Define Your Own Version of Success

Marques Colston
Marques Colston

Strategist. Speaker. Entrepreneur. Champion.

Helping growth-minded leaders achieve sustainable business success

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If you pay attention to social media, you can find any number of business and brand success stories to draw inspiration from. There is always a new online coaching offering, or a new surefire way to create multiple revenue streams. At every turn someone in your network is posting about launching a business or a new partnership. As a fellow entrepreneur, you have to applaud those who have figured it out, especially in these uncertain times.

Yes, digital marketing and social media have made it much more efficient to launch, build, and scale brands and ventures, especially online businesses. It has also made it easier to build a well branded house of cards with very little substance. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell the difference at first glance. It is all part of the allure of social media. It drives people to post the most visually appealing versions of their life, with perfectly edited graphics and carefully curated feeds.

One glance at a social feed can trigger all types of feelings for an entrepreneur. It can create an unhealthy balance. On one hand you may be motivated by the success of your peers. On the other hand, you may be feeling self doubt or inadequate because you aren’t quite where you want to be.

I believe that your vision of success is a very personal journey. It should be authentic to who you are, your core values and beliefs. To build it that way requires that to start at your core. What are you passionate about? What motivates you? What do you want to achieve in your life? Those may sound like simple questions. But for many, including myself, it is easy for the real answers to get buried in the grind of daily activity.

Re-defining success

After retiring from the NFL in 2015, these questions were front and center in my life. People made their own assumptions about the things I valued and what I should do next. According to my status as an NFL player, I should still be involved with the game as a broadcaster or coach. Others believed I should be a venture capitalist, because they saw other athletes build investment portfolios alongside the most prominent Silicon Valley investors. While I could have  done those things, they were not on my radar. I understood a very simple, yet important concept. Playing football was just a job I did very well. It didn’t define my beliefs, my interests, or my value. I needed to look inward to define those things.

That realization forced me to dig beneath the surface to uncover the qualities and motivations that allowed me to achieve as an NFL player. It wasn’t just speed, agility, and athleticism. Sure, they helped. But at the core was a growth mindset and approach that powered my ability to improve and evolve as a player. My success was a direct result of a commitment to self improvement and skill development. It was a continuous process of self evaluation to find ways to maintain strengths and advantages, while improving weaknesses. Once I understood this about myself, I started to realize that I naturally carried the same approach into each business opportunity. It was who I was at my core. No particular role or position could define that for me. 

I was able to embrace the uncertainty that the next chapter brought because I was empowered to create my own standard of success, independent of what others thought. 

As I looked to pivot into the next phase of my life, this inward approach helped me embrace the uncertainty in front of me. These three techniques have empowered me to create my own standard of success, independent of what others’ thoughts and opinions:

Be the optimal version of yourself- not someone else’s

There is always room to leverage others as inspiration. But don’t confuse inspiration with replication. 

Believe that you bring unique value. It may be your life experience, your work experience, or your intuition. Whatever it is, embrace it with confidence. Once you own your value, continue finding ways to improve and develop to create the optimal version of yourself. 

Build a routine and commit to it

Your growth should not be one dimensional. Physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health and wellbeing are just as important to your success as technical skill and ability. 

Build a daily routine that creates dedicated time for yourself to develop in multiple areas of your life. It may not be easy, but committing yourself to well rounded growth will not only help you achieve the success you are looking for. It will also help you with the endurance and stamina to sustain it. 

Lead with intention

It can be easy to find yourself being pulled in separate directions, trying to serve the needs of others. The best way to provide the most value to others is to get the most out of yourself. 

Be intentional with your time and energy. They are two the most important resources you have, and they are limited. Find ways to be intentional about creating value for yourself, even when creating value for others. Challenge yourself to extract personal value in every interaction and task as a way to further your growth and development. There can be value in even the smallest and mindless tasks, you just have to intentionally find it.

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