One success secret no one tells you about
Posted on May 9, 2014 by Angela Lussier
This month, I want to talk about finance and financial success through the lens of personal success. I think you’ll see the parallels. A few months ago, I left a business partnership in favor of working on my own again. I always thought having business partners would be the secret to my success. I thought if I had partners, they could fill in my knowledge gaps and all would be right in the world. After realizing there is much more to a partnership than skillsets, it became clear that I am destined to run my own company.
As I transitioned, I took three weeks to hibernate. I shut everything down, got comfy with my intuition and a notebook, and wrote. I sat and thought about things. I stopped making to do lists, stopped booking appointments, stopped going a mile a minute, and just pondered. I observed myself and I observed the world. I reflected on where I had been and looked through some of my work. I read old emails from friends and colleagues. I thought about what I really loved doing versus what I could do. I tried to recall why I got into consulting in the first place and what I want to achieve today. These three weeks were some of the most restorative and eye opening I’ve had in years.
Taking a break led to many breakthroughs and daily epiphanies. I have finally gotten to the heart of what I want to do and it feels great! But, there is a dark side. Taking all that time to think brought up a lot of bad feelings and realizations as well. The expression, “an idle mind is the devil’s playground” comes to mind. I shed a lot of tears and took responsibility for mistakes I’ve made. I tried to account for decisions that didn’t quite add up at the time and got real with myself about where I could grow more.
A lot of the emails and accolades I reviewed were from 2010. That year, I published a book, spoke at TEDx, got recognized by Seth Godin (the #1 business blogger in the world), and received international recognition for the work I was doing with my consulting business. I was poised for breaking out. And then, I freaked. I was going in 500 different directions at any given time. The hundreds of emails I was receiving daily went from making me excited to making me extremely overwhelmed and scared. I started saying no more than I was saying yes. I was looking for ways to end projects I was involved in because I felt I bit off way more than I could chew. Instead of pushing forward, I put everything on pause.
I have been on pause now for four years and just had the realization that it’s now time to hit the play button again. I felt bad about the pause for a long time because I had many people rooting for me, watching to see what I would do next and offering to help. Instead of jumping in for another adventure, I felt like I let everyone down by stopping the flow of ideas and hiding.
Today, I feel ready for growth and ready for the next level. I was 29 when I stepped away from my business in order to collect myself. I thought I was screwing everything up by stopping my momentum, but what I realize now is that I was creating a better platform for myself. I needed a stronger foundation for the type of success I was after. I didn’t have enough under my belt yet and it was too early to take on the world.
My huge takeaway from my hibernation period and the secret to success I discovered is this: You cannot be successful until you are ready to be successful. A lot of people told me four years ago that I was destined to be one of the world’s greatest leaders. I thought it was so generous of them to say that, yet I never fully digested what those words meant. I wasn’t ready for them. I was told I should charge $10,000 per keynote speech years ago and I thought that number was crazy. Just the thought of making that much money in an hour seemed unfathomable. None of these big things could ever happen for me because I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t wrap my mind around becoming a millionaire or getting on the New York Times Best Seller List even though I wanted to. I didn’t know I wasn’t ready; all I knew was that I was scared to death every day and it didn’t feel right.
Looking back, I’m glad I hit the pause button on my success because I am more ready than ever to start living my biggest dreams. Sometimes taking time to reflect and look back at your accomplishments is the only way to know whether or not you are on the right track and poised for the level of success you are looking for. Without slowing down and taking stock, you may never know how far you’ve come and how close you are to having what you’ve always wanted.