Dexter J Valles | Jan 13, 2009
I have come across several articles and books on “Success” and all of them have very special messages for the reader. It is truly motivating to read and learn how people are making their dreams take shape. We can certainly benefit from the lessons learned by those who have driven themselves on the road to success and read the milestones they have placed along the way there, for inscribed on each are invaluable insights of life.
To achieve anything noteworthy in life calls for a certain amount of “stretch” which put plainly means that one has to “struggle” with the performance and delivery of results that meet higher standards than those in play. I would rather call this a raising of the bar or an aspiration in action. Performing within our capabilities guarantees delivery against promises made, but these are mediocre performances delivering mediocre goals. Satisfaction with this leads to a dull sense of happy mediocrity and diminished dreams.
At Valmar International, we have put together our own definition of success in our Vision Statement, drawing from all those lessons others have learned and shared and our own experiences and aspirations for success. Allow me to share this with you, as we have found these simple truths of life very useful.
We look at adopting these tenets of life as we A-S-P-I-R-E for success learning six shining lessons of life
A: Accountability for results
Ownership of the task along with responsibility for performance is a prime element of success. Effort no matter how earnest, without focus or direction cannot deliver excellence. “If it has to be, it’s up to me!” is a common enough phrase, but we need to get it off the page and into our work ethic. Desire without a will, subscription to excellence without action, and action without accountability together deliver shallow performances and empty dreams.
The first lesson here is “Make your life count when you put your signature to it.”
S: Strength and stability of values
The guide-ropes across life are woven with the values we bring along with us. Values will hold us accountable not just for what we do, but how we do things too. Values contribute to a life with honor and morality. Values provide the higher ground, on which we can breathe the purity of the air of accomplishment, instead of suffocating in the sulphuric swamps of dishonorable practices.
Good corporate governance at the organizational level and personal ethics at the individual level can help create a single transparent and honest agenda of action.
Not having to watch your back or cover your rear while you are engaged in delivering excellence, is a major relief and allows everyone to commit resources without any reservation. Standing firm on what you believe in allows you to advocate your position and interest soundly. It’s not about being obstinate, but about being definite.
The second lesson is “Stamp goodness on the charter of life in whatever you do. Seal life’s envelope with greatness and leave pettiness penniless.”
P: Passion and purpose in performance
Consider this. You visit a well promoted township and see towers, buildings, parks, restaurants, shopping malls, schools, hospitals and all that makes a township strewn across the landscape with no apparent design or town planning. You further notice that many of the structures were only partially complete, some surrounded by dense bush and overgrown wasteland whilst some with pruned lawns. Roads run smartly through the town but some abruptly end in rough mounds of rubble. Restaurants run glitzy advertisements of their fare and entertainment programs, but this is only in print and not in practice. Hospitals gleam with the most professional equipment but the medical services are run by its lone pharmacy dispensing OTC medicines. You quiz some of the townsfolk about these strange to bizarre matters, and find that they do not sense anything amiss!!
Do we recognize our lives in this context too? How often do we really plan the township of our life? Giving in to the flavour of the moment we may develop competences that die faster than they are used, redirect our focus mindlessly into convoluted and often unfinished paths, build towers of performance without the support structure in place, leave the “insignificant balance” of competence, performance, values and relationships unfinished or half constructed for completion at an unknown later date. But all this has a sense of tremendous busyness and activity, leaving us feeling we have accomplished things! As we go along we make do with what we have and this makes major withdrawals from our energy and enthusiasm bank balances, till we resign ourselves to living with inconvenience and a poverty-stricken future.
Bringing passion and purpose to performance allows us to create the right architecture and platform for our dreams to rise to celebrate a rich and rewarding present and a promising future.
The third lesson is “Blueprint your life with clear purpose and embed your soul in the achiever’s hallowed hall of fame.”
I: Integrity of intent
Integrity is like a precious stone. A flaw in the stone will not only devalue the stone but also may cause problems for the wearer. Interestingly enough integrity begins with “I” which means that it lies within us to manifest. The completeness or wholeness of the purpose we bring to our performance and relationships as well as the truthfulness and honesty of our intentions, allow us to shed the disguises and garbs of “strategic” intent which is usually opportunistic in favour of an upstanding unconditional largeness of intent which enlarges the playing field to accommodate others too.
Amidst the fog of deviousness, manipulation and exploitation, integrity of intent is a clear beacon which illuminates the entire relationship with the purity of true partnership in progress.
The fourth lesson is “Be of global intent and design. Leave parched parochialism to wither and die in the sunshine of abundance.”
R: Reliability in relationships
The word relationship itself shows us that just like a ship, all hands must be on the deck and the ship of relation needs the synergy of all members to pull together, especially in rough weather. This applies to teams and associates at the organizational level or families and friends at the individual or personal level. Navigating the storms and tempests of suspicion, doubt, misgivings, moments of weakness, inadequacies and incompetence, can take a severe toll on the most weather-beaten of sailors afloat on the sea of survival and success.
Establishing a resourceful relationship which counts on the contribution of all elements in the network of life, trusting and respecting those in the network and staying with the ship provides the robustness to the relationship. Investing in the relationship unconditionally by contributing first without calculating the returns, and living all the tenets we have described this far, creates the reliability needed to put wind in the sails.
It is all about being there when it matters. Finding the right role to play and a set of convergent goals to guide individual contributions to the relationship are crucial for one to deliver at least what is expected.
The fifth lesson is “Run a 24×7 relationship with your resources. Burn your leave card.”
E: Excellence as a way of life
Making excellence a way of life, means demolishing the middle class of mediocrity and aspiring for the “dance of delight”. Life at the cutting edge of excellence, cannot possibly be played by performing with competences one is conscious of possessing. Instead the thrill and exuberance of a full-blown life comes from reaching higher than the “essential expected” and delivering at the very “pinnacle of performance”. It’s all about asking yourself if what you do is enough or can you go the extra mile.
Pulling performances from the slums of mediocrity can be one of the most rewarding and thrilling experiences one can have. Like an eagle, once you experience the heavens, it is hard to live below the clouds. Finding refuge in being “grounded” or “down to earth” or “in touch with reality” leads to exactly that in the rewards. You are grounded in the earth, immersed in a false sense of security of a rationalized reality instead of soaring to embrace the universe.
The sixth lesson is “Live life at full stretch benchmarking beyond the best.”
With these six lessons of life may you fulfill your dreams and ASPIRE actively for all the success that the world can possibly offer.
Dexter J Valles, business and life trainer renowned for his programs under the “At the Steering Wheel of Life” and “Winning Edge” banners, is CEO of Valmer International, a Mumbai-based management consultancy. Contact him at www.valmarinternational.com or http://valmar.page.tl
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