Sometimes we treat success like it’s an If This,Then That (IfTTT) piece of software.
- Awesome when you are focusing on productivity, efficiency or behaviour change (such as if I have a chocolate bar, I have to go to the gym (thanks Matt Church))
- But lousy when it’s about making your success conditional on something that you may or may not have much control over. and
- Extremely lousy when the very thing that you are restricting yourself from might actually be the catalyst for big change.
Here are some typical thought patterns that indicate you suffer from conditional success -
- I’ll apply for my dream role after I've proven myself
- I'll put my hand up for that opportunity when I feel better prepared
- I'll ask for a raise only when I've finished delivering on this project
- I'll change jobs after I finally turn the organisation / department around
- I'll invest in a coach once I get a raise
- I'll take a grownup gap year when I've got enough years under my belt
- I'll hang in a bit longer yet and only take that holiday with my family, once I feel really worn out.
Well tomorrow never comes. And if you’ve done #7 then you probably spent the first week on annual leave recovering from a cold anyway. Plus there is far too much evidence available that supports the notion that successful people do it the other way around. They back themselves and invest in themselves pre-emptively then they become successful.
So maybe it’s time to rethink your approach.
WHEN THE CONDITIONAL APPROACH DIDN'T WORK
I heard a story the other day about an executive who waited until after they won a new role before they booked in with an Executive Coach. In their mind, the coaching was a reward for winning the role. Nice.
However, during the course of salary negotiations for the new role, their new employer had negotiated the package down by a significant amount from the originally advertised offer, with cunning arguments and compelling tactics. Not so nice.
For the executive, who now feels slightly ripped off but determined to do better at the next opportunity, a more confident, strategic and proactive approach might have been ...
"I've got the opportunity to really springboard here and negotiate the best salary possible for myself. So instead of trying to puzzle it out myself, why not get support in advance to maximise the amount I'll be able to negotiate for myself in this transaction?"
Yes, it's a risk. But only in the short term. In the long term it is a smart 'n savvy investment in yourself.
Sometimes we think that some people are lucky when they are successful. But I dispute that. Maybe instead of lucky they are incredibly focused and invest heavily the right things. After all, as the old saying goes, luck is what happens when planning meets opportunity. And as Shonda Rhymes famously said - “I’m not lucky ..... call me badass”.
MAKE YOUR SUCCESS UNCONDITIONAL
Don’t make your success conditional. Instead build in mechanisms that support your success preemptively - just like eating healthy, getting lots of sleep or exercising are preemptive support for your wellness and long term good health.
So next time you hear your own mental rationale of "I'll do this once I've achieved that" start getting curious at your conditional thinking. And quite possibly you'll find you're putting the horse in front of the wrong cart entirely.
And one final point for you to remember, success is an inside job - if you wait until you feel successful enough you'll be waiting a lifetime.
Feminine leadership superpowers + unconditional success = priceless