What does success mean to you?

Yesterday, a group of students gathered to discuss the topics of leadership, success and happiness. We commenced the conversation by brainstorming what people (in the world as well as our personal lives) we consider to have “made it big”. Who do we consider successful? Powerful? Accomplished? Not only WHO but HOW? How does one go from being an “average person” to stepping up, reaching their goals and achieving more than they had dreamed possible?

As the conversation continued, many people offered insightful ideas about what it takes to be a leader. One thing everyone could agree on is CONFIDENCE. To be a leader, we discussed, a person needs to believe in themselves. If they lack the experience, they could “fake it until they make it” and work themselves up mentally before facing what confronts them. Confidence comes from facing challenges and overcoming fears. Even when we are intimidated by certain experiences or opportunities, if we just straighten our backs, raise our chins and “do it anyway”, we have the potential of truly impressing ourselves. Once we do one thing, it makes the next one possible and even easier, and so we can continue. Showing people, whether it is our friends and family or potential employers, that we are confident in ourselves and our own abilities and talents, is what will set us apart from others. Confidence is key.

Eventually, we imagined a ‘witch’s cauldron’ that we could throw in all of our ingredients to success. After confidence came charisma. A successful person is one that offers their own unique personality and this often comes from a place of creativity. If we want to be different than others, we need to actively use our imaginations to come up with creative ideas and proposals. Furthermore, a successful person is one who realizes early on that set backs, challenges and pain are all a natural and necessary part of growth. Unless we fail and learn from our mistakes, we will never know how to improve and explore new options. 

We also discussed how a successful person is never alone! Any leader has a network of people supporting them. Whether it is our family, our friends and/or our co-workers, we as leaders need to be able to make use of the resources and talents available to us, as well as making our own skills available to others. If we network properly, when we are stuck or are in need of aid, we will have a variety of people and talents available to us. Not only this, but we will be supported emotionally and mentally, when we’re having a rough go.

As always in our conversation circles, once we got started, there was no stopping the insightful flow of conversation. We all threw out exciting and impressive ideas, one after the other. Happiness! Dedication! Hard-work! Faith! We threw in more and more ingredients to our recipe of success. Being a leader means many things to many people but we concluded that there was something common about all of the people we admired and aspired to be like. We are all leaders in our own ways and it dawned on our group that it starts with reflection, discussion and then intentional action. 

Thank you to everyone who joined our group yesterday. I hope we were all inspired enough to work harder to empower ourselves, collaborate with those around us, use what resources we have available, network with as many people as possible and to challenge ourselves to be all that we are capable of being. 

As always, we finished our talk with a special song from Han Sem Sun. Although he sang a different song this time, the lyrics from his favourite song stuck with us, “I believe I can fly!” -Do you?

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