This is one of those posts where I get to see if you ever really watch the videos I put here or not. You won’t even have to watch it all; just enough of it so you get the answer. However, I think if you’re astute, and of course you are because you come here, you’re going to be really smart and possibly figure it out without watching the entire video. If I see someone guess though, it means they didn’t watch the video and I’ll be deleting those comments because, for this one time, I want you to check out the video.
All of us get to define what success is in our own minds. All of us want to be successful; no one goes into a life or business and says “I want to be mediocre”. Even if you want to be the best you can be in what you do that’s a goal that’s better than “I just want to survive”. Yeah, I know some people will say that but I’m going to say I doubt that anyone really believes that.
If you do, this isn’t the post for you and I’m already depressed for you. 🙂
Is there a major secret to success? You bet there is. I can tell you what the secret isn’t though.
It’s not knowledge. Some of the smartest people in the world never become successful. Supposedly 80% of Mensa level people never make much money or have much happiness in their lives.
It’s not perseverance. That would be nice wouldn’t it, saying that if I put my time in and do the best I can that I’ll be successful. Many people who try to make a living online work upwards of 16 to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not all that many of them are successful. Ask a lawyer who makes $300,000 a year but puts in that many hours if they feel successful; you’ll be amazed at how many of them will say no.
It’s not talent. That one’s depressing because there are a lot of talented people in the world who only have a few people that know about it. There are some great people online who write some amazing things, but an overwhelming majority of them, which includes me here, aren’t successful.
What is the ultimate secret to success? Watch the video below; I promise it’s painless. 😉
There seems to be something new going around these days. I call it the “build yourself up by busting on someone else” syndrome. Frankly, unless you have a good reason for busting on someone in particular, I find it distasteful. However, when the only reason you’re busting on someone is because they happen to be successful, you look petty.
In this case I’m going to talk about the concept of A-list people. On the internet we know who these people are; Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Matt Cutts, John Chow, on and on and on. These are people that have and are making pretty good money online, get invited to speak here and there, and end up talking about how they make money and the like. Okay, maybe Matt Cutts doesn’t belong on the list for that reason, but I’ve seen people saying things about him that aren’t all that nice either.
In the book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker, he talks about how people perceive those who seem to have made it as stuck up and only into themselves and how the hatred eventually comes to them, and how he used to think the same way until he started seeing things in a much different light. He saw how many of these people were really generous with their time and their money and saw how just because someone had money and success and influence (did I use that word again?) and it didn’t necessarily make them bad, and there wasn’t anything wrong with them actively trying to pursue these things. By the way, that’s an affiliate link to a book I highly recommend you check out; it’ll illuminate your mind.
What got me initially thinking about this was a guest post on Danny Brown’s blog titled Why The A-list Conversation Hurts Us that I totally disagreed with. In essence, the author stated that we the people should just stay away from these guys and break them down so everyone else has a chance at some kind of success. I totally disagreed with the premise because in my mind if these folks fall someone else will eventually become the A-listers and then another person will come along and say we should beat these people down as well. It’s a cycle I hate, one that I not only refuse to be a part of, but in a perfect scenario I know that most of us, if given the chance, would love to have the opportunity to get there.
Yeah, I know, I hear all of you now saying “oh no, I wouldn’t want that.” Please, let’s be truthful. We write because we want our words out there. We want someone to read them and react to them. We’d love to have more and more people see what we have to say, agree with what we have to say, lament because we don’t say enough of it, and then start throwing money and accolades our way to get us to write more, give them more, and let them love us. Okay, a bit extreme, but you know what I mean. I’m not saying everyone wants this, but I know the majority certainly do.
We want to share our knowledge, do it the old fashioned way. We want to be honest with our message, whether we entertain or pontificate or garner support or whatever it is we do. We want to get there on our words and our passion… just like the A-listers did. We want to be of the people, but we want the people to elevate us… just like the A-listers did.
