenomenon of success’. Out came my clipboards and simple questionnaires for the ‘guests’ to complete. Some aspects of the consolidated input are outlined below.
Definitions of success:
As would be expected, these definitions varied enormously. Generally it was felt that accomplishment on its own does not constitute ‘success’. There needs to be something deeper and more enduring than a simple sense of accomplishment.
A definition that I felt captured the essence of what we mean by success is: ‘The achievement of an authentic and worthy goal or ideal that the person is deeply connected to.’ In order for the person to feel ‘successful’ there needs to be a deep emotional connection aligned with their passion. Thus the congruence with life’s mission is imperative for this to be ‘true success’. And this would form a sound base for feelings of contentment.
Characteristics of a successful woman
There was great variation and I have incorporated characteristics from a previous ‘survey’, too. The outcomes are interesting because they enable us to identify skills that women may need to work on.
A successful woman is one who:
- Usually (but not always) has strong leadership qualities.
- Has the ability to bring together people to achieve common objectives.
- Inspires others.
- Has the ability to listen, really listen.
- Is self-less, understanding, compassionate, kind and loving.
- Has strong family values.
- Is goal-oriented and persistently works towards her goals. Thus she is dedicated and committed.
- Has the necessary skills to accomplish what she sets out to do.
- Is objective.
- Is creative and able to use her creativity to find solutions to challenges.
- Is able to deal with daily challenges and learns from them.
- Has a positive attitude.
- Is confident and poised. Has feelings of self-worth.
- Has strong, authentic ‘personal branding’ – portrays a successful image and is consistent.
- Is courageous and un-intimidated.
- Is strong.
- Is adventurous in continuously improving and ‘finding another mountain’.
- Is dynamic and has energy.
- Is motivated.
- Enjoys life and has fun. (Again, how each individual does this will vary from person to person.)
- Is a role model.
- Mixes with friends who help to promote her to being successful (not those who are toxic).
- Is loyal.
The above characteristics are listed in random order. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all exhibit many of those characteristics? If you would like to come closer to achieving ‘success’ and feeling ‘successful’, ‘executive coaching’ can help you. In addition, leadership development programmes and training in ‘Personal Branding’ can also help. For more information, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: +27 33 3425432, Mobile: + 27 82 4993311.