“Intention is the seed you sow today,
that will grow into the desired success you will reap tomorrow."
Don E. Smith
Why is success, for some people, as easy as getting out of bed, while for the rest of the world it is a constant, uphill struggle?
Would you like to be a success?
Have you ever asked yourself, “What does it take to become a success?”
Believe it or not, the answer to achieving success relies as much on how you think about the success process as it does on what you do to reach your goal. In many respects, you can’t have one without the other. If this confounds you, the question you might want to ask yourself is, “What is success?”
Success is defined as, “The achievement of an intent.”
So, right off the bat, this tells you two things about success. 1) you cannot achieve Success without Intent and 2). Success is never an accident. If you achieve your desire by either accident or chance, it’s called “Luck” and that’s rarely controllable or repeatable.
YOUR INTENTION TO SUCCEED
Success is all about Intention. Another way to put it is, “Intention is the seed you sow today, that will grow into the desired success you will reap tomorrow."
DESIRE + INTENTION = SUCCESS
But success is not without its challenges.
On every road you travel during a journey from intent to success you encounter three daunting challenges you will need to surpass. Each of these challenges is as deadly to the pursuit of your intent and ultimate success as the lack of water is to plants in a garden.
The Three Challenges to Success are Inertia, Entropy and Apathy.
Let’s examine each.
My Dad had his greatest business successes as an insurance agent. His passion to “do right by my clients” when offering them the best insurance and protection they could afford was the foundation of his sales philosophy. But, it wasn’t always easy. Very often, despite his client’s desire to own a successful insurance protection policy, they struggled to make the “buy” decision.
At that critical point in the sales meeting, my Dad would say, “To not decide, is to decide to do nothing.” Boy, was he right.
Many people seeking to become a success at attaining a skill or reaching a goal are deterred at the outset by their inability to move in any direction. This is a perfect example of Inertia.
Inertia is a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. Albert Einstein once said, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”
Making the commitment to take bold action or to shed all doubt and fear is a critical part of becoming successful. What you know, have and believe now is “safe” to you. It’s the Status Quo.
The best way to shake off the Status Quo, move toward the intent of your desire, and overcome a tendency toward Inertia is to build some “Trust” muscle. This muscle, like all muscle, will respond and strengthen through repeated flexing and testing. It’s all in your mind.
Following these steps will help you build your trust muscle:
- Imagine the goal of your desire.
- What is the smallest step you can take now?
- Take it and pause.
- How does it make you feel?
- Are you feeling confident?
- Great. You’re flexing and strengthening your trust muscle.
- Think about the next step, maybe a little bigger than the last, and take it.
- Continue and repeat each step as above and you will continually overcome Inertia.
One warning, however, Inertia can pop up at any time, especially when an interim success has been reached. It questions whether you are willing to give up the comfort of what you have just attained for the prospect of something new but unknown; something you’ve only dreamed about but have yet to experience. If this happens to you, refer to step one above.
Staying ahead of Inertia is a great way to build the enthusiastic momentum that will help you stave off Entropy.
I first became aware of this success challenge while listening to Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s “The Power of Intention” lecture. I was so completely enlightened by his explanation of entropy, that this concept has become one of the most essential elements in the success coaching I do for organizations, leaders, and speakers.
Entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, states that things have a universal tendency toward deterioration. I define it this way: No matter how much energy or enthusiasm you have at the start of something it will not be enough to sustain you to the finish line. In order to sustain and reach the desired success of your intention you will need to apply increasing amounts of energy (psychological and physical) to your current effort to overcome the natural tendency toward deterioration. If you don’t, you will run out of energy, lose focus, spiral down and fall short.
If I were to chart the declining effects of entropy, it might look like this:
The best way for you to overcome the obstacle of Entropy is to follow these steps:
- Find ways to celebrate the small successes you will have along the way to the desire of your intention.
- Make something out of these successes.
- Do not let them go unnoticed or unrecognized.
- But, do not rest on this interim success or think of it as your end-point.
- Use this “waypoint” success to “pat” yourself on the back and recognize where you are and how far you have come in your success journey.
- Keep entropy at bay by continuously increasing your enthusiasm and energy for the desired intention.
Otherwise, you may just find yourself fishing for a dream.
Speaking of “Goin’ Fishing”, let’s look at the obstacle that will surface if you don’t overcome Entropy, Apathy.
Years ago, I was president of an organization in desperate need of additional funds to pay for a special program. One day the organization was offered a “godsend” opportunity to host an event doing something it already did once a year that would have solved its special funds need. When I put it to a vote of my executive committee, my two VP’s of Ways and Means (a fancy name for fund raising) said “they did want to work that hard” and withdrew their support of the motion. The motion failed, and the money never came.
I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a bad volunteer, and I don’t fault these people for feeling the way they did. I am just serving this up as a perfect example of Apathy.
Apathy is a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for something. It could be a goal, a relationship or a cause. All it means is that you have given up and surrendered your influence on the outcome without quitting altogether.
In this photo below, the fisherman hasn’t quit fishing, but he has detached himself from the active process. Technically, the two sticks in the water are doing the fishing because they are holding the fishing pole. If he catches a fish, it will be mostly by accident or as just a random result of his intention. Not quite Luck, but definitely a whole lot of Hoping.
The best way to overcome Apathy is to follow these steps:
- Reevaluate the desire of your intention.
- Determine if it still drives you with a sense of urgency.
- Chart the progress you have made to date.
- Analyze how far you have to go.
- Imagine what it will be like to achieve the desire of your intention.
- Challenge any on-setting feelings of Inertia you might be experiencing by taking one more, small step forward.
Remember, you are the master of your success. No one else will give it to you.
THE SWEET SENSE OF SUCCESS
Success is a wonderful feeling. It tickles the senses. Think of how people refer to success. The sweet taste of success or the sweet smell of success.
Success signals the end point of a journey of enriching experience, steadfast determination and reliable internal trust. Success achieved means you have overcome Inertia, Entropy and Apathy; the three obstacles everyone encounters on the way from a dream (desired intention) toward achievement.
Remember, every journey toward success, every project, every organizational initiative, every presentation, every relationship is challenged by these three obstacles. The degree to which you can control your success will be greatly enhanced when you learn how to take bold steps and break the status quo, harness your enthusiasm by adding new levels of celebration and reward, and focus on staying in the game by climbing back up the horse after a fall.
Intention is the seed you will use to grow the success of your desired intention. You hold that seed in your hands. Plant it, nurture it and harvest it and you will be rewarded for your efforts.
I trust you read this blog with the maximum amount of Intention and that it will help you understand the nature of success and how to have more of it in your personal and professional life. I appreciate your support as a reader of my blog and I welcome any comment on this post or suggestions you might have in the comments section below. As always, please feel free to share this post with a friend or colleague.
To Your Speaking Success.
The Speech Wiz