When Personal Success Isn’t Enough

There comes a point in each successful person’s life when personal success isn’t enough, they need to help others achieve the success they desire. Never has this been more obvious than in the program, The Voice (opens in a new link), which airs in 50 countries.

The coaches, who have all experienced the highest levels of success as singer/entertainers, spend considerable amounts of time helping aspiring singers not only develop greater skill, but help them gain the exposure so vital in launching a career.

While The Voice coaches offer a readily visible example that ultimately personal success isn’t enough, this attitude is not limited to their profession. We see similar attitudes expressed in Chambers of Commerce where panels of experts and presenters share their wisdom with business owners. We see it in the programs, including mentoring programs, developed and implemented within professional organizations. It has even extended into our school systems in which high school students help middle-school kids.

One of the beautiful aspects of our human nature is that the joy of success isn’t complete until it’s shared. When we’re happy, we want others to be happy as well. When we enjoy success in our chosen field, we want others to enjoy success in theirs.

When our efforts are successful in helping others, our desire to continue the effort grows as well. The more joy that we bring to the world, the greater the joy we experience ourselves…to the point that we may wonder whether we’re helping others for purely selfish reasons. 

I know that I experienced those feelings years ago. What I’ve since discovered is that efforts that produce benefits for all involved have no selfish focus. Instead, these efforts are based on a desire to raise the level of joy for all involved. So don’t let questions of motivation stymie your efforts. Instead, recognize that your joy is a wonderful reward for having brought joy to others.

I’m not that successful

Some of you may be thinking “I’m not all that successful.” That’s typically because of the way you are measuring success. Many of us measure our success in terms of financial gain, career status, recognition or some other external measure.

In reality the only true measure of success is: Are you enjoying the life you have chosen for yourself? I regularly have people tell me that they want my life even though I know people who earn a great deal more than I do, enjoy greater name recognition than I possess, have achieved higher levels of career status than I have and are generally regarded more successful than I am.

So what is it that these people want when they say they want my life? They want the joy I experience each and every day, throughout the day, regardless of the situation I’m facing. They want the smile on their faces to be as perpetual as mine…their words not mine.

The reality is that I know of lot of people who share their joy willingly and frequently with others. Yet, if asked “Are you successful?” Many would say that they’ve enjoyed some success, but fall short of saying that they are successful. This despite the fact that their joy and willingness to share their joy indicate otherwise.

This brings to mind a message I shared with a class of high school students years ago. These were 28 of the most incredible teens I’d ever met. They were confident, open to competing ideas, able to choose a direction as a group, focused in their efforts and readily adaptable when things didn’t go according to plan.

What I told them on our last day together was that each and every one of them would be successful at what they chose to do, but the real measure of their success was going to be how many people they taught what they already knew about being successful.

They hadn’t seen themselves in that light until I mentioned it. In a similar fashion, I’m hoping that this blog will help you see that you are successful…that there is joy in your life that indicates some level of success that you can enhance by helping others in the pursuit of their dreams.

For you

Here’s a process for helping you greatly enhance your personal success:

  • Recognize that the joy you experience is evidence of your success, not some artificial, externally-generated measure.
  • Remind yourself, each morning shortly after rising and each evening before retiring, of all the joy you’ve experienced in your life.
  • Recall how wonderful, and complete, you feel when you share your joy, share what you’ve learned, with others and the joy they experience as a result of your kindness.
  • Vow to make each day one in which you are enriching the lives of all you meet by simply sharing your joy. You’ll never again have a bad day.

For our kids

Teach your kids that the real measure of success is joy, not financial gain, recognition or status. Then remind them of times when they brought joy to another child. Let them know that in sharing their joy they’ve completed the cycle of personal success. Then let them know that they have the ability to experience joy daily, multiple times a day, whenever they share their joy with others.

Most importantly, live this message. Kids pay more attention to what we do than what we say.

You’ll find that other parents will want the relationship you have with your kids. They’ll want to know the secret to your family’s joy and the strong bond that exists within your family. Then you can complete your personal success by sharing the process outlined above and enhancing the joy that their family experiences.

Personal success ultimately leaves us wanting more. That more is the joy of sharing your joy with others so that they too can experience it.

Let others know that you love them by sharing this blog post. They’ll appreciate that you care.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment.

If you’d like to enjoy great confidence, check out our Confidence Self-Study programs (opens in a new link). 

If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program (opens in a new link).

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2 Responses

  1. Bill Prenatt

    Dale, As always thought-provoking wisdom! After many years of trial and error on this topic, I landed on this philosophy. I simply derive great joy and satisfaction while helping others achieve their potential!

    • dfurtwengler

      Bill, Everything in life seems to take care of itself with your approach…at least that’s been my experience. Thanks for sharing, Bill.

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