What is success? What does it mean to you?
Is success making lots of money, having a fancy title, owning your own home, having children, whatever the concept means to you it will be something you are proud of and are happy to possess.
It’s easy to see from these few examples that success is a subjective state of mind and not a static concept that applies to all. However I have observed that in the western world not many will dismiss the idea that money is present somewhere in their idea of success.
What then makes one person successful over another, is it attributable to their faith, or are they just born lucky. Whatever the reason for a persons success it does not mean that those around them always appreciate this success.
Successful individuals are often disliked because many people have mixed feelings about their success, they may be jealous, envious or hateful, thinking ‘why them and not me?’ which is misplaced because we do not always know the journey that these successful individuals have been on their road to achieving.
In business terms financial reward is a marker of success and when examining the factors that contribute to a successful business person it is easy to understand why they have achieved what they have. I have seen and heard many an interesting story about individual successes and also what they have had to overcome to achieve their position.
I’m always in awe of the time and effort that they have invested in themselves and their journey to achieve and can do nothing but applaud and commend their endeavours. However through my work with driving instructors I have seen and heard a lot of negativity towards successful individuals purely as a result of their own jealousy, and often this jealousy gets translated into bad decision making.
For example competition in any market place can be a healthy phenomenon as it makes people think about their decisions and spending habits, it also makes businesses become more focused on their potential consumers through the experience they offer and the value that they offer for their services.
Unfortunately not everyone has this opinion, I have seen driving instructors become dismissive, derogatory and underhand towards those they perceive as their successful competitors. Spreading lies, stealing customers, leaving negative online reviews are but a few examples. All of which I find utterly disgusting and ridiculous as this achieves nothing in the long run but negativity.
One such story I remember is where one instructor who will be called Jane for the purpose of my story was just setting out in her driving instructor journey, she had big plans for herself, buying her own home, getting married, setting up a business and hopefully a franchise. She talked me thorough her plans multiple times whilst we were conducting her training for part three of the driving instructor exam.
I felt Jane had a great plan to reach her goals and that with hard work she would definitely achieve. During the training we put some mini plans into place to help her achieve her ultimate goals. She put in the hard work listened to my advice and passed her part three examination. A few months later I was invited to her wedding, which was a beautiful day. Needless to say we chatted about how things were going and she said fantastic, she’d bought her home and was running her business with a full diary of learners. Well I was impressed that she had achieved her goals in a shorter time frame than we envisaged but it was great to see.
About six months later we met again for further training, this time she told me of another driving instructor in her area who she had some interesting dealings with. Jane told me that Sarah (name has been changed for confidentiality). Jane knew Sarah from when she had taken her part three exam, both ladies were waiting at the test centre at the same time, Jane for her part three result and Sarah for her pupil to come back from their driving test.
Jane had got talking to Sarah in the test centre where Sarah told her she was on her trainee licence and was going to take her part three test soon. Sarah had wished her well as Jane went into the examiners office to be told her test result. When Jane came back she was over the moon telling everyone she met that she had passed, unfortunately Sarah’s pupil hadn’t passed on that occasion. Jane felt bad for her and apologised for being insensitive and gave Sarah her number and said to contact her if she needed any help before her part three examination.
A month later Jane received a call from Sarah to say she has booked her test for a months time and asked if Jane could go out on some drives with her to help guide her. Jane agreed and met Sarah for quite a few sessions which was amazing seeing as Jane was organising her house move and wedding in this time.
When it came time for Sarah to sit her test Jane wished her well. Jane was expecting to hear from Sarah about her test result, well two weeks later she still had not heard anything. When out and about Jane saw Sarah in a driving school car, Jane waved and smiled at Sarah, to her surprise Sarah did not even bat an eyelid.
That same week Jane was having conversation with one of her learners when Sarah’s name came up. The pupil told Jane that he’d had two lessons with another new instructor who was quite negative, and spent most of the time talking about herself. That instructor was Sarah and in the sessions she had told the pupil that she’d never liked Jane because Jane was ‘full of herself’.
Jane was shocked as the pupil went on to tell her other things, he said that he’d disliked this type of attitude as it was not professional so that’s what made him terminate his lessons with her and come to Jane. Jane thanked him for his feedback and apologised for his negative experience and pledged that they would move forward from this point without focusing on the past.
Interestingly Jane also received a couple of anonymous online feedbacks regarding her services that were negative in the same week as taking on this new pupil. She had asked the search engine customer care team to look into them.
I wasn’t surprised at the things that happened to Jane as I know from my own experience that there are some negative people out there. But what did surprise me was that all Jane had done was support Sarah despite having known her only a short time she still gave up her time to take her out on free training sessions. It just reinforces that some individuals just can not be helped and shouldn’t then be surprised if only negative comes back to them, karma.
We can all achieve success through utilising some simple techniques none of which include being negative, more importantly we can retain our integrity.
The key attributes that successful individuals possess, are quite simple at first glance but they are real game changers. These individuals are often good observers, of life, and people, they reflect on what they have seen and turn this learning into real ideas, examples of such are the stories of Richard Branson, Alan Sugar and Ingvar Kamprad (owner of IKEA).
Good communication is also at the core of their success, through which they spread their ideas, network and engage others. Including being excellent listeners, as I have talked about before (in previous blogs) they engage others through ‘active listening’, understanding their needs and being better placed to deal with these effectively.
Being adaptable is another skill that helps them keep themselves and their business current, because in the current climate no one can afford to be static, consumers are changing their habits and requirements in response to the changes in society.