Created with our partners @bulldogdrummond for their #uncommonsense project.
It is impossible to use a singular metric to define “successful people”. Common sense would have us believe that there is a formula for success, but #UncommonSense tells us that success looks different for everyone. It would be safe to say Richard Branson, Jenna Lyons and Lebron James are all successful people. Each one comes from a very different background, achieved success very differently and lives a unique life that suits them. But, the one thing that successful people have in common is that their path to success is uniquely theirs—and at a certain point in their career they broke societal convention to carve it themselves.
Establish the skills you need to dream bigger
At the beginning of one’s career there is typically a goal to be like someone else… golf like Tiger Woods, paint like Monet or make money like Gordon Gekko. As a career progresses a person’s skills become established and personal perspectives and opinions develop, allowing that individual to let their target for success shift. At some point in his career, Lebron decided he did not want to play basketball like Michael Jordan but instead take advantage of his own skill set to become the best basketball player in the world—and he put in the work to do it.
Design your success plan
As a person’s career goals are redefined, a plan to successfully achieve them needs to evolve. When world-class marathon runners start a race they are solely fixated on their stride and pace. They’ve put in the practice, testing and time to be self-aware and comfortable with their plan to win. With the realization that following anyone else’s plan will be detrimental to their plans success. Successful individualism is apparent when looking at the eyewear manufacturer, Warby Parker who ignored the norms of the eyewear business to become an icon for innovation within their industry. They didn’t want to be a new version of LensCrafters, and brand name eyewear was already being sold direct-to-consumers on Amazon—these avenues were the tried and true models of eyewear retail. Warby Parker set out with their own mission to create a business of stylish affordable well-made eyewear. The partners at Warby Parker innovated within their industry with offerings like sample shipping, custom products and fashion-forward styling targeted at a specific demographic.
Follow your plan unconditionally
Just as the principle of individualism has been successful for Warby Parker, they can also be applied to personal life goals. Removing any notion of the right way to do something, people can arrive at a clear vision of their goals and the steps needed to achieve them. When we put faith in our personal goals, and ourselves we become free from the confines of others’ expectations. If your approach is different than others’ there is no measuring stick for competitors and you will likely achieve your goal.
If you’re running a marathon, starting a business or innovating in any way, take advantage of the freedom to create true success by running your own race.