Sunday, September 5, 2010

Keeping up with the Joneses: How your claiming your definition of success helps to shape your mindset, and stay motivated

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

Years ago, I started dealing with a network marketing company to try and make a little extra money and diversify my time. The company offered different types of support as far as building a business - their way. A lot of what they taught was invaluable, with training from internationally-known motivational speakers and business-types, seminars, instrinsic product knowledge education - that kind of stuff. I still find it valuable, although I don't do as much with the company anymore. What I didn't like, and what I see with a lot of other companies of all kinds: the feeling that the current level of success that you've attained is not-up-to-par, that they are making you who you are, that some of the tactics that they employ to convey to you how to get clients and "build relationships" are less than desirable, that you can be more - but that you need to adhere to their way of approaching/talking to people (sometimes using methods that are beyond my level of comfort - for good reason). I could go on, but I won't.

flickr photo courtesy of Josh Janssen

I learned a lot from being in business for myself 9 years prior to that, and had done pretty well for myself. Some of what the company "taught" made me squirm, and rightfully so. Much of it went against common sense and real relationship building - both concepts that are extremely important to me.

One thing that I really felt icky about was that my "upline" and the trainings of other uplines focused on the idea that one needed to increase their success - and "success" was defined by sales and recruiting (and making other people money) and far less about creating bonds with people in a genuine way, finding solutions for them by pairing them with products that fit their needs and their budget in a way that they felt comfortable with (I mean, literally bullying folks into making a purchase? Please. So not me.) My gut said: "No, no, no..." How can people sleep at night doing that?

I've never let anyone else define my idea - or better yet, my concept of what success is. Not when I started my cleaning service, not during my time that I was active with the company and not when I started my pet sitting service. Don't get me wrong - people attempted to, and still do. ("You should hire people to do the work for you!" "Join our networking group; it'll help your business grow." "You know, you could make a lot more money if you...")


I know what my recipe for success is. The core remains the same, first and foremost, providing capable care for pets while their families are away - but some of the peripheral needs of the business and my personal life cause me to adjust what areas I need to focus in.

flickr photo courtesy of greeblie
It really seems as though so many people are comparing themselves to what other people are doing so much so, that they have either lost sight of what their concept of success is - or they've never been able to define it for themselves at all. Sad, isn't it? It happens in the corporate world, in the land of the self-employed, and equally in people's personal lives. And, it really screws things up.

Most of all, I find that many times it actually decreases motivation because you start to question yourself too much about what your process is; dumbing it down. Second-guessing is a real motivation stealer.

So my questions for you are: What is success? How do you define it? What is your recipe for staying motivated to achieve your successes in life? Are you trying to keep up wth the Joneses to hammer out someone else's standard of success?

Lorrie Shaw is a professional pet sitter, regular pets contributor to and pet blogger in Dexter Twp, MI. She participates in Motivated Mondays along with writer, speaker, mountain bike rider and author of Backroads & Byways Of Arizona, Jackie Dishner. #MotivatedMondays on Twitter is a culmination of inspirational notes, blogs and tips to help motivate and get other ready for each week after the weekend lull - or anytime.

1 comment:

  1. Such good questions for me this Labor Day morning. I'm definitely not one to keep up with the Joneses, not when, sometimes, I don't even keep up with myself. I have enough things on my own plate to focus on. There's no room left for trying to keep up with someone else's ideals.

    But I have belonged to some professional associations where that could have been a problem, if I didn't know myself well enough to separate my interests/goals from the interests/goals of others.

    From your post, Lorrie, I see you have an interesting business background, with many different kinds of businesses to draw lessons from. I'd find that appealing if I were a client.

    It also seems to me you have a good understanding of what works for you and what doesn't. I'd say you are definitely in tune with your inner B.I.K.E. Obviously, I like that.