The secret sauce to success

by | Sep 27, 2017

Tonight I can’t sleep . . . again.

For all my life I’ve been able to fall a sleep almost immediately when my head hits the pillow. No chemicals needed.

But lately my mind is restless.

The years are slipping by, and I have so much yet to do. So much to leave for those who come after me. So much to say that might make a difference to someone asking the same questions as I.

So tonight I sit on my second-story balcony. A refreshing breeze bristles through the towering cottonwoods and elms, chasing the remains of a hot day southward. Their limbs stretch over my head, shielding me from the direct wind. I am perched among the branches as if I were in a tree house. I love this place. It is my safe haven–my retreat.

I reflect on many professional and personal successes; yet, as I look forward, I am discontent. There is so much more to do–important and exciting things to do.

Success is short-lived and fleeting.

They say that success breeds success. I say it also breeds restlessness. I accept that I am getting older. A look in the mirror tells me there’s no getting around that. Deep down inside, this aging man has the heart–the spirit– of a twenty something, and becoming irrelevant terrifies me.

Retirement is out of the question. I cannot bring myself to it. All that I have become, I still am. All that I am is only a fraction of what I can yet become. My expectations of living enlarge daily, and when my time is up, I will, no doubt, have left much undone.

I meet many, of all ages, who are looking for the secret sauce of success–a shortcut. How to’s, top tens, best practices of those who made it. We want to know how they did it. But when they tell us, we’re disappointed, because the answer is always years of showing up every day, to do the work of one’s passion. Even that’s not a guarantee of overnight success. There is no easy way.

Here is what I have learned from experience and observation.

Your true work is a manifestation of your true creative self. It comes from the essence of your authentic self: your I am. If you are not doing that kind of work, you are living beneath your privilege. Success comes from that place.

Answer these four questions, and you can get on your way to that kind of success:

  1. What do I want? This is your purpose. It should be the answer to the question, “When my time is up, what do I want to have achieved?” The answer to that question does not require a value judgment on your life purpose. The sole criterion is that it is authentically you.
  2. What must I do to get what I want? Regardless of whether you plan everything to the tiniest detail or go with the flow, you must do something to get something.
  3. Am I able to do what it takes to get what I want? Do you have the knowledge, skill, fitness, and resources to pull off your plan? If not, you must get them, or adjust your expectations of what you want.
  4. Am I willing to do what it takes to get what I want? One would assume that passion and desire go hand-in-hand, but many have given up on a so-called dream because the going got too tough. This is about the grit to go over, under, around, or through the obstacles that come from discouragement or lack of the resources.

I am continually reinventing myself–evolving. My restlessness and sleeplessness are part of the transformation. They won’t last. They will give way to a calm restfulness as my creative energy deepens the resolve to realize my purpose, which is to write. To be a bard, a storyteller. I got a late start at the craft, and I am learning as I go.

And I am clear and certain of the source of my creative energy–the essence of my soul. It is to INCourage the spirit; to INLiven the heart; to INLighten the mind, and to INLarge the expectations of living for myself and others. To live each and every day INPowered. This is my secret sauce.