Just so you know, this isn’t a new thought of mine. Our friend Sire wrote a post back in 2009, the most visited post of his blog ever, titled Why I No Longer Link To The Likes Of ProBlogger And John Chow, where he stated that those folks get enough love from others so he’s not going to give them any, and I stated (first comment actually) that I would be continuing to follow those blog because they gave good information, and they occasionally respond to people as well. As a matter of fact, on that post Sire had a nice conversation with Darren Rowse, which I thought was pretty classy of Darren to show up. Sire actually promoted my blog on that post, which was also cool, but he also had to deal with a few people who thought he was using the other people’s names just to raise his own profile, which may not have been fair but man, it definitely worked as his blog took off from there.
And see, that’s one of the points here. I know it’s not what Sire did on purpose, but it’s my belief that so many other people are really just trying to drag someone else down by going after them to inflate themselves. In my mind, if they can do it to those people, they could come back and do it to me. And I don’t want it done to me I don’t know that I could stand on the sidelines and take it without griping to a degree; I’m like that. lol
But maybe I’m just the sensitive type, so I’ll ask you these three questions; this will prove who reads and who just posts drive-by comments and moves on. One, if you were on the fast track to being an A-lister, would you turn it down, shut down your blog and never write again? Two, would you go out of your way to beat someone else down just to build yourself up, no matter what? And three, if you were succeeding at something that you’d worked for, would you like it if someone came along and suddenly started putting you down mainly because you’ve made it, even if they said it was something else (trust me, you’d know)?
Earlier this week I read a post by a guy named Mark Schaefer, who writes a blog called Business Grow, titled Why Are the Social Media Elite Ignoring Us? It was really a post responding to a question he was asked as to how to get the top social media and internet folks to notice us and, by extension, help us get bigger on the blogosphere.
I like how Mark responded to the question, and he wrote one line that I thought was the best takeaway in the whole conversation: “Start your own sphere of influence.” Goodness, how powerful a statement is that, especially to someone like me who’s talked a lot since the last third of last year about the topic of influence?
It’s interesting because it also touches upon a post Danny Brown has recently on diversity in social media, or kind of a lack thereof because, though there are many minorities in social media, many of “us” aren’t really recognized by the at-large folks who book conferences or read other blogs and decide to recognize people for their blogging prowess all that often. There were a few people who said they don’t want to be recognized because they’re minority, but would like to be recognized for being good, and some of them are very good indeed.
There’s really a fine line between being successful and just being considered as good. People that participate on American Idol are very good; only a few of the winners have been successful, and a couple of non-winners have been successful as well. What this shows us is that sometimes, even with a great boost from something or someone big, you might not really end up being considered as one of the best. How many American Idol winners and runnerups have failed to capitalize on what has to be the biggest boost their careers could have ever had?
At the same time, how many people do fairly well because they’re captured the attention of a loyal few? I like to think of our blogging community as a loyal few. We visit each other’s blogs and get to know each other’s names and what we like. We comment on each other’s blogs and help to encourage each other. Some of us buy from each other if there’s something we find of value because we trust the other person after awhile. And we’re there for each other if need be; I don’t know how many causes I’ve taken up to support my blogging friends over the years.
It becomes incumbent for each of us to find our ways of being taken seriously by the blogosphere, or social media sphere, if that’s what we’re shooting for. It’s also up to us to produce what we feel is the best we can offer to others when we blog or interact in some fashion online. Sometimes it’s a lucky break, sometimes it’s the wealth of what we produce, and sometimes it’s just not going to come.
How does one person write for a year and end up with thousands of subscribers and followers and another person write for 3 years and end up with maybe 100 people following? I don’t know, and I’m betting the people who succeed don’t really know. But they didn’t sit around wondering how it happened; they did what they had to do, and it came to them. And if it came to them, it can come to all of us.
Don’t wait for someone else to make you a success; be successful all on your own. And if you ask me, if you’re consistently writing in your blog, you’re already successful